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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Jet2. Stupid rules ruin a great service.


I flew with Jet2 last week to Faro and it was in the most part a delightful experience. A baggage allowance of 23K was gratefully received. Check-in was verging on business class compared to other low cost airlines, and the cabin crew were delightful.
With so much going in the right direction, why spoil the party with a petty rule. A rule even the cabin crew cannot fathom.
it can't have slipped the Jet2 high command's attention that the rule for mobile device use on take off and landing was changed some time ago.
There is now no longer any need for people with readers and tablets to have to turn their devices off as long as wifi is not switched on or the devices are in flight mode.
Yet there I was, minding my own business and enjoying a movie on my tablet when I was told to refrain from using it until the seat belt signs were turned off after take-off.
"You know the rules have changed don't you?"
"Oh yes sir but, but this is a Jet2 rule."
"A Jet2 rule. Why?"
"Don't ask me. We just do what we're told."
So there we have it. An airline with so much going for it losing brownie points because of some petty bureaucracy.

Oh and that very annoying Jess Glynne song on endless loop.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Why look like a tourist.



This is quite baffling. Why is it so many people revel, no let me rephrase that, positively embrace looking like a tourist?
It’s like a complete transformation, seemingly overnight as the airport run approaches. One minute he might lead a respectable life in middle class suburbia, or perhaps she holds a management position in local government, or it’s a man with a van doing an honest day’s trade as a plumber, electrician or painter decorator.
Next minute, he gets the garish floral shirt out with mid calf long shorts, a straw hat and god forbid, sandals with socks. She on the other hand plucks the tiniest shorts known to man and a skimpy top regardless of shape or size. “This way up” ink is proudly displayed and a full English is de rigueur at the airport restaurant.
It seems there is no shame in proudly telling all and sundry we are on holiday now and that’s all that matters.
 This is all well and good while our featured humans are still at the airport. Fast forward a few hours to some far off land, anywhere with a capital city or a beach and I can hear the sound of local hands rubbing together in anticipated glee. The chink of excessive euros tumbling into filling coffers. The ominous whiff of rip off permeating the air. No amount of badly phrased local lingo will save our featured friends from a fleecing.
And it’s all because they look just like a tourist.
When you spot a local, is it because of the garish floral shirt and socked sandals, or is it because he or she is sitting in a cafe sipping an espresso or aperol with a sweater casually draped around shoulders.
I remember fearing the worst when sitting in a local whitewashed taverna in a Cretan village I heard “any chance of doin’ us a Sunday roast mate?” quickly followed by “which channel is the footie on?”
With a sinking heart I decided to move on.
This may well sound elitist and snobby but seriously, I’m not picking class distinction here. There are plenty of cultured people who simply lack the ability to dress in anything other than “tourist trashy”

Back in the days of football hooligans, even the foreign visiting teams hooligans looked classy. At least they dressed well before breaking a few noses.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Iceland v Iceland



It was not without a small amount of amusement I learned about the potential law suit Iceland (the country) was considering bringing on Iceland (the retailer).
It seems Iceland (the country) is feeling hard done by because it cannot register any more internet names or addresses as Iceland (the retailer) has nabbed them all.
You could argue that Iceland (the retailer) has simply been quicker off the online mark and quite rightly protected its online footprint.
On the other hand, I do have a little sympathy for Iceland (the country) as they had the name first, and in all senses of the word, it does rather signify the term frozen.
It is an interesting legal challenge as Iceland (the country) presumably has no legal standing in the UK or Europe.

It is indeed a cold war.



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Lost in translation?



Perhaps it's my sense of humour, but I always find issues in restaurants through waiting staff misunderstanding my request hilarious rather than irritating.

And it happens frequently, even in high end restaurants. You can always apportion blame to poor management and training, or instead, just put it down to our basic human failings.

We all try to listen, but nine times out of ten we don't hear. Instead, we plough on hastily thinking we know the answers.

I had another comical moment in the restaurant of a well regarded four star country hotel which serves a dinner menu for a fixed price.
It went something like this:

Waiter: "Here is your fresh oven baked bread sir. is everything OK?"
Andy: "All good thanks. May I have some olive oil please?"
Waiter: "Of course sir. You know there is a charge for that?"
Andy:  "Really? That's unusual. Must be very good then so let's try some."

The head waiter approaches after 5 minutes to tell me:

"We are just getting your order from the bar."

Andy: " Thanks. Just out of curiosity, do you have some very special hand made olive oil?"

Head Waiter: "Not sure sir, I have only been here for three days, but I can check. Why do you ask?"
Andy: "Well, I just requested some some olive oil and was told I would have to be charged extra for it."

At this point, my original waiter materialises with a bowl of olives and proudly places them in the centre of the table.

"Your olives sir.I do hope you enjoy them."

Andy: "Thank you but I actually ordered olive oil. For the bread?"

At which point the head waiter and the waiter look at me, and then at each other and rather sheepishly move aside for a short discussion.

Of course, it all turns out well in the end. I get a lot of apologies from both waiters and we all have a giggle about it.

Anyone have any funny restaurant stories they would like to share?




Monday, 26 September 2016

French Cheese anyone?




On a recent trip to the USA I had an amusing experience at a very fancy resort hotel. This was, it must be said, one of the very best resorts in the country and i was enjoying my stay there immensely.

I had arrived for breakfast, and instead of the usual very tasty American fare, I asked my lovely server for some cheese.

"Do you have any nice cheeses?" I asked in my politest voice.

"Sure Mr. Mossack" she replied, "Let me go check for you."

She returned a few moments later with some slices of processed burger cheese. Not quite what I had imagined she would return with.

"Thanks, but I was hoping for something a little more substantial, perhaps something European maybe?:"

She dutifully retreated to the kitchen and returned after some time....

"Well I found something French for you, it is called a Bry I think."

Not wanting to douse her enthusiasm with correct spellings or pronunciation, I got the gist and looked very happy.

"But I also found this one too. I am not sure where it comes from but it is called Cam and Bert."

It was at this point that I lost it.

I realise I should have used more restraint, but I couldn't help myself.

"Cam and Bert it is then."

I had mental images of French dairy farmers running for a ropes to hang themselves with.

God bless America.



Monday, 21 March 2016

Special Branch comes to my rescue



I had a genuine emergency last week at Gatwick airport. It was all there; shortness of breath, perspiration, panic, chest pain.
The works.
The cause of it?
I had left my electronic tablet in the main lounge at Gatwick.
Normally of course, this emergency could have been handled with calm efficient ease, reporting it to the relevant authorities etc. However, in this particular situation, time was very much against me.

I am not normally one of those people who arrive at the departure gate with hours to spare. I have always thought this is a total waste of human life hours and anyone who indulges in this practice should be given a severe talking to. However, last Monday before a flight to Madeira, I did just that. I thought to myself, I have nothing much else to do here, so I might as well saunter slowly along the three miles to gate 35 surely, the furthest gate in airport history.

Having finally arrived I reach for my tablet to watch a movie while I'm waiting, only to find it's not there and I must have left it on a seat in the main lounge. So much for sauntering. Now I am running all the way back to try and find it. Along the way, I bump in to Steve, wearing a smart suit and an earpiece. He looks like a security person I think to myself.

"Excuse me, are you security?"
"No sir, I am Sussex Please Special Branch."
"OK near enough" I say. " I have left my tablet in the lounge and I only have 30 minutes before my plane leaves."
"Right then" Says Steve "we need to find it pronto"
And just like that we are both on a mission.

We get to the scene of the crime and not a sign of my lost tablet. we interview potential witnesses, shop managers and restaurant staff but to no avail.

I'm out of time, so I leave my details with Steve who promises to check with Lost Property and hopefully "you might get lucky and pick it up when you return"

Of course, now I am late for the gate and run all the way back by which time my name is being called as all the passengers are on the plane.

As I get to the now empty gate my phone rings. "Andy, it's Steve. I've found it! I'm on my way to you now"

Amazing. Unfortunately the gate staff are having none of it. "You must board the plane now sir. It will not wait."

"You don't understand" I plead. "This is an emergency situation and I am waiting for a delivery"
As they shake their heads and threaten to boot me off the flight, Steve arrives like the cavalry waving my tablet triumphantly.

What a guy.

My eternal thanks go out to this gentleman who without doubt saved my day. Sussex Police, you are some team and I thanks you from the bottom of my heart!


 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Low cost airlines to no longer surcharge credit cards?



With the news today that interchange fees are to be capped should be good news for consumers. Interchange fees are charges that retailers pay via their bank to the credit card company when their customers use a credit card to pay for goods, Up to now this has been unregulated and an almost dark secret to most of us, but thanks to a new EU ruling all fees are to be capped at 0.2% for debit cards and 0.3% for credit cards from December 9th 2015.
The British Retail Consortium estimates this new ruling could save British businesses nearly £500M.
So far so good then.
Retailers will save money from unfair charges.
So here's the thing. Does this mean our two main low cost airlines Ryan Air and easyJet will now no longer charge us a fee for using credit cards to book our flights?
If, as we are led to believe, the new shiny mark 2 passenger friendly Ryan Air is always going to put its passengers first, or easyJet is looking to further improve its rapidly growing brand,  then we should look forward to being able to use our credit cards for flights without incurring any surcharges.
Now I am sure we will no doubt hear that historically there have been no surcharges for using a debit card or some other obscure pre-paid card, or that there are many other hidden costs in processing credit card bookings, but now in all honesty, there are no excuses for penalising customers who want to use a credit card to buy a low cost flight.
As the Treasury points out in its consultation document "the government is clear that merchants are expected to pass these savings on to consumers in the form of lower prices."  So will this indeed happen? My guess is as good as yours, but we live in hope.