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Quest's blog: On the road

By CNN's Richard Quest


Biz Traveller
Richard Quest

(CNN) -- Posted: April 25, 2006
Forum: read comments

I have been on the road now for the past two weeks. From LHR to PVG (Shanghai) to SYD to AKL to LAX to HSV (Huntsville, Alabama.)

I am now heading back to LAX and tomorrow I go home. Road warriors will recognize that there is nothing unusual about this sort of lifestyle; where we can quote airport codes better than we know our own family's birthdays.

Over the next few months this is going to be a blog of my travels and the trials and tribulations that go with it. About every week I will update it. I ask you to contribute your feedback -- your own stories, your own comments and your own thoughts. What did I do right and what did I do wrong? And hopefully over the next few months we can, together, share our misery on the road. You can e-mail me, and yes, I will read all the emails ...

My gripe today is thoughtless passengers behind me that heave themselves out of their chair grabbing on to the back of mine! What is up with these people? Don't they realize when they do it, they effectively give me a roller coaster ride? I know some airlines (I think it's Virgin) actually have somewhere in the in-flight mag a warning about doing this.

I was snoozing wonderfully listening to my iPod -- I think it was Pet Shop Boys -- when the person behind decided to go to the bathroom. Heave ho, up they lifted and in doing so woke me and the guy in the seat next to me. And then, yup, you guessed it the same when they went to sit down. Why can't they use their own chair? It's even worse in economy (yes, I was in First Class. I paid a US Airways FirstUp at the gate $40 per 500 miles alright alright alright, your sympathy is evaporating.)

Talking of that, it really is a risk waiting to see if a paid-gate upgrade is available. Both J and Y class were heaving at the doors (the new U.S. Airways must be making some money on these routes at least ... )

Anyway ... next time you have to get out of your seat -- spare a thought for the traveler in front! Unless of course you want to annoy them because they've reclined into your dinner! That's another story.

NZ2 to London tomorrow -- looking forward to trying out the NZ version of the VS bed. Will report back ...

Lessons learnt

Memo to Quest: You are never too experienced to make a silly mistake...

I am on the last leg of this RTW ticket (a Great Escapade ticket that allows me to use VS/SQ/NZ). It's a paper ticket with coupons.

BINGO -- check in for the NZ2 at LAX and realize that somewhere up route the WRONG coupon has been pulled and I don't have a coupon for the last leg from LAX-LHR. Catastrophe!

NZ required me to go back to VS as the original issuing carrier to revalidate. Thankfully, VS is at the next check-in desk, not another terminal, but VS wanted to know where the lost coupon was before they'd issue a FIM (Flight Interrupt Manifest.) I had no idea what had happened to it or when it was mispulled. Round and round in circles.

I imagined the worst-case scenario where I'd have to buy a rev ticket -- grim!

I didn't get angry. I didn't pout. I sort of looked like I was about to burst into tears (not far from the truth -- I am pretty tired from all this travel.)

Finally they did agree to check me in and said they'd sort it out later.

Moral of the tale? No matter how many miles we fly, or how much elite status we have, there's always the chance to fall at the final hurdle. I am getting so used to traveling on e-tkts that I have forgotten the disaster that befalls you when you lose a paper ticket or coupon (how many of us have had to buy new tickets and then go through the rigmarole of claiming a refund.)

Memo to Quest: Check -- check and check again. You are never too experienced to make a silly mistake.

Forum: your comments

From: Sai Thallam
Posted: May 1, 2006
Comment: Richard, Thanks for posting your favorite travel web sites. Here is one of mine: It's a travel Web site for women! Regarding frequent flyer miles, I can never seem to keep track of which airline is partnered with with whom. So, for the three airlines (that I have mileage accounts). I have a post-it note on the back of the airline cards with a list of their partner airlines. That way, I know into which account I need to dump those miles. To Mr. Jeff Simon who stated "Those jobs (jobs with travel) are for desperate losers." I will not stoop to his level but would like him to know that I have been to some of the most beautiful parts of the world, seen amazing capitals and discovered the very things that make us all human. It's too bad that Mr. Simon will not experience any of this!

From: Brenda Zirlin, Israel
Posted: April 30, 2006
Comment: I agree totally with what you said about the seat back-grabbing slobs who always seem to be sitting behind me in all flights. I think there should be signs on the back of the seats, maybe that would help. But yes it is most annoying and people should be more thoughtful when traveling, as just being in a plane is a pain -- in coach anyway!
P.S. By the way, the picture of you shows that you are much too thin and I think you could do with a course of chicken soup!!!!

Forum: Elizabeth Grasse, France
April 26, 2006
Comment: Did you have to go and give me nightmares about paper tickets? I'm traveling on paper tickets next week for the first time in years, and have already been compulsively checking every day for weeks that yes, I still know where they are!
I'm amazed that anyone could use the back of your seat in first class to get themselves out of their seat; isn't the pitch a bit too big for that up there in the front of the bus?
My biggest gripe: the people who are amazed to find that row 6 follows row 5, and 7 follows 6, and their seats in row 25 are yes indeedy at the *back* of the plane. It's almost as though they expect row numbers to be randomly distributed.

From: Jeff Simon
April 26, 2006
Comment: I don't travel for work...I won't take a job that requires it. Those jobs are for desperate losers.

From: Mark Maisel
April 26, 2006
Comment: The problem I've had that has caused me to grab the seat in front of me when trying to rise is caused by insufficient leverage to otherwise raise myself from the seat. I'm a big guy with a long torso and relatively short legs, though they are long enough that my knees press into the back of the seat in front of me. I must wedge myself into an airline seat. I am referring to standard passenger seating, not business or first class. I've tried these allegedly more luxurious seats and not found them worthwhile. At one time, I was extremely obese and that made matters much worse. I'm fairly lean now but the problem of leverage remains. Despite this, it is no excuse for one choosing to wrench on a fellow passenger's seat without taking care to avoid disturbing them. Even in my heaviest days, I did my best to make my movements slow, steady, smooth and as least disruptive as possible.

From: Tom Hayes, Japan
April 26, 2006
Comment: I hope you'll look into what I call the Second Row Bump, or Syndrome on Business Traveller. This is when you are sitting in the second row of a section, either the second row from the back or the front. During the flight other flight attendants and passengers trying to navigate the aisle will carefully manage to avoid making contact with the shoulders or seat backs of the people in the front/back row, and then careen into those in the second row. I learned about this the hard way, on a Northwest flight from Detroit to Narita years ago. I was sitting in the aisle seat in the row behind an exit row and I kept getting pummeled on my left shoulder and the back of my head. At one point an attendant came by to tell me she sympathized with my seat placement and told me I was doing a good job holding up!

From: Ryan Confer, New York
April 26, 2006
Comment: What were you doing in Huntsville? Going to Space Camp? LAX, AKL, SYD, etc I can see, but HSV?

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