Friday, 22 October 2010

2010 - Some more travel observations

I'm not travelling as much as I used to - but still too often - and I thought it was time for an update on my thoughts as a business traveller :-

1) It's certainly clear that economy class on flights is gradually getting worse - with less seating space, less catering and lower standards of staff

2) The frequent flyer schemes are getting tighter and with less benefits -hey @British_Airways just how many economy class (delayed / often late) flights in Europe do I have to make in a year to get anything above 'blue' frequent flyer status???

3) The standards of business lounges - even within the same airline - vary so much it's ridiculous. Take for example @British_Airways business lounges at LHR T5, Chavwick & Tampa.
  • Heathrow T5 - full drinks selection, hot & cold meals, bacon butties, internet access, plenty of space
  • Tampa - there are drinks and sandwiches, and somewhere quiet to sit with power for laptops
  • Chavwick - there were cold snacks, cold drinks, an internet cafe and a dozen different alcoholic spirits (clearly a place where sadly alcohol is in more demand than bacon butties)
4) It's disappointing that a lot of long-haul Airlines have been so slow to add USB power points to seats - @Lufthansa_DE clearly have the lead here... Obviously it would also be good for the airline lounges to have similar power & USB charging points

5) Heathrow T5 has slowly improved with a lot of it's initial wrinkles now ironed out. But whilst the process & systems are getting a bit better there are still some material issues :-
  • IRIS reliability - appears to be broken more often than working, perhaps a 3rd machine would help?
  • Staff quality, engagement and care is still greatly missing
  • The other Heathrow terminals don't seem to have improved at all (other than counting destroying parts of them as a well needed improvement)
  • It continues to amaze me that BA staff buses operate at about 3 times the frequency of the buses for the business parking area
6) There are still some airlines that use a proprietary headphone connector - why? why? why? Oh and why put any type of headphone connector exactly where a person's leg goes - it's going to hurt their leg, break the connector or both...

7) Just how much easier flying was when only one bag was allowed on-board the plane, with no roll-on cases etc - really should make the rule one small item of hand-luggage and be done with it...

8) How very few hotels understand the need to provide :-
  • Mains power points near the bedside table - to charge phones that are also used as alarm clocks
  • Mains power points near to desk / table in the room - to charge laptops whilst they're used
  • A clock in the bathroom
  • A clock built into the TV (yes I'm always running late)
  • A free bottle of water - water should not be a profit source!
  • WiFi connectivity that's either free or reasonably priced (ie $2 a day)
  • If we're on a wish list, a few USB charge points would be good as well!
9) With regards to in-flight entertainment systems :-
  • It is rather surprising to see such small & poor selections of music given how little storage & bandwidth it consumes
  • Given such a controlled environment and simple IT setup & requirements, I'm staggered as to how often the system fails and/or needs to be rebooted
So what do I regard as travel essentials nowadays :-
But I can safely say that the most off-putting thing that can happen to a traveller is to have a member of an airline's staff greet you happily by name as you wander mooching around a foreign airport's shops waiting for check-in to open - this happened to me not so long ago one Friday evening 2hrs before check-in opened, and a) totally freaked me out, and b) made me realise I clearly travel too often...

1 comment:

  1. Someone who sees the world like I do, lets do lunch :) Seriously, USB, headphone sockets, plug sockets near beds, this is all so _obvious_ !!