web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Odd diversion

Passengers on a recent Air Canada flight to London had an odd diversion to Shannon. The flight was diverted not for any of the usual reasons of weather, seriously ill passenger, or security paranoia. Rather the co-pilot apparently suffered a breakdown in-flight, according to Irish newspaper the Independent. I've travelled a lot but have never heard of or experienced anything similar.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Do you know where you are going?

The title may seem like a silly question, but I came across a post on Tripstar recently that reminded me yet again of the need to be cautious and double check that you actually know where you are going.

"You see we were off to the city of NurNburg in the south of Germany. The town of Nurburg ..."

Place name confusion can happen anywhere and is something all travellers need to be vigilant about especially when travelling in a part of the world that uses a different language. Many, many names sound similar or spell similar (some places even have multiple but similar spellings to confuse even further).

Some readers may recall news stories of people flying to Sydney Australia and ending up at Sydney Canada or Sidney USA instead. Then there's Oakland and Auckland (pronounciation can be rather similar), and Havelock and Havelock North.

Another common mistake is where cities are served by more than one airport - imagine turning up at Tokyo Narita an hour before departure only to find your flight leaves from Tokyo Haneda, for example.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Report on Virgin America ... rescheduled

I'd hoped by now to give a personal report on flying Virgin America. Unfortunately I had the bad luck to schedule a trip the same day the worst storm in decades hit San Francisco, and so I didn't end up flying.

Source: SFGate

I can report on the ground experience at Los Angeles. Check in was good and very easy. Once airside, the lack of departure monitors and incorrect information showing on the gate screens was annoying. With every flight this day impacted by the bad weather it was hard to get any information - even though I was in first class on a cancelled flight (and then another cancelled flight). Still, they promised to refund my fare instead of forcing me to hold it in credit. The refund hasn't come through yet, but it rarely is quick with any airline so this isn't unusual.

London Heathrow T5 terminal

It is now just a few months until the planned opening of British Airways' new T5 terminal at London Heathrow (LHR).

In the past month I've gotten a couple of invites for a sneak peek. Unfortunately both were for set dates when I was unable to be in London. In the meantime BA have a special website with some information and pics.

There are rumours of industrial action to coincide with the terminal opening. Let's hope that does not eventuate.
Nonetheless I planned some trips to UK to avoid that same week - just in case the airport is more chaotic than normal.
For everyone flying to/from/through London Heathrow be sure to check which terminal your flight uses. Not only will British Airways flights be shifting terminals (not just to T5 but some also to T3), but so will many other airlines' flights over the next year or so.