Friday, February 29, 2008


Tomorrow if all goes well I will have bought a bike, and liberated myself. I will be able to travel whenever I want, so long as those times coincide with when my bike is not stolen.
So far the best airline I have used is Malev Air. Hungaries national airline. Maybe its the same story all over Europe, but Malev air has hardly any people on it, so you get a whole row to yourself. And you can sleep.
A few observations about the evils of airtravel -

1. The culture of carry-on luggage
Airlines allow way too much, and they allow people to bring way too much, and it makes for unpleasant and slow boarding and disembarking. People are too afraid of losing their luggage and want to save time by never checking it. And for some reason you are allowed to bring bags roughly the size of a microwave oven. And in India some people literally try to move house taking just hand luggage, and the lengthy negotiations of what gets packed where takes a long time.

2. Online check in and seat allocation
I am the dream customer. I never get up during a flight to go to the toilet, I don't recline my seat, I prefer the window so I can just sit still, watch the inflight entertainment or read my book.
But somehow airlines think it is great service to allow people to pick the good seats online before the flight. But what are good seats? the good seats are the ones furthest from screaming infants, the good seats aren't behind Asian businessmen that wait a whole 2 seconds before reclining their seat into your teeth.
The best seat in the plane is the one behind me. I would kill to sit behind someone like me, quiet, respectful, stationary all the good qualities. No online seating wont be a plus until it merges with online dating.

3. Stopovers
A cheap alternative to hotels is to sleep in an airport lounge, some airports have reclined sofa like chairs, like heathrow. But others dont. And it seems universally everyone is renovating their airports, perpetually. So the time to fire up an angle grinder is in the middle of the night.
Heathrow had all these signs that said 'make an airport london can be proud of' plastered all over the construction areas. But in heathrow I couldn't even find a shower, and the friendly staff hearded all the in transit passangers into one of the coldest terminals for the night, instead of the heated central area.
And I reminisced back to the capsule hotels of Japan, now that I've seen the famous renaissance atmosphere of Hostels in Europe, I think again that capsules provide everything you need on a small scale. I think more airports should plug more capsule beds into a wall somewhere for overnighters. They are enclosed, and face it, its on the otherside of customs so you are talking about naturally the wealthiest people in the world. If securities a problem leave the pull down flap off and have them open, but at least you don't then have someone wake you up in the middle of the night asking you to move so they can change fluorescent lightbulbs.

No comments: