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An Outsider’s Perspective From The Inside

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Archive for the ‘Airlines’ Category

Arnie Pulls a Kim Jong Il

Posted by anandrr on September 2, 2009

Yet again a foreign state-head with a liking for Hollywood action movies has imprisoned a citizen of the free world on what the victim claims are made-up charges. We tried to send our ex-President to rescue the poor sod, but he was unreasonably frisked and detained at the airport and never made it off the ground. The bastards! They thought of everything. Perhaps we should send Shah Rukh (his name is Khan!) to distract the prison guards with his dancing while Mr Jon sashays away to freedom.


Posted in Airlines, Business, Films, Funny, Showbiz, wtf | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Beautiful Bangalore VII

Posted by anandrr on October 14, 2008

Bangalore International Airport at 2am. Listless much?

Bangalore International Airport at 2am. Listless much?

Posted in Airlines, Bertie Heads to the Photo Shop, Shutterbug | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mallya Foiling Me Yet Again

Posted by anandrr on October 5, 2008

Kingfisher announces that it will start flying to San Francisco direct from Bangalore on November 1st. Aaarrggh. Our next scheduled trip to the Bay Area begins 3 days before that. Damn you Mallya! Damn you to hell!

Posted in Airlines, Business, Travel | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

When the Revolution Comes, We’ll String Them up From the Lamp Posts (with recycled jute ropes of course)

Posted by anandrr on August 10, 2008

Only possible on the San Francisco – Boston red eye:

She: Can I have a pillow please?

Attendant: As you might have heard on the news,

She: I don’t watch the news, so probably not.

Attendant: Well, since last week, JetBlue is charging for pillows. It’s $7 for a pillow and a blanket, but you get to keep it.

She: Oh? Is it organic cotton?

Posted in Airlines, Business, Travel | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Real Duty Free at the Airport!

Posted by anandrr on July 29, 2008

Here we are at the swank Bangalore International Airport, and guess what, in place of the sorry excuse for Duty Free they used to have at the old one, the one where you were surprised anybody went in at all, the one that looked like your grandfather’s ration shop. In it’s place, swankness itself. With all the best liquor. And! And! Prices in Dollars! Only $56.60 for a bottle of Gold label. Obviously with the Blue Label if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. I suppose I can’t then. Even the can of nuts costs like $8. And now here we are at the Illy. The International section gets Illy. The domestics, just Barista. And we lucky duckies get to pay Rs 130/- for an Americano. Ripoff! Damn you capitalists! Damn you all to hell! Come the revolution, we shall have free coffee for everybody.

Posted in Airlines, Capitalism, Economics, Food, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This delay is due to the late arrival of incoming aircraft

Posted by anandrr on July 23, 2008

As I sit here at the Bangalore Airport, the Kingfisher guy is on the PA system telling us that our flight is delayed. He regrets the delay. And then says that this delay is due to the late arrival of the aircraft. I’ve been hearing this at every airport I’ve been to, pretty much every flight I’ve taken and it leaves me puzzled. As such, nobody particularly cares why their flight is delayed, the fact that it is delayed is probably annoyance enough. But more to the point, how is this a valid defense? A valid defense would be, “it’s raining cats and dogs at Mumbai, so we weren’t able to take off on time,” or “the pilot had to take a sudden unexpected detour to avoid Godzilla,” but “late arrival of the incoming aircraft?” Isn’t that the definition of the airline’s reason for being? Taking aircraft from Point A and getting it to Point B reliably on time?

I’m reminded of Seinfeld’s famous confrontation with the car rental agency.

Posted in Airlines, Business, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

New Terminal for the New Bangalore Airport

Posted by anandrr on June 17, 2008

Turns out that they discovered that the new airport needs another terminal for low cost airlines. They’re planning on building a new terminal building, it will take another 2 years. Of course let’s not mention that such a terminal building already exists. It’s called the HAL airport.

They also discovered that the toilets in the new place suck. Your crack reporting team at the Blandings Media Empire had the scoop a long time ago.

Posted in Airlines, Business, Travel | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

No Fat Chicks

Posted by anandrr on June 7, 2008

A court in India just allowed the Government airlines to ground “fat airhostesses.” No word on fat male flight attendants. I’m torn. Obviously the airline has to do whatever it has to do to stay competitive. On the other, what price the Government discriminating based on weight? What happens when they discover that people prefer air hostesses with a “fair complexion.” Or from one state or region? Or of one religion over another? The Government has no business getting on this slippery slope.

The solution is obvious: Privatise the damn airlines. Then consumers can truly choose. Personally, I never travel on Indian government airlines because their service is sloppy. Not to mention, the airhostesses are ugly.

Posted in Airlines, Business, Capitalism, Culture, Economics, Politics, Travel | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The New Bangalore International Airport

Posted by anandrr on June 2, 2008

First time at the fancy new Bangalore airport today. Got to admit, it is quite fancy. Easily the best airport I’ve been at in India. The bus service actually works. It was an ugly bus and rattly, but it was largely empty and Rs 80 to get to an airport 40 km away: great deal! Of course I completely overestimated how long it would take to get there at 5:30 am. Next time, I’ll sleep in a little more. The approach road was actually quite nice. 3-lane highway each way. Given what I’ve seen living on Airport Road, that should be plenty. Two dead dogs just on our side of the highway, apparently dogs love to cross the road to Hyderabad. One imagines that if they complete all the landscaping work that they seem to be doing these days the approach road will end up looking rather nice.

Inside, it’s lovely. It’s not large by any means, it is surprisingly smallish, I continue to be amazed at how much air traffic gets routed through tiny airports in India. There’s plenty of natural light coming in. Needless to say, the environmentalist in me is impressed. It’s all very ordered nothing like the bus stop atmosphere of the old airport. Plenty to eat and drink. And most impressive of all: Free WiFi! Weirdly you need to send an SMS and get an “Internet access password” that is valid for an hour before you can log on. The password is free, and you can go back for a new password when the old one expires. I’m thinking this SMS wrinkle exists only because the cops told BIAL that they wanted a log of every one who logs on and what they do, and what better way than to get the users’ telephone numbers via the SMS and associate those telephone numbers with IP addresses. Also, they only allow access to the web, so you have to use Meebo to do IM, forget about VPN access or my own favourite means of access: ssh! Plenty of security counters to get X-rayed at so there’s not an unholy queue as we used to have at the old airport in the mornings. And after you get into the waiting area, there are still plenty of eateries, coffee shops and other shopping opportunities. The other nice thing is that they don’t seem to have fallen into the trap that the guys who made the Hong Kong, Bangkok, Seoul (and I think Tokyo but I’m not sure) airports fell into, i.e. make an ugly airport. All of those airports have a uniformly ugly bulgy look at the gates, the Bangalore airport has more straight lines and looks more like Singapore.

Some things never change. My flight is already delayed, and God knows when it will actually leave. The announcements on the public address system continue to have the quality of being recited by people speaking through a beehive. I don’t get why they just don’t have specially picked announcers who do the announcements for all the airlines. Maintain some quality on the announcements. The toilets are abysmal. I went into a couple and walked straight out. I’d rather hold it all in and wait for the flight which is bound to have a better toilet. The toilets in the airport are about the quality of a street side toilet in India, down to the lack of toilet paper, and unfriendly janitor who tells you to stick it because you have the gall to demand that he replenish the toilet paper supplies. Also: no electric outlets in the waiting area. You drain your own juice if you want to work while you wait.

And midway through my typing this post, my wifi died. So much for that then.

Posted in Airlines, Business, Traffic | Tagged: , , , | 22 Comments »

Baggage Limits

Posted by anandrr on May 26, 2008

Curious incident on my flight back from SF to Bangalore. When I got to the airport and checked in, I was told that the baggage limits had changed from 32 kg free allowance per item to 23 kg free allowance. You could still check 2 bags in as always. If it’s more than that, she told me I’d have to pay. Now as it happened I did have a little more than that, and as it happened they also deemed my carry on heavier than allowed so there was some repacking required to make sure all my bags were under the wire (or close enough). Of course this got me thinking about why Singapore airlines would lower the baggage limits for checked baggage. The immediate response is to liken it to the domestic carriers in the US charging for any checked baggage let alone excess weight. But somehow that doesn’t pass muster. Surely international travel is a much higher margin business than domestic travel. There are after all no Southwests and JetBlues to contend with in international travel. In fact, it is not even clear that this move would get them much additional revenues. 50kg is still a lot of stuff, it’s unlikely that most people carry much more than 50kg. What’s more, while there might be an immediate revenue benefit by way of catching unknowing people in the act of transporting too much stuff across international borders, eventually the gig is up and travellers will just adjust and carry less stuff. Essentially what Singapore is forcing people to do is carry less stuff. But even that doesn’t pass muster. How many people used to max out at 64kg anyway? Indeed, it is probably true that most people don’t carry much more than 50kg. 50kg is after all a LOT of stuff. So what exactly was the point of the changed limit?

Posted in Airlines, Business, Incentives, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »