Absurdity

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Airlines and transparent pricing

Saw Ryanair just got slapped down for complaining about a Euro train ad. Cheeky buggers they have some of the least transparent pricing imaginable. Not very Anko at all. But seriously, kind of ok for me as I know it will be that outrageous but for people who don’t travel all the time and who may believe the 9.99 headlines prices not so funny.

Airline ticket

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Filed under: Absurdity, Airports

Heathrow – not fit for purpose

Yeah kinda knew that as someone on the receiving end of the shambolic nightmare known as Heathrow but what is being done about it ?

Anyway, this article on front of Independent today just reiterates what anyone who travels already knows.

Filed under: Airports

A long ass day

Whenever I get asked why we have so many publishers from just about every size; market sector and geographical location. I pretty much always answer ‘because we go’. And by that I mean that unlike our competitors we will speak to anyone and go anywhere. We don’t change our tone or our approach based on someone’s turnover. As far as we are concerned there is always something to be learned (regardless or not whether a publisher picks us to go with) from speaking to publishers which will better inform both our product and the service we give.

Anyway, what this does mean is sometimes some long tiring days which to be blunt I am probably a little bit too old for if truth be told.

One such day was the Friday just gone when had to get up early to catch the 7.15 am bus from Dingle to Tralee. The bus will be home for the next five hours or so!
Dingle harbour

Dingle bus stop

Then from Tralee bus station I have to catch the bus to Cork.

Tralee bus station

Cork bus

From Cork bus station I then get a cab to Douglas Village in Cork to go and see Mercier Press which is above and behind the Paddy Powers.

Mercier Press

I then grab some lunch in the bar a couple of doors down.

Lunch Douglas Village

I then get a cab to the airport to check in for my flight back to London.

Cork check in

As I have some time to kill before my flight I decamp to the airport bar to grab some wine and to get extorted by BTOpenworld so I can catch up on my email and generally catch up.

Cork airport bar

Arrive at Stanstead at 11.50 pm and pass through security.

Stanstead border

Making it to my hotel around midnight.

Radisson Stanstead

Filed under: Airports, Hotels, Publishing

Sadly all too common airline crap

Great video on youtube from a guy detailing 7 hours stuck on the tarmac at JFK waiting to take off for Dallas. All big corporates (not just airlines) must hate the ease with which you can now record/document in real time your experiences and shove them up for the world to see.

On the whole I have been very lucky with airport/airline experiences – no real disasters just a lot of aggravations. But, there was one time when I was stuck on the tarmac at Washington Dulles on my way to Miami when they rolled us off from the gate and then just held us on the tarmac for a couple of hours. The reason was because of thunder and the edge of a hurricane coming up from the south – presumably something they well knew about way before we set foot on the plane – anyway there was some problem that meant they had to switch off the air conditioning and although it was spanking down with rain the humidity was just incredible. Not great with screaming kids and a packed plane.

Later, I learnt it was something to do with their take off stats that they have to push off from the gates. But the thing that got to us was the same as the guy in this video – simply the degree to which the airline was prepared to so obviously bullshit us. Nobody likes to be treated like an idiot especially when they are paying for the privilege.

Anyway, this guy was far more patient than I would have been. Especially, like the bit where they say the captain is the terminal when he was clearly still in Newark. Oh, and its alright for the crew to leave the plane but fuck the passengers stuck with no food etc for 7 hours. And, I don’t even want to know what the bathrooms were like on a static plane full of kids after 7 hours.

Filed under: Absurdity, Airports, Daily Life

Incompetence of airports (and Heathrow especially)

Just read this article in USA Today about how much stress is caused to people who simply need to change planes at Heathrow. It is a common complaint that you hear all the time. It beggars belief the sheer incompetence you see at Heathrow. And the excuses they come out with are just incredible. They have had literally years to get this sorted and yet still you go through and sometimes half the machines are not even in use. Any new requirement causes chaos as their system breaks every single time.

And the bloody attitude you get from the staff! I can’t begin to tell you some of the stuff that has been said to me. They seem to have the idea that they are doing you some kind of massive favour instead of having the faintest idea that you are in fact a customer who is paying through the nose for the shambles.

Maybe, they will come to understand that we do have a choice as more and more of the people I speak to say they make a conscious decision to change in Amsterdam; Frankfurt or Paris. If Heathrow can’t sort itself out and treat those who have to use its services with some kind of understanding and respect then all that transit business; all the money spent in the shops and bars; all those hotel bills for layovers will move elsewhere – permanently.

Personally, the most shambolic example I have come across in the UK is Luton airport. Partly, I think because you have a lot of people using it who don’t travel regularly and don’t understand how it works these days so they never leave enough time. So, the queue for the gates etc is always full of people who have to push in in order to catch their plane. The queues at peak times to go through security are just a nightmare and to add salt into the wound there are always many of the x-ray machines just laying idle.

Anyway, none of this is to say that it is only the UK airports that are having problems. It is just they are especially bad and bloody rude with it! And, I wonder about the need for some of the security. If I have passed security in one airport why do I have to go through passport control again whilst still in transit. I can’t go anywhere in the meantime? Few days ago, en route to the US I had to go through full security to get to the gate at Stockholm airport. I then land in Amsterdam and to get to my gate for my Minneapolis flight I then have to go through passport control again. This was chaos with lots of people screaming they were going to miss their flight. You get some idea of the chaos in the shot below. This is all with only 50 minutes to change  planes and the gates being at almost opposite ends of the airport.

Passport control

Then when I eventually get to the gate. You have to present your passport; itinerary and boarding card and queue to be interviewed by representatives of US homeland security about what you’re doing/why you’re going/what you have in your bag etc etc.

All this crap that is part of air travel in 2007 must be having such an effect on business. I know people who now will only travel to some places when they absolutely have no choice. And, just simply on a straight time basis it has got really out of hand as you have to get to the airports earlier and earlier just to be sure you will get on your plane. You then spend large portions of your time simply queuing  instead of working. The collective cost of all this must be horrendous. Surely, there must be a better way?

Filed under: Absurdity, Airports

Must be doing something right

If you can get people to buy devices for a couple hundred dollars or so from a vending machine on an airport concourse …

ipod machine

Filed under: Airports, Apple, Technology

University presses

At last got to Minneapolis for the AAUP AGM and the database panel later today. After nightmare 4am check in at Arlanda.

Arlanda 4am

I’m here until I go to New York on Sunday so, if you want to meet and review the Anko Publishing Manager in person then just drop me a line. I am pretty booked already but have a couple of slots at the extremes of the day tomorrow.

Ramada view

Filed under: Airports, Hotels, Onix, Publishing, Technology

Airports and bars

Some people are just bar people. Was passing time with friend of mine in New York (who coincidentally hang out in bars with from time to time) and he mentioned that he was thinking about books of images of bars. I like airport bars for much the same reason I like airports generally. So here are a few at random.

Airports bars no matter where you are have pretty much the same people, menus and furniture with the same tv stations.

This is a collection in no order were taken in: Luton (London sort of); Detroit; Stockholm; Edinburgh; Philadelphia.

Bar One

Bar Two

Bar Three

Bar Four

Bar Five

Filed under: Airports

Not knowing where you are and airports

Something that (as previously mentioned endlessly) I have a great fascination with is the anonymity and uniformity of places such as airports and hotels.

It’s more than the idea that you could be plonked down in any largish airport anywhere in the world and be both confused and reassured (if you are used to traveling a little) about where you were and more than the suggestion that they simply buy their furniture from the same place.

Anyway, many thanks to Gary Bowerman who sent me half of the images below. If it wasn’t for the lettering on the signs would you really know if you were in the east or the west?

The airports in no particular order: Amsterdam; Chengdu; Kumming; Detroit; Pudong; Shannon.

Airport One

Airport Two

Airport Three

Airport Four

Airport Five

Airport Six

Filed under: Airports

Airports (yet again)

Just find them endlessly fascinating. Different places/people and cultures but somehow all the same. These (in no order) Akron Canton (USA); Arlanda (Stockholm, Sweden); Heathrow (UK); Detroit (USA); Frankfurt Hahn (Germany); Waterford (Ireland):

DetroitHeathrow

Akron CantonWaterford

ArlandaHahn

Filed under: Airports

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