Posts Tagged With: flying

Water :Photo Challenge

I have been invited to join another photo challenge by my fellow bloggers Bastet. Check them out here to find more about their photo challenges. They have set a theme WATER for this week. Water can take many forms and here is my example… a photo taken on my recent trip from China. This year I connected through Vancouver, Canada and flew over the Rocky Mountains. Somewhere between Alberta and British Columbia I saw many forms of water… clouds, rivers, snow and ice. Here is my take on ‘forms of water’ from above.

Rocky Mountains - a view from above

Rocky Mountains – a view from above


Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, post a week, travel, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Travel Etiquette

I just returned to Shanghai with a 14+ hour flight and before we left the ground I almost blew a gasket! It had to be the worst flight ever. Travelling on a small piece of metal hurtling through space which is already cramped and crowded you need to think about fellow passengers and not to mention customer service.

I have learned travelling with Chinese is just like trying to get on the subway metro. It becomes survival of the fittest. Push, shove and why wait for others to get off before getting on? If you are polite and orderly then you will miss the train. Before the attendants are even at the gate they line up waiting to get on the plane. Umm has anyone told them the little piece of paper called the boarding pass is guaranteeing them a seat and place on the plane? I don’t understand the logic of lining up when seats are called by row to help ease the flow of boarding. I have started to do the same now only because if you wait for your seat chances are there is no room for your carryon luggage. A few times it has to be stored 5-10 rows away from where I am sitting which is fine until you try to retrieve it. Soon as the plane stops moving they are up out of their seats pushing to get off the plane. What is the hurry? You can’t go anywhere until the doors are open! So basically I end up waiting until the flight is almost empty to get my things. Patience is not in their vocabulary 😉


This flight I was caught a little off guard and they started to board soon as the attendants arrived. I was also leaving from Toronto and last flight in January anyone who tried to board ahead of their called rows was turned away, so I didn’t feel the urgency to get on just yet. Lesson learned; never assume things will be like last time! I thought we were on a larger plane with over 60 rows of seating, so I got in line when they called my row in the 40s. Once on the plane I realised I was sitting at the back and ¾ of the plane was already on board! While still waiting in line the last rows were called and the remaining passengers tried to push and cut into line ahead of the other passengers who were already waiting. Common courtesy is just not observed.

As I tried to fight my way upstream to my seat, through the many people blocking the aisles who seat rows had not yet been called, the people behind me were close enough I could feel them breathing down my neck. As I stopped and waited patiently for the blockers to rummage through their carry on the people behind me began to push. Really where do you want me to go? Should I trample the other passengers? After about the third time I said out loud ‘Really? You need to push me? People are in the way’. The people behind me backed off ever so slightly.

overhead bin cartoonI got to my seat to see all the overhead compartments stuffed full. No one put anything under their seats and large carryons (most people had 2 plus a large bag of duty free). Obviously the carry on luggage rule was not carefully monitored. I asked the flight attendant to help me find space and she said go back and look closer to the front of the plane. I said ‘No I don’t think I need to put my luggage near the front when there should be space here. I boarded when I was suppose to and all the others came on early and took up all the space. That isn’t right.’ She just walked away. Great customer service… thanks for your help. Did she come back later to see if I found space? No of course not.

Thank you to the kind gentleman who tried to help me squeeze my bags into an overhead bin, but there was just no room. He also had an unfortunate situation where his wife and small baby were near the front of the plane and he was near the back. The flight attendants said there was nothing they could do since the flight was pretty well full. I doubt they asked anyone to move. I am sure if someone knew the situation they would have helped. I also had asked for an aisle seat hoping they could do something at check in. After explaining I was travelling alone, needed to get up and move around and needed close access to a bathroom I was told I had a window and that was a good seat. Again thanks for your understanding and good customer service.

Now just add a small wheelie bag and purse to the picture and you will have my view.

Now just add a small wheelie bag and purse to the picture and you will have my view.

With no other option and I wasn’t about to try to swim back downstream I shoved my small wheelie bag under the seat in front of me along with my purse. In an already small environment I now had no leg room. Good thing I am short and I am not claustrophobic because this would have put me over the edge. My seatmates came along and luckily didn’t have large bags. They settled in and it started to snow, so the long flight was about to get longer as we had to go to de-icing. Luckily it was a light snow and hadn’t had time to accumulate so the icing process only took a few minutes.

Soon as we were in the air the fellow in front of me reclined his seat and immediately started to snore. Could this get any worse? As it would have it yes. I had difficulty sleeping due to my cramped positions and my body just ached and was all tingly from pins and needles. My body was finally tired enough to sleep through the pain. Not long after I got some sleep my snoring friend kept opening the window to see outside even though the night lights were on. The blinding light woke me up from the 2 hours of sleep I managed to get. He had to have opened the blinds at least 3 times. Hey buddy yes it is still sunny… just like it was 15 minutes ago. I guess he already slept 7 or 8 hours and didn’t notice the other sleeping passengers around him.

This is how I felt only more confined being at the window and having my carryon underfoot.

This is how I felt only more confined being at the window and having my carryon underfoot.

In my already cramped position I noticed my middle seat mate had the legs propped up on my luggage which as you recall was under my seat. She had lots of space on her side, but I guess thought I needed less. At the end of the flight an announcement was made to stay in your seat if you needed assistance and a flight attendant would happily help you. Well sitting at the back of the plane I couldn’t get out and I had to wait for my seat mates to leave so I could pry my things from under the seat. Did any attendants come to see if I needed assistance? No of course not. They were all too busy gathering their things and leaving the plane. I left BEHIND some of the flight crew. I guess the announcement is not put into practice, but sounds like good customer service. I have done a lot of travelling in my life and this had to have been the worst flight with common courtesy and customer service I have ever had. Maybe if I put it out there in the universe people will stop and think about travel etiquette… Here are a few things for travellers to think about.

1. Carryon luggage – if you have more than 1 bag stow one under your seat so others have room for their things.
2. Think about packing light and not carrying all your belongings on the flight with you.
3. If you want people to fly your airline again acknowledge them and be kind, don’t ignore them and walk away. Maybe they wouldn’t be so grumpy with you if you treated them like a valued customer and wanted their repeat service.
4. Wait for your seat row to be called before lining up to get on the plane and the airlines should reinforce this.
5. Personal space… in an already cramped environment need I say more?

Now this may not be the worst travel horror story, but having back trouble and requiring to move every 2 hours or less, leaving my husband in Canada (and hopefully seeing him before July) and dealing with family illness back home I was sensitive and emotional as it was. All the small things built up and made the trip back here alone difficult. (And I didn’t even get into the taxi situation once I arrived in Shanghai…).

All images from Google Images.

What is your worst travel story? Or what can you add to the travel etiquette list?

Categories: Chinese Adventures, post a week, social graces, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Joys of Travel

Oh the joys of travel. For someone who loves to travel the thought of packing and exploring a new destination is exhilarating. Planning, research and preparing is not a chore, but a pleasure. Coming home for the summer,  getting some much needed and deserved rest, as well as seeing everyone  just made the idea sweeter.

I am a careful planner and very organised. I plan out wardrobes and items weeks in advance. I then ‘pre-pack’ and see how much I have then reduce the amount based on need. My husband finds this quirky, but I over packed once and never again. My friends teased and never let me live it down. It was my first vacation without parents and I had never done the backpack thing, so it was an easy oversight. Additionally, my parents had lost luggage for days, almost their entire vacation, so I prepare for all these things. This year I even splurged and bought an iPad to streamline my carry on and make the 5 hour layover a chance to Skype and catch up on emails. With each piece I packed and got ready the more my excitement grew as the date of departure was in sight and now how many sleeps, not weeks!

Packed and Ready to Go!

All packed and ready to go my colleague drove me to the airport. I was there the 3 hours early and already the que was long. I didn’t get my choice seat, but at least leg 1 was a window, so I figured I could get some sleep since it was a very late night departure. Once in Dubai I could change my middle seat for something else, maybe, the attendant said. All checked in I went off to security. I went through the gates only to be pushed, shoved and had my personal space violated. OK people we are just filling out a departure card here, not a chance to win a lottery or a prize for who finishes first. I breezed through security and went off in search of the gate. I arrived and no one was there. Good all those pushy people must be on another flight. Getting closer I see the time is correct, but destination and airline is different from the one I was flying. It hasn’t been that long since I checked in, but I guess they made a gate change. I went to the big departure board and found the new gate and checked out all the duty-free shops. It is always fun to wander. By now boarding time was getting near and I returned to the gate. It always makes me giggle since the Chinese start to que up for the plane long before boarding opens. They don’t wait for their seat row to be announced. I wonder why. It is not the metro, you have a seat and chances are the plane won’t leave without you, especially if you are in the boarding area. I waited for the que to die down before getting on the plane. Now I understand the rush… there is NO space for my carry on. I had to get help to cram in about 10 rows back. This would be fun to get off the plane since before we get to the gate the Chinese also will be standing and ready to leave. Is it impatience or excitement?

All buckled in I realise I have a child behind me pushing on my seat. A few others are also on board and already crying. Not a good sign. Trying to sleep was not easy between the flight attendant waking me, turbulence, someone snoring and children crying. I arrive in Dubai on about 1 hour sleep and my excitement has now waned to crankiness and lack of patience. Trying to get my carry on I gave up half way back and asked a kind man to pass it to me. Returning to my seat to get my purse was just as difficult. People the plane doors haven’t even opened yet! Off the plane a mad rush for security and transfers meant you needed to keep up with the flow. I quickly got involved in the chaos of the transfer desk that was overwhelmed with people and very few staff. An employee told me my request was fruitless and I should just leave and try to return at 9AM to get a seat change. Being over tired I could not process this quickly so decided to stay. Luckily I did since once I went through security I would not have been able to return and the time he gave me was ridiculous since my plane would be already boarding.

Waiting is not people’s strong point. Maybe it is the jet lag, or culture but people want help now and were jumping in line. After waiting a half hour I decided not to honour the magic ‘do not cross line’ and inserted myself in someone’s personal space to get served next. My task took 5 minutes tops and the few people who got in front of me took 10-20 minutes. OK enough being nice. My turn was up next finally and this man was trying to edge his way in front of me and I told him to get back in line that I had been waiting over a half hour and NO ONE was going to just walk up and be next. He pretended he didn’t understand, but he finally got the message and went to another line. Geesh us Canadians are not usually so forward, nor I, but I was polite and had enough at that point. Seat changed off I went to the other side. One leg down and one to go.

Trying to find a seat in the terminal was near impossible. Dubai International was extremely busy and walking was not an easy task with people walking a different speeds or suddenly stopping in front of you for no apparent reason. My first stop was coffee. I was afraid I would miss my flight with so little sleep. I pulled out the iPad and thought this was a good spot to pass the time. Unfortunately the internet was not working. ARG! Finishing my coffee I wandered off and asked information for help. With a shrug he said “it should work”. Insert sarcasm here…Finally after many tries I got it to work about an hour or so before I had to board again. A quick Skype and a few emails I boarded and was heading for home.

By this time I was exhausted and tried to sleep in an aisle seat, that for what ever reason did not recline, and where people kept brushing up against me as they went past. One small child I swear was at the washroom every 10 minutes and would run back and forth. Top that off with screaming children who tag teamed each other for a turn at crying and screaming bloody murder at times. 13 hours of this… OK I can do it…. destination is in sight. It was all worth it when I saw the sun, big puffy clouds and blue sky. The sun was SO bright, something that is a dull disk in Shanghai as it tries to cut through the smog and humidity. With so little sleep I got emotional as the captain told us we were about to start our approach.

Quickly I exited the plane and breezed through security. I located the baggage carousel and vied for position to get the

Where did my luggage go? What do you mean that is all?

best view. My excitement would rise as I would see a bag that looked like mine only to be disappointed as it went past and did not have the same markings. We purposely bought different luggage, but seems like many on this flight had the same idea. Soon the crowd started to thin out and the same luggage started to circle. An announcement came up to say all luggage was now unloaded. Oh no… really? The few stragglers said to look off to the one side where employees were placing some luggage. With such a large flight they were removing some bags to allow for more. No luck. I checked 3 times to be sure. The dreaded announcement came again, the employees told me the same. I feared someone had in oversight taken my bag with all the gifts and majority of my clothes. I was now glad I packed those spares for just this circumstance. Off I went to the baggage counter and there was a large que. Luckily they found this unusual and had someone double-check and a ‘container’ just happened to be found…maybe the lost luggage? 2 hours after landing I finally had my bag. YEA! I was worried my husband, who was waiting on the other side, would be worried and I had no way of contacting him. He was there, waiting and wondering what the hold up was. I almost told him body search, but thought he would freak out, so I told him what happened. I guess after all that and little sleep I still had my sense of humour! I still love to travel, but  have never had so many events all in 1 trip. Guess I was over due for some and glad I have a few weeks before I have to do it all over again.

Oh the joys of travelling. Here I figure no excitement to write about, but adventure always seems to find me 😉 Glad to be home… so stay tuned for more.

What travel misadventures have you had?

Categories: post a week, travel | Tags: , , , ,