View Full Version : They are not all bad...

23rd Sep 2018, 19:16
As we get lots of threads complaining about US Immigration and TSA, I'd just like to say that my recent trip through Sandford, Orlando, was a delight.

The flight with TUI to and from LGW was pleasant and on arrival we had a short queue, a genuine welcome as we had our passports checked and were soon on our way.

Coming back yesterday, the check-in staff had a little laugh as our combined baggage crept just under the weight allowance. This was followed by an efficient trip through security, where everyone seemed to be helpful.

It might not have been at its busiest, but it does go to show that it doesn't have to be an ordeal, so some credit for a change.

Oh, and after landing at Gatwick, the aircraft was parked at the furthest end of the North Terminal, so we had a long walk, but by the time we got to the carousel, bags were coming. All together in our car and on our way within an hour.

A good trip.

Hotel Tango
23rd Sep 2018, 21:29
Ah yes, there are times when all the travel Gods are in a good mood and one wonders what all the fuss is about. But it usually doesn't take long to experience the dark side again! ;)

24th Sep 2018, 00:59
Ah, HT. We got just 2 hours and 13 minutes to enjoy the Sunday Feel Good Post Thanks Saintsman, I was pleased to read the news.

Hotel Tango
24th Sep 2018, 15:20
OK, here's a Monday feel good story. A few years ago I was travelling (albeit C Class) Brussels-Amsterdam-Newark with KLM. On arriving at BRU I noted that the BRU-AMS was cancelled due to weather at AMS. On reaching the check-in I was informed that I had been re-booked on the direct BRU-EWR operated by competitor Continental Airlines. Consequently I actually arrived in EWR earlier than I would have done with my original KLM schedule! Furthermore, 40 minutes after blocking on at the gate I was driving out of EWR in my rental car! That was a good travel day :)

24th Sep 2018, 18:01
But it usually doesn't take long to experience the dark side again! ;)
Arrived in Boston on a full 747 in the mid 1970s. On 4th July. How long did it take the single immigration officer on duty to process a 747-sized passenger queue? Four hours.

I Learned About Paxing From That.


25th Sep 2018, 15:29
Probably the best was on VS in the late 1980s. So this was early Upper Class and from LGW. But it was a sunny afternoon I was in the 'A' so lovely and warm. Before personal screens but, after lunch, they showed a lot of cartoons on the main screen before the movie, including Tom & Jerry and served small tubs of ice-cream (repeat orders were OK). On arrival it was quiet on a Sunday late afternoon and I had the limo to the World Trade Centre Vista Hotel.

Worst was SFO to HKG in 1994. I was in Y and despite early check in unable to get a window. I was in an aisle 'D' of the central block in a 743. The 'service' from United was terrible at every turn, check-in and onboard. As we were going to HKG, naturally many Cantonese aboard and the food smell was not for me at all. Worse, the person in front of me, was talking across the aisle to his pal in the 'C' at loud volume throughout the 10 hours with hardly a rest. Kai Tak was, as it was in those days and rammed to hilt. When I got to the hotel inthe late evening ... getting up for work the next morning was terrible.

I'll try and remember some more good ones to cheer up S.o.S.

25th Sep 2018, 21:32
Hhmm, well I appreciate the effort PAXboy but one would expect to have a good trip if going Upper Class and by limo! So I think that story falls short of the rules. [The rules that I have just made up on the spot and have not yet promulgated] [So no penalty points for you :} ]

Let's look for stories of unexpectedly good times whilst travelling in Y. It doesn't have to be the best trip overall but something that happened, perhaps a fellow pax or crew member or the check-in agent that made the trip a good one and memorable. :)

Hotel Tango
25th Sep 2018, 21:50
Let's look for stories of unexpectedly good times whilst travelling in Y

No problem, I've got plenty of those but they all took place in the 50's, 60's and 70s. :O From then on it slowly went downhill. That SOS is the main reason why I now fork out for C class on long haul. ;) Of course, it's not just the airline experience but the airports too.

longer ron
25th Sep 2018, 22:57
I always check out the various class prices when booking long haul but always decide in the end that the difference I will pay to upgrade to a nicer class will usually pay for much of my planned holiday/vacation - at which point I book Cattle class and put up with whatever 'atmosphere' my fellow pax give us for the 7/9/11 Hr trip.Sometimes it is quiet and peaceful and sometimes it is noisy (surely peeps who clearly do not understand the concept of different 'Time Zones' and the need for some shut eye LOL)
Our latest trip was LGW - Denver and they were a noisy lot on the return leg,our drive up to friends in N Wales was fun after very little sleep onboard :rolleyes:
However I must say that over the last 5 years most of the USA Immigration officers I have met have been polite and sometimes with a great sense of humour.
The worst one I met recently was when we walked over the Rainbow Bridge from N Falls to Canada - we asked a simple question on the way out of the USA and the Immigration Officer we spoke to was extremely rude/sarcastic/nasty - we just smiled and carried on walking LOL
On our return a few hours later we both removed our (distinctive) Hats so we would not be recognised but luckily the T W A Tea was no longer on duty and the guy we saw was nice as pie :)

26th Sep 2018, 07:58
Flying from SIN to CHC on Air NZ B767. Sat next to Ludmilla, middle-aged Russian lady from St Peterburg flying to visit her daughter who was married to Mark, a NZer in Wanaka. Not a word of anything apart from Russian (Tried English/German/French. Not a flicker). Got all the pictures of the family, pictures of St Petersburg, stories about what she got up to at home (I think) and - this is the best bit - her travelling instructions from LED via SPL and SIN to CHC.
They were detailed to the level of "When you get to sign "X", turn left and look for sign "Y"" With pictures in some cases. For every step of the way. I'm not kidding.
Then the crew turned up with the immigration forms.
Asked them to do a PA asking for someone who spoke Russian which they did (No, not YOU, Ludmilla..) to no avail.
Got the passport stuff sorted, how long she was staying with pictograms of aircraft arriving and leaving on a calendar etc but the bio-security form was a challenge. Pictograms again and she's probably thinking "Why is he asking me if I've got a pig in my suitcase? No, I don't normally plant tomatoes - or are they apples...) in my knickers, FFS".
Solution was to front up to Ag and Fish (as it was back then) and say "This is Ludmilla from St Petersburg. She's visiting family in Wanaka, I don't THINK she's got any dodgy stuff in her suitcase, but you might want to check" Wanted to say goodbye at that point, but no, she didn't trust anyone else to open the suitcase. (No pigs in there, no apples or tomatoes either.)
Released her to a grateful family and I'm still nursing the broken rib from the hefty embrace she gave me....

26th Sep 2018, 18:00
Glad that one had a good experience with Immigration and TSA out of Orlando. Now - who wants to know why that happened?

Well, I just happen to know. In Nov 2017, the big tourist places(Disney, Univ Studios, Shamu, etc) started getting a lot of reports of horrible service from the Orlando TSA and immigration. It started to affect the bottom line there, and as usual pressure was applied to the city manager, and the airport chairman. Who then promptly turned around in Feb 2018 and started looking at replacing ALL of the TSA govt workers with private firm. That sent a ripple through the rank and file, and by March, everyone in TSA(and to a lesser extent, ICE intake) that everyone's job was on the line.

Amazingly(not really) by late Mar, and all through this summer Orlando has ranked up near the top of airports with on-time, low wait, and friendly screening. Imagine that, threaten them all that they can be replaced - en-mass with cheaper and hard working labor and they get off their asses and start opening more lines, and letting stuff through faster. Traffic into Orlando was up, complaints down, everyone happy(except the TSA slobs who have to do the job they are paid for). 2016 ave wait time at MCO was about 48 min. In 2018 it's now more like 17 minutes.

26th Sep 2018, 20:11
Some good experiences:

Newark to San Fran late 1970s, flight I was booked on was cancelled and pax were transferred to a different airline. That new service was a 747 with more cabin crew than passengers. Not only was the cabin service excellent but the CC noticed I was reading a motorsport newspaper and being a racing fan himself came to chat about it when he had no other duties.

Elided to Elided late 1970s, a small commuter airline. I was the only passenger so instead of the normal turbo-prop a piston twin was substituted. Pilot (single on that aircraft) was my flying instructor and Chief FI too. We could not do what we did in today's circumstances. Couldn't even have flown the same route at that height.

Boston to Detroit early 1980s, the air was crystal clear and as we passed Buffalo Captain Speaking announced that he had negotiated some sight-seeing with ATC. Once in right bank around Niagara Falls and another one left so everyone could get a decent view. Well worth it!

Schiphol to Cambridge mid 1990s on one of Suckling's Dornier 228s, on arrival five days earlier it had been very poor RVR so I asked the pilots about their minimums. As I looked out of the office window across the Amsterdam docks it was clear that things were deteriorating rapidly. So I phoned Cambridge with a weather report and was told that if I got to Schiphol absolutely ASAP the mid-afternoon flight would hold for me and they would arrange an escort though the airport. I made it and it was the last Sucking flight out for several days.

I would also like to thank the Captains of Qantas and Air NZ flights that have allowed me to see India from coast to coast and rather a lot of empty Pacific Ocean through their windshields.

Then came 9/11.


26th Sep 2018, 22:49
Jolly Good!! Yes, that is Gold Stars to several. :ok:

27th Sep 2018, 07:05
Back in the day when Air NZ domestic was called NAC and F27s were the flavour of the day, once flew AKL-WRE (about 160km ATCF) with a captain who had a holiday place somewhere up the coast. We got a non-stop description of the coast, where the best fishing spots are, who he suspected of raiding his crayfish pots, who does the best fish and chips, things you have to see without a break. The Gummint should have hired him away at a mega salary and made him tourism minister.

27th Sep 2018, 07:18
Flew jump on a Lufthansa 707 out of MRU back in the late 70s (Ms RM2 was a sandwich mechanic at the time and we'd just spent a week's layover with an ex FW190 pilot as captain. 7 kills.). "Let's do some sightseeing" he says and proceeds to do a low level circuit of the island, also with commentary for the pax. Calls me back into the cockpit somewhere between Dar es Salaam and Khartoum and says "Some of the buggers believe this shite", goes on the PA , says that we're approaching the equator and they might feel a slight bump as we cross it.
Then he pulls the speed brake to squeals of delight from the cheap seats. I kid you not...

Hotel Tango
27th Sep 2018, 09:01
As I said, I too have many "feel good" stories not dissimilar to those above. But note the common thread with them which is that they all date back to the golden days of air travel last century! But does anyone have exceptionally good and memorable experiences to share which occurred more recently? I'm trying hard but just can't come up with any myself :(

27th Sep 2018, 10:28
But note the common thread with them which is that they all date back to the golden days of air travel last century! But does anyone have exceptionally good and memorable experiences to share which occurred more recently?

My flight was only delayed by 30 minutes last week amd they didn't lose my luggage. Does that qualify?

Mr Mac
27th Sep 2018, 11:56
Best in Economy would be the flights too and from UK with BCAL 707 to Santiago when going to or from school in 1970,s. Great crews, pilots who let you into cockpit, and let you stay there for hours and I do mean hours if they were happy with you. CC who let you have a wee dram when you were 14, and always seemed to have time for a chat had some posters of some of them on my dorm room, happy days. I am fortunate that all long haul and short haul is in Business so standards are usually high, but did a short hop down to Palma with Jet 2 in June from MAN, and had a very Jolly and happy crew who looked after us very well, and were interested in our experiences with other airlines when sat for take off and landing.

Kind regards
Mr Mac

Hotel Tango
27th Sep 2018, 14:54
My flight was only delayed by 30 minutes last week amd they didn't lose my luggage. Does that qualify?

:):):) LOL.

I've looked through my passenger log and the last great experience I had in Y Class this century was in 2007. Classic B737-200, great friendly and fun cabin crew, great service (including hot meals on 1.5hr sectors, and punctual. The airline was Canadian North from Edmonton to Yellowknife and back. It quite surprised me at the time.

27th Sep 2018, 15:27
Jolly Good all round. I'm sorry I can only offer virtual Gold Stars. I do realise that most of the best Y experiences will be in the last century but let's see what else we can find. RevMan2 - No that last does not count and you know it! Your Lufty post of 707 in the 70s is VERY good.

27th Sep 2018, 16:53
Flew back into LGW north a couple of weeks ago, 45 mins from touchdown to getting on the park and ride. I'm still pinching myself now...

Mr Mac
27th Sep 2018, 17:17
Not strictly economy but the subject started from there. I was in Business on trans Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Vancouver in late 80,s when I was awoken by cute Blond Californian girl laughing and running out of economy discarding clothes as she went, pursued by CC clutching a blanket. The race between the CC and the girl was won by the girl who managed discard everything, and remain running about for a good five minutes before captured. I do not think I have had a such a laugh, and shall we say visual entertainment in flight since.

Do I get a star, because the girl definitely got one from all the male passengers in my section of the cabin anyway.

Kind regards
Mr Mac

27th Sep 2018, 21:48
But does anyone have exceptionally good and memorable experiences to share which occurred more recently? I'm trying hard but just can't come up with any myself :(

Not commercial, just friends with puddle-jumpers. Carbon-fibre puddle-jumpers ....

For European travel I now stick to Eurostar, SNCF, etc. Quiet, comfortable, only the Great Northern experience getting to and from London spoils it :( Oh, and security check queues at St. Pancras -- Gare du Nord is a breeze though.


28th Sep 2018, 09:23
During the recent volcanic eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii, some passengers were treated to views of the eruption and lava flows by Hawaiian Airlines for free.

On the occasions when flights from Hilo left early (which occurs quite often here), the aircraft was flown at 2000-ft SE along the Puna coast and then turned around to let passengers on the other side of the plane see the view. The whole detour would add about 10 minutes to a 45-minute trip so was only done if they wouldn't arrive late. I don't know if the extra fuel costs got added on later to other flights, but I thought it was a nice touch. I'm sure the pilots enjoyed it as well. It was also quite unusual for us "locals". The helicopter tours went into full overdrive during this time (I lived under the flight path) but on the odd occasion, I would be driving home to see an HA 717 fly low just off the coast - definitely not something we see every day!

2nd Oct 2018, 15:17
In December 1988, I took a weeks break in The Gambia. It was an old BCal route with the DC-10/30 (I think) still in the livery and the crews in BA. The outbound from LGW was overnight, and then an immediate return so I got a taxi to BJL very early. I chose Christmas Day for the return, as the flights were cheaper and I knew that it would be thinly populated.

On Departure, we stayed low and went across the beach remarkably low. The CC explained later that the inbound crew had said they were going to go straight to the beach and the low pass was so that the two crews could wave at each other!

The flight was only about a third full, so lots of seats and a real party atmosphere with some lovely xmas lunch. So relaxed, it was brilliant - until arriving in mid winter!

As it was 1988, there were also visits to the flight deck of course [but, [b]SoS, that is NOT the reason for including it in this thread]. It was a lovely day with a flight of about 5.5 hours was a delight.

3rd Oct 2018, 10:28
From Hotel Tango
But note the common thread with them which is that they all date back to the golden days of air travel last century!

Maybe a tad philosophical, but...
Back in the last millenium, a guy on the Executive Board popped in to our office - doing revenue management/pricing for LH Cargo at the time - for a chat. Topic got around to the stupid sh*t that people did and got away with back in the day (ops agent doing the load sheet for a 707C to Bujumbura sees his VW turned up on the high lift, neatly palletized, tied down and tagged, purser on a 727 who was so small that he fitted into the waste container and had himself wheeled down the aisle with his hands sticking out of the top, collecting plastic beakers, hailing people via intercom walking past a security gate, asking them to help push it open and calling security to report people trying to break into the compound...) and he said "Where did all these people disappear to? And why did all the good ideas disappear?" Most of those "good ideas" came from a guy who became seriously rich from innovation premiums, (stringing a tennis ball on string across the remote B747F position as a docking indicator, finding space for an extra 10ft container at a 45 angle on 747Fs, the list goes on
It was because - over time - the Personnel department morphed into HR and became staffed with humourless buggers who would give transgressors a Good Talking To because what they were doing Wasn't On Anymore, oblivious to the fact that they were sucking the DNA out of the company. So the pranksters (who had a major overlap with the innovators) kept their heads below the parapet and any good ideas ran up against "Ohnoyouhaven'tgotanMBAthatdoesn'tsoundasifitcouldworkwe'llha vetodoafeasibitystudy". So you ended up with folks who reckoned that the new strategy would be based on standardised boxes which all customers would have to use (yeah, right...) and they'd have optimisation programmes that would work out in a couple of hours what went where. Instead of having the foreman with 30 years experience look at pile of cargo and say "This goes there, those ones here and here and fill up the gaps with the small stuff" In as much time as it takes to say it.
Of course, you've outsourced those 30 years of experience, so he's either earning less and demotivated to the max or sitting at home having a beer, having got out while he could.

You can transfer that to virtually any industry, not just ours, and you can ask THEIR customers about positive interactions and they'll say "Oh, it was waaay better in the last century..."

4th Oct 2018, 19:27
Got an upgrade to business class last xmas which was a nice experience. (LHR to AUH and back)

One of my best memories is of flying from Gatwick to Alicante and back on the same day (Nov 79) in the cockpit of a Laker Airways BAC 1-11. I was only 13 at the time and it took a while for the grin to fade after that day.