Beautiful Blue Mountains: Review and Top Things to do

West of Sydney are one of the most beautiful and most visited parts of Australia: The Blue Mountains.  This week must have been close to my 100th since I first visited The Mountains a baby! (half a century ago). As always, my review attempts to go beyond the superficial glimpse that many visitors have of this amazing place from their bus window! Aesthetics: 87% The Greater Blue Mountains are not just beautiful. They are stunning. Grand sandstone cliffs, twisting forest tracks, gorgeous waterfalls, peaceful glens, cute creeks all fill the 11,400 km² area of “The Mountains”.   If the Blue Mountains…

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Know your Emergency Response Numbers

As I was driving through New Zealand today, I observed a motor accident where a guy drove off the road. There were other New Zealand witnesses who immediately called the police and ambulances who responded very efficiently. It crossed my mind if a foreign tourist had been the witness, would they have known the numbers to call? It is 111 in New Zealand. I remember a news report about an Englishman who died in Australia. He had been alone when he had had a heart attack. The police found he had been repeatedly dialing 999, the UK…

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Achieved  Qantas Gold Again 

  Qantas has a five tier system for its Feequent Fluer system starting at Bronze  and working through silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One,.  I have held Gold or higher for over a decade. Thanks to a long distance relationship, I have achieved Gold again for 2016/2017.  As mentioned two weeks ago, I am on track for Platinum. This gets me First Class  check in and lounges and priority for  seats and upgrades. When you spend hundreds of hours a year in airports and on planes, these make a difference for which I am very grateful. …

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Booked my second, third and fourth 787 flights!

I have not yet ridden the Dreamliner. That is about to change. It has taken me a long time to get on one. Have you flown on a 787 yet? I booked my first 787 flight with, a few weeks ago. Today, I booked my second, third and fourth flights on different airlines. They are all in “Business Class” so I can do some comparisons. Any advice you may have on seating accepted. My first 787 flight is with LATAM in June in Premium Business. These 30 fully reclining seats have a 23 inch width and 75 inch pitch. Behind the…

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My travels with the #19 year old #StarAlliance

The Star Alliance turns 19 tomorrow, Saturday the 14th of May. The network is now an “adult” with 27 member airlines carrying almost 638 million passengers annually. This compares to SkyTeam with 20 airlines and 588 million passengers annually and Oneworld with 15 airlines and almost 513 million. Starting with just five airlines, the network has grown to include: I have flown 159 times with nine Star Alliance members for a total of 424,788km (263,951 miles), almost ten times around the earth! This represents 14% of all my flights and a third of the distance I have ever flown! The Star…

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Air New Zealand vs Qantas Running Man Challenge

The Running Man craze has spread its way into the airline industry.  Started by two high-school students in New Jersey, USA who started dancing along to  the 1996 song My Boo by Ghost Town DJ’s  in their Finance class, it has exploded around the internet over the last two weeks with police and emergency services around the world with Met police London,  St John Ambulance, NZ   Finland Police, NYPD, Scottish Police (complete with bagpipes), Sussex Police (UK), ACT Policing by the Lake and many others. Last Friday, Air New Zealand posted their Running Man challenge to Qantas with cabin crew busting the moves on board a training…

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Airline route maps in one spot

This may be worth bookmarking. Airfare watchdog has links to around 200 airline route maps. From Adria Airways to Yemenia  It is mostly accurate! I tweeted them this week to let them know of a couple of out of date links. All the big ones are there (eg American Airlines, British Airways,  Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, United Airlines) plus some smaller ones (eg Nature Air, Regional Express). There are  a few missing carriers (Scoot, Air Malindo). Related Posts Mapping 10 Busiest Air Routes of 2012 Picturing Air Routes Navigating Airports – My favourite Apps        

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Kuwait to require DNA testing of all tourists

I have been to many Middle Eastern countries (Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, UAE, for example) but not to the State of Kuwait. I have an open invitation from some Kuwaiti colleagues to visit the country. The news that the country will extend DNA testing to tourists leaves me a little disquieted. Kuwait has talked about introducing DNA testing for a while.  Following the bombing of a mosque in June, 2015 which killed 26 worshippers in Kuwait City, the country quickly enacted laws to mandate DNA testing of its 1.3 million are Kuwaitis and 2.9 million expatriates.  It’s the…

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Passengers throw food & punch Ground Staff

The competition to be the worst passenger ever seems to be plumbing the depths. This week, after a flight from Changsha in central China to Sanya insouthern China was delayed because of bad weather, three passengers became aggressive. One threw her lunch box at a female ground staff.  Shamefully in the video beloew, you can see her in tears. Another passenger slapped another female ground staff on face saying “I’m hitting you! So what?” Interestingly, the video was released by the People’s Daily suggesting that there is a warning message for others in terms of bad behaviour.…

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