Travel Planning

With the events of the Malaysian Airlines plane going missing this week, there has been much discussion about flying.  I have heard all sorts of strange conversations and warnings. It comes at a time when the airline industry in Australia has been in the headlines, but not for the same reasons.  With Qantas in need of an injection of finance and other carriers struggling there's lots to talk about.

Whenever you plan a trip (be it by car, plane, ship, bike etc) there is always consideration about safety, and I do endeavour to choose a "safe" and "quality" airline.

One question about Qantas is why they would create an airline in opposition to itself and other carriers.  I have just checked a flight "Brisbane to Adelaide" on a certain date, and while Jetstar has the cheapest flights, Qantas is not much more depending on what time of day you choose - but many of us think it is crazy that Qantas and Jetstar are competing in the same market.  Does it make sense?

I have flown all three airlines in recent times - choosing not only on price but times.  We are lucky to have a choice.  I must say that on the week that I flew with the three airlines I was most disappointed in Qantas.  The food provided was some ghastly pastry thingy apparently designed by some mighty food man (name forgotten) that looked and tasted like food waste. I am happy to purchase food I choose on a flight - and if the food is provided it had better be better than was dished up to us on that flight.

Our planning for our Singapore/Shanghai trip I did look at other airlines, but in the end we chose Singapore Airlines.  They do have a good safety record and I have had excellent service with them in the past.  We can do our whole trip with the one airline!!  Bonus.

The last time I flew Singapore Airlines was in 2008 - Singapore to Brisbane, but something happened that caused me some angst at the time, and mirth later.  A hostie (sorry, flight attendant, female) accidentally spilled a glass of orange juice on me.  It soiled my jeans and filled my shoe.  She quickly did her best to clean up the mess, and perhaps should have warned me what was to come after we landed.

The dogs were on duty.  A neat little Beagle came up to me and sat down in front of me - indicating that I had "something" that I should not have had.  I freaked, initially forgetting the orange juice incident, until I was questioned. We have had a few laughs about it, since.

My next priority is travel insurance.  Anyone who travels without it is crazy, but I do know a few crazies who clearly have had no problems.  Actually neither have I, other than having to change a flight from Adelaide to Brisbane after my father died.

My sister, who doesn't think travel insurance is necessary was farewelled by her daughter on a trip, but before arriving, the daughter found herself in a medical emergency and wanted/needed her mother to return, which of course she did.  The whole holiday which was planned and paid for was cancelled, but with no insurance there was no refund.  Silly, I think.

So in my mind travel insurance is a must - and do read through it.  All sorts of strange things can happen when one is travelling, so you need to cover all bases.  I do get annoyed with those who are uninsured bed for government help when some disaster befalls them.

The other must do is register with Smart Traveller (for Australians) and other countries have their own system. I always do when I travel outside of Australia.  I have been kept up to date with information from the government by this site, and, as a bonus, as I was in China, invited to an amazing free event to celebrate Anzac Day in Shanghai in 2008.    You see there are benefits.

Other things to do:

  • Make sure your passport has more than 6 months "life" after your return date.
  • Keep a folder with copies of your bookings/itinerary.  Give copies to your next of kin before you leave.
  • Research your destination/s.  There are plenty of books, (you can buy or visit libraries), or send away for info packs from the countries you are visiting if they have an office in your country.
  • Make sure you have good locks for your suitcases.
  • Ensure you have comfortable walking shoes.
  • Carry a small bag with basic items in case your big suitcase goes missing. (yes, it has happened to me!)
  • Make sure you can keep your valuables with you in a secure place.  (I like a zip pocked at the back of my mini backpack.)

Although my travels are some two months away, I am slowly checking things now.  


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