No, No, No, Delta Is Not Giving Away Free Tickets

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The airline free ticket scam is on again on Facebook (I have cautioned you previously about British Airways and Emirates!) Someone sends you a message that you have won air tickets. You click on the link and enter your phone number. You end up with no air tickets, have several sales people call you or end up at your door step (as phone numbers can be tracked to your home), and your FB page gets taken over.

SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Never EVER click on those free deals, even if it is sent as a personal message. All it takes is a click, and a bug could be inserted into your computer that takes control of your computer and steals/changes passwords. At least 6 people I personally know have had this happen to them. Then, you go on their list as a “sucker”, and your information is shared among thousands of other scam artists around the world. The worst is when they know where you live, and turn up at your doorstep to pick up your “deposit”. Sharing your post with friends only adds more contacts to the bad guys’ list, and your friends are going to be mad at you.

All this happened to one of our members yesterday, and a lesson learned the hard way, but she is wiser now. The bottom line – NO AIRLINE IS GOING TO GIVE YOU FREE TICKETS. NO, NOT EVEN FOR SHARING THEIR DEAL WITH YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS!!!!

What Do You Do If You Miss Your Flight?

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT?
Two people known to me have missed their flight within the last couple of days. What happens if the ticketed passengers did not boarded the aircraft before the doors closed? It is known as a “No Show”

1. The airline is not obligated to refund your ticket if you are not at the gate at the time of boarding. You might have to buy a new ticket, or if seats are available on a later flight, they could put you on that flight.

2. If you have purchased travel insurance, and “missed flights” are listed on the policy, you should contact the 24 hour number to get the insurance company to handle the problem. The insurance company will require proof of what caused the delay (traffic accident, road closure etc.)

3. A “no show” could affect any of your connecting flights, including your return ticket being cancelled. Two years back I was flying to JFK from LAX, where I would connect on Etihad to South Africa. I had purchased two different tickets, and had purposely left a comfortable 8 hours in transit should my flight be delayed into JFK. The United flight was delayed by almost 7 hours, making the connection to the international flight almost impossible. I called Etihad for a solution, and their answer was that since we had bought two separate tickets, they were not responsible if I was a “No show”, and would have to purchase a new ticket if I did not make the flight. We were lucky…we made it to the gate 10 minutes before boarding commenced.

4. Check your flight time carefully by making sure your 0015 hours flights is at 1:15 am, and not pm. You will be surprised by how many people get their am and pm’s mixed up. It will not only inconvenience you, but cost you dearly with a hefty fine for a “No Show” and re-ticketing.

4. If you think it was the fault of the airline (wrong boarding gate posted, gate change that you never saw) do NOT hand in your boarding pass without taking a photo of it. You should also take a photo of the “wrong gate” or the “wrong flight” posted. Get the name of the agent or supervisor you spoke with. Request for compensation from the airline by e-mailing or via snail mail, and include your photos as proof. If compensation is received, it will be in the form of a travel voucher or miles credited to your frequent flyer account.

Aircraft Configuration Changes, And Your Seats Could Be Gone!

A few months back, flying from Bangkok to Colombo on Thai Airways, I was a witness to a passenger complaint regarding  seat changes to himself and two other members of his family.  He had originally been assigned three seats together, with one of them next to a window. After boarding, he realized that his seat had been changed to three seats in the middle of the aircraft, where there were four seats in between two aisles, and one of those four seats were mine.

What this passenger had not realized was that after he made his reservation a few months back, the aircraft had been changed, and the 3-3-3 seating had now changed to 2-4-2.  I did realize the configuration change a few months back, and changed my seat for an easy get away to clear immigration fast.  But I guess that most people do not do that after they make their reservation.

The Chief Steward came to speak to this passenger, but there was nothing the crew could do as there were no three separate seats together, let alone a window seat.  I believe the airline gave them the best option, by seating them in a row together.  The passenger was threatening to sue and his voice kept getting louder.  It was then that I heard the most absurd statement come out from the Chief steward, who said “Contact your travel agent and he will give you a refund”.  I couldn’t believe what I heard.  So, the travel agent will give you a refund for three tickets (approximate cost of $1400 for this sector only) just because an airline configuration changed?  Good one!

Now, if this had happened in the US or on an US airline, the first word out of this passengers mouth and he would have been arrested for “interfering with an airline crew” – a federal offense, and if the airline was already in flight, it would have landed at the closest airport to have him arrested, inconveniencing and delaying all the other passengers.

http://www.iata.org/policy/Documents/2015-Guidance-on-Unruly-Passenger-Prevention-and-Management.pdf

Singapore Airlines First Class

I was very fortunate to have been able to fly in First Class on Singapore Airlines between Singapore and Los Angeles on  two occasions.  Having previously flown many times on Business Class and Economy Class on this airline that holds the reputation of being the world’s best, I was overjoyed when I received the upgrade to First Class.  I had only paid about $300.00 for a round trip ticket that cost $22,200.00 when booked online.

Out of Changi Airport in Singapore, First Class passengers have a separate exclusive red carpeted entrance next to the main airport terminal.  Your baggage is picked up from your vehicle by a concierge, and a representative walks you to her desk where she checks you in while you sit comfortably on a couch.  Your baggage is checked in by the concierge.  After checking you in, you enter the terminal through a private entrance that has its own immigration and customs counter and shown the Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge.  The whole process takes less than five minutes.

The first class lounge was very spacious, with very comfortable seating.  The food is a combination of Western and Asian, and was certainly delicious. There was a trolleys of snacks and drinks being brought to your seat by attendants.  Seating away from the hustle and bustle of passengers was indeed relaxing before my long journey via Japan to Los Angeles.  Showers were also available, with towels and toiletries provided.

On the 747, Singapore Airlines First Class is at the nose of the plane with 12 individual seats.  The Pursar visited with all the First Class passengers and introduced himself and stated as we had only three First Class passengers, each of us would have their own exclusive  Flight attendant.  The cubicles that the seats are situated in has a large flat screen TV, storage compartments, and plenty of space to store your cabin luggage.  I was warmly welcomed by the FC crew, who collected my jacket and offered me a drink of my choice.  I was also given my toiletry kit and a Givenchy pajamas and shirt, which I would later change into, for a comfortable long journey.

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Soon after take off, when I went into the restroom to change into sweats for the night, a Flight Attendant was waiting with a clothes hanger outside, to take my clothes and hang them in the closet.

After a round of pre dinner drinks, the main course dinner order was taken.  Drinks were served with mini pork and chicken satays, accompanied with with peanut sauce.  I opted for the Sauteed jumbo prawns served with lobster sauce and vegetables. Our 8 course meal started with a choice of Duckliver Terrine or Rock Lobster as appetizers, followed by a soup and salad.  After the main course, a generous portion of Haagen Dazs vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream were served with berry compote and pistachio nuts.  An assortment of international cheese and fresh fruit followed suit.  The meal service ended with hot beverages, that included a variety of tea, espresso, and cappuccino, served with cognac, and pralines.

There was a large selection of in-flight movies to watch along with a variety of channels with Video On Demand (VOD).  The Bose sound cancelling headphones were distributed only after take off; the reason being that should an emergency arise during take-off, one would not hear any announcements or commands.  When it was time to sleep, I stepped outside my seat while the stewardess prepared my bed by adjusting the seat completely flat, putting a quilt over it and leaving behind a large pillow and a blanket.

Inflight service was exceptional, where the stewardess made sure that my glass of water was always topped up to keep me hydrated.  Checks were done every 30-45 minutes, by walking past my seat to see if anything needed to be cleared, or if I needed anything.

At the end of my flight, it was definitely no surprise that Singapore Airlines First Class in-flight service was indeed one of the best in the world.

The 2016 Kenya Safari is now full

The 2016 November Kenya is now full.  I have decided to take only 6 passengers to enable everyone to have a window seat and travel comfortably.

Our next safari is in December 2017, and are now accepting reservations.  However, if you are a group of 4-6, or even a couple, and want to go on safari before that, I will arrange and exclusive safari.

To see the itinerary and cost for the November 2016 safari, go to http://raviperera.com/contact/