There was a time in the not so far history of commercial flying when an opportunity to take to the skies meant dressing up for the occasion.
Everything about taking a flight was geared towards an occasion, from the exquisite dress code observed by passengers, the flawlessly groomed crew, to the properly laid out dining experience — which was several courses, by the way.
Caviar, lobster, champagne and cigars formed part of the inflight menu, and there was proper cutlery, glassware and chinaware for onboard service.
My weekly Frequent Flyer column was done and dusted until the incident with United Airlines happened on Sunday April 9, and my editor requested a comment.
There was global outrage over the video of a United Airlines customer being dragged out of his seat screaming and being left injured and bloody at the Philadelphia International Airport.
The actions of the airline’s security were described as “unfathomable,” “barbaric,” “inhumane,” “inexplicable,” and some other unprintable words.
During a networking session at the end of a recent travel workshop, it occurred to me just how many misconceptions people have about air travel.
Someone commented that the current US administration was more pro-Kenya than the previous Obama administration because of the upgrade of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Category One status.
The month of March as if by co-ordinated conspiracy has seen a number of policy changes in air travel in the region and abroad.
While justified in some respects, these changes affecting air travelers brought to mind two things; one being the conditioning theory of learning by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov and the other being the old-time adage of the boy who cried wolf for his amusement.
Like every industry in the past decade, travel has experienced radical changes. And they almost always affect travellers.
The latest, though seemingly unrelated — specifically pertaining to baggage rules and handling procedures — are certainly bound to have an impact on how the region’s frequent flyers plan for their travels.
My invitation for the St Patrick’s Day celebration came with a concise instruction — wear something green.
It didn’t say anything about being prepared for green food, green beer and pot-still Irish whiskey. The invite revealed very little about the evening ahead, which I found was filled with insights into Irish culture and lifestyles.
The thing about having everything Irish in one room is that sooner rather than later aviation talk will come up. The Irish consider themselves the godfathers of aviation. And who can hold that against them?
Whether by coincidence or suitable geo-location, Shannon Airport in Ireland was the key entry and exit point for all transatlantic flights back in the day.
The world’s first duty free shop was established at the same airport in 1947, and Ireland boasts of some of the oldest, largest and most successful airlines in Europe, like Aer Lingus, Ryanair, Norwegian Air International (yes, Norwegian Air is Irish).
On March 8, the world marked International Women’s Day with media focus on women achievements, accompanied by calls for gender equality that are usually voiced on such occasions.
In the aviation industry, airlines went out of their way to showcase the female professionals in their fold, particularly singling out the few working in traditionally male-dominated departments like flight operations and technical areas.
It was as if they were all striving to be heard above the din of “We too have females doing more than handling reservations and being cabin crew.”
A few weeks ago, this column covered some conditions for flying while ill owing to the high number of Africans seeking medical treatment abroad.
One reader, while giving feedback on the article, said how they flew a terminally ill family member back home to prevent a death overseas and avoid the cost of transporting a dead body.
Expectedly — not for the family though — the passenger’s condition deteriorated hardly two hours into the flight.
While making his opening remarks at the just concluded Africa Aviation 2017 conference in Kigali, President Paul Kagame threw his weight behind the Africa Open Skies crusade.
But he wasn’t just lending a voice to a cause that’s been much talked about — with little progress made towards its achievement — by African states, Kagame was also letting his peers know that his government was actively working with others who are willing to liberalise African airspace.
The highlight of his opening address was when he asked why an African travelling to another country within the continent should transit outside the continent, a question that left many policy makers hanging their heads in shame.
Victoria Falls, the majestic Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) sits pretty between two city airports — Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone Airport in Livingstone town in southern Zambia, and Victoria Falls International Airport, in northern Zimbabwe. The falls is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The two airports are just 25 minutes apart by air and compete for visitors to the natural wonder on the River Zambezi.
Victoria Falls was named after the queen of England by explorer David Livingstone, who also lent his name to the town and island on the river.
While Livingstone Airport is the closest to the waterfall, Victoria Falls Airport got an edge after a recent facelift and renovations gave it a new four 4 kilometre long runway and a new terminal, increasing its capacity to nearly 1.7 million passengers annually.
Tel Aviv International Airport, also called Ben Gurion Airport, is known for its stringent security procedures, and has over the years emerged as the best airport in the Middle East and one of the most secure in the world.
There is no last-minute check-in option at Ben Gurion, and it is recommended that you reach the airport at least five hours before your flight, to clear with security ahead of check-in.