Writing wrongs. And other miscommunication.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

2006 April 20

Writing wrongs. And other miscommunication

Taking the high ground, I am surprised at the number of mistakes that the travel industry makes in its communication with consumers. Some examples: 

– Jetstar Asia says it has “the most experienced pilots”. Although part-owner Qantas might dispute that, but in reality this is nothing more than erroneous-therefore-meaningless hype. 

Jetstar compounds its error by saying that these pilots “[ensure] on-time arrival…” Now my flight was nearly one-hour late, so does this mean that my flight was flown by inexperienced pilots?. 

– Qantas’s mistake is grammatical. “Subtlely,” says the voice in its safety announcement, “every aircraft is different.” Wrong. What I think the airline wants to say is “Many aircraft have subtle differences”. Or, if QF insists, “All aircraft have subtle differences.” 

-Kuala Lumpur airport has an interesting rule for late passengers. “Passengers,” reads the advice, “must be at boarding gate at least 10” before departure time. If late, passengers may not be boarded.” Does this mean that if one passenger turns up late, the whole flight is cancelled? 

-Singapore’s Silk Air is clearly providing something more than an air transport service.It has started to list the number of passengers it “uplifts” each month. With totals of around 50,000 monthly, is that still short of some revivalist churches in the

– Some airlines have a rather-low notion of passenger intelligence. The video shown to passengers arriving in Bangkok on Thai Airways helps them to fill out the immigration form. “Where it says ‘Family Name’,” the voice advises, in English, “enter your family name. Next, you will see ‘Home Address’; here you should note where you live”. 

And so on. One wonders what passengers travelling on other airlines do without getting this advice. Answer ‘Yes’ in the ‘Sex’ box, ‘Human’ against ‘Race’? 

– Then there is a classic comment in the current inflight programme of Malaysia Airlines on inflight health tips: “…It’s important to keep your blood circulating…” Wow, I appreciate that advice; otherwise I might have stopped circulating it. 

– This one from London Luton airport, but others make the same mistake.

Different meanings if ‘only’ is inserted in positions as marked 123 following: “1 smoking will 2 be permitted 3 in the designated areas”.Note which one is correct for what we assume airports want to say (3?) and then listen to see if your airport permits smoking anywhere, even though it thinks it doesn’t. 


Qantas business class. Rooms take off.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.  Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance. 

2006 April 10

Qantas business class. Rooms take off.

Australia’s national airline Qantas has ‘room service’ for its breakfast in its business-class cabin – seeking to emulate, I presume, what it considers superior service levels in hotels.  

As with room service in hotels, you tick the breakfast items you want, print your name and seat number, and hang the card on the ‘door knob’ before you go to sleep.  

(This ‘knob’ is actually built on to the seatback in front of you. As the only purpose of the knob seems to be to hang this card (a jacket would slip off), I can thus inform Qantas that this is an amazing waste of money.)  

The cards are collected from these knobs by crew, usually minutes after they have been placed there; but many passengers just hand them over.  

Then in the morning your requested breakfast is served. Qantas, which prides itself on its business class, has lost this one. My breakfast was served all together – more like a self-service restaurant, of which I have considerable experience (no comments, please).  

And it was all cold – even the bits that should be hot, such as toast and coffee. The toast was so hard that when I cut it, a piece shot over to the passenger sitting next to me – just like in the movies…so we started talking, got married, had two children, one of whom became a princess in Denmark, another a queen in Singapore’s Bugis Street…  

I should add that, overall, the Qantas BC is certainly superior; the seats themselves are a great improvement for their main physical functions – relaxing, resting, sleeping, and eating.  

But the ‘software’ has numerous faults. In addition to room service, there is:  

[] Inflight program. This is essentially the same into and out of Australia. From month-to-month 90% is unchanged, even the ones for which the airline supposedly has numerous series (the same one is shown from one month to the next). It is not ‘interactive’ as on Singapore Airlines, so if you miss the start, you have to wait 90”, and you may miss it next time as well. Me, who likes to OD on movies, managed to watch one complete movie during two Europe-Australia flights (on the return, started a new one, but did not like it, but never managed to time it right to see the others). But I saw many 5” mid-movie snatches of about seven others. 

[] Seat-pocket pouch. Although you might not believe me, it is difficult to find, and then difficult to reach and extract its contents. And it is big enough only for a few magazines, so all the ‘extras’ you accumulate during a flight (like amenities bag, book to read) has to go on the floor or the seat around you.  

[] IFE control unit. Even a 10-year-old would find it awkward. Miss once and you have to go through it all again. And I never did find the brightness control.  

How can this airline, which is no slouch in marketing and product, get this so wrong?