PAGPFT. Air Asia; UK (Birmingham/Stansted airports, King’s X/St Pancras stations); Francesco Frangialli, ex-WTO; casino in Lao.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.


2009 May 25


PAGPFT. Air Asia; UK (Birmingham/Stansted airports, King’s X/St Pancras stations); Francesco Frangialli, ex-WTO; casino in Lao.


PAGPFT (pronounced PAG-puffed); People Are Getting Paid For This:


-Air Asia. Special Offer on its menu: ‘Buy 1; Get 1”. Times must be hard if that counts as a special offer.


-From the south via the M6, Birmingham airport has no road access signs – none – until the airport is in sight. There has been new road directions to the airport for three years so this is not ignorance, but simply nobody in power with commonsense to make the change. I estimate 100 people daily are asking directions of others.


-Stansted airport has introduced a passenger-punishing scheme – for those collecting passengers at the airport. Drivers are forbidden – on pain of a fine – to pick up passengers where they might drop them off. Drivers must – note, must; there is no other option – go into an area that costs US$3 to enter, and stay, for 15 minutes. How many can time to 15 minutes the availability of an arriving passenger? Worse, if drivers exceed the 15 minutes, they pay a fine – not just the extra time. This is clearly a trick to raise money – to hell with passenger service. On this alone, we think BAA should be booted out of Stansted. We agree with devising ways of increasing revenue, but not with trickery such as this.


-St Pancras railway station – the ticket-office is not included on the new information board, where you press a button to locate facilities and services. But the platforms are shown…


-King’s Cross railway station is probably heading the same passenger-punishing way. It has an internal dispute among the professionals redesigning the place about where lifts should be placed for passengers. Answer; lifts are almost worse than hopeless in big traveller centres such as airports and railway stations; an escalator is needed if level-changing cannot easily be avoided. And those professionals wanted to preserve an iron bridge with clock (because it was a fine example of an iron bridge with clock). It could not be incorporated into the new design, so it was painstakingly removed (over three days) to be placed in…er…nobody wanted it. Everybody wanted to preserve it, but nobody wanted it; welcome to the world. Anyone interested in a fine example of an iron bridge with clock?


-A hagiography on Francesco Frangialli, ex-head of World Tourism Organisation, in one of WTO’s publications was headed “Francesco Frangialli, Secretary-General (1998-2008)”. This means FF was born in 1998 and died in 2008. I can offer free (well, almost) lessons on English-language presentations should the WTO be interested.


-And finally, someone who deserves to get paid. A casino just across the border with Thailand in Lao is called…Lao Vegas.



The Fox


Air Asia. Fly away – on another airline.

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Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.


2009 May 14


Air Asia. Fly away – on another airline.


AA needs to get back control of its Thai associate, Thai Air Asia. When times were going well, the problems were not there. I doubt AA has the corporate power to control TAA, but it should be working on damage control.


Here are some experiences which lead me to believe this story will have an unhappy ending:


1. On a recent trip, both my booked flights were cancelled, and I was rebooked on a flight later in the day. This practice enables it to avoid paying any compensation, even for those insured.


2. Even the combined flights were not full, maybe 70% loads.


3. The airline advised me in a “reconfirmation” email – in which the new flight and timing was given. Nowhere did TAA say my flight had been cancelled. That is fraud.


4. The first time this happened, I did not read all the email (because it said ‘reconfirmation’), so I turned up for my originally-booked flight and had to wait at the airport for the new flight.


5. Some TAA planes are visibly tired – to the extent of peeled paint around the engines, rough finger-marked filler around windows etc inside the plane. Making one wonder about the bits not visible – are the engines held together by string? One plane looked like an accident waiting to happen – not a comfortable thing to say about a plane.


6. One hour before scheduled departure time, on both flights, the departure board read ‘Final Call. When I went to the gate for my first flight – in case timing had been changed again – boarding had not even started. Staff just wanted to get people to the gate early. I was a quick learner; on my second flight, I simply waited until they called for me to board. I questioned the ground crew and they affirmed that the idea was to get people to the gate early to help an on-time departure.


7. Overall, TAA relives the old image where cheap flights were operated by airlines offering basic services in old much-used planes – sunken seats, non-working lights, peeled faded signs in the toilets from their other lives, and grubby appearance. Welcome on board TAA!



The Fox