From the ed­i­tor

Let's Travel - - FROM THE EDITOR - Gary Dick­son ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF

Air­ports…they’re like that old un­cle that turns up once a year to a fam­ily gath­er­ing. Some­times you love them…some­times you de­spise them. It’s often a big enough strug­gle just get­ting through an air­port and on to your flight…how am I get­ting there? How early should I get there? Then there are the queues, cus­toms and get­ting to the cor­rect gate in time.

So, imag­ine be­ing stranded there, with no place to lay your head for two days and a measly $20 food and bev­er­age voucher. A friend of mine (along with her part­ner and two kids) ex­pe­ri­enced that a cou­ple of weeks ago at Auck­land Air­port…ho­tels all full, thanks to some con­cert be­ing very pop­u­lar, and they were be­ing given spo­radic (to say the least) up­dates on when the flight might leave, thus mak­ing it un­wise for them to re­turn to their home sev­eral hours drive away.

What air­lines do, on the whole, is phe­nom­e­nal when you think about it. Many years ago a cabin crew mem­ber, recog­nis­ing my rest­less­ness as we were head­ing through some rough tur­bu­lence, told me some sage ad­vice…”At any one time the pop­u­la­tion of Aus­tralia is fly­ing above the planet – so your odds are pretty good Mr. Dick­son.”

But, com­mu­ni­ca­tion (or se­vere lack of it) as ex­pe­ri­enced by my friend and her fam­ily, is not un­usual for many, many air­lines. So why? Surely they train staff to cope with this…and the an­swer is ‘Yes…of course’ – but we read and hear reg­u­larly that air­lines need to work on their com­mu­ni­ca­tion when there is a prob­lem or a de­lay.

I went through a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence to that of my friend a few years ago (with my fam­ily) at Bangkok Air­port and it taught me a few things I never want to have to re-en­act. • Take notes on what the air­line staff are telling you (bet­ter still record the up­dates on your phone) • Get the con­tact de­tails for as many fel­low pas­sen­gers as pos­si­ble (in my case we ended up with around 200 email ad­dresses). Some of us were be­ing told dif­fer­ent things to oth­ers • If practical ap­point a ‘mid­dle­man’, or a small group, who can get all up­dates and con­vey to ev­ery­one – that’s if the air­line don’t • Make sure you have com­pre­hen­sive travel in­sur­ance BE­FORE you go • Don’t ac­cept the mea­ger of­fer­ings that many air­lines will throw at you e.g the much vaunted food and bev­er­age voucher – stay as a group and in­sist on bet­ter ser­vice whilst you are in limbo. One woman in our group couldn’t even get baby milk for­mula for her tod­dler • Stay calm…it will all work out in the end If all that doesn’t work do what I did and threaten to take them to Fair Go. Rant over! In this bumper is­sue Shane Boocock checks out one of his favourite des­ti­na­tions, Fiji; Gayle Dick­son es­pouses the lux­ury at Eratap Re­sort in Van­u­atu; Tim Roxoborgh takes us through a re­mote re­gion of The Solomon Is­lands; and I get wined and dined in Monaco.

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