Entertainment in the Air on Planes

Entertainment in the Air

I have often been surprised how restrictive the US air travel is when it comes to many aspects of the creature comforts up in the air.   Let’s see – how do we compare flights in many countries of Asia and in the US?  Let’s list the services (besides getting from point A to point B) offered:

  • In-flight food:  On all US flights, food is unheard of – unless you are one of the few traveling in First / Business class of the plane.  At the same time, in China, and other Asia countries as well as in Europe, the crew serves warm food to everyone on the plane.  No matter wheter you are taking an in-country flight on Air China, or Shenzhen Airlines (to name a couple), you are going to get your boxed lunch consisting of a stir fry over rice.
  • Entertainment:  The intra-China flights or intra-India flights are usually operated with bare bones planes which do not have the right equipment to show much in the form of entertainment.  Having said that, it is likely to get entertainment if you happen to be on a newer plane…. Now lets compare that to te US – until recently, the usage of entertainment was fee only based –> now both American Airlines and Delta are starting to offer free entaiment following Delta’s first mover act.
  • Why is free entertainment important?  Here why:
    • Makes time go by faster
    • It creates a lot more relaxed crowd on the plane
    • It should help reduce the booz drinking on the flight
    • Finally, it will make for a much happier flyers and potentially return business for the airlines.
  • I would like to hear from the readers of this blog… Don’t hesitate – share your experiences and what you think makes sense on board an airship….
    • How would you like to pass your time?
    • Is getting food on-board the plane important to you?
    • What do you consider best in class services when traveling by plane?

Happy Travels

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Strange Advice from Conde Nast Traveler

Conde Nast Traveler: Strange and Inaccurate Advice

Airplane-Engine-SunsetI have over 3M miles flown on multiple global airlines across N.America, Asia and Europe.  When I saw the article below in the on-line magazine, my first reaction was, “I need to write a posting directly on their site.   I was surprised to see that there was no provision for leaving comments.  Well, that is one way to have your opinion stand unchallenged :-)

The reality is that the advice from Conde Nast is NOT always close to being correct.   This time around – same story.  Read the story below – and judge for yourself.  How many times have you flown internationally with less than 3 hour connection time…?  For me – most of my 3M miles… I regularly fly with 1 hour connection between a domestic and International flight to Japan, China, UK….

Here is the link and the text of the advice given by the travel site to a couple with an issue:

Yes, even if you have plenty of time to make your connection.

Q: My husband and I booked flights from Dallas to Fiji, connecting in Los Angeles, through Orbitz. The itinerary left us 95 minutes in L.A., but at check-in, an American Airlines agent told us the “minimum connection time” for our international flight was two hours—and denied us boarding! We lost our vacation plus the $3,744.12 we spent on the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. Doesn’t Orbitz owe us a refund? Jenny S., Carrollton, Tex.

A: Unfortunately for travelers, airlines don’t make it easy to verify the minimum connection times they demand. Fliers have to rely instead on online travel agencies like Orbitz to track those intricate rules, and the booking site says that the itinerary it sold was kosher. American stepped up, however, refunding the $3,175.60 cost of the airfare as a goodwill gesture, but the takeaway is simple: Always allow plenty of time when connecting—ideally three hours


At any rate, all you have to do is make sure you have called the airline ahead of time (if you are concerned — I do not do even that) in case you need some assistance – they will more than oblige.

In today’s market, the competition among airlines is so great that you will get a lot of services, but you need to ask.

At any rate, enjoy your travels and do not stress too much.   The other aspect is – travel as light as possible so you can be flexible and able to manage flight changes with greater ease.

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WLAN Costs on American Airlines -Surprises

WLAN Costs on American Airlines

I do not understand the pricing model for WLAN access American Airlines offers to its passengers… On a recent flight from Phoenix to Austin, American Eagle offered $23.95 WLAN access for….wait for it….yes, only less than 2 hour flight.   The service offered by GoGo


Two weeks ago I flew Dallas (DFW) to Hong Kong also on American Airlines.  This flight is close to 15-16 hours. I had WLAN coverage for most of the flight, at the cost of…wait for it…$19!

So, now comes the million dollar question – how does this make sense?  I can see the 2-hour flight for a fee of $5….may be….BUT $23.95 makes no sense whatsoever!!!!


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Morning Run – Shanghai Pudong Saturday

Morning Run – Shanghai Pudong Saturday

All of you most likely picture Shanghai as a place constantly crowded and hardly with any open spaces or areas free of crowds….Well, if you try hard – you can find the place and time where you will be (almost) alone….even…in Shanghai.

On Saturday morning I decided to go for a morning run / brisk walk in the area of the Shanghai International Conference Center and the Super Brands Mall and between the river and Binjiang Avenue.

Morning-Run-Pudong-river-parkYou all be very surprised to find a park nearly devoid of people even at 9am in the morning.  And here is the good part – you can stroll, run, stretch along the walkway along the Huangpu river and enjoy all this space to yourself.

Morning-Run-Shanghai-PudongAs you can see the park and its alleyways are very nice and comfortable for both taking in the views as well as having a good run

Morning-Run-China-Shanghai-PudongHow do you like this view…? From this vantage point you can see the buildings across Huangpu river

Shanghai-Pudong More views from the Bund – all the historic buildings (Peace Hotel…) seen from Pudong.

Shanghai-PudongSome of the old customs houses at the Bund – Good views from Pudong side…

Morning-Run-shanghai-pudong Where are the people?  Indeed…

Morning-run-Shanghai-Pudong-Running and more – ready for a run?  It is very humid and hot, but – hey, it is a great place to run and enjoy the views at the same time…

China-Shanghai-PudongThe entrance to the park…Although you can access the parkway along the Huangpu River from many points this being one of them.

Overall, this is the place to be on a weekend morning in Pudong – a place to be alone, able to exercise, enjoy the views and then eventually go to a nice brunch in the near by shopping mall area.  How do find the place, take a cab to the Shanghai International Conference Center or the Super Brands Mall, or the subway line 2 to the Super Brands Mall and from there walk towards the river…you will find the place.   Enjoy your run!

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Travel to Shenzhen – Fastest Way from N.America

Just recently I had to organize a fast trip from the US to Shenzhen (and later on to additional destinations in China – you already saw my trip report and mostly photos from the weekend in Suzhou.  So now on to the logistics of getting to Hong Kong

These days that can be actually a not an easy task – why?  You can get there via many different ways.  My preferred approach is to fly as direct as possible to Hong Kong – e.g. Dallas -Hong Kong;

Going to Hong Kong

Then you jump in a rental car – a minivan usually which for a predefined cost (Usually around $450HK$) you get excellent service of never having to get out of the nicely air-conditioned minivan which is whisking you across the border

All in all the whole procedures takes around 45-60 minutes and you have the ample opportunities to take plenty of photos since you are NOT the one driving. Several of them photos below depict a wonderful sunset…… Enjoy!




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Suzhou Weekend Night Out

Suzhou Weekend

Suzhou Weekend is something you need to do once every so often….Suzhou is a nice city – not large enough (by Chinese standards) to be overcrowded and not polluted as many of the big cities in China tend up to get due to cars and other stuff.  If you live in Shanghai or Nanjing, and even in Beijing, I recommend a weekend in Suzhou – here is a pictorial view of why I say so….

Let’s start with a map of the area near the Crown Plaza Suzhou.


Then we continue with a dinner and walk around the lake after your arrival in the city.  One of the nice areas for dinner – in traditional Suzhou style – the area is Li Gong Di.  I had dinner in Da Yue restaurant – where I had some nice local dishes – small baize, eggplant…


Following the dinner, a stroll around the lake is a very good next step – both for the sake of exercise as well as to see some nice sights and people (you may even end up chatting with someone)


See some nice views…



and get well prepared for the next:  Coffee or Drinks

Suzhou-Li-Gong-Di-Starbucks of course what will be a city these days without a Starbucks?  Can you say “Globalization…”


China-Suzhou-Wealthand what is the display of wealth mean without a PINK FERRARI in full view….Yes, crazy!

And finally, finish the night with European Cup Soccer and Great Beer…


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Coming and Going – Air Travel in Images…

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Air Travel in Images Travel, whether on business or leisure, is something my family and I do a lot of.  I have traveled over 2M miles on one of the major US carriers and then there are the numerous flights … Continue reading

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Glimpse from Narita

This gallery contains 3 photos.

quick few snapshots from Narita on a sunny day

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Shanghai – More in Pictures

I went to Shanghai as a student in 1988…This was so very long ago…!  1988 Shanghai and the city today are (as you can imagine) completely different.  In previous postings in this blog I had provided images from the 1980s and 1990s Shanghai – I left the city the first time after spending two and a half years – departing in December 1990….I like to cross reference the photos as they tell so much about life styles – then and now..!

This time around I felt it is time to post some updates from daylight and night time Shanghai (Pudong and Puxi)…as I have said many times – nothing better than images to tell a story…


China-Shanghai-Pudong China-Shanghai

China-Shanghai China-Pudong

And then we even see the old JingAn Temple that adds a nice touch of history and culture to the rest of the modern metropolis…..

China-Shanghai China-Shanghai-Old China-Shanghai China-Shanghai

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Shanghai – Modern and Quaint

Shanghai-PudongMost of you already associate Shanghai with a modern metropolis – a city with very glitzy avenues, fancy shopping malls, luxury brands from the world over, and architecture to match it…  All areas of Shanghai – Puxi, Pudong, Minhang – have all grown into mega cities with a great density of high rises and great open streets, which appear to always get congested with vehicles no matter how many new ones get opened to traffic.

All in all Shanghai is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city focused on commerce, and of course the hi-life :-)   But if you search – you will discover!  The city still has its old charm in multiple areas, predominantly in Puxi – which still carry the old world charm of the pre-1940s architecture – when Shanghai was often referred to as “the Paris of the Orient”.

What I am referring to are the so called Shanghai Lilongs – hidden behind the grand avenues of the city anChina-Shanghai-Lilongsd a great discovery for all of us.   These neighborhoods have existed for over a century now and still carry somewhat tough to describe charm – but provide with the opportunity for a great multi-hour walk through their small alleys.  I think the best way to describe them to you is to show you a bunch of photos – like the one to the left of this paragraph…

What you would see are one and two story (mostly two story) buildings with stone and cast iron archways and plenty of interesting corners, and angles.

Here you go a few more photos to bring you some idea and then may be you will start the exploration Sunday afternoon stroll yourself.  Just be aware – wear comfy shoes – my last walk through the neighborhood behind Nanjing Street West took about 3 hours and quite a few miles – starting from the Jing An Temple and reaching to Nanjing Lu Xi and the near-by market.

China-Shanghai-Lilong  China-Shanghai-Turn-of-Century China-Shanghai-Lilong

All these images are something you can experience when you get lost in the alleys of the JingAn Villa Lilong near-by Nanjing Lu… Enjoy!

Shanghai-Nanjing-Lu-JingAn-Lilong                   China-Shanghai-JingAn-Villa-Lilong


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