Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jet Airways - Value for money ?

A quick scan of the internet for the cheapest flights between Thailand and the UK will invariably throw up the name of Jet Airways (india) as offering the best deals. But could paying less cost you more?
            Not put off by the chaotic transit process in Mumbai, i recently flew with Jet Airways for no other reason than it was the cheapest flight i could find.    A few days before departure i decided to change my travel dates. I phoned the Jet Airways office in Bangkok and, after being assured that i was entitled to a change of dates free of charge, i changed my itinerary with no fuss or bother.
               The next day i received an e-mail to confirm my new dates and a notification to say that i would be charged 1500 Baht at check-in for the change of date.  I phoned again and i was told that if i didn't pay the charge then i wouldn't be allowed to travel on my new dates.
                 On the day of departure i pleaded ignorance and poverty at the check-in desk but they stood firm  and weren't prepared to check me in without payment. So it was a simple case of pay up and shut up.
                 Let's fast forward to the return leg of the journey.   The young lady at the Heathrow check-in desk told me that i had to pay £31 for a change of date. I told her that i had already paid the fee some 3 months ago in Bangkok. She said that the payment wasn't showing on her system and the same rules as before applied.  So i had no choice but to pay AGAIN !       So, in summation, i payed TWICE  for a service that was supposed to be free of charge. (over £60)
service with a smile
Just to finish the story and properly besmirch the name of Jet Airways, I've one more thing to add.   On the flight to Deli, the attendant served everyone but me with their in-flight meal. She returned after 20 minutes to clear every ones trays and it still didn't register with her that i was sitting with an empty fold down table in front of me. The penny still hadn't dropped as i stowed the flaps of the table and told her "That was delicious" while sarcastically patting my tummy.
                                   You will all be familiar with the expression "service with a smile", well, i only got the smile !!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Floods in central Thailand

I went into Nakon Sawan city yesterday. It's the biggest place of note in the area and it watches over the Chao Praya river as it flows south to Bangkok where it spills into the Gulf of Thailand.    Rivers bring many good things to an area. But apart from the obvious benefits they also bring the threat of flooding when not properly managed.  Most rivers are almost impossible to tame and the Chao Praya is no exception. At this time of year mother nature reminds everyone that she is still in charge as the water rises to bank- breaking levels.
The local authorities in Nakon Sawan have dumped thousands of tons of ballast along the most vulnerable sections of waterfront. The second line of defence is a wall of sandbags. The third line, and this is what i witnessed first hand yesterday, is hundreds of people armed with buckets and basins. I edged forward to see that the water had seeped through the ballast but was held at bay (for the time being) by the sandbags. Ripples licked at the top of the ramparts and from time to time splashed over onto the defenders feet. I had seen enough. I wished some of the people "good luck" and made my way back to the truck that was parked close by. Some of them gave me a forced smile through tight lips but most of them had a look of resignation to their impending fate.
On the 45 minute drive back to Takhli, i noticed that most low lying areas had already succumbed to localized flooding.

not recommended
In several places, just the apex and a foot or so of roof gave a clue to the presence of the dwelling beneath. Several pumps were optimistically pumping water back into ditches whose sides had already been breached. But all efforts seem to be futile in the face of such a powerful and unforgiving adversary.

certainly not recommended
 Today, my thoughts are with the people who will have to put their homes and lives back together after the inevitable. Most of them on an annual basis.