Asia, Countries, Europe, Flying

Flyday Friday – Turkish d’flight out of Dublin

You know they’re smiling behind their masks… and why wouldn’t they? Because Turkish Airlines are back flying us out of Dublin.

And believe me they’re a delight.

I have fond memories of being met by Mr Turkish Airlines wwwa.turkishairlines.ie Onur Gul at their desk before being flown out to exotic destinations… https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/12/atoll-tale-the-maldives/amp/ and Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

They’ll be flying twice a week for the remainder of this month and four times weekly in July.

I do hope that we’ll not stop talking to our fellow passengers just because we’re wearing masks.

I’ve met some lovely and fascinating people on flights.

Sweet dreams

And the odd Manchester United fan in TA’s famed business class with whom I’ve slept tops and tails and who has snored their head off.

You know who you are, Brian http://www.kuramathi.ie.

Virgin territory

Passengers are a bit like needy lovestruck teenagers… stick with me here.

We need constant reassurance and validation.

And I’m happy to say that our airlines have been using this lockdown to tell us how much they love us.

I know, and love Virgin, from my fact-finding research trips to the Caribbean www.visitbarbados.org, www.visittobago.gov.tt and Let’s rumba in Barbados, My kiss with Rihanna and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

And I am delighted that they have been keeping us members of their Flying Club up to speed with how we’ll all be taking to the skies again soon.

Come August they’ll be planning to return to 17 destinations.

They’re all available to book now along with flights from New York JFK, Los Angeles and Hong Kong to London Heathrow, starting from July 20.

And here’s what to do when you get there, https://www.virginatlantic.com, www.visitlondon.com and The London life and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/29/carole-king-youre-beautiful-londonwestend-musical/amp/.

Departing Edinburgh

No, I haven’t persuaded The Scary One to leave the delights of North Berwick near Edinburgh, I’m merely flagging up Edinburgh Airport’s http://www.edinburghairport.com reopened destinations.

Edinburgh was the last airport I flew out of … to Prague www.czechtourism.com way back in February. Yes years ago Hope springs eternal.

And I’m glad to say they’re now flagging up other old favourites back on the schedule.

Budapest, Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona https://www.barcelonaturisme.com/wv3/en/ and Messi around on the water . And Smooth sailing around the Western Med.

And anybody who has flown out of Dublin Airport and then Edinburgh http://www.edinburgh.org  and Edinburgh – an old friend will be comforted by the comparative smallness of the Scottish version.

Taking to the Aer

And the last word is to back Aer Lingus’s www.aerlingus.com stance on the Irish Government’s latest direction of travel on quarantines.

While welcoming the lifting of the restrictions from July 9, they merely want clarity until then.

As one who would gladly queue overnight to get back, I echo their call. And all my airline friends who we appreciate even more, if that’s possible, now we’ve been seeing them less Flyday Friday – Airline angels with wings 

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

Countries, Deals, Flying, Ireland, UK

Flyday Friday – who’s going to fly our planes?

Well the quick answer is me…

That’s because of my sterling efforts at mastering the simulator at Turkish Airlines http://www.turkishairlines.com in Istanbul.

I went out for the opening of the biggest airport in the world, the Istanbul Airport, last year.

You get an immediate sense of Istanbul being at the crossroads of the East and the West when you travel through Istanbul Airport.

That’s before you even get out onto the Bosphorus.

Or visit the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar or the hamam where Florence Nightingale, Rudolf Nureyev and John Travolta all visited… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/ .

Hub of the world

And you see a troupe (I don’t know what the collective noun is) of Hasidic Jews travel through the terminals. Istanbul,

I discovered it is the biggest hub for Jews returning to Israel.

You could fly an airplane through our airports now (they’re so quiet).

Big enough to drive an F1 car in: The TA Business Lounge

Which I very nearly did after scraping the Statue of Liberty and coming down nose first at JFK in that simulator flight at Turkish Airlines HQ.

The crisis facing our airline industry has been somewhat subsumed.

By the bigger challenges of health and the economy facing the whole world right now.

Tourism driver

But the immediacy of the threat to the sector has to be addressed. Alas,

Travel has forever been treated as frippery and indulgent by politicians and Big Business compared with other industries.

And tuck into BA’s Business Class food

Only tourism is at the heart of every country’s economy, before we even get onto its importance to business.

And while it is obvious that virtual tourism cannot replicate the joy of seeing a county or its people first hand.

And our providers have done a stand-up job in recreating their destinations this way during this crisis.

The same applies to business.

What will social distancing look like?

Dealing with real 3D people first hand over a beer or bottle of wine while sampling local cuisine is the best way to forge relationships.

Faceless bureaucrats

Oh, yes, there’s the conference meetings too.

But don’t we all just look at our watches or the time on our phones when we’re stuck in one of them?

We must fight against the high heed yins, or suits, who will want to stick with Zoom and other digital platforms.

In an effort to cut costs rather than fly their executives out to each others’ countries.

I can just see those faceless, soulless, personality vacuums, the numbercrunchers pushing for a retention of this contactless-free zone we all live in now.

Filling the air: Ryanair

And where do we stand today… with a third of British Airways http://www.britishairways.com staff worried for their jobs, their operation at Gatwick at risk.

Our crew and pilot friends

Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com planning to cut 3,000 jobs and reduce staff pay by up to a fifth?

And Virgin Atlantic www.virginatlantic.com furloughing its staff and raising the alert as to its futurez

And airlines around the world facing similar heart-wrenching decisions.

Every one of those employees is valuable and their struggles are ours.

I have come to know some of them professionally and personally and my heart goes out to them all as they too foresee an uncertain future.

Pointing to the future: In an airport in February

We are continuously having it drilled into us that ‘we will all get through this together’.

But let’s just think about the sectors and real people who are falling through the cracks.

Save our sector

We must have a Travel industry and an air sector to return to for the good of us all.

It cannot all be left to the Trade and the Public.

It is time for those politicians in their private planes to remember the rest of us.

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES

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Flyday Friday – Virgin vs plastic

Are you a hoarder? It sounds like one of those American TV ads… call this number for a money back guarantee if you’re not truly satisfied.

I have more toothbrushes, combs, earplugs, eye masks and pens than I know what to do with.

And bags in which to hold them.

And it’s rightly getting up The Scary One’s nose.

Which is handy because I reckon I’ve got some kind of stick for that too.

What’s not handy though is the amount of plastic I’ve accumulated.

They’ve got a wardrobe for you

So I’m delighted to see that Virgin Atlantic are leading the way in new biodegradable airplane sundries.

What do we get then?

Toothbrushes made out of bamboo which sounds gentle in my toothies which are particularly brittle.

And even the pen is made of recycled kraft paper.

Virgin is hoping to save 945 tonnes of plastic waste each year, the equivalent of six airbus 350 wide body jets.

I’m lucky enough to be a member of the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club who will keep you up to date with all the great deals and more www.virginatlantic.com.

Try out their Caribbean routes and my reviews Let’s rumba in Barbados and My kiss with Rihanna.

The airline are also branching out into Virgin territory as it were with a first foray into South America.

Brazilliant: Sao Paulo

And Sao Paulo in Brazil from Heathrow.

They will begin the route from March 29.

Virgin has also agreed a codeshare with GOL that will serve 37 destinations across Brazil and expand reach across South America.

Berlin y’all

Fly the flag. Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

Berlin is high up on The Scary One’s wish list… she has a great affinity with the land of her birth.

Any year is good to visit the German capital but this year is best with the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall upon us.

Aer Lingus is offering Berlin from Dublin among its range of destinations in its September sale from €34.99.

Which has a touch of October about it. See www.aerlingus.com for terms and conditions.

And also try the jewel of east Germany which you can reach from Berlin https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

Agadir, do, do

A touch of Morocco. Photo Nicolas Postiglioni on Pexels.com

I’ll admit it. I have my demons.

Morocco is one.

I might just have got unlucky in Marrakech and the Sahara, almost being mugged, getting ripped off in the souk and getting food poisoning in the Sahara after a tajine.

Or maybe I was in the wrong city.

Air Arabia www.airarabia.com has a special promotional fare of from €135 return Dublin to Agadir.

And they’re pitching (sorry) golf, beach, sun, culture, food and more.

And they’ll give you a 15kg free golf kit allowance.

G’Day Melbourne

Melbourne. Photo by Tiff Ng on Pexels.com

I’ve been spending the summer as I do every fourth summer watching the Ashes and the dulcet, or ear-piercing, tones of Shane ‘Warney’ Warne.

Now I heard the former spin king and England legend Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham eulogise about Melbourne (and London).

I know about London https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-london-life/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/23/carole-king-youre-beautiful/.

But I could if I jumped on Etihad’s http://www.etihad.com Melbourne’s Global sale which is headlining with Business Melbourne from €3,3367.

Now while the old refrain from his team-mates when he was playing was ‘Well bowled, Warnie’, may I offer ‘Well sold, Etihad.’

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Tobago… ready, steady, goat.

My Dear Old Mum would sometimes chide me for being a bit of a giddy goat.

Nothing much changes, she’s still my Dear Old Mum, although a year older, and dearer, on Saturday, while I’m even giddier and even goatier…

With white hair hanging from my chinny-chin-chin.

We’ve had some travels, me and Mum, and I often think how much fun we’d have had together in some others.

A tartan band: She’s small but mighty

Like Tobago.

Tobago ‘our little dot on the map’ as one local called it lies just off Trinidad and just off Venezuala.

But it’s in a world of its own with a tropical rainforest, its own national dish ‘crab and dumpling’.

That’s my kind of beach

And TV chef Ainsley Harriott was there to try some for himself.

Sunday School, which is anything but… it’s actually a street party held in Buccoo every Sunday night.

When our friends from Tobago visit every year it is always a highlight of the Travel circuit.

Last year they brought us up to speed with the many unique cultural aspects of the island.

This year they wanted to stress the nature, animal and birdlife and sustainability of the island.

Carnival time

The best animals, of course, are the goats.

The Tobago Goat Race was started by Bajan Samuel Callender in 1925 as an more everyman’s alternative to horse racing.

Those goats again

It runs every Easter Tuesday… and I’m looking to get out there next year to run too.

And some cooking… here’s Yzanne Williams Chance

Am I kidding? You’ll need to keep following to find out.

See http://www.tobagobeyond.com, http://www.visittobago.gov.tt and here’s a neat site I found too http://www.buccoo.net.

How to get there

Virgin Atlantic flies from Manchester and Gatwick http://www.virginatlantic.com

And British Airways flies from Gatwick http://www.britishairways.com.

Now you want to read about my adventures in the Caribbean? Thought you would https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/rihanna-in-barbados/

And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/my-kiss-with-rihanna/

And you want to see how I got on when I tried to learn how to cook Caribbean-style…

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Holidos and don’ts – packing tips

She’s the Wonder Woman who sews me up and sends me on my way… and very occasionally I come back with everything I left with.

And I’m getting better.

I’m also prompted by RTE reruns of the sumptuous Silk Road by the even silkier Joanna Lumley who agrees about the importance of multi-compartment purses and wallets.

They come in all shapes, sizes and styles (wives and wallets) and all make your life easier.

So what to remember

Your passport obviously. Now you may want to keep it in your inside jacket pocket or perhaps skin tight in your front trouser pocket.

And you will need to take it in and out at the airport but when you don’t need it, it’s best to put it away in the zipper compartment of your folder. If you’re travelling with your partner and your kids maybe put them all in together.

When you get to your hotel room put your valuables in the safe and only take it out if you need it for ID for bars, nightclubs or to get into some sports events.

Your tickets. Keep in another sleeve or compartment. It will be easier to differentiate. Some people (usually younger) are comfortable with having their tickets on their phones but what happens if you run out of battery (Ally?). Be safe do both.

Currency. Save yourself fiddling around in your wallet/purse between euro and a foreign currency and maybe even a third (sterling) if you’re passing through London. Use a third compartment for foreign dosh.

Now you’re on the plane

If you’re on a long-haul flight then you’ll want to keep your vanity case with you… save yourself from having to tap the person sleeping next to you so you can get up to the overhead cabin.

And if you’ve had the good fortune to go Business Class then remember the little overnight bags they give you the next time you travel.

And the earplugs will block out the noise of the snorer next to you.

Overnight bags tend to be the same but different and it’s always nice to find a little new treat.

A little bottle of Eau de Cologne was a particular treat in the Etihad bag I got this week even though I’m the last person who needs it.

Thank you http://www.etihad.com. And you too http://www.aerlingus.com, http://www.turkishairlines.com, http://www.virginatlantic.com, http://www.britishairways.com and everyone else who keeps us all refreshed in the air.

Luggage

Unless you’re just doing an overnighter you’ll probably be taking hand luggage and putting a suitcase in the hold.

Don’t do as I do, but as I say.

Avoid black or blue suitcases, they all look the same on the carousel. Put stickers on it to identify it as uniquely yours, maybe places you’ve been to cheer you up.

Padlock your case up and choose a lock number that’s not 1234 or your birthday or one you might forget.

And always fill out your luggage tag with your address for obvious reasons.

Don’t forget to remember

Make a list. Check it twice and give yourself enough time.

Better if you pack to go home the night before but if you are making the most if your last night on holiday then set your alarm early or get a room call.

Otherwise…

Next week: How I didn’t take any of this advice and some of the scrapes I got into (and out of) mostly because of the saints and saintesses who helped me out.