He has captained the ship through the most tumultuous, sustained and severe storm in our industry’s history. He has done it with a trademark determination and a remarkable calm. Al Mal Tiempo, Buena Cara – when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Over dinner Lal told me how he would watch the wealthy residents and citizens of Dubai turn up to his workplace in their swanky cars. “I would look at the cars and decide which one I would buy one day,” he said. Not dream about. Decide. And that is precisely what he did.
This is the closest I’ve got to Hainan since before the pandemic. Where’s my parachute when I need it?
I cannot imagine many Chinese or other Asian travellers feeling remotely comfortable wandering through an airport or boarding a plane in Europe where most people are unmasked.
Checking in is not as simple a process at it was in those halcyon pre-COVID days. PCR test results need to be checked along with all other details. Do NOT – as we had been forced to – turn up at the last minute.
This is where we go so wrong so often in the west. A mask is there for a reason. You don’t wear half an oven mitt to protect yourself from burns.
Boris Johnson said that the government had “underestimated” the extent of asymptomatic transmission and didn’t fully understand the coronavirus in the “first few weeks and months”. But now, 45,762 deaths later, they do understand. So that’s alright then.
The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.
Maria, the member of the cabin crew who looked after me and other passengers nearby, was charming, warm and professional, nothing forced about her manner, simply an outstanding, natural human host and wonderful brand ambassador.
The pressure now really kicks in and I must admit to even greater nerves than on the eve of the All Blacks match – and I was a shivering wreck then.
Which airline could keep me connected for longest and with the best line speed? Cathay won hands down. I suspect I am not the only travel retail executive deciding that connectivity is key to choice of carrier.
A little tipple is surely justified as today (19 October) is International Gin & Tonic Day and I’m about to be flown First Class to New York to celebrate.
Tonight I’m down the back of the plane (in a middle seat goddamn it) but one of the benefits of having squillions of points is that I have access to some decent lounges whichever part of the big steel bird I am flying.