Emirates cuts hurt but look beyond the Covid cloud

More pain, as Emirates says it will cut 30,000 jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s halt to air travel. Emirates airlines launched in the late 1980s. The routes expanded and, come the 21st Century, Emirates forced the arrogant old airlines to lift their game by offering a top class service to all cabin classes. Video screens in all seats, good meals setved hot, and friendly, multi-lingual staff were standard, not exclusive. Sadly, a downside to codeshare meant you could excitedly buy an Emirates economy airfare only to have your hopes dashed as you boarded a Qantas flight, isolated from the important Corporates and herded down the back to the Untouchables Class.
Let’s stay positive, smother this Covid curse with common sense, and we will soon get back exploring the world on these good arlines, such as Emirates.

Original article: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2020/05/18/emirates-to-cut-jobs-report/

Class act: Emirates delivers in all Cabin classes

Insidious Beauty

A Blue Flower Wasp, on the footpath outside my apartment, in St Kilda, Melbourne. First time I’ve seen one in Australia.

Don’t be deceived by it’s allure – it’s a parasitoid, and paralyses its prey, lays its eggs inside, and the hatched larvae slowly eat the living prey.

(I’ve known a few parasitoid colleagues😏)

Coronavirus: Lockdown Lunches

Lockdown lunches: better than my last effort? Peppercorn’s grass fed, gluten free (don’t know why) beef sausages, with my home grown (not supposed to be “miniature”) tomatoes, and egg cooked with hot paprika and dried rosemary. Frying up nicely …
*Sausages kindly supplied by Trevor Burridge pantry
*Real, not enhanced pic: you’re really seeing what I’m really eating
*Life in the Time of Coronavirus

Meals in the Time of Coronavirus

Well, it tastes much better than it looks😄. When you have to mix and match what’s in the cupboard and fridge, today’s winning combo: egg fried with hot paprika, pepper and dried rosemary, on wholemeal toast with tomato sauce, sliced baby beetroot, Smokey Baconnaise and – wait for it – Smokey Taramosalata dip. Oohh yeah!
*Tomato sauce optional ONLY if you are not an Aussie
*No staff were underpaid in the preparation and consumption of this meal

Mince and Mix for a Lunch in Lockdown

Life in the Time of Coronavirus: Lockdown Lunch is very low/slow cooked turkey mince with smoked bacon, heaps and heaps of red wine, dried mixed herbs, coarse pepper, garlic, home grown chilli, tomato paste, frozen peas & corn, on wholemeal toast, finished with generous dollops of spicy pumpkin dip.

“Why served on a paper plate,” I hear you ask? Good question: it adds that rustic, picnicky feel as I eat in the living room on my own😁
(All ingredients sourced from ALDI Supermarket over several visits – no hoarding!)

Kids – help your parents deal with the stress of coronavirus

ESSENTIAL guide for children to help their parents cope with the stress of coronavirus:
* Tell Mum & Dad that they will grow out of their toilet paper “thing” (which we don’t talk about)
* Explain that the sharemarket is like St Kilda footy club – it keeps getting pounded but always bounces back
* The family – including the dog and cat – can eat only so much rice and pasta so stop hoarding it
* Make up a family song about how good the NEXT holiday will be
* A parent’s hand must be no closer than 1.5m to your backside AT ALL TIMES

Cruise tourism hits pause button as coronavirus spreads

Norwegian Cruise Lines, one of the world’s Big 3 cruise lines, has put public health ahead of immediate profit and suspended all cruises by its 28 ships until April 11 as the coronavirus pandemic brings a global pause in tourism.

NCL, which includes Oceania and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines, has also introduced a new cancellation policy – see Cruising into the Future http://haxtrax.com/ – to encourage future bookings during the coronavirus pandemic.

Princess Cruises – which is owned by the World’s biggest cruise company, Carnival – recently put all of its cruises on temporary hold for two months because of the pandemic.

More: http://www.ncl.com

Cruising into the future

As tourism deals with a severe case of the flu, no sector is showing more symptoms than cruising. On the upside, at least one major cruise line is prescribing a beneficial remedy – Norwegian Cruise Line has updated its cancellation-and-credit policy to encourage travellers to keep planning ahead.

NCL says the “Peace of Mind” policy offers guests who book voyages through 30 September, 2020 the opportunity to cancel up to 48 hours before the sail date and receive a 100 per cent future cruise credit for use on any sailings through 31 December, 2022.

This new offer applies to all new guests as well as those already booked on voyages beginning 10 March, 2020.

Smart air travel

What is a night’s sleep worth? Even just a fitfull, semi-snooze during an international flight? As economy class travellers (which, let’s face it, is the vast majority), is a more expensive airfare worth the “investment” to arrive relatively refreshed ready for action, rather than save money on a budget option and waste two or more days recovering?

Believe me, jetlag recovery takes longer as each year passes. Myself being of a somewhat “compact physique”, air travel is the one time I can get revenge on the “longer legged” passengers … but seriously, I do feel for them. However, I’ve copped early-onset osteoarthritis in the lower back, making flying (read: sitting for extented periods) a painful challenge. I will pop a heavy duty painkiller or a knockout tablet (both of which I avoid at any other time) to make the trip bearable and I won’t sleep – and I’ll feel lousy for two to three days.

The cheaper/good value airfares for Melbourne/Sydney/Brisbane to Asia are predominantly overnight flights, such as Scoot via Singapore (generous carry-on weight limits but expect up to 24 hours’ travel time, and Singapore accommodation prices can be eye watering), the dreaded Jetstar Asia (once fabulous, but these days with a reputation for cancelling flights and gouging money eg: weighing the jewellery worn by women at boarding etc), Thai Airways via Bangkok, and Malaysian Airlines via Kuala Lumpur.

AirAsia X and smaller Chinese airlines can be cheap but expect a lenghty tour of the transit lounges of Asian airports – and really not a viable option when taking check-in luggage because of the self transfer stress and the frequency of late or cancelled flights.

Alternatively, pay twice the fare for a daytime flight, such as Qantas via Singapore, Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong, and China Southern is starting to offer some good value, daytime flights via Guangzhou. At present, I’m favoring Vietnam Airlines which has a day flight direct between Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).


Two EXTRA seats for just USD27. Yes, just USD27/AUD40 to have two vacant seats next to mine in Economy, on the Vietnam Airlines overnight flight direct from Ho Chi Minh City to Melbourne. Stretching out and sleeping is a huge plus (but, of course, expect to sensibly sit upright and buckle up tight during severe air turbulance, for your own safety).

The meal is hot, too (*hint hint* Qantas) and the cabin crew service is superb. The Economy fare is about AUD150 cheaper than Qantas. The extra seats are available only if not sold – so check with Vietnam Airlines and OptionTown, https://vietnamairlines.optiontown.com/

My motto: “travel smart, travel happy”.


Boarding a flight from Bangkok to Hanoi and in “autopilot mode” having had zero sleep on the preceding overnight flight from Melbourne, I place my bag in the overhead compartment at seat 34K and then notice someone’s in the seat. Recheck my boarding pass: it’s my error, mine’s seat 36K and I’m two seats too early. I apologise, mumbling: “Oops, I’ve jumped the gun” – GUN! A dozen alarmed faces swing around to stare at me! South-East Asians may not be familiar with Aussie vernacular, but they sure know the dreaded “G word”. In these days of heightened security, one must carefully choose one’s words … even if half asleep.