TPOL’s Worst Flight Experiences

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If you haven’t been reading TPOL, then you missed out on my sports bet whereby the loser, me, more than likely has to fly Air India in coach for 17 hours from SFO-DEL.

Go Blue! But damn, why could you not advance past weak Oregon? My impending doom on one of the worst airlines made me reminisce about less than memorable flights. Mind you, this does not mean the carrier is necessarily bad, it means that the flight experience and the surrounding events were terrible. And with that, here are my 10 worst flights:

10. Firefly KUL-LGK: How do you get to Langkawi? You take a prop plane. I’m fine with that but my mom and small planes do not get along.

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Don’t worry mom, they have life preservers.

9. Iceland Air RKV-JFK: Dear passenger, Norwegian Air does not fly out of Reykjavik. I still don’t know how I did this but I booked Oslo to JFK and didn’t find out until I arrived at RKV. $628 later, I had a great blog post about an experience I will never forget.

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It’s time to dream that you are good at paying attention to detail.

8. Qatar Airways JNB-DOH: Part of my $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World included two segments on Qatar. The first was JNB-DOH and the second was DOH-JFK. I was not impressed by the hard or soft product on either flight but what made the first flight especially annoying was the passenger who sat next to me. Instead of using his reading light, he insisted on using the overhead beam. Instead of 8 hours of relaxation, on the Middle East’s third best airline, I had to deal with Mr. Spotlight.

The old product on Qatar
The old product on Qatar

7. Allegiant: Every time I fly Allegiant, I promise myself that I will not fly them again.

his review doesn’t include photos of the inside of the plane as I will leave that to your imagination. Needless to say there is no Wi-Fi, soft drinks are not included, and the seats don’t lie flat.
his review doesn’t include photos of the inside of the plane as I will leave that to your imagination. Needless to say there is no Wi-Fi, soft drinks are not included, and the seats don’t lie flat.

6. Ethiopian Airlines ADD-IAD: I’ve flown Ethiopian twice from Addis Ababa in peasant. Unlike flying Etihad in first from AUH-LAX for 16.5 hours, the 16 hour flight halfway across the world can’t end soon enough. The memorable part of this trip was when the flight attendant asked if I would switch from the aisle to the middle seat to accommodate a family. I refused.

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5. Frontier SJO-PHX: In my post, Free without the ‘R’ spells FEE, I write about how I was nickled and dimed for everything I was worth when leaving Costa Rica on Frontier. I hate fees!

I arrive at the airport and the less than helpful agent tells me that I have to pay for my backpack because it exceeds the size of a personal item. Pleading with him that my laptop and jambox were very personal, I begrudgingly gave him my credit card and headed for the gate.
I arrive at the airport and the less than helpful agent tells me that I have to pay for my backpack because it exceeds the size of a personal item. Pleading with him that my laptop and jambox were very personal, I begrudgingly gave him my credit card and headed for the gate.

4. Air China NRT-PVG: Air China and I have a love hate relationship. Here is the love: I flew them into Mongolia when I made the bold decision to move there. I arrived happy that day but months later I was even happier when I flew flew Air China to get the hell out of that country. Here is the hate: I fought with the ticketing agent at NRT en route to PVG because she insisted that I needed a visa to go to China. They eventually let me on the plane but I could not enjoy the business class service. I spent my time trying to figure out if I was in violation of the Visa-Free Transit Rule.

Convincing the agent to let me leave. Joke was on me.
Convincing the agent to let me leave. Joke was on me.

3. EasyJet LGW-ATH: EasyJet is awful. The seats were tiny and it flew out of Gatwick.

Speedy Boarders’ are those as the gate agent stated that ‘pay for the privilege to board first.’ This confused many people at the gate including myself who thought it was term designated for frequent fliers who know how to get on and off planes.
Speedy Boarders’ are those as the gate agent stated that ‘pay for the privilege to board first.’ This confused many people at the gate including myself who thought it was term designated for frequent fliers who know how to get on and off planes.

2. Maldives Seaplane MLE-Rangali: For $500 you get to fly over the Maldives archipelago. I enjoyed my flight but Ms. TPOL was stuck in the Conrad Lounge at MLE airport for half a day because the liars at the airline or at Conrad Maldives messed up her itinerary. Meanwhile, I was in the hot tub of my overwater bungalow.

Maldives seaplane causing drama in paradise.
Maldives seaplane causing drama in paradise.
  1. Spring Airlines PVG-HKG: And now the conclusion to my NRT-PVG story. On my 34th birthday, I was not at MINT Shanghai. I was held in no-man’s land because I had, according to the immigration agent, violated the Visa-Free policy by flying into China from NRT and leaving out of China back to the US via NRT. Before arriving in PVG, I recognized the error of my ways (see #4 on the list) and booked a flight that would put me into compliance. She did not care and made me sit in the holding area until her shift was done. At 8AM a new guy and much nicer person told me I could fly to Hong Kong and back that day. For $400 RT for two people, I flew on the worst airline in the world. It was bumpy. It was noisy. It was exhausting. The only funny memory was the flight attendant leading the passengers in Tai Chi exercises. (Here’s the full story.)
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Move over China Eastern, I’ve found the new Greyhoud of the skies.

Somehow I feel that Air India will trump my Spring Airlines experience. Go Blue! Rebound next time.

8 COMMENTS

  1. let’s remember when to pluralize : “here are my 10 worst flight~~~s~~~:”

    got any DL sky club passes to reward my proofing??

    also, ever fly air vanuatu within the country. now that’s an experience…

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