Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I'm in Duisburg this week doing some work for a client who has a big IT operation here.

Yesterday was a rather eventful day

  • I ran into an old college friend (the one who bullied me into playing squash) in the queue for coffee in the departure lounge

  • The taxi driver at Dusseldorf airport managaed to turn a 20 minute cab ride into a 75 minute journey of discovery. (The lesson here is: don't rely on the sat nav if it's clearly giving insane instructions - you'd think a taxi driver would know this but you'd be wrong)

  • The Steigenberger hotel in Duisburg is the first business hotel I've ever stayed in that doesn't have air conditioned rooms. I was so hot last night that I thought I was going to pass out. I packed my bags this morning and was about to cancel the rest of my booking and check out two days early when they "managed" to find me a cooler room. Strange how they didn't think of offering one when I called down to reception the night before....

I also encountered the usual moral hazard that is presented by self-checkin machines..... do you tell the truth about the fact that you have a laptop case and a suitcase but are travelling economy in a tiny plane (and hence be forced to check it in) or do you lie to the machine (after all... it's only a machine.....)?

As always, I lied to the machine and was most grateful that Lufthansa had laid on a little trolley for me to place my suitcase on as I boarded and that it was there waiting for me when I disembarked. I know most airlines do this as a matter of course when you're flying on one of those tiny planes that you have to walk up to but I live in fear that one day a bossy official will shout at me and I'll get in trouble :-p

And while I'm on the topic of business travel... my client (a bank) has free coffee and sparkling water in its offices. Accustomed as I am to paying nine pence for a cup of hot water, this was a welcome surprise.


Andrew Ferrier said...

Hmm, is this another good reason for flying BA?.

British Airways allow you a computer bag in addition to your small suitcase in your carry-on:


It looks like Lufthansa aren't quite so generous:


Richard Brown said...

"s this another good reason for flying BA?"

What's the first good reason? :-p

Actually, to be fair to them, their short haul service isn't as bad as some of the others.

Long-haul, however, and Virgin beat them by a mile. Just a pity they don't have as extensive a route network.

Ben said...

AAArrgh ... OK I've refrained long enough ... if this debate is happening I have to mention my most recent pain with Air France. I flew to CdeG from Soton yesterday. Mr RB would have been a happy bunny coz they had a small trolley for my oversized hand luggage which I lied about, but a take off delay of 30mins became landing 60mins beind schedule. Follow this with a "fermez" autoroute and it was clear the only way i was gonna get to Chartres was by wiating 2 hours (until 00:40) for a train which would stop at every little cheese eating surrender monkey hamlet on the way. After I let loose at my french cabbie, in true cabbie stylee he proceded to offer to drive me all the way (about the distance from Heathrow to Hursley). Muchos haggling later I managed to drive him down about 30 quid and arrived at my hotel at 11pm precisely. Jobs a good un. Moral of the story ... dont trust french cab drivers' first price, and travel somewhere where u know enough of the lingo not to get taken advantage of.... btw thoroughly recommend Chartres - just got back from viewing their rather magnificent cathedral (very similar to Winchester but better stained glass) ... just about worth the 40minute walk from my business park location. C'est Magnifique.

Richard Brown said...

Ahhh... at least I'm not the only trolley smuggler on the team.

Andrew Ferrier said...

I'm not sure using the word 'smuggler' about airline travel these days is wise somehow :)

Actually, I've found BA to be quite reasonable by and large. They do seem to get the basics right. Long haul may be another story but I'm not sure I've ever flown BA economy long-haul anyway.

Richard Brown said...

BA Club World is good... but Virgin Upper Class is out of this world....

Still, beggars can't be choosers and I'd quite happily fly Club World more often, given the chance :-)