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Old Mar 24, 08, 8:15 pm   #1
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DING DING! What makes a GREAT Trip Report?

Is there a place on FT for a few tips on making a catchy, succinct, entertaining report?
[Mods, I understand this isn't the best place for this; can you advise if you have a preference for TR-related Q&A?]
  • How do you guys do it?
  • Please note what you think is the essence of a great trip report.
  • Catchy title
  • Novelty
  • drama
  • Suspense
  • Black or blue comedy
  • Upgrades, compensation or free Krug
  • Spotting & talking to other FTers
  • Great personalities met along the way
  • Wow pics
  • Being the first to report on a special MR or error fare
  • Monster mileage run
  • Making a career out of flying (between meetings, of course) ... You know who I mean!
  • Great saves, comebacks and triumphs against the odds
  • Wit
  • ? ? ? ? ? ?
BiziBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 24, 08, 9:21 pm   #2
  
Join Date: Mar 2006
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I like the wide variety of trip reports we get here in the Trip Reports forum.

Some are long.
Some are short.
Some involve Krug.
Some involve Korbel.
Some have pictures.
Some do not.
Some are funny.
Some are not.

Everything on your list sounds good to me. But I wouldn't try and define any one type or component of a report as being greater than any other.
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Old Mar 24, 08, 9:42 pm   #3
  
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Good editing!

I enjoy reading many trip reports. However, some are really, really long. Granted, different people have different interests and some are interested in minute details, e.g. every single river and mountain flown over, every little scratch on the carpet, etc., but perhaps one way to satisfy differences in level and topics of interest would be to organize the report into chronological, major topics and label every paragraph accordingly, making it easier for the reader to focus on the paragraphs/items of interest to them.

Also, I've seen reports with way too many pictures. A picture is usually worth a thousand words, but five pictures of the same tea cup and saucer in different angles and zoom level are just four pictures too many! And repeating this for the menu, the blue sky and clouds, the runway, the other planes on the runway, the seat, back of seat, front of seat, the amenity kit... makes for a lot of unnecessary scrolling and wasted bandwidth!
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Old Mar 25, 08, 2:08 am   #4
  
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If you want to know what I think makes (is) a GREAT trip report look here:


Further Tales of First Class Decadence as Experienced On British Airways

Last edited by upgrade lover; Mar 25, 08 at 2:11 am Reason: to properly insert the link
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Old Mar 25, 08, 2:27 am   #5
  
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And this one which had me wetting my pants

The Mysterious Case of the Missing 5 - Or how I went to MEL in some style

Jeff
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Old Mar 25, 08, 2:57 am   #6
  
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IMO there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do a TR. Everyone has a different style, and personally I find it hard to pinpoint what is it about a certain TR that I like or dislike. I do however like pictures (though I can see the point about overkill) and make it a point to throw in a few pics of what I reckon are essential to illustrating various things I'm describing in my own TRs.

Some TRs make for great, frivolous reading (I especially love the funny ones and always wish I could be half as humourous in my writing style) over a soy latte or a cold one - others not so but might come in very helpful at some stage when I utilise the search function to shed some light on a particular product. So all good.
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Old Mar 25, 08, 4:23 am   #7
  
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Its very hard to say what makes a good trip report, some people, like Seat2A, seem to have natural writing abilities, for the rest of us mere mortals its a lot more difficult.
A good trip report is one that inspires me and makes me want to do something similar to the report. It will give you ideas and tips for things that perhaps you hadnt thought about.
Pictures are not important.
I think that if you can get a feeling that the writer is enjoying themselves, that makes for a good report.
Some people like a lot of detail, some do not.
Perhaps TEX277 summed it up well when he said that he writes the reports so the bring back memories for him, if he enjoys them the chances are that we will too.
What we dont want is for the reports to become formulaic, different styles make for interesting reading. Some people have a natural flair for amusing writing whilst others do not. Both styles work for me.
I do like reading a trip report in progress, such as Seat2A is doing at the moment, it builds up the suspense and keeps you looking.
I think over the years we have had some great reports, so lets leave people to their natural styles
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Old Mar 25, 08, 5:36 am   #8
  
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I've now written a fair few, from the mundane to the excitement of going nearer the nose-cone, to being shoved right to the back of it.

I try and write a Trip report "as fairly as possible" (although I freely admit my last one was filled with an amount a fair bit of grr).

I throw in a fair amount of pictures normally as I'm a geek and like pictures of planes, food and pretty things out of the window (yes isle seat people, the thing which lets light in).

Its a memory of the journey, and the lasting impression of it.

When I see others trip reports, I like to see objective and balanced viewpoints. I also love the "details".

Mine are sometimes viewed with wonder (I have this habit of turning right and heading towards the darker rows towards the back, so when i go even slightly nearer the front I try to write about the experience).

I also use my reports to look at the service and if its a route I frequent, comment on the improvements or drops in it.

Its really what you make it, and how you want to put them.

I really enjoy Moomba's, Raffles's, Kiwi Flyers's and lucky9876coins 's reports... just wetting my appetite for that lovely long haul redemption that might soon be mine!!!

Last edited by Kevincm; Oct 22, 08 at 4:19 am
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Old Mar 27, 08, 7:28 pm   #9
  
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Personally I prefer the TR's that I read to the ones I write. Mine are generally ramblings and musings on life hidden under a veneer of a TR - not much in the way of fact and often too much in the way of unrelated chatter.

I like to read simple TRs that talk about the experience and give me some insight to places and airlines that I might try and experience in the future - or perhaps not experience...
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Old Mar 28, 08, 9:01 am   #10
  
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This is one for the ages:

SYD to LHR on a Plane

-C
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Old Mar 28, 08, 9:45 am   #11
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I think there are basically two kinds of trip report:

1) The informational. Rather detailed but mostly dry, objective and to the point. Useful but usually not particularly entertaining. I'd put my last TR (the one on Mihin Lanka) in this category and say that, even if people have complimented me on it and I will agree it was a decent TR, nobody really had any fun reading it.

2) The fun/tale/novel-like. Subjective, personal and possibly lacking in detail (or overemphasising some details and totally ignoring others). Perhaps not very useful when you want to choose a carrier over another or know whether your favourite drink is served in the lounge, but interesting and often entertaining reading. Goldflyer's epic report is the archetypal example of this category.

Obviously, to make matters more complicated, there are a lot of reports that are a fusion of the two kinds. If you wanted to find an "objective" measure for what constitutes a "great report", you would have to combine the two...
But, at the end of the day, it's in the eye of the beholder. Depending on YOUR mood, a great TR may be the one that saves you from the grilled cockroaches in the business class meal or the one that makes you laugh for hours, or one that does both...
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Old Mar 29, 08, 12:32 pm   #12
  
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At the risk of plugging something that I once wrote in a trip report, I sum up my philosophy on this subject as....

"I find trip report writing to be quite therapeutic. What better way to mitigate the anxieties and hassles of life on the road than to share them with others who feel the same way."

The good Trip Reports are the ones that the reader can identify with - either with a "hey, that sounds like me" or a "wow, I wish that was me" or a "dang, I'm glad that's not me" reaction. The greatest ones package all three of those into a single post.

How exactly the author reaches that point though depends on their own motives for writing the report and their own skills at communicating. Sometimes one needs to share just a little bit more than the reader is expecting to read in order to create the personal connection. Its an art form and every person has their own tastes and skills.

The beauty of this forum (and the true joy I get from being the moderator here) lies in the sheer variety of viewpoints and experiences that are shared here. There is truly a lifetime full of highlights documented on these pages and we are priviledged to have the various authors share these with us.
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Old Mar 30, 08, 12:50 am   #13
  
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Couldn't have said it better myself, so I won't even try!
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Old Mar 31, 08, 1:55 pm   #14
  
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From someone who has never written up a TR, I have a question:

How do people get such detailed info about their meals? Are they scribbling madly on a piece of paper with menu in hand? Are they somehow typing on a laptop despite having their table in front of them full of a meal? Are they taking photos of the menu so they can go back and type it up later?

I'm just amazed at the detail of the meal descriptions in some TRs (especially the ones in F with lots of choices) and I don't understand how they manage to get all this information down and still have time to actually enjoy their time flying.
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Old Mar 31, 08, 2:54 pm   #15
  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cs19 View Post
From someone who has never written up a TR, I have a question:

How do people get such detailed info about their meals? Are they scribbling madly on a piece of paper with menu in hand? Are they somehow typing on a laptop despite having their table in front of them full of a meal? Are they taking photos of the menu so they can go back and type it up later?

I'm just amazed at the detail of the meal descriptions in some TRs (especially the ones in F with lots of choices) and I don't understand how they manage to get all this information down and still have time to actually enjoy their time flying.
Thats easy to answer. Simply take the menu off the plane with you.
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