Sorry Seems to Be the Easiest Word

Years ago, in between being the major international rock star I’d been in my 20s and becoming America’s best-loved air travel expert, I did some things of which I’m very far from proud. I worked as a word processor jockey at a big law firm in San Francisco mostly in the business of defending polluters…

An Antidote to Air Rage, Composed Under Its Influence!

Psychologist Robert Bor, who’s fascinated with how people behave when moving through the air at 500 miles an hour seven miles above earth, tells us that one of the reasons we’re seeing so much more air rage these days is that flying is very much less genteel than in decades past. “In [the 60s], flying…

Why Emirates is on a Roll

Emirates is certainly feeling its oats, reveling in their position as one of the world’s most prolific connectors of passengers and the faraway places they long to visit, and who can blame them? Last year, they flew around the world 18, 573 times, assuming you accept that the earth’s equatorial circumference is 40,075 kilometres, and…

The Medical Tourist

Two tickets for the price of one for Capricorns! Free upgrades to premium classes on Tuesdays in January! Fiancees ride free! $49 off your next economy-class coach flight with this coupon from Olive Garden! The airlines never seem to run out of promotional ideas to attract passengers, but one thing they all seem not to…

The MIR Thought of Taboo Travel

‪MIR began in 1986, when president and founder Douglas Grimes played for the American team in a glasnost-promoting Russian-American volleyball competition, and decided he really liked Russia. One of its most affordable tours is the Central Asian Epic Overland Adventure, which takes the traveler from Bishkek to Bukhara, calling at lots of places, presumably, whose names don’t begin with…

Out of Tune in Tunisia

Tunisia can’t catch a break. In 2010, the little Mediterranean country between Algeria and Libya, whose attractions include the ruins of the ancient city of Carthage attracted 7 million visitors. In the Arab Spring of 2011, the populace expressed its disgruntlement with President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali so emphatically, that he had to flee to…

Footprints on the Toilet Seat: Guidebooks for Novice Travelers

When a country’s economy booms, its residents start flying hither and yon in ever greater numbers. This is wonderful news for the hoteliers, restaurateurs and refrigerator magnet vendors of Hither and Yon, but maybe not so terrific for those principalities’ civilians, as  novice travelers can often be very obnoxious travelers, as witness to some recent…

The Baggage Handler

On hearing that I’m prone to occasional desolation, many of my readers are incredulous. “How,” they wonder accusatorily, “can one who flies first, or occasionally business, class to the world’s most glamorous destinations half a dozen times per month, and then is paid handsomely to recount the experiences in print, ever find himself down in…

Worshipping at 37,000 Feet

You will have heard by now that Etihad Airways is offering on-board nanny service to all classes of passenger, that Emirates has installed actual showers in some of its First Class cabins, and that, to mark the 158th anniversary of the birth of Sigmund Freud, Austria Airlines is expected to add a psychoanalyst to the…

Silly Season in the Skies

Maybe it’s something to do with the moon. Flight have been diverted and delayed for all sorts of wacky reasons the past several days. As children, many of us, to our considerable shame in adulthood, amused ourselves by using magnifying glasses to focus the heat of the sun on defenceless insects, melting them, or, in…