Oct. 16, 2022

Flying Tips and Tricks

Travel First S02E03
Flying Tips and Tricks
Join Chris Coleman as he and his wife head back into the world of cruising.
Chris is on his way, the first step is to fly to Hawaii…and in this episode Chris gives you some great flying tips to help make your trip as...

Travel First S02E03
Flying Tips
Join Chris Coleman as he and his wife head back into the world of cruising.
Chris is on his way, the first step is to fly to Hawaii…and in this episode Chris gives you some great flying tips to help make your trip as hassle free as possible. Learn from his experiences.
For more about Royal Caribbean and their cruises visit https://www.royalcaribbean.com/
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Travel First S02E03 AI Transcript

Alex: Travel first. And boy, have I got something special for you. Chris Coleman is in a ship. Well, it's on a ship, really, on his way to Hawaii. And you're not really on a ship. You're being lied to. It you are, uh, in your home. That, uh, is nondescript. In the background, half a couch and a smiling face. How do we know that you're on the ship right now?

Chris: You're going to have to take my word for it. Unfortunately, I, um, tried to set up on our balcony, which I just do this, which is behind those curtains, there is a balcony. OK? Every time I went outside, my computer refused to connect to the onboard Internet, which the people that were all Caribbean have given me to abuse and abuse for the next three weeks while we're on board from Honolulu to Sydney.

Alex: You are blaming that's the ultimate excuse, isn't it? Uh, people, Chris doesn't love you, basically. That's what he's saying.

Chris: I'm, uh, blaming this computer. This computer has decided every time I go outside and say, no, you can't have the Internet, I walk back into the room, it's fine. I walk outside and it gives up. It says you've got a full connection, you just can't use it. But at some stage, I promise, in the next couple of weeks, I will show you plenty of outdoors, okay? But right now, you have to take my word for it. I'm in a balcony room on board the ovation of the seas, sitting in the, uh, appear to be of the Hawaiian International Cruise ship, um, terminal. You just have to take my word. Uh, you'll see plenty.

Alex: One of the good things about Chris is a storyteller. Now, talking about stories, I've already put up to the news that Tom Cruise's next adventure quite seriously, is going to be with the International Space Station. He's actually going out of this world to bring us his next heroic stunt, whatever that might be. I reckon it's a long lead into this, whenever this is going to be. You've also had a long lead in, in fact, 80 hours before departure, something happened. What's this magic number of 80?

Chris: Now, this is something new that I have learned. And I asked if you've heard about the 80 hours before takeoff rule, and I was delighted to hear that you hadn't. Have you ever gone onto a website? And I don't know if it's a positive to all airlines, but certainly for Qantas it does. Have you ever gone on to an airline and thought, gee, I wish I could get a better seat than what's on offer?

Alex: Of m course.

Chris: Well, the trick is to go on to Qantas at exactly 80 hours before takeoff. That is when they unlock all the seats that they tentatively reserve for premium frequent flights. So people with the platinum cards and so on, and the chairman, Stan members who can walk up to a flight a couple of days away and get the best seats that are in the plane if they're not taking that 80 hours rule.

Alex: How did you learn about the 80 hours rule? How did you learn with it?

Chris: I have a very good source who said, you're going to love this, you're flying overseas. He said, you're leaving at 07:00 on Friday night, on Tuesday at 11:00, a.m. Jump on and you will see a number of seats magically. Open up. I thought he was talking rubbish. I did it at eleven two on Tuesday and I scored an exit row for free. When you're my height, six foot one on a bit, an exit row is gold, my friend.

Alex: Yeah, exactly. So, hang on, where were you and where did you get to?

Chris: We, uh, were in Sydney about the time I was in Canberra. Sydney.

Alex: Which seat? Give me an idea.

Chris: Originally, uh, if you have a look on the flight map for Qantas for their A 330 long haul flight, you'll see row 57 is a decent road to be in because that's where the middle section goes from four to three. So you get extra leg room in the side seats and extra aisle room. We move from row 57 to row 24. Row 24 has the extra leg room because there is an exit around the other side of the bulkhead. So we, uh, managed to get that move. Normally they would charge extra for that seat. So we did that. So that's what, 80 hours, I believe it applies to domestic and international flights, exactly 80 hours before you take off. So that was the first one. That was a great start of the holiday.

Alex: The other thing is that even though you're a disreputable man, they've actually let you on board and now onto the actual ship. So clearly there is some what about the security concerns that I have? Did it ask you to give you a character reference? And I'd say, what character reference? Tell me about security.

Chris: We managed to lose a tube of sunscreen. And, you know, and I know, uh, when you take a tube of anything that's bigger than about 100 grams, if it has to go through the main security on international, it's going to go. Now, we originally had packed three bags. So a large bag, a medium bag and a small bag with the intention of them all going through, uh, check in. What we didn't realize, and this was my fault, was that when you fly to the States, yes, you're allowed 32 kilos of luggage, but it all has to fit in one bag. You can't spread that 32 across, uh, uh, two other bags. So while I had a medium bag, which came in at about 17 kilos in a small bag that came in at five, we couldn't put the small bag through and that's where the sunscreen was. So we end up with an extra carry on bag, which was no great. Hassle no problem until we got to Sydney Airport. And we remember a few weeks ago, alan Joyce from Qantas said, some travelers are not match fit. Mhm I was not one of those match fit travelers because I forgot that the sunscreen was in the bag. And we got through and the bag got sidetracked through the x ray machine. And a lovely lady from security, a lovely lady from security said, what's in there? And I said, There might be a small tube of sunscreen. And she's pulled it out and she said, Would you call this it was not a small tube. Would you call this a small tube of sunscreen? And I said, well, you've got to give me points of trying. She said, no, I'll just take the sunscreen. So we got caught there.

Alex: This goes to your character, a small screen. We're coming about a wild side, right, for three weeks. Hang on, there is a solution. You smear yourself in the sunscreen, like double triple A sunscreen. You sit in the seat, looking forward to seeing Hawaii. By the time you get there, it will work perfectly. There's your solution.

Chris: Alas. Look, you are an ideas man, Alex. I will say that you are definitely an ideas man. But there are two morals to the story. Check the baggage limits and how many bags it applies to, and double check what's in your bag. But it wasn't a huge deal. We bought more sunscreen in Hawaii, so that's all okay. But, yeah, we got to see the airport with a bag that was slightly lighter because it had lost a couple hundred grams of sunscreen.

Alex: So I just want to clarify all of this, though. When you say one bag with the United States, hang on, you're saying I thought you could have two suitcases, could you not?

Chris: No, not anymore. Check with your airline. But, uh, every time I've been to the States in the past, it's been two suitcases. This time it was one suitcase up to 32 kilos. So I could have put half an elephant into my suitcase, okay, and we would have been fine. But because I didn't have a, uh, half elephant sized suitcase and tried to divide the elephant up into smaller packages, yeah, we got done. We had to carry one as an extra carry on, which was fine. It wasn't a real problem, except that we lost the sunscreen. You see, that our extraordinary duty free shopping.

Alex: Well, actually, yes, this is much to do about nothing. It's a tube of two places, sunscreen, after all. Okay, so, yeah, you did duty free shopping at Sydney Airport.

Chris: Yes, duty free shopping. It's been a while since I've worried about Juty free shopping at Sydney Airport. And can I say, and I think it's much the same across Australia now, is that, um, duty free shopping these days, it's not really hugely cheap anymore. It's convenient, certainly now you're allowed to bring on to a Royal Caribbean cruise ship you're allowed to bring on a couple of bottles of wine. My birthday is coming up. I want to have a nice bottle of wine to have so we bought a couple of nice bottles of wine and we brought them on board. We bought them duty free on the way through. On the way through. Could I bought them for the same price as a bottle shop in Australia? Absolutely. I could have. Is it more convenient to pick it up at the airport so it doesn't count toward your baggage allowance again? Absolutely. So that's what we did there. Um, but we got that and then we went down to uh, the American Express land. I don't know whether you've uh, ever used it. I know you have actually used private land as an airport. Um, the American Express land is wonderful. If you got an Amex card you can use it. Um, I will say it's not as exclusive, it doesn't feel as exclusive as it used to.

Alex: I wasn't even aware of that. I mean I'm a frequent American Express user but so they've got a special lounge for anybody or specific cards.

Chris: It varies from card to card. Uh, so best advice here is to check with American Express on their website. It will say how many times a year, how many passes a year you get.

Alex: Similar that you would have with the lines themselves.

Chris: Similar in terms of from my experience it's similar to similar to the Qantas Club lounge. So there's constantly available hot, uh, buffet of food. There are uh, drinks, uh, available alcoholic and nonalcoholics. The best part is that it is quiet and you can sit away from the madden crowd. They don't make flight announcements. So you've got to be aware of time. You got to keep aware of time. The time can pass but it is certainly more comfortable than being at the general terminal area.

Alex: I want to ask a specific question of you because of covert, et cetera, how long do you need to leave before you fly out overseas? What's the desirable time and how did that work out?

Chris: Uh, for us? We got to Canberra Airport. We flew to Canberra. To Sydney? We actually allowed 6 hours, uh, time in case our flight from Canberra has been delayed because there's been a lot going on there. So we'd allowed 6 hours between landing in Sydney and departing internationally. Uh, and it went very, very smoothly. They were saying 90 minutes beforehand, uh, for people who are coming to direct with the Sydney airport, I don't know, I couldn't do that. I wouldn't be able to trust myself for an international flight to turn up at the airport 90 minutes beforehand and go through. Um, but I haven't seen any advertisements.

Alex: Long time, Chris, to feel okay, you do a bit of dutyfree shopping but you know, that might take you half an hour, an hour and then what? Are you doing in the lounge? I mean, you can only eat so much and you don't be stopped big when you hop on board aircraft either.

Chris: Uh, uh, lot of people watching, a lot of reading. Uh, and in my case, uh, dare I say, actually logging on and finishing off some work that needed to be done before we departed. There's always things to do.

Alex: Alex one of the things that happens, and it depends on your status, shall we say you can get massages in certain airport lounges and you can get foot rubs and any of that. Is any of that available for us average individuals?

Chris: Uh, no. Certainly in the amex lounge. There is one in Sydney, there's one in Melbourne. So you'll be pleased to know that next time you go overseas, just check that out. But it really is just a place to kick back, put your feet up, and not be surrounded by quite as many people. The other thing I did was make sure that all my devices were charged up. So there are charging stations all over the place. Uh, we've used this lounge before. A, uh, few of the charger points weren't working around the place. I don't know whether they're reconfiguring things or whether it's just that, um, they've got a little bit old and tired and broken. So that's, uh, something else in there. But I will say the bar service and the hospitality was great. And if you like to get a sugar hit before you get on a plane, that is a really nice jars of jelly lollies, so you can grab those as well.

Alex: Very good.

Chris: Alex. There's plenty more to talk about, which we will do in coming weeks. But the one other thing I will say, the Qantas app is very strange. It is a very strange beast. Even though days out, we had done all the necessary US paperwork. So we've done our Esther to get into the US. And we've done our Attestation so that they could look into the character and decide whether they're going to let us in or not. And had supplied our covered vaccination status right up to the time we got on board the plane, the app was still saying, enter your details. Enter your details. Even though I had actually entered them through the app, the app was still saying, can you enter your Attestation details and your cover vaccination status? So somewhere in there, there are still gremlins, which are worse and probably more annoying. Because if you're like me, if you've done a form and then the website says Fill in the form, you start to panic and think that your details haven't gone through. I Continues.

Alex: You'Ve gone full circuit. You started by sniping the poor it boffins, and you ended by not only dug that knife in so deeply, blood is pouring from their hearts. Chris, it's time for you to go. That's it. We'll speak again in a few days'time. We'll hear more about Chris's Maddening adventures, and hopefully you and your wife have a wonderful time.

Chris: We'll speak to you then. Alex and I'll try not to annoy too many more it people by eating their hearts out with a spoon, because it's dull and it'll hurt more.

Alex: Well, Sir Anthony Hopkins did a pretty good job of that in a movie. And you're, um, just continuing the tradition. Catch you later, Chris. You've been listening to Travel First, available at Apple podcasts.

Chris: Google podcast.

Alex: Podcasts spotify Ihave Radio or your favorite podcast player. You can also stream on Demand @ bitesz.com. This has been another quality podcast production from bitesz.com.

Chris ColemanProfile Photo

Chris Coleman

Storyteller, sports fan, traveller, foodie!

Chris is a storyteller who spent more than 35 years on radio, and increasingly in the online world, with occasional excursions into TV and print. Outside of his family, Chris’s two biggest loves are sport and travel - and he can’t get enough of either of them.

After a few years away from travelogues, Chris will periodically join Alex First to share his travel adventures and experiences both within Australia and overseas.