This review perfectly sums up this movie. And how I felt.
I didn't believe it, when Air India got into "Breaking News" announcing they made a profit. Because that is unbelievable. But then they did it again when they set a supposed "world record" for flying the longest non-stop flight. The news was first reported on Flightradar, and everyone else has simply copied over the content and reported it verbatim. And with the Indian government's new plan to make flying cheaper and affordable to Indians under their Udaan program, the focus is back on flying and planes.
Apparently, the government plans to cap the cost of 1-hour domestic flights to a certain amount. This will make it more affordable to the commonfolk (mango-men). But then I recalled reading another article which said that India already has the lowest prices for flying domestic !
Research by Kiwi.com, an online flight comparison site, states that the average cost per 100km to fly domestic in India is 3.25 USD !! And the low cost rate is actually lesser at 2.27 USD. And yes, currently that is the cheapest in the world. The most expensive country to fly is...UAE, with a rate of 105 USD per 100 kms. That’s about 50 times costlier.
Well this news changes everything we thought about flying in India. On one side, flyers kept complaining of hidden charges and 'convenience' fees on their flight tickets. On the other side, the airline companies complained that the cost of aviation fuel was extremely high, and that they were simply passing over that cost to the end customer, the passenger. So airline companies in India have been already providing the cheapest flights in the world in spite of these huge costs.
I hope this trend continues. India already has the cheapest telephone rates in the world, which is a mainstay of today’s living. Flying is still a distant dream for most Indians and I hope a few more of them can take to the skies, before all the Indian Airline companies get taxed to the ground.
I have always seen these signs to Airport Lounges at domestic and international airports, and often heard reviews about these ‘exclusive’ places , and assumed these were for business and first class travellers. Imagine my surprise , when I figured out even coach travellers can access these lounges, if you have the right credit card. I don’t travel often, and always travel light and prepared. Airports in India are purposefully designed to confuse and make travellers wait in lines. So when I recently had to fly international, I decided to try out and airport lounge using my Priority Plus card I got from a new credit card. And I must say, it took a few problems off my plate rightaway.
There are only two lounges out of Bangalore airport, and the same service providers operate them in the domestic and international side of the airport. It is after security check (and immigration, for international flights) , and the entrances to both are next to each other. I decided to walk into the Plaza Premium lounge for my first time. They accept Mastercard, Visa , and a few other cards as well, providing complimentary service. Did not take any photos while I was there, as it was almost crowded, and felt the other patrons would not like it. And I could see why places like these are coveted.
Free Wifi, free food and soft drinks, lots of space to lounge around, and for an additional price, alchohol, showers and spa ! For long distance and frequent travellers, its the last place to find some comfort. There was no long style buffet there, but enough food to choose from. And deserts , snacks and tea/coffee as well. I spent almost 2 hours in there without realizing how fast time went.
Ok, rant time. The usual complains about Indian Airports is that they let you in only if you bring a printout of your ticket and an Id card to be let in. Or the fact thay they let you board the plane only if they see that your carry in baggage has a security screened tag. However, my number one complaint about airports in India is the lack of affordable food options. All the food and beverage stalls on the airside price their products exorbitantly high. There are cases where those suckers charge three digit rupee values for something as simple as idli vada. Even the basic water bottle is charged in that range. During my international travels, I have never seen such a practice anywhere else: Europe, Malaysia, Australia…everywhere the prices they charge airside is the same they charge anywhere else. But in India, it is truly extortion. And the flights too now charge extra for f&b onboard, and even check in luggage. In most countries, passengers are allowed to bring in some kinds of home prepared meals for consumption on the plane, but this too is not allowed in India. Only exception if it is baby food.
In such a suffocated travel space, these lounges come as a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed my meal at the lounge. During my transfer at Kuala Lumpur, again I got into Plaza Lounge there. It was a relaxing experience, and with free breakfast.
Well now that I have bitten this bait, I am hooked. Looking forward to somemore such lounge experiences in the future.
Samsung’s PR disaster after recalling and replacing their Galaxy Note 7’s is all over the news. The blocking of the phone by the company is going to cost it money and users. But bigger batteries have always caused these kind of issues.
The story of Boeing’s disaster with the batteries on the huge 787 planes come to mind. There was a series of battery explosions in 2013 on 787 Dreamliners . You can watch this documentary to know more.
Finally got around to watching a really nice movie. Sully. Starring Tom Hanks as Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the experienced pilot who successfully landed a doomed commercial airplane onto the hudson river and saved everyone onboard. Directed by Clint Eastwood. And since its based on a highly reported real life incident, there is enough material to make an enriching movie. And that’s what this movie is.
First, Tom Hanks is excellent in the role. There is something about his calm, confident voice and demeanor that soothes anyone in crisis. You are happy that he is in control, anybody else would freak out. And he does not overshadow anybody else. There is enough screen time for everybody who was involved in the incident that day. And the screenplay is clever. The main Miracle on the Hudson is shown via three , overlapping flashbacks, telling the same story from different people’s perspective. We get to see what the passengers saw, what the air traffic controllers heard, what the first responders and citizens saw, and finally what the two pilots were going through. Some scenes really look over scripted, like how everyone talks to Sully as if he was God. But it could have really happened, having saved so many lives that day. New York got some good news after a long time, specially involving airplanes.
This is going on my re-watch list.
G’day to you ! Finally we did it. We took our first international holiday ! And it is to Australia. Yep, that large left-to-itself country near the south pole. After spending two whole weeks on this island-country, the thought of returning now breaks our hearts. For a change, it was a pleasure living in a properly planned city again. Melbourne, mostly. But we also visited the Gold Coast. Bangalore looks like a jungle and river of debris compared to this. A few years back if somebody had asked me, I would have said India can become a superpower in the future. But now I am convinced that dream is long lost. The level of development and ease of life in Melbourne astonished us. And the people are the freindliest people I have ever met in my life. So cheery, always ready to help.
Australia is truly a world apart. They seem to live in a parallel universe with no border disputes amond neihgbouring countries, no cross border violence, and no visible refugee crisis. They don’t care about the US elections, or Brexit, or the geo-political turmoil of any other country. Here is a nation still focussed on developing itself and taking care of its people, and wildlife. Yep, we met the famous kangaroos and koalas in rea life. We also got a glimpse of its sunny weather and relaxed lifestyle.
Thank you , Australia. We will be back soon.
At the dawn of the millennium, when the IT revolution was scripting the dreams and aspirations of Bengalureans, the city was getting ready to enter the big league. Bengalureans were promised a city that would mirror some of China’s burgeoning metros, particularly, the glitzy Shanghai.
The reality, however, highlights the disparity between what was promised and what was delivered: When it comes to dependence on public transport and commuting, Bengaluru pales in comparison even with Xi’an, the 13th largest city in China. This is the finding of a research project by T.V. Ramachandra of the Indian Institute of Science, who co-ordinated with researchers in Chang’an University in Xi’an as well as from University of Melbourne, Australia.
Xi’an and Bengaluru have much in common. Both are among the fastest-growing metros in their countries. Both started as research and development hubs and witnessed massive urbanisation. The car population is similar: Xi’an has one million cars while Bengaluru has 1.4 million light motor vehicles and a further 3 million two-wheelers. Travel within the Central Business District is painful, with average speeds lower than 15 kmph.
However, the similarities end there. Xi’an has a better developed public transport system while planning has ensured that it is a compact city. In contrast, Bengalureans continue to depend on personal vehicles while haphazard planning has put the average commute to work at 7.09 km, nearly twice that of Xi’an (3.8 km).
More importantly, in Xi’an, the top one-fifth of commuters (primarily, those who travel by car and long distances) contribute to 78 per cent of the emissions while in Bengaluru the top 20 per cent contribute 56 per cent. What this implies is that a majority of commuters rely on metro and buses at Xi’an while in Bengaluru, they depend on cars and two-wheelers.
“This is a bad sign, and will not improve until we make our public transport more attractive for commuting,” said Mr. Ramachandra.
Bengaluru buses far more polluting
Travelling by bus in Bengaluru contributes more than four times the carbon dioxide emissions than in Xi’an.
Though the Chinese city has 3,000 buses more than Bengaluru, the adoption of eco-friendly fuel (CNG, electric) as well as traffic decongestion methods have seen their emissions drop. The result is that an average trip in a bus in Xi’an results in emission of 0.087 kg of CO2 while it is nearly 0.3 kg in Bengaluru.
“In Xi’an, dedicated bus lanes see discipline and punctuality. Here, the bus system is unreliable in its timings while roads are so bad that emissions increase. Moreover, buses here run on profit. It becomes easier to travel in groups in autos and cabs rather than take a bus,” said Mr. Ramachandra.
While major investment had been made in the bus system there, BMTC’s grand plans of procuring CNG, electric buses or even use of bio-diesel fuels had hit financial roadblocks.
Science needed in planning
Research on commuting and transport systems in Bengaluru is aplenty. But is anyone listening?
T.V. Ramachandra, Associate Faculty at the Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) in IISc., says his Chinese collaborators will use the findings of the study for decision-making while the findings will remain unheard in Bengaluru.
“They have managed to get science into decisions about running a city. Here, our politicians don’t want science at all,” he said.