Airline bashing is as popular overseas as it is here.
I attended the annual ITB trade show in Berlin. It was the kind of
trip that adds new layers to old understandings of out-of-town
travel events and about travel itself.
So, some thoughts:
A Travel Weekly U.K. colleague told how angry, and vocal, U.K.
agents are about British Airways' pay cuts.
In the forum on corporate travel that I covered (and where I was
a panelist), I heard plenty of complaints about airline treatment
of the flying public. Birger Backman, secretary general of the
Universal Federation of Travel Agents' Associations, provided one
Throughout the show, I heard remarkably often about delegates
whose bags were lost by the airlines. One of them was Birger
Backman.Among my new business cards, Tlhabologo Ndzinge's carried the
longest, most colorful name.
She is the principal marketing officer for the Botswana
Department of Tourism.
Her smile is as big as her name, and she is a patient teacher of
tangle-tongued visitors like me who aspire in vain to say her name
correctly.Typically, there are hundreds of ITB press conferences.
We cannot begin to cover just the ones in English, but you are
not being cheated, believe me. If real news is being made, the
newsmakers find us. Meanwhile, we seek out news in other ways.A party at a beer hall and a visit to friends were the closest
I came to sightseeing.
The party was in an evocative below-the-street hall called
Aschinger Brauerei on Kurfurstendamm.
The second took me to an apartment, in a turn-of-the-century
building, that featured astonishingly high ceilings, vast expanses
of rich wood floors and huge pocket doors for separating the three
large front rooms.
It also was a walkup, which changes one's perspective on
charming high ceilings!We returned to Ristorante Peppino at Fasanenstrasse 65 because
the food (Italian) is good and we like the ambience.I like receipts that show prices in euros (along with the local
currency) because the euro's value is so close to that of the
greenback that I can tell at a glance roughly what I am paying in
dollars.Getting to Berlin's Tegel Airport is a snap: about 20 minutes
But once there, you find crowds, chaos and aggravation. There is
no point in following those instructions to arrive two hours before
departure. Passengers for the prior flight at your gate go first
A new, larger Berlin airport, projected for 2007, cannot come on
line too soon.
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