Jaci Stephen: 'Four euros for tea – that's almost £4. Next time, I'll travel with a kettle'

Way Out West

Share
Related Topics

Air New Zealand came through spectacularly in giving me my upgrade as a reward for my having given up my favourite seat last month to La Toya Jackson. British Airways, meanwhile, aren't budging on the £3.60 refund for a journey I didn't take. Their view is that as I didn't turn up at the check-in desk, they are not responsible for my not having taken the flight. Never mind that I had to re-schedule an entire week's worth of meetings and go to Paris on the Eurostar (hence my not "turning up" at their check-in desk), after they left my luggage in London when I flew to Toulouse; nor that in 19 months of correspondence, sending them everything they asked for three times, they never once said they would not refund the flight. It is, I now learn, their policy not to, but guess what? In addition to my £3.60, they have credited me with thousands of Air Miles. When I told them I would never be flying with them again, they said that if I did, I could have an upgrade. Fair play to the press office, they really have tried their best and offered me a London/LA upgrade – but only if it's available.

I have yet to talk to anyone who has a good word to say about BA at the moment. Rude onboard staff, dreadful food, lost luggage, general inefficiency. A friend of mine last month turned up at Heathrow with her family to fly to LA, after checking in online. It transpired the computer hadn't worked, and, 40 minutes before take-off, she was told the plane was then full and she couldn't go on it. She had to wait another five hours to catch a Virgin flight.

Following the company's recent merger with Iberia, BA's Chief Executive Willie Walsh said that BA's services were not going to be affected. Blimey. That can only be bad news for all of us.

Dealing with BA hasn't been my only travel stress. The Atlantic haul that I have been doing quite regularly is starting to take its toll. Having just come back from visiting the UK and Paris, I am fairly wiped out after having my French mobile stolen on the Eurostar and then, I thought, my US/UK wallet, complete with every card, stolen from my hotel room. I spent well over an hour in the police station, reporting every detail, and another hour cancelling various cards – only to remember that I had left it at home, for fear of losing it.

Even buying a train ticket at Paddington brought stress, when an elderly couple admonished me for going to the First Class window to buy a First Class ticket, instead of standing in the long Standard ticket queue. I had to shout at the guy to get his hands off me when he grabbed my shoulder. When I told him to go away, he kept repeating: "Oh yes, I'm just an ignorant Englishman." It saved me from having to say it, anyway.

Road rage and air rage have clearly extended to rail rage now in the UK, a country in which people seem to be more and more angry every time I return. The States has its problems, but the Californian sun really does seem to put people in better spirits for much of the time.

The only pleasure in UK travel is getting into a London black cab; they really are the most amiable taxi drivers in the world. The French don't want to drive anywhere, the LA drivers can't understand a word you say, and in Wales you can never get a taxi if it's raining – which is most of the time. There are some rotten apples in the black cab barrel, true, but they are courteous, knowledgeable, and, on the whole, pretty honest.

But it's good to know I'm going to be car/train/plane free again for a few weeks, returning to my LA routine of white tea/gym/fresh fruit, after economising by eating bread and cheese in a small French hotel room because the British pound is now about as appealing as a stale baguette. Four euros for a cup of tea – that's nearly £4 now. Next time I go, I'm taking a travel kettle and a box of PG Tips; actually, on second thoughts, I think I might just stay at home and look at the Eiffel Tower on the internet.

With my last Air New Zealand flight from LA to London taking just a little over nine hours - and certainly judging by the way the way my First Great Western journeys by rail are going - ANZ will soon be the fastest – and probably the cheapest – way to travel.



To read Jaci Stephen's blog, LA Not So Confidential, in full go to: LANotSoConfidential.blogspot.com

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Hang on – that’s not how it’s supposed to be written

Guy Keleny
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test