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Thursday, December 19, 2013


Boeing 777: Ode to seats 13 D and E
 Editor’s Note:  The blog repost below by the wonderful Mark Jones reminded Pillar to Post staff of a recent journey, whereupon we happily enjoyed being tourists to the UK.  We sat in seats 13 D and E on the way from London to San Diego aboard a British Airways 777.  The reclining seats, privacy, cuisine and tea service with fine china and cutlery pretty much ruined coach flights for me on international legs.  The 777 by Boeing is an amazing bird.  See below for more on the 777.  If you choose to fly British Airways double check what kind of jetliner is being used for your particular leg.  BA and AA often share route and while the route may say it is British Airways, the equipment out of San Diego is sometimes configured by American Airlines.   I find no joy in saying the Brits overseas service is better than the Yanks, but as of this date it is—plain and simple.

GUEST BLOG—By Mark Jones, Travel writer and editor,2013 AITO Travel Writer of the Year.  This article appeared in British Airways, January, 2014 blog called “The Club.”
We all love the glamour and excitement of seeing new places, but what we do when we get there can seriously irritate the locals. Award-winning travel writer and editor Mark Jones suggests a great New Year’s resolution to solve the problem

We are all tourists. We go around the world, we visit sites, we take photographs, we get lost and look at maps. Yet often, when it’s on our patch, instead of being helpful and sympathetic, we barge past such visitors muttering impatiently.

Odd really – as if the person who got off at the wrong metro stop in Paris last week wasn’t you at all. It’s a bit like honking your horn at someone learning to drive on unfamiliar roads – with absolutely no recall of yourself at 17 floundering in the same way.

And we get cross with them for much the same reasons. They take their time, are rather bumbling and easily get confused. As we speed along in our focused and professional way down our familiar roads and streets these people hesitate, stall, go left when they seemed to be going right and just – arghhh!!

You can spot learner drivers because they are made to display plates. Tourists aren’t, but they hardly need to since everything about them marks them out as effectively as a big letter ‘T’ pinned to the back of their polo shirts and anoraks.

Keep calm and hug a tourist
But here’s what I saw when tourists disappeared from one destination in recent years. Desperation. Economic collapse. Pleading ‘…please tell people where you come from that we don’t hate tourists. Please. You are so welcome here.’

So how about making 2014 Be Nice To A Tourist year? Instead of us, Londoners, getting stressed at the post-Olympics/royal bonanza visitor influx, how about being proud that people are so excited to be in the city? And, gosh, they are, even if in surveys they worry that the British may be aloof and unfriendly. Why not surprise them, Britons?

Let’s cheer the open-top buses that offer a jolly and inexpensive way to see the town. And if Americans get spooked about travelling to Europe, don’t sneer, but personally thank the ones who come regardless and offer to help them with our strange money and funny words.

The editor of a popular newspaper insists on calling his travel section ‘Holidays’. The travel writers I know wince. But for many people travel means holidays. They have earned it. And if they want to dawdle and visit the sights rather than penetrating the ‘real’ city (whatever that is) then what’s not to like?


Cockpit of a Boeing 777 

Seats D and E in row 13 are highly recommended by the editors of this blog

Tourist before being wildly hugged by strangers after they read
above article by Mark Jones.
These are seats 13 D and E in the British Airways configuration
on a recent flight between London and San Diego.

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