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So much for Customer Loyalty O2…

grumpy dragonI, like most of the developed world have an iPhone.  I bought this on contract 2 years ago today.  It has served me well, however I no longer want to spend £36 a month for a phone I have now paid for.

Having looked around the web for a bit I decided that I don’t want to spend the best part of £500 on a new phone when the one i have still functions perfectly well.  I looked online and found a deal with three – offering 600 minutes, 1 GB data and unlimited minutes on a SIM only deal for £12.90 a month.  Pretty good – but I travel a lot with work and three are expensive for roaming charges.  I am also a bit lazy and feel like it would easier to continue with O2.  O2 offer a similar product (with less data) for £15.50 a month.  Now i know this is not a big difference, but I don’t see why I should pay more for less.

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Why my love affair with CityJet is over

Broken HeartIt started back in 2010.  I was working with a bank at Canary Wharf and the day rate was high enough to allow me to fly into London City airport.  Initially I assumed it would need to be BA that flew me back and forth each week, however when I went to book I noticed there was another airline who also operated the EDI – LCY route; CityJet.  From what I could gather from the Internet, CityJet seemed like a small airline that operated short-haul routes to major business centres.  Their target customer was the business traveller and the service they offered seemed to match that.  They had a ’15 minute’ check-in guarantee at LCY that seemed infinitely better than using any of London’s other airports.

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Welcome to Lagos

My thoughts on a my very first visit to Lagos.

When my client first mentioned that there would be a trip to Lagos, Nigeria I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I think the UK and indeed the global media do a pretty good job in portraying Nigeria as a country full of crime and corruption where every visit ends up with me being kidnapped.  Of course this is not the case, and while the Northern states of Nigeria maybe be in a worse state, Lagos is (as my hosts repeatedly told me) perfectly safe.

Anyway – As the KLM plane descended I decided that while wasn’t feeling nervous about my trip, I was perhaps, felling just a little apprehensive.  A colleague told me a story of his last trip to Lagos (some years ago) that involved a man walking down a street, a car, a bloody giant sword and an arm (with an expensive watch) being removed.

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Cheers to KLM!

I recently flew with KLM to Cologne.  Full review to follow shortly but for now I will summarise – there were a few issues with my return journey.  My connecting flight from CGN to AMS was cancelled so I had an extra night (albeit with a seemingly endless supply of lovely Kölsch) and when I finally got back to EDI (a day late) my checked bag was completely destroyed.

This was a business trip and was booked on my behalf by a corporate travel company.  Due to a short-sighted change by Amex (Check out details here) I wasn’t covered for anything other than emergency medical treatment.  I went to the KLM website and found the link to lodge my claims.  I lodged them separately yesterday, and attached my receipts and luggage damage report.  I was more than a little surprised when my phone rang today to discover it was KLM’s Luggage department.  They were sorry about my bag and asked me to provide a receipt for my bag.  I explained this would be difficult and was informed to buy a replacement (up to the value of my old one) and send the receipt to them – they would cover the cost.  So far so good – I was impressed at the speed of the response.

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Amex Platinum UK just got a lot less shiny

As you may have worked out by now I travel – a lot. Each trip demands a separate packing list, but one thing that I can’t travel without is travel insurance. And it has to be the very best.

I pay a lot of money each year for a Platinum American Express Charge card which I use for all of my business expenses.  A key benefit of this card is the travel insurance product that comes with it.

I think the product is (or was…) one of the best available and covered all the normal stuff but also things like baggage delay (£300 if no bags after a few hours, another £300 if no bags after a few more), flight delay (£150 for a nice meal if a delay of 4+ hours) etc.

Today is the first day of the new terms of the insurance product:

  • Cover ends at 70 (I still have more than a few years to go before this concerns me)
  • There is an excess of £50 for some types of claim (well…OK – I don’t claim for little things anyway)
  • Maximum trip length is reducing to 90 days (I miss home too much to be away for that long anyway)
  • To benefit from some features of our travel cover, you now need to pay for travel and accommodation using your American Express card (what?)

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Hoodies, Jeans and a Beard

I got off the airport bus and paused for a brief moment, wondering how I had got there. My account on tells me this was the 176th time I had used Edinburgh airport; usually at 3:46 in the morning (the extra minutes asleep is important at that time of the day) on the way to a client site somewhere. This time it was different; I had booked an off-peak flight in the evening and was dressed much more comfortably in jeans and a Gap hoody with a few days’ worth of beard growth.

I wandered through to departures and managed a brief smile at the new holographic lady they had installed. While waiting in the queue, my smile faded pretty quickly as I realised she only had two minutes worth of advice to give…and then started again.
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Alamo Roadside Assistance

OK so you may ask what there is to review about hiring a car… here are some observations…

We booked a seven-seat minivan for 21 days online (with a cool promo code that you can acquire by buying this book, which we would highly recommend for anyone going to Orlando on vacation) for just over $700 with unlimited miles and up to five extra drivers.

The rental was booked from 10 am through to 5pm (I had paid for the extra day).  As the Junior Freaks were still working on UK time they had us up real early.  We went to pick up the car at 6am and they had added an extra $50 to the quote (later found out to be for the 4 hours extra I had to car…).  I was not informed of this – it was only when I went to sign the paperwork that I noticed the extra fee; luckily I had a printed copy of the reservation with me as the staff member didn’t have a clue.  After a discussion (“Are you having a laugh?”) the extra charge was removed from the rental… I wonder how many suckers fall for that.
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