Have you ever booked a flight on an airlines you never heard of? I have, with rather interesting results and experience. But before I tell you about it, how about some of these, just for fun?
In Ontario, Canada, an airline called Bearskin flies the friendly skies. Another weird name, Chair Airlines operates out of Switzerland. But leave it to China and Thailand to come up with Okay Airlines. Then, the ill-fated WOW Air that I tried to fly to Europe on, back in May. La Compagnie Air had massage beds, Michelin starred food, and tablets for every passenger.
VietJet Air has bikini clad flight attendants. Without being too sexist, I would give it a try, Germanwings might be my type of airline. Why? The airline provides a list of potential destinations, but you will not find out where you are going until after you book your ticket! Air Koryo in North Korea is often called the worst airline in the world!
Remember when Hooters Air was alive and well? Each flight had TWO scantily clad Hooters girls, who entertained us with trivia games, Hooters merchandise, and beverage service. Then for you religious folk, the Lord’s Airline tried to launch from Florida to the Holy Land, but obviously did not get much help form above!
Happy Air in Thailand found some rather unhappy times, with their turboprops. But they are still in business. Wizz Air from Hungary sounds like the butt of jokes. But they still have flights out of London Luton to Hungary. Why would you name your airline Kiwi Airlines, after a flightless bird?
Vanilla Air is one of the worst names for an airline, a subsidiary of AirAsia, which I have flown many times. It is a rather plain or plane name! Then why not fly Bingo Air form Poland? They flew charters to the Mediterranean area, though nobody is sure if they played bingo enroute. Robin Hood Aviation from Austria must have not taken enough form the rick to help the poor.
Of course, I have my own names for some airlines. Once, we had US (Sc)Air, Hughes AirWorst, Southworst, and Northworst Orient. Then there is KLM, Kill’em, Leave ’em, and Maim ’em! Aeroflot from Russia is often called the worst airline in the world. Then there is Aerowrecksico, and the old (Sc)Air Cal. Others are Air Can(t)ada, Camarrooned Airlines, Crashcade Airlines, Great Shakes (Lakes) Airlines, I wrecked it(Iraqi Airways), Kuwait (You wait) Airlines, Wrecksikana Airlines, and Slowzark Airlines.
There are, of course, times when you feel like there is no choice. Take the unknown airline or take the train or bus. Worse yet, rent a car and drive into the unknown.
My last trip to Europe, through Bucharest, Romania involved an airline called Tarom Airlines. If it sounds a little like, “To Roam”, I certainly had some of those thoughts prior to flying with them. First, I had a flight on their now defunct subsidiary, from Bordeaux to Bucharest. When they cancelled this flight, with no refund, I ended up using KLM, and had to fly back through Amsterdam to finally get to Bucharest.
So, imagine my anxiety, as I need to use Tarom to fly to Istanbul, my presumed last stop in Europe. But fear not, I got to Istanbul. In fact, my friends in Bucharest used Tarom to get to their destination on the same day, so we shared an Uber to the Bucharest airport. Imagine my surprise when the airline actually had a VERY tiny ticket counter, and a long line of would be passengers. I barely made my flight!
In times of great need, just showing up at the airport can yield strange results. We were told in Katmandu, to just show up at the “domestic” terminal to book a flight to Mount Everest. We had several choices, and selected Buddha Air. Great name, right?
I have told this story before, so tune out if you don’t want to hear it again. So, we buy our tickets, not at an airline type counter, but in a small, stuffy, dark office. We got a hand written ticket, and were told to wait until we were called. Not more than 20 minutes later, all flights by all airlines to Everest were postponed due to heavy fog. We were told to stand or sit by, if we could find a seat! It was about 7am.
This “terminal” was really not much more than an old hangar, with just one toilet for each sex, and a small, make that tiny, snack bar, selling only hot tea, crackers, and some local items, of which I cannot describe. Seats were hard to find, so most of us just sat on the floor until a seat opened up.
We received no updates, and were forced back into the little office where we bought the tickets, to get any kind of update. The update was “I don’t know” and “the fog is heavy!” It seems everyone in the terminal was waiting for either Everest or Lhasa flights.
When I worked up enough courage, I went over to the “snack bar” for a spot of tea. I received to hottest tea ever, and a weirdly shaped Nepalese cookie, that looked more like a mud pie. Fearful of upsetting my already delicate digestive system, I managed a few sips of tea, and threw the cookie away.
As we talked to other travelers, we all wondered if we had been duped. The signs all over, regardless of airline, said “NO Refunds!” Would the fog clear, or would they cancel all flights?
Finally, the buy in the dingy little office said he would come get us if the flight takes off, and not to worry. Easy for him to say! So, after finally securing some seats, we waited, and waited.
All of a sudden, the man in the office comes running out, grabs the two of us, and a few others, and herds us to a door. We were practically running out to the plane, where the words, Buddha Air were barely visible due to either wear and tear, or poor maintenance.
Nevertheless, we boarded, grabbed a seat, no assigned, and within TWO minutes, headed to the runway. We were surrounded by Japanese tourists, and perhaps a handful of other Americans or Europeans. The total was about twenty.
But the story gets better. As we approached Everest, everyone (except us) moves over to the left hand side of the plane, causing a noticeable dip! The pilot tells everyone to get seated, and the Japanese tourists are oblivious. Then, they invite us to the cockpit area, to get a good panoramic view of Everest. Now as the tourists rush forward, the nose of the plane dips noticeably! We were last, of course.
So, moral of the story, realize that sometimes your goal is just not worth it. I thought our number was up at least four times on this flight.