Subject: Airline reality show
Hi Ziners,

A& E is running a reality-type show called Airline. Last night's episode was about the challenges facing airport staff when passengers are upset or cause problems (complaints, drunkenness, etc.) and how the staff handle these folks. One segment was about travel delays and the problems with making connecting flights.

One of our more interesting delays was on a trip out of Kathmandu.

Scheduled to travel Kathmandu-Hong Kong with a next-day connector to Vancouver-Toronto, we arrived early at the airport to be faced with a smiling Royal Air Nepal agent who cooly informed us that we did not have the appropriate stamp on our business class tickets. The long and short of this encounter was that he obviously wanted some incentive because he placed us on stand-by and allowed countless other passengers to board. Refusing to co-operate, we arranged a flight on Thai Airways to HK via Bangkok for later in the day.

Ready to board the Thai flight, it was announced that the plane had a flat tire and another tire would only be available the next day! The Thai Airways staff were superb. They arranged a flight for us from Kathmandu to Bangkok with a connector to HK for the next day and worked with Canadian Airlines to re-arrange our Canada bound flights. We were provided an overnight stay at the Yak and Yeti, a four star hotel in Kathmandu, with dinner and breakfast.

Next day, on this wonderful flight, the attendants gave flowers to female passengers and apologized for not looking as spiffy as they might otherwise because, of course, they too had to spend an unplanned overnight in Kathmandu. We arrived late in Bankgok and again Thai Airways arranged to have us stay overnight at no charge. The hotel staff offered us food and drink and woke us promptly at 5:00 a.m with a buffet breakfast set up especially for the weary travellers.

On arrival in Hong Kong we waited a few hours before boarding our Canadian Airlines flight to Vancouver. The plane was half full and the crew knew the story of the weary passengers from Kathmandu. After take-off, they re-arranged our seats so we could each have a full row to sleep on the long trip from HK to Vancouver. On arrival in Vancouver we were immediately ushered on to the Toronto bound plane. Again the crew welcomed us and made us feel comfortable.

What a treat to fly Thai and Canadian. What a dismal experience with Royal Nepal. Unlike the passengers on Airline, we never lost our cool.

Next week's episode of Airline is about the August 2003 blackout in North America. What's your reality airline story? Lucy, Toronto