Women-Only India Travel Club Breaks With Tradition

Historically, the idea of independent travel was not an option for Indian women. They typically stayed at home, cared for by a husband or a father figure. But with more female opportunities in education and employment, the role of India’s women is changing. Say hello to Indian travel clubs.

Traditional travel groups for Indian women included widows, abandoned wives and the elderly. But even those women traveled with a male chaperone, mostly to religious sites. Today’s Indian travel for women includes trips around the world, from the the Taj Mahal to the Antarctic.

“In a typical Indian family holiday women end up in a role-playing mode of being a mother, wife, daughter and are often unable to experience a destination as an individual,” says Piya Bose, owner of Mumbai-based women’s travel group, GOTG (Girls on the Go) in an Aljazeera article.As the number of urban, educated Indian women grows, so have the number of travel clubs enabling them to see the world on their own.

With offices in both New Delhi in North India and Bangalore in South India, Women On Wanderlust (WOW) is another travel club, this one founded by travel writer Sumitra Senapathy who promotes the advantages of group travel. “They can come in solo but travel with the security that a group provides”, says Senapathy.

Air India Pilot Locked Out Of Cockpit After Bathroom Break

In what would otherwise make for a great comedy sketch, an Air India captain took a bathroom break during a flight Tuesday night and returned to find a jammed cockpit door. But according to a report by USA Today, this was no laughing matter: after all efforts failed to open the door – even from the inside – the co-pilot landed the plane at the nearest airport, where ground maintenance staff fixed the problem. The plane then resumed its flight, which was making its way from New Delhi to Bangalore.

This is the second strange cockpit incident that’s happened with Air India recently; earlier this month, pilots allowed flight attendants to sit in their chairs while they napped, and one of the attendants accidently disengaged the plane’s autopilot function. In both instances, no passengers were injured.

Drunk Guinness brewing dynasty allegedly strips in flight, lets passenger grab her breasts

If you ever need an example of how too much booze in the air can backfire, then check out this story involving Clare Irby, one of the members of the Guinness brewing dynasty.

Ms. Irby was flying Kingfisher Air from Bangalore back to London when her overindulgence in airline booze led her to start stripping, show her g-string to fellow passengers, and allow a seat mate to grab her breasts.

Oh, and she let this all happen while her 2 year old son was crying in the seat next to her. Reports from the flight crew also claim she was swearing, slept while her son jumped up and down on his seat and put her hand on a flight attendants face while yelling at her. She was also overheard saying “all the opium had made her really relaxed”.

And to make the story even juicier, the passenger who was grabbing her breasts was traveling with his girlfriend. It’s like something that usually starts with “Dear Penthouse”.

Of course, all stories have two sides, and Ms. Irby claims this is all one big misunderstanding and that she only had a couple of glasses of wine, making her slightly tipsy. She also denies taking any drugs, or allowing anyone to grab her breasts. She does admit to talking loudly to her son, but only because he apparently doesn’t respond to whispers.

A London court will now decide whether to go ahead and press charges. Usually in cases like this, the reports from the flight crew are taken quite seriously, but someone with her background and cash may be able to get off with not much more than a warning.

More stories of booze gone bad in the skies

Model’s boyfriend puts the “bang” in Bangalore

It always starts with a drunken model. Always. Cover girl Sarah Hannon was beyond furious when awaking to find her boyfriend, Daniel Melia, engaged in a “sex act” with the woman next to him. It sounds like he had a middle seat and liked it!

Hannon fell asleep on a nine-hour flight from Bangalore to London, as anyone would hope to do on such a long flight. Oh, and having bent elbows with boyfriend certainly helped. Melia’s libido, however, resisted the powers of both fatigue and alcohol, and next seat neighbor, Clare Irby, was happy to help him out.

The alleged performance occurred under a blanket, and Melia and Irby thought nobody was the wiser … until a flight attendant stopped them, impeding pleasure and likely ending a show for many passengers bored with the in-flight movie. This is when Hannon woke up and Hannon started screaming.

The model was furious and had to be calmed by the flight crew. When Kingfisher Airlines Flight IT001 touched down at Heathrow, police boarded the plane and arrested all three. Melia and Irby were pinched for alleged indecency, while Hannon was nabbed for being drunk on an aircraft. All three made bail.

The local cops had little to say but got it right: “They certainly put the bang into Bangalore.”

[Via news.com.au]

Expect to wait, but not in Japan or Korea

The worst airport delays in the world, of course, are those that affect you. If I’m stranded at LaGuardia‘s Marine Air terminal for a short hop to Boston, I really don’t care what’s going on over at JFK, O’Hare or anywhere else. However, some airports are more likely to inspire your anger than others, so it’s a pretty good idea to know which are the worst.

If you are headed to India or Europe, it seems, you should build a bit of extra time into your travels. India takes the top (or, lowest?) spot for the second year in a row, according to MSNBC. Mumbai‘s Chhatrapati Shivaji International is the worst of the worst; only 50 percent of its flights hit the ground on time last year. In New Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport had only a 51 percent success rate. Fortunately, both are expanding, with the latter having opened a new airport in October. Bangalore, which ranked fourth, has added a new airport.

Flight congestion is the culprit in arrival delays. But, it isn’t impeding departures. In Bangalore, for example, 80 percent of departures were on time, but only 60 percent arrived on time.

You can get out; you just can’t get in.

India isn’t the only country with arrival delays. Airports with tough on-time arrival rates include:

  • Casablanca‘s Mohammed V International Airport: 54 percent
  • Orio al Serio Airport near Bergamo, Italy: 61 percent
  • Birmingham Airport in England: 63 percent
  • London‘s Luton and Heathrow Airports: both 63 percent on time

And, in my neighborhood, it pays to bring a book with you to LaGuardia or Newark Liberty International. Both fail to impress, with on-time arrival rates of only 62 percent.

Now, if you’re looking for a bit of efficiency, try Japan or Korea. Every airport in each of these countries has an on-time arrival and departure percentage of at least 82 percent.