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Travel – Predictably Unpredictable

So, rather than providing ad-hoc reviews of hotels, airlines and places to eat, I thought I’d start bundling it into a short Travelogue.

Travelling in Australia is well predictably unpredictable these days. Predictable stratospheric pricing for hotels and flights with unpredictable service levels appears to be the strategy pursued by the big brands.

Another trip with Qantas Melbourne to Sydney and back, another cancelled flight. Predictably, if you book a flight between 1 pm and 4 pm, you won’t be flying on at least one of the legs. In my case, 57% predictability. So, another day with hours lost and plans that needed to be reshaped and 58 minutes on the phone while Qantas attempted to move me to a more convenient flight and failed.

Rather than offering us all $50, how about Qantas simply eliminating a few more flights? Today it feels like a classic “book and switch” scheme – they lock you in knowing the flight won’t likely happen and switch you indiscriminately to another flight when it is too late to book with another carrier. This would also increase competition on routes – clearly not something Qantas would be a big fan of.

Hotels remain a mixed bag. The Star is clean, modern and well put together. Reflecting that it’s a casino hotel, my room was without a desk and with plenty of room for one – and a balcony. OK, value for money. I’m still stumped on why so many Hotels aren’t putting desks into rooms.

My go-to in Sydney – Spicers Potts Point – was sadly fully booked, so I tried the Hotel Challis around the corner. Another hotel pitching itself in the boutique category but nothing like one in reality. Tiny rooms, half a desk, no vibe to speak of, disinterested staff, and average amenities. Let’s call it a slightly above standard budget hotel. Not worth the money despite the location.

Not much dining out on this trip. Not sure what is going on in Barangaroo, but to say it was a ghost town on a Wednesday night would be an understatement. Give CHI by Lotus Dining a shot – great food, and you might get the whole place to yourself. They take Liven, so clock up your rewards and enjoy.