Friday, October 09, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
I always knew the only good thing about Easyjet was their cheap prices. I've never expected great service, good food and short queues. However, I have always expected to actually get on a flight I booked...until last week.
Flying back from Liverpool Airport to Berlin, I arrived at the airport around half an hour before the final check-in time. Massive queues. Standard.
I went to the Easyjet service desk and asked what was the best thing to do as this queue was going to take more than half an hour to receed. "Start queuing up and all Berlin passengers will be called forward." I was told. A Thai woman in the adjacent queue was asking the same question and we spoke briefly about how worrying it was the the queue was so long.
I made my way to the back of the queue but noticed this woman was a bit further ahead of me standing with her son. Never one to miss an opportunity to push past people (Germany has taught me this -the Germans hate queuing), I moved up ten or fifteen places to stand with this woman.
It turned out she used to live in Berlin and I chatted with her and her son just to take my mind off the queuing. It transpired that she was not travelling but had just brought her son to the airport. I soon realised all was not right with her sixteen-year-old son. Not in an obvious way as he was a pleasant and cheerful young man but I suspected he may of had learning difficulties and his manner was more of a ten-year-old than a person on the verge of adulthood.....saying that, he was bi-lingual so I could be totally wrong!
He lived in Dresden with his father and had been visiting his mother and her new family in Southport. His father would be picking him at the airport in Berlin.
As the time approached for last check-in time, I began to get nervous but a group not too far in front of us (also travelling to Berlin) went to the desk and were told not to worry as the flight had been delayed slightly.
The mother drew me to one side and asked me if I would keep and eye on her son and make sure he got the flight as she had to leave to go to work. She said he would be OK but just in case etc. I agreed thinking nothing could go wrong and to be honest I was enjoying chatting and joking with him...him laughing at my lack of German vocab despite living in Germany for three years.
We were eventually called out of the queue to check-in and after doing so we sprinted/jogged to the security area.
Again massive queues. Determined not to miss the flight, I pushed my way through the crowds with my new friend in tow. We reached the front and explained to the security guy our situation i.e. the flight would be leaving soon and we needed to get through as soon as possible. The bloke was having none of it explaining that letting us through would cause fights. He said if it was urgent then he would have been told and there would have been an announcement. He asked his supervisor who said they could not let us through. We went back and pushed in fairly close to the front and waited.
Ten minutes later we were through security and once again sprinted heading to the boarding gate.
The plane had gone.
Not to worry, I thought. We did nothing wrong. We were in the airport in good time. We ran every chance we got. They have messed up and will need to find a way to get us to Berlin....maybe late but they will get us to Berlin today!
But then the lies started from the girl at Easyjet obviously determined to cover up the fact they had made a total fuck up of thing.
"We made two annoucements" LIE
"We sent a person to bring people through security" LIE
"75 people checked-in after you and managed to board the flight" LIE.
These lies meant Easyjet were blaming us for missing the flight.
These lies meant Easyjet were not taking any responsibility for making us miss the flight.
These lies meant they would not pay a train fare or taxi fare to Gatwick were there was a flight leaving in five hours time.
These lies meant Easyjet would charge me £38 if I wanted to travel the next day or if I wanted to fly from Gatwick that day.
I wasn't sure what to do and my newly acquired travelling companion did not have his mother's number to tell her what had happened and his father who was picking him up at Berlin Airport was non-contactable.
After much thinking and working out connecting flights, trains etc, I realised there was no way to get to Berlin before 2am and not without a lot of expense.
My idea of asking Easyjet to contact Easyjet at Berlin Airport to explain to the father the situation once he realised his son was not on the flight and perhaps had gone to the Berlin Easyjet desk was thwarted when told they were not allowed to do this.
To cut a long story short, Easyjet tracked down my new friend's step-father who came to the airport to pick him up but not before I had to pay £38 to get on the following day's flight.
Obviously, Easyjet make it as difficult as possible to complain by email and charge premium rate to complain by phone. I'd almost given up until I used Twitter to voice my anger.
I quickly received a message to email a customer service guy and within a couple of hours they agreed to repay my money.
A very messy day and incident caused by incompetence by Easyjet staff at Liverpool and though it's easy to blame individuals the blame lies squarely at Easyjet's penny pinching management who did not provide enough staff or adequate training for their staff. They admitted this in their email to me.
Still, they should have organised for me to get to Berlin that day. I wonder what David Dimberley would have done.
I was concerned to read about the problems you experienced at Liverpool airport and would like to apologise for the inconvenience and the frustration that this will have caused you.There are procedures in place to ensure that regular and correct information is forwarded to our passengers as soon as we receive it ourselves. It seems from your comments that you did not receive this level of service and for this I sincerely apologise.We are aware of the fact that at certain airports level of service is not the one we would like to see. We have already taken certain steps in order to change this. We are gathering feedback that we receive from our customers and our Executives have already visited some selected airports and retrained the staff.Your feedback also confirms that we still need to improve a lot in terms of the customer experience we offer at the airports. Having checked your reservation I decided to refund the rescue fee that was charged at the airport (£38). It will be returned back to the card used for making your easyJet booking within 5-10 working days.Once again I would like to thank you for taking time to pass your comments to Paul and please accept my apologies for the inconvenience you experienced at Liverpool airport. This feedback will definitely help us to improve the level of service delivered to our customers. I do hope this will not stop you from flying with easyJet again.
Friday, August 07, 2009
If I ever end up on Mastermind then you can bet 1.01 with confidence that racing politics will not be my specialist subject.
However, the news that William Hill and Ladbrokes are taking their internet betting operations abroad in order to minimise their tax burden really began to grate on me as this week has worn on.
It wasn't so much the fact that big businesses want to find ways to make more money that grated - more the brazen way in which Hills chief executive Ralph Topping seemed intent on blaming everyone bar himself for the decision to head offshore.
Topping probably has a point in describing racing's leadership as "a rabble," but he is well wide of the mark when calling the move to stage the Derby on Saturday "a numpty decision" and really showed his true colours when insisting that racing should realise it is a mere betting product rather than a true sport to rival the likes of the Ashes and the FA Cup.
It's hard to envisage anyone with such a view going out of his way to help racing to any real extent, but what should the sport do in response to the projected loss of around £5m in Levy payments?
Better brains than mine need to provide the answer to that, but it wouldn't do any harm for newspapers and television channels to start restricting the amount of print and airtime given to the omnipresent PR representatives of firms who head offshore.
For example, the Racing Post devoted the first three pages of its Friday edition to the news that Ladbrokes are heading offshore but sugared the pill to one of its biggest advertisers with an adjacent and blatant puff piece about a punter who could win £1m if Red Merlin wins the Ebor to complete his £250 ante post treble.
"Both we and the punter are set for a fortnight of sleepless nights," said Ladbrokes' incorrigible PR spokesman David Williams.I don't know about the punter, but I've often wondered how Williams, Topping and the rest of their merry gang sleep at night.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Mixed bands like Hot Chocolate and The Specials played a part in me not being racist.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
My brother's wife had a relatively easy (if there is such a thing) birth but my sister had all sorts of complications with the cord being wrapped around James' head and they eventually had to cut the baby out.
Apparently she is on the mend now and according to a friend looks very 'mumsy and cute'.
Both babies look like me...though I think all babies look like me...must be the bald head and round head. In fact a lot of babies are fascinated by me when they see me. My theory is that they they think I must be the baby king as I look like them but am just huge.
Babies have been figuring everywhere recently. Pud wrote a good piece about his girlfriend giving birth on his poker blog.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Took me ages to write the following and I've done less than one fifth of the field and the winner is not even there! More tomorrow I think. The figure after the horse is it's chance in poker terms:)
Has been punished by the handicapper for winning the Peter Marsh at Haydock earlier this year. Has proved he is capable around this course (6th last season) but will struggle off this weight and would need to be huge price even to consider him an each-way prospect. J10o
Another who finished the course last season but another who has been clobbered by the handicapper. No reason to see him improving on his 10th place in 2008 and long price reflects his huge price 95hh
Third last season and had been quietly backed that day having been given a decent weight based on his proven ability. Has raced with enthusiasm this season but is another looks weighted out of it and better each way value can be found elsewhere. 76o
Generally consistent, the 11-year-old has been lightly raced this season and despite failing to sparkle last time out, this gelding holds every chance based on his form from a great performance at Cheltenham in January 2008 as well as his effort at this course in October, albeit over a much shorter trip. 1010
Comply or Die
Has been brought back quietly after his fine victory in this race last year and put in a good effort on his latest appearance at Cheltenham. Always hard for a horse to win this race twice and with the extra weight burden here he may even struggle to make the places. a10o
Another who looks badly handicapped. Fairly consistent though and represents good each-way claims if putting his best foot forward. Chance will be compromised by any further rain. J10o
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Horses come and go, the names change but the form figures remain the same. I have used John Whitley's excellent figures ever since I was able to get them free when I worked on the Teamtalk Racing Desk.
I subsequently went to work with John...though purely in an admin role...my O Level maths not enough to even discuss the mechanics of his methodology.
So, I'm previewing here the first race at Cheltenham and anyone foolish enough to follow my selection can negate the loss by getting a Cheltenham free bet - worth about twenty five quid - by clicking the link above.
So here goes...might be a bit rusty but one thing, I won't be is influenced by the racing media because I've not read anything about this year's Festival.
"Alan King's Medermit has an excellent chance of rewarding backers in the opening race of the 2009 Cheltenham Festival (13:30 - Supreme Novices' Hurdle) with the gelding boasting the best UK form over hurdles this season - achieved when winning at Ascot on his latest start.
I'm finding this really difficult...having not done it for so long...and WTF have they done with the reliable old Racing Post site??!...thank god, Whitley's figures never change.
The lightly raced ex-french gelding look set to be suited by the likely strong pace of this novice contest and although some of the lesser exposed types could well progress past him, the five-year-old holds solid place claims at the very least if reproducing that Ascot form. More rain would be a slight concern but if it stays dry then a price around 4/1 a place or 16/1 for the win looks tempting.
If Medermit is close up, then not far behind him will be the consist Golan Way trained by Sheena West. Following three excellent performances at minor tracks, the novice put up a fantastic performance in a valuable contest at Cheltenham - a race where the form has worked out very well before finishing behind the selection in that race at Ascot. His Cheltenham effort proved he was a gelding with a future and lost nothing in defeat to the gutsy Medermit. Golan Way has an improving profile and could run a big race.
Cousin Vinny is a little over-hyped on what he has achieved..is he written about so much because he won a race sponsored by the Irish horse race writers on his penultimate start? His price though is nothing short of shocking and although he ran well at Cheltenham in the bumper last season, this front running sort may find himself burnt out as they turn for home and at the end of the day be over-hyped.....watch out for another Irish entrant...perhaps Kempes or Go Nativ**I think I don't like Cousin Vinny because the film took the piss out of stutters--of whom I am a (proud) member.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I actually wrote a post of at Betfair about how to get more comments on your blog and have realised I don't get so many on mine!
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I've won about $300 this past week playing either tournaments on Betfair Poker or on Stars. I never play higher than $10 sngs or tournaments and will not play higher until I'm consistently winning or cashing at these levels.
My game has improved for a number of reasons.
1) Raise The River Forum. I'm not really a forum person (I'm too shy really) but find the advice on that site invaluable. I've only ever posted a few questions about particular hands but always get genuine advice and answers. I also started playing in their League Games and although I started badly and felt intimidated at first I've found playing against good players has really improved my game.
2) Marcus Bateman. Although I'm biased because he works for the site I do some freelance work on, I genuinely feel his clear concise articles have improved my game. Although, I hate it when he start to talk about cash games...cos I have zero interest. Check him out through the link above.
3) Yorkshire Pudding. Matthew Pitt is a great writer who is only going to get better and I read his stuff carefully - if not edit it carefully enough:) I watched him play a tournament on Team Viewer where I could access his computer and obviously see his hole cards in a game of poker. Watching him play really helped me learn how to get through the early stages of a MTT. It sounds stupid now but I was sat there thinking "Why has he folded KJo under the gun - they are both picture cards."
4) Volume. I play around about 15 hours per week. This is not a lot but it mounts up over the month. The more poker tournaments I play, the better I become just through experience of certain situations.
The level I play at means I have to understand bad players and this is something I am getting better at.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Ever changing links
Bloggers : HID Poker
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