Monday, 1 March 2010

"Edward Hasbrouck's World's Travel Worsts"

My nominations for the Titanic Awards (“celebrating the dubious achievements of travel”) are posted today at

  1. Worst Airline: Emirates. Consistently incompetent and unhelpful staff at ticket counters and sales offices on 4 continents.
  2. Worst Toilet: A hole in the ground behind our “hotel” in Tashkurgan, Chinese-occupied East Turkestan, only partially screened from public view and blowing dust, and surrounded by an ankle-breaking mound of rubble and refuse.
  3. Worst Airport: Dubai. I was predisposed to dislike DXB (see my choice for Worst Airline, above), but it was worse than I imagined. Changing planes in the middle of the night, I want a place I can rest — not the cacophony of a shopping mall where I have to fight my way through crowds buying raffle tickets for luxury cars, or trip over rows of transit passengers sleeping on the floor for want of chairs.
  4. Worst Inflight Meal: (Domestic) Aeroflot: Bread and water. (International) PIA: Don’t ask, don’t tell.
  5. Worst City for Driving: Sana’a, Yemen. Deadly recklessness and unpredictability. Underpowered, ill-maintained vehicles with bad brakes and bald tires, and not enough pedestrians, bicycles, or animals to slow them down to a safer speed. (Runner-up: Townships in South Africa, where there are urban areas with more than a million people with few street signs and no maps, and where a wrong turn can put you at risk of robbery or carjacking. Map Studio, the Rand McNally of South Africa, just published its first map to Soweto in time for the World Cup, and has none for any other township.)
  6. Worst Car Rental: Fox Rent-A-Car, LAX. Tried to charge me US$200 in damages because my car got a flat tire (while with the valet parkers at my hotel!), and referred their claim to a collection agency when I didn’t pay.

You can check out horror stories and nominations for infamy from many other travellers as well, famous and otherwise.

Link | Posted by Edward on Monday, 1 March 2010, 22:28 (10:28 PM)

The toilet image brought back memories of my worst toilet experience in Morocco. Thanks for the memory, I think.

Posted by: patriciaj, 12 March 2010, 15:18 ( 3:18 PM)
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