Canada needs a good airline

I finally got my photo of the White House tonight in Washington D.C. I have been trying each trip to get close enough to get a snap and tonight I did.

I flew here from Spokane, Wash., and my colleague from Kelowna. I arrived at 9:30 p.m., on time, while he had three delayed flights and ended up flying laps around the CN Tower in Toronto on his way to Washington D.C. 

I am sure Air Canada has an answer for the curious navigation and delays, but I love that all Delta staff say to me is, “thank you for being a Medallion member and flying so much with us.”

The curious thing is that at the end of last year, I ended up with the same number of free eUpgrade certificates as I started off with at the beginning of the year. The eUpgrade certificates are Air Canada’s way of saying thank you to loyal clients.

It is about the only privilege you get aside from some fancy line up at check in, no charge luggage (to a certain extent) and access to overly crowded lounges that are no longer a privilege.

I did not end up with my eUpgrade certificates at the end of the year by design. The previous year I loved them, but I guess inflation took over and today they are worth nothing.

I tried no fewer than 10 times to use them and each time I was advised that they were not eligible for the flight I was taking or I could have the distinct frequent flyer privilege of using my free eUpgrade certificates if I paid an upgrade fee that frankly was more than the cost of a first-class ticket in the first place. 

That is precisely why I arrived in Washington D.C. on time and my colleague arrived at 1 a.m. — because Delta Airlines treats me like a loyal client, gives me upgrades on every flight, gives me better pricing and says thanks for flying with us.

Perhaps things will change and I can be loyal to a national airline, but with Canadian pricing the way it is and loyalty programs worth nothing, in fact negative nothing, I am for now happy to drive to the U.S. and fly from there.



This Is Africa

In my travels to Africa, both for business and charity, I am always amazed at the happy demeanour of most Africans. 

Aside from living in abject poverty, many are subject to brutal abuses both mental and physical. The world’s NGOs assist in supporting and helping the victims of such crimes recover or at least maintain. 

Africa always tugs at my heart and that of many of my colleagues. But if us  ask why, most of us cannot put a finger on it. Most of the countries are run by corrupt dictators who live a lavish lifestyle while the population suffers. Some countries function in a somewhat orderly manner, but are only one election away from a significant change. 

With all of the current headline news in regard to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), I find it difficult to watch as neighbouring politicians stand by and criticize the current regime.

What is happening in the DRC is sad and tough to witness. It is plagued with Ebola and violence. Its biggest plague is, however, probably its vast mineral deposits, which make the DRC one of the most potentially wealthy countries on the planet despite the fact it ranks at the bottom 10 poorest country. 

What irks me is the criticism levelled at the current regime, which appears to be nothing more than a game of politics to find an excuse to march in and bring stability from a military stand point while simultaneously removing the citizens minerals.

Such criticism is futile and opaque. Paul Kagame of Rwanda is one such leader who denounces the leadership in DRC yet gained control of Rwanda through a brutal war where his militia slaughtered many thousands of people prior to him changing the countries constitution a few times in order for him to maintain power.

He then expelled many of the Hutus he was fighting to the DRC and now complains that DRC does not maintain a secure border. 

If any of us has the right to criticize the leadership of a country in regard to the clinical execution of a western style election we had better do some close examinations of our own systems first.

It seems that many western elections and referendums have not been as transparent and honest as we may have assumed many years ago.

While lives may have not have been lost, the results were at best (it would appear) manufactured in our clinically western way.

Just saying! 

Why do women live longer?

I didn’t know this was a thing. My wife and I have always talked about how many movies and TV sitcoms portray men as, for want of a better word, dorks.

The Simpsons is a prime example and I am sure has been fodder for more than a few excuses from members of the male sex with regard to a lack of performance — just crack a joke, laugh and walk away.

Before I am accused of being elitist, I have to acknowledge having done a few dumb things in my life. In fact, if I had not met my wife, I am not sure I would have made it this far. With that being said, it has been a whole pile of fun along the way,

Curiously, there is something about a certain arrangement of genes that directs some of us from either sex to chase a dream involving some element of danger.

More than a few times in the past, I have found myself under a collapsed paraglider high above the ground wondering how I got there or on a knife edge ridge high up in the Himalayas questioning why I chose to do this over staying at home with my family.

So perhaps it is no wonder that to a certain extent women may live longer than men.

Well, it turns out I am not alone in my foolish antics. My wife suggested that I Google “why women live longer than men.”

For my wife to even suggest this must mean that there is some clandestine organization of females who spend their spare time googling such nonsense.

However, when I did try (not with my wife looking over my shoulder of course) it was actually hilarious. 

If you have not Googled “why women live longer than men” do it now and take a look at the images on google…

I am sure it is all completely made up, but it is fun.


Life Is never In balance

I confused someone the other day who was suggesting we meet during Christmas.

While I love the idea of getting together with friends at Christmas, this year has been exceptionally busy and I find myself looking forward to spending time with my wife and family and indulging a little less in parties and dinners.

My friend seemed concerned that I would not make the time to meet and how it wasn’t healthy to not socialize. I think his suggestion might have been that I was working too hard. 

The last statement is probably true. This has been a real heads down year and when the sun is shining, it is time to make hay. I explained that life is never in balance. He was confused and I never really took the time to explain that just like a guided missile, we move through balance.

For fleeting moments, we get a glimpse of what an organized and compartmentalized life is like. For now, however, the only compartment my colleague and I have seen is the inside of an aircraft cabin. 

Our quest for heaven on Earth or nirvana is rarely if ever achieved on this Earth.

We spend too much time worrying about creating the perfect life when we should be enjoying the journey. With small, incremental adjustments along the way, we can get closer to the target.

Next year, I would like to protect family time a little more. Does it mean that I won’t be as busy? Not at all, simply that I will adjust priorities a little. 

In the same vein, we spend so much time worrying about working toward balance that we forget to enjoy the downtime.

Years ago, my father was a partner in a printing business and would worry every time the level of orders in our factory dropped a little. I would always suggest that was exactly the time to take a holiday. In truth, the orders always came back, so why stress, take a break. 

It is hard to break out of a guilt cycle. You often may feel as though you have not worked hard enough to attain the balance you might be looking for. Consequently when you do take time off, you feel guilty. 

This Christmas, I may not be doing all the rounds to visit friends.

But I do wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I will always cherish the memories we have of our friendships and when I have downtime, rest assured, I will be just a little more social than I am now.

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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