You’ll never guess what Monarch’s planes are doing now

… Broadly speaking, they’re flying about.

This blog post is mainly appearing here because I found myself wondering about the fate of Monarch’s 35-strong fleet of planes after it fell into administration last October.

I’d seen the “Monarch Cook” partially reliveried planes popping up on Instagram, but I was wondering… where did all the others go?

It’s the kind of thing I expected to see on the Internet – but despite much searching, I couldn’t find a compiled list. So, I made one.

Hello if you’ve landed here looking for just such a list. I like you. Stick around.

But on to why we’re here…

I’m very pleased to say that the vast majority of the fleet (according to Planespotters.net’s records) are up and about again, doing what they do best this summer.

Monarch RegFate
G-ZBAPScrapped
G-OZBOScrapped
G-ZBASEasyJet Europe
G-ZBABFrontier Airlines
G-ZBAVNordwind Airlines
G-OZBYAzul Linhas Aéreas
G-ZBAHSmartLynx Estonia
G-OZBWAvion Express
G-OZBXEllinair
G-ZBARThomas Cook Balearics
G-BZATIberia
G-ZBAUIberia
G-OZBLSmall Planet Airlines
G-MARAOlympus Airlines
G-OJEGOlympus Airlines
G-OZBMRed Wings Airlines
G-OZBNJust Us Air
G-OZBZSmall Planet Airlines
G-OZBERed Wings Airlines
G-OZBFRed Wings Airlines
G-OZBRLanmei Airlines
G-OZBG(Ural Airlines)
G-OZBHUral Airlines
G-OZBIAvion Express
G-ZBAIAegean Airlines
G-ZBAJAegean Airlines
G-ZBAFVLM
G-ZBAGRed Wings
G-ZPAKNordwind Airlines
G-ZBALLanmei Airlines
G-OZBTAegean Airlines
G-OZBUNordwind Airlines
G-ZBADThomas Cook UK
G-ZBAEThomas Cook UK
G-ZBAMThomas Cook UK
G-ZBADThomas Cook UK

Why that’s the worst illustration of cycling infrastructure ever

I’ve seen this image pop up on Twitter a couple of times today and each time it’s had a tweet something along the lines of “best illustration of cycling infrastructure ever” attached to it, but I don’t really think it is.

In the image we have to assume that the drawing translates into real life to make its point about the awful infrastructure we’ve got. So, logic kind of suggests that the grey car on the train tracks is ‘the bicycle’ and the train is ‘the car’, while the train tracks are ‘the road’ and the road is ‘the bike lane’. Which is fine. Nothing wrong there. Or is there? Because actually, physical logistics of driving a rubber-tired vehicle along a train track aside, there’s no reason why when the road ran out cars couldn’t join the railway.

If this situation ever were to exist then it would be perfectly safe, provided the driver of ‘the bike’ were to stick to the rules.

In fact, if this situation were ever to happen it would probably be the safest way to drive your car, because, excepting Luxembourg, we’ve got the safest railway in Europe.

That’s possible because rules matter a lot on the railway, with safety systems like fail-safe interlocking signalling doing some of the work and automatic warning systems and vigilance alarms making sure the driver is alive, awake and doing what they should be and that trains stay away from one another doing the rest. On the railway, the rules mean you’ll never get a ‘car’ that has pulled out in front of you shouting, wearing silly shoes and some kind of modern-day gas mask and who thinks talking about ‘cleets’ all the time in places like the queue for the bank is acceptable.

What the image is actually showing is ‘the car’ (which represents a cyclist in this perfect world, remember) having pulled out onto the railway tracks at an unsafe distance from the train. Now that’s not the best illustration about cycling infrastructure ever, is it? (And nor, I’d guess, is it the image most well-behaved, normal cyclists would want to be given either.)

Are apps making us unhealthily thin?

I’m sure it’s nothing new that advances in our abilities get the blame for all of the ills of the day.

On almost a weekly basis someone approaches me asking for advice on how to stop people talking about them on a Facebook ‘rant site’, someone else asks me how we can turn off the Twitter and another approaches me for advice on getting some compliment or other off the Internet so that they can share it with people.

They might be upset at the former two and happy at the last, but if you asked them straight out what they thought of social media then you’d almost always hear something negative. The people posting complaints on social media are usually time wasters, need something better to do or should be headed out to the shops to get a life according to the people they have criticised. Some people even think they should be banned.

Now, perhaps that’s true. Perhaps most of the complaints on the Internet are being written by people sat in the dark wearing slightly off-white y-fronts and sipping from a fresh can of diet coke, but thinking that way makes it too easy to ignore the underlying problem that no-one complains unless you’ve given them a reason.

My day job is to convince businesses and people to  calm down their gut reactions enough to ignore where the comments came from and get on with solving the problem.

So I was interested to hear a feature on Weekend Women’s Hour yesterday (what?!) while I was driving back from experiencing Bicester Village for the first time, looking at the ‘hidden dangers’ of fitness apps. It got me thinking: do apps cause problems, or do apps simply reveal them?

This is probably something we should be discussing as monitoring equipment for everything from how active we are to our blood oxygen level is increasingly being monitored and recorded by the devices around us and even more so as companies like Apple bring out devices that make recording your blood oxygen level a mainstream activity.

The argument on the programme was that fitness apps ask users to specify a current weight, a target weight and a time limit and get given a number of calories per day to aim for regardless of how healthy that weight or the journey to get there might be.

To lay the blame for these problems at the door of the app developers is disingenuous, intentionally or not.

No doubt, displaying a simple number and using maths to solve a problem is just a logical way of doing things for the programmers behind the apps, but according to those opposed it’s a logic that can make a relationship with food less emotional than it should be and, experts say, that can lead to problems and obsessions. And there’s no doubt that they’re right, but I think it’s concerning to hear apps getting the blame.

I’ve had problems with my weight before – I spent a lot of my early teenage life hoping that I could just bloody gain some – but when I’ve played around with the most popular of the apps my fascination with hitting the magic calorie number has lasted for, at most, about three days.

My experience was more that I found it laborious to enter the details of what I’d eaten and disappointing to find that even without picking up anything remotely sweet I’d exceeded my RDA of sugar. I know my friends and a couple of people I’ve lived with had a similar experience too. At best entering my life into an app had a quick-wearing shine, but it’s easy to see how for someone with a pre-existing problem that might not be the case.

I think to lay the blame for these problems at the door of the app developers is disingenuous, intentionally or not, and ultimately just distracting from the real challenge that we have to fix perceptions of body image, to fix the problems we have with food advertising and to a certain extent to fix parenting too.

Like blaming social media and people ‘who need to get a life’ for complaints about your shop being too cold on Facebook it’s easy to look at social media, or an app, or the Internet and blame it for any ill that can be found, but wouldn’t it be more productive to find out how to change the thermostat?

Don’t talk to me about card clash

For what seems like forever now, London has been living in terror of card clash and the consequences it might bring. It’s actually only been since September, but the dreary announcements and faux-fear posters have made it seem much, much longer.

But have we been misled? It was at a ticket gate in London Waterloo’s underground station that I began to wonder whether there was something else we should all be worrying about instead.

Everyone, even people who don’t live in London, knows that in today’s real terms card clash is a very big issue and people up, and indeed down, the land live in fear of the day it strikes them or someone they love.

It’s not contagious and it almost certainly never ends in death, but the risk of accidentally paying TfL about fourteen quid for a journey that should have cost as little as two and a half is so great that many people in London, reports say up to 55%, have been forced to remove their Oyster card from their wallet this year just through fear; others have taken to walking or cycling and some have just stayed at home.

TfL’s fear campaign has been so effective that some have suggested sending the marketing executives behind it to help with the fight against Ebola – another proximity-based technology – in West Africa.

But I’m concerned that we’re missing something bigger.

The other day I almost dropped my debit card on the floor without noticing while I was using the Underground. Luckily, I didn’t drop it and I did notice but it got me thinking about what might have happened if I had’ve, and I hadn’t. It goes without saying that this would have been mildly inconvenient.

Figures I obtained because I could think of nothing better to do at the time show that, since September when contactless launched on the Underground, the number of cards found on London Underground stations has increased by an almost perceivable number. Terrifying.

Look at this:

Graph borrowed from the Mirror’s piece about my FOI

This almost imperceivable increase in the number of cards being found might just be chance, but it could also be the slippery slope: our minds distracted by the constant whinging about card clash.

Now, if I were a better blogger then I would probably be building up to some kind of big finish around about now. But I’m not.

I am a blogger who made an FOI request and then completely forgot why I was interested in the figures and relied purely on the things that came out of my fingers when I was staring at the data.