back to article Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice

The Register is at Microsoft's Ignite shindig in Orlando, Florida and while the event itself has been liberally hosed with the cloud and decked with impressive workflows, we reckon the Windows giant might want to offer up some of the assembled engineers to work out just what the heck is going on with Hyatt hotel's booking system …

  1. Julian Bradfield

    lucky you...

    if the resident had been in, you might now have a bullet through your chest...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lucky you...

      ...you might now have a bullet through your chest...

      You wouldn't believe how fast hotels go through housekeeping staff for exactly this reason.

      It's nonstop Quentin Tarantino movies out there.

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: lucky you...

      Did that once some years ago, in Arizona. Was given a key card and a cabin number (at a motel). The cabin number was incorrect for the cabin, and the occupant kindly let me know by shooting through the door, though slightly over head height...

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        How considerate of him.

        1. Annihilator

          Unless Neil is 4'7 and just fortunate.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Neil is 6'2 and has sufficient hazardous environment training to duck and cover...

        2. JetSetJim Silver badge
          Headmaster

          ...or her

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: lucky you...

        I took my family on a visit to florida a few years ago, and stayed at some sort of apart-hotel thingy in Clearwater for a couple of days. We got given the correct key but the wrong apartment number (written down on a piece of paper) by the reception staff.

        We had caught a very late flight to get out there, and in hindsight, I'm extremely glad we didn't encounter a trigger happy occupant whilst fiddling with the lock and trying to get into the wrong room at 2 am in the morning....

        1. A K Stiles
          Coat

          Re: lucky you...

          Better than 2am in the evening!

          1. Blake St. Claire

            Re: lucky you...

            Or 12am. Or 12pm. I'm never sure which is which.

            1. A K Stiles
              WTF?

              Re: lucky you...

              Used to struggle with that one too. After using mainly 24 hour clock for a while realised that there is only one twelve and one zero, so they form the beginning of the next period (i.e. 0-11 = am, 12-23 = pm).

              Also something to do with meridians but that wasn't what set it in my brain initially.

              1. Julian Bradfield

                Re: lucky you...

                The way I remember it is that all times starting 12:...pm are after noon, apart from 12:00:00.00000000... itself, while 12:....am times are all before noon.

                1. werdsmith Silver badge

                  Re: lucky you...

                  Same in a hotel country house type place in Ireland. I arrived back at the hotel late and slightly wobbly from alcohol. There were no staff on the desk so I helped myself to my room key (9).

                  Key nine wouldn't turn the lock so I thought maybe it was upside down and was 6 so I tried it in 6 and the door was opened by an annoyed looking woman occupant.

                  Eventually I discovered that the rooms on each floor were numbered from 1 and I had the key to the floor below mine.

                  Also staying in a farmhouse one time I left the room at 3AM for the bathroom which was up a flight of stairs. Then when I came back I was presented with a set of four doors, and no memory at all of which was mine, the other three occupied by strangers. Russian roulette, I was lucky that night.

      3. sketharaman

        Re: lucky you...

        LOL. He obviously doesn't subscribe to the NRA slogan "it's better to have it and not need it..."!

        1. IceC0ld Silver badge

          Re: lucky you...

          THIS thread is why I love El Reg

          just started my first night shift of 12 hours with a full on happytime laugh - so cheers for that :o)

  2. JassMan Silver badge
    Coat

    Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

    Blood in snot and all that.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

      Worryingly, most of the strains in circulation aren't included in the BCG jab, which IIRC contains 23 separate needles for the strains it does cover (I stand to be corrected on this, as it's 3 decades since I had one). This indicates something about why TB is such a successful pathogen (and still the world's number 1 killer infectious disease), this and the fact that it is hard to kill because (a) it lives in the lungs, where it is hard for antibiotics to reach, (b) it divides slowly (antibiotics typically kill cells when they divide), (c) it has a thick cell wall, affording the bacterium some degree of protection, and (d) people don't finish their courses of antibiotics and stop when they feel better, leading to low-level disease reservoirs. oh, and (e) a lot of infected people are asymptomatic.

      If you develop a cough, I'd suggest a visit to your GP...

      1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        A GP visit for a cough? HAH! You'd be lucky to get past the receptionist to the triage nurse, only to be told that the next available appointment is in 6 weeks!

        1. iowe_iowe

          Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

          If you get to see a nurse instead of a doctor at your surgery, it's not a downgrade - they are usually specialists (COPD, Travel Clinic, etc) and know their stuff.. I think the triage nurse is only in hospital A&E. So only the receptionist to get past.

          1. EastFinchleyite

            Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

            GP surgery Hahahahahahahahah!

            Receptionists are the untrained spawn of the Devil. There to put a barrier between patients and over worked doctors.

            Couple of years ago I ground my finger close to the bone with a belt sander (my own fault). Took the nail completely off. Mushy stuff underneath. As my London GP surgery was both open and just around the corner I wrapped the dripping mess in a paper kitchen towel and walked round the corner. The receptionist flatly refused to even call one of the on-site doctors saying that "we don't do injuries here, you need to go to the drop-in minor injuries centre, or hospital A&E". Luckily I have an automatic car and could drive with one hand for about a mile to the DI centre.

            The drop in centre triaged me and I got to see a nurse in 20 minutes. She offered to X-ray the finger but as it was clearly not broken, only mangled I suggested that perhaps someone could check it for underlying damage and dress it. There was a two hour wait for sticking plasters etc. I decided to go home and dress it myself.

            It was at this point that the only rapid movement I had seen all day occurred. The nurse stopped me from going back out through the other waiting victims with a, by now, very bloody kitchen towel. She gave me a new sheet of sterile cloth and waved me on my way.

            Its a good thing the valiant journo was on his way TO the USA rather than coming home to the UK. US medical care may be hideously expensive but if you have travel insurance it is quite effective. In the UK, at least in North London, you are stuffed.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

              Not my local surgery. Same day appointments most times. Very punctual appointments.

              It's not a tabloid health centre.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        most of the strains in circulation aren't included in the BCG jab

        Most youngsters don't get BCG jabs any more, it's not part of routine vaccination. Apparently they stopped giving them to teenagers in 2005 and now only target those at higher risk.

      3. Symon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        "separate needles for the strains"

        There's only one BCG vaccine, rather than different stuff for multiple strains, but it can be stabbed into you with multiple needles, like an iron maiden.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BCG_vaccine#Method_of_administration

        Run to the hills...

      4. Outski

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        "23 separate needles for the strains"

        Are you sure you're not thinking of the scratch test, administered a couple of weeks before the BCG itself?

      5. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        I just checked, still got my BCG scar, although it's pretty faded now.

      6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        "which IIRC contains 23 separate needles for the strains"

        It's a long time ago but IIRC the multiple needle thing was the test which was supposed to come up and leave a scab if it was positive. The scab could leave a permanent scar. You used to see people with one or even two scars the size of an old halfpenny on their upper arm. My test? Not the slightest reaction so I got the jab with a singe needle.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

          ISTR the test was done with a multiple needle device that left a pepper pot mark on the inside of your forearm. If that reacted after a couple of weeks(?) you were sent for further tests and new underwear - a couple of friends at school reacted and their fear was palpable understandably having just been reading shit by poets that had died of that crap.

          The actual immunisation came from something on a needle that was put just under the skin on the shoulder rather than an injection. This reacted to create a blister like bubble that in my class at school varied from 1/4" across to one lad who had one about 3" across and make him look like he was smuggling a tennis ball - something there almost certainly was a rule against somewhere in the imaginary school archives.

          Where the skin lifted you were left with a scar that resembles that left by a burn.

          1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

            Am only the one who went to a school where the boys competed so see how hard they could punch the resulting jab site?

            "Dead arm" for days.

            I also seem recall my BCG blister burst in a shower of blood 3 months later. Made white school shirt look like something from Taratino. And that was without any teenage thuggery involved.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

          For decades I wondered why I didn't have that scar on my upper arm.

      7. kmedcalf

        Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

        "antibiotics typically kill cells when they divide"

        Antibiotics don't kill bacteria. Antibiotics operate to make the bacteria less fit so that the immune system can kill them in the normal fashion. No working immune system means antibiotics do not work.

        Bactericides kill bacteria.

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Hope the hack is up to date with his TB jab

      I am looking forwards to the regular updates on this sorry tale of blood, snot, tears and Hyattus.

      Beer, because I feel your angst.

  3. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

    Happened to me once......

    But the other way round.

    Must have been about 1AM, fast asleep in the land of nod.......

    Suddenly the lights all come on and I'm (almost) wide awake, and there's a big bloke standing at the end of the bed with his suitcase in hand.

    Fortuntely he looked as horrified and shocked as I, quickly apologied and rushed out, switching off the light in the process.

    Had he opened his suitcase and took out some ruibber gloves I would have been rather more worried.....

    I did complain in the morning about it (the intrusion, not the lack of rubber gloves), the receptionist seemed quite concerned and promised to report it and surprisingly I later got a letter from the duty manager apologising and offering me free room upgrades on future visits ( I was staying there quite often at the time).

    1. John Sager

      Re: Happened to me once......

      Many moons ago, with small children on a foreign trip we stayed one night at the Ibis near Heathrow. We were woken up three times by people unlocking the door and barging in. On the third one I just roared FUCK OFF!, and that seemed to do the business. When I complained the following morning, to the French duty manager, he didn't seem very concerned, and only offered us a free breakfast, which we couldn't take as we needed to get to the airport. Needless to say I've never stayed in an Ibis ever again.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    worse yet

    he could have walked in on a Chris Farley type of binge with hookers and blackjack!

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: worse yet

      I wouldn't be that lucky.

  5. EBG

    been there

    Jetlagged. Hotel used by a lot of aircrew. I had the last 3 digits of the room number correct, but was on the wrong floor. The card "worked", not due to computer error, but because it had been left just ajar. A very red-faced apology and retreat (I'm married).

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Interesting problem

    How is it possible for a computer to allocate a room that is already occupied ? It should indeed be a computer problem because I very much doubt that there is any booking system where the clerk can override room status on an occupied room - that way lies madness.

    So there clearly is a bug in the system, but what on Earth could it be ? The database is corrupt ? The system got hacked and nobody's noticed yet ?

    Anyone got any ideas ?

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: Interesting problem

      Apply Hanlon's Razor and think of the capability of the desk staff. It would be simple for the desk staff to misread the room number and program the key incorrectly.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting problem

        Surely anything programmed by anyone over the age of 5 then the computer would program the key for the room just allocated?

        Oh sorry my bad...

    2. The Mole

      Re: Interesting problem

      Lots of ways it can happen, two simple options are:

      1: two separate systems. System 1 says room 123 is allocated.

      Clark scribbles down room 132 into the card/paperwork, types that into the card machine writer and then reads it back and tells the customer that that is what their room is.

      2: a race condition, two people checking in at the same time, the room is empty when both requests do the lookup for empty rooms, they both then create allocations for the room and store it back (after waiting to confirm details etc). Due to bad database/system design it doesn't realise the two entries have been written and both are left allocated to the same room for the same time period.

      1. KLane

        Re: Interesting problem

        A number of these systems have no interface to the card writer from the reservation system. All it requires is the room number to be entered, which gets the access token from the lock computers, and then writes it to the card.

        1. Donn Bly

          Re: Interesting problem

          Not just "a number" of systems -- I can't recall a single hotel where I have stayed that has that level of integration. By keeping the systems separate there is less of attack surface to be hacked.

          Also, all room keys have to programmed at the same time. The next time the programmer is used a different token is generated, and as soon that that new card is used all existing cards for the room are automatically expired. So if you ever get back to your room and your key doesn't work, there is a good chance that someone had been issued a card in error and has probably been in your room.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Interesting problem

            It's becoming more of a problem since there are all these discount travel websites offering to book rooms.

    3. iron Silver badge

      Re: Interesting problem

      The most likely bug in this system is a common one, it's called USERS.

      #PEBSAFF

    4. dak

      Re: Interesting problem

      Probably for the same reason that saw me on a plane with a boarding pass for an occupied seat. Only time I have ever been escorted off an aircraft.

      That was BA, a long time ago.

    5. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Interesting problem

      > Anyone got any ideas ?

      They were hacked, and their client database was stolen, but this time the hacker didn't just copy it, he moved it. Leaving the staff randomly assigning rooms to clients already registered...

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting problem

        The hotel were using one of the new quantum computers and the room was both vacant and occupied at the same time.

    6. stungebag

      Re: Interesting problem

      Perhaps it's Hilbert's Hotel and a coach containing an infinite number of new guests was being checked in by another clerk.

      1. Anonymous IV
        Thumb Up

        Re: Interesting problem

        > Perhaps it's Hilbert's Hotel and a coach containing an infinite number of new guests was being checked in by another clerk.

        No doubt at a Poisson rate of arrivals!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Interesting problem

          Poisson d'Avril?

        2. OssianScotland Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Interesting problem

          No, that's a Red Herring

          Coat please... it's in the usual plaice

        3. Spanners Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Interesting problem

          No doubt at a Poisson rate of arrivals!

          Sounds fishy to me,,,

          1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Interesting problem

            Cod Almighty.

            1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

              Re: Interesting problem

              Blasphemy! You have haddock now!

    7. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: Interesting problem

      @Pascal Monett: "How is it possible...?

      I walked into an occupied room in an otherwise pretty decent hotel in an Eastern European country where I was visiting an outsourcing outfit doing some stuff for us. The original occupant was in bed watching TV - I escaped faster than I could notice which channel it was. While the horrified reception staff were recoding the key card for a different room I pondered the same question, "How is it possible?".

      My first guess was that the DB was coded by the very same outsourcing company I was visiting. This was so eminently plausible that I stopped wondering there and then.

    8. MrReynolds2U

      Re: Interesting problem

      Typically the door key is processed separately by keying in the room number. That's legacy systems at least.

  7. Tim99 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    You could get into a room?

    In my last 4 check-ins the keycard did not work 3 times and had to be replaced/reprogrammed. The last 2 wouldn’t even let me use the lift.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: You could get into a room?

      Eee, you 'ad a lift? We 'ad to mek do wi' stairs...

      1. baud Bronze badge

        Re: You could get into a room?

        It was stairs up, both way! In the snow (since that was exterior stairs). And when we complained we got downgraded to a ladder!

        1. Andy Non Silver badge

          Re: You could get into a room?

          When arr wor a lad; otel put us in a cardboard box in middle o road wi a lump o coal for heating, a street light for illumination and a tin of baked beans for dinner that you had to open wi yur teeth.

          1. Aussie Doc
            Windows

            Re: You could get into a room?

            You 'ad teeth?

            Luxury.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: You could get into a room?

          On a skiing holiday we arrived at our hotel and went into the lobby and registered. We then went to the back of the hotel and down about 8 flights of stairs, through a small tunnel and up another 10 or so flights of stairs to get to our room. The hotel had been built in a valley and ran down one side and the tunnel was in fact a bridge built to withstand floods and avalanches and then up the other.

          Meals were of course near reception so by the end of the week I was marathon fit despite not having done much skiing.

          1. herman Silver badge

            Re: You could get into a room?

            Well, you are lucky the key card worked and you didn't have to go back 3 times for a new one.

      2. Aussie Doc
        Windows

        Re: You could get into a room?

        You 'ad stairs?

        Luxury.

      3. Tim99 Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: You could get into a room?

        The last were "modern" hotels, so little to do with climbin' down t'pit shaft using only hands and feet.

        The first hotel was in an apartment block, so reception was on the 5th floor, my room was on the 9th. After the previous lift incident, when I eventually got into the room the "room service menu" was a list of local take-aways with highlights of their "meals" - Charges excluded delivery, which was about the same amount as a "meal", with an additional charge if I wanted the delivery taken up to my room.

    2. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: You could get into a room?

      When I started my current job, about 9 years ago, my keycard would let me through most doors, except the one to the department I was working in.

  8. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    No mention of the Comp's granted, I'm guessing one hack doesn't want to make his peers jealous.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Naturally, The Register contacted Hyatt to find out how this happened

    you didn't really expect they'd go into ANY details, did you past the usual bullshit of "our guests' comfort is our top priority and we would sincerely wish to apologize again, and here's a 10 buck juice voucher for the canteen below, indicative of how much we care and FO!!!"

    That said, if you don't ask, you don't get (and if you ask, you still don't ;)

  10. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Pint

    "puns against humanity"

    That one is good!

  11. colinb

    You bet the system had a problem

    It let users make a choice!

    Now in this case it could well have been the BOFH with some spare time to kill, keying random stuff into fields is very therapeutic.

  12. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Wait, Wut?

    .. this hack was treated to rainfall in the cabin of BA's finest. "It's because we're descending into warmer air, of course," proffered the cabin crew.

    Soo.. was it a Boeing? I'd have been tempted to ask them to close the aircraft windows to avoid condensation problems.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Wait, Wut?

      Is that really a thing? I've never noticed condensation on the cabin walls, even when landing in tropical countries during rain season.

      (Though I admit I've never flown BA. Maybe they only bought the first part of "air conditioning"?)

      1. Jim Mitchell

        Re: Wait, Wut?

        Yes, the usual complaint is that airplane air is to dry, not to wet. Also, you get condensation when the air cools, not gets warmer.

        1. chris 143

          Re: Wait, Wut?

          condensation freezes then melts as you come into land and it warns up again - although I've only ever watched this process occur on the plane window, I guess it could happen elsewhere

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Wait, Wut?

            Back business class row (standby ticket!) of an Air France plane out of Rio one time, and the air con had obviously been collecting condensed water for a while. The plane rotated, and a couple of gallons of water fell on our head. It's not what you expect on a plane!

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Wait, Wut?

              Look on the bright side, the water probably hadn't had a chance to cultivate a decent crop of legionella, and the black mold elsewhere in the aircraft would've been grateful for the rainfall.

              But such are the joys of flying, and experiencing cabin 'air'.

            2. ThatOne Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Wait, Wut?

              > a couple of gallons of water fell on our head

              Hey, that was the free in-flight drinks!

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Wait, Wut?

              Eau Secours !

              1. Outski

                Re: Wait, Wut?

                Eau, jolie good!

                1. Ken Shabby Bronze badge
                  Pirate

                  Re: Wait, Wut?

                  À l'eau ç'est la

            4. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: Wait, Wut?

              It's not what you expect on a plane!

              I only ever expect snakes.

          2. JimC

            Re: Wait, Wut?

            If I read the reference I just found aright, then the water carrying capacity of air decreases with increased pressure. So as the aircraft descends below whatever the cabin air pressure level is pressure increases and there's a potential for condensation. would have thought the air would need to be pretty hu,mid already for any noticeable effects though, but I haven't done sums.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              Re: Wait, Wut?

              > the air would need to be pretty humid already for any noticeable effects

              Definitely, and given you just spent at least an hour in the very dry air of cruise altitude, I doubt there is much humidity left in the cabin by the end of the trip.

              So I'm wondering where did that water those people experienced came from. *scratches head*

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Wait, Wut?

                So I'm wondering where did that water those people experienced came from. *scratches head*

                My guess would be faulty air conditioning systems on the aircraft. The cabin's effectively sealed & pressurised to (I think) the equivalent of 8,000ft during flight & depressurised as it lands. AFAIK outside air is mixed with recirculated cabin air & meant to be at a controlled temp/humidity. So probably something wrong with condensers & more moisture getting into the cabin air. As air seems dry during flight, I guess the systems also have to deal with humidity from sardi.. I mean passengers breathing & sweating.

                I've noticed the occasional drop of moisture during flights, but luckily not much.

                1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                  Re: Wait, Wut?

                  Well, it's been a while since this happened, but Rio is a pretty humid place, particularly in the wet season. I speculate that sitting with the doors open and the aircon running, and the condensate not being drained where it should have been, caused the issue.

                  Air France were terribly good/embarrassed about it. And at least it wasn't AF47 that time, which we'd flown *to* Rio on the day before it failed to find its way home. :(

                  1. ThatOne Silver badge

                    Re: Wait, Wut?

                    > sitting with the doors open and the aircon running

                    Except that AFAIK on the ground the aircon is that big box on wheels parked alongside the plane. Any condensation should run off that one, only the cooled air is pumped into the plane. And, air being pumped into the plane, the cabin is actually slightly over-pressurized, which should prevent too much feral external air from entering through the doors. (That is, I guess, AFAIK, YMMV and all that. I'm no plane specialist, I just like to observe.)

                    I can understand Air France were embarrassed: Soaking your paying customers is never a good marketing move, and that's even before stray rumors start about the origins of that liquid...

                2. ThatOne Silver badge
                  Holmes

                  Re: Wait, Wut?

                  > The cabin's effectively sealed

                  This isn't the information I had. They do pressurize the cabin, but keep pumping in "fresh" air from outside all the time, else a) the passengers would eventually suffocate after a couple hours, and b) the smell might get overwhelming...

                  Given air humidity decreases with altitude (that's how clouds come to form), the air at cruise altitude is very dry. I can imagine outside air humidity being a problem only for the couple minutes of ascension and descent, which shouldn't be long enough to create any visible effects (and apparently usually isn't).

                  That been said, I agree that some faulty system on the plane is to blame, for apparently only a select few have ever experienced this issue, and I assume people here are above-average plane users.

          3. Cxwf

            Re: Wait, Wut?

            If water is freezing *inside* the plane, something has gone horribly wrong and the condensation is the least of your worries.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: Wait, Wut?

              > If water is freezing *inside* the plane

              I guess he meant inside the double/triple panes of the windows: There is a tiny hole on the bottom, and a slight amount of condensation tends to freeze there into a tiny ice crystal during cruise flight, only to melt and eventually evaporate during descent. Technically it is "inside" the plane, but it is meant to do so. I guess it's the residual humidity of the air trapped between the window panes.

              (It's crazy the things you observe when tied into a seat for hours on end...)

    2. herman Silver badge

      Re: Wait, Wut?

      Well, if it was a Boeing, then it would have rained every few minutes as the aircraft suddenly descended and everyone would have arrived at the destination totally drenched - but with the blood and snot washed off. Since the Reg Hack said it only rained once, I assume it was an Airbus.

  13. Roger Kynaston
    Coffee/keyboard

    plane juice

    new keyboard needed for that one.

  14. Bertieboy

    Sometimes it works the other way - I once checked into my room in the Marriott North Charleston ( I think) only to find it already occupied by a young lady who I vaguely knew. She seemed to think it was obviously pre-ordained so I stayed.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Was it the fright of your life?

    2. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Lucky bast...

      My luck does not run that way.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      With my luck I would have walked in on Comic Book Guy dressed in a gimp suit and then had to fight my way out.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        Gimp

        But would you "fight" very hard?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "a young lady who I vaguely knew. She seemed to think it was obviously pre-ordained so I stayed."

      And got to know her less vaguely?

    5. Diogenes Silver badge

      I went away for a work course for a few nights, and we had to share rooms. Because my real name can apply to male or female (think Lesley or Darcy), but is most commonly female (it is amazing how often I get mail addressed to Mrs Diogenes, or people are audibly surprised when a bass voice answers my phone - they were obviously mentally prepared to talk to a female)... anyhoo, the room allocators stuffed up. I walked into my room, and there stood a young comley lass with her back to me, bending over the suitcase on the bed, wearing naught but a towel around her hair. Sadly knowing that as an old, balding and graying, overweight man, who is not rich, which overcomes those disadvantages, this was not going to be a "readers' letters" moment, I beat a hasty retreat apologising. The issue was sorted quickly, and the form of the apology to both of us was nice, and thankfully did not kill my new career stone dead after just week after joining the organisation

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Because my real name can apply to male or female (think Lesley or Darcy), but is most commonly female (it is amazing how often I get mail addressed to Mrs Diogenes, or people are audibly surprised when a bass voice answers my phone - they were obviously mentally prepared to talk to a female)

        A decade or so back, GF is visiting Aoteraoa for a conference, being joined by a fellow whose name has similar properties, at least for English-speaking countries. As flying halfway around the world just for a conference without having a peek at Aotearoa's landscape appears somewhat silly they had planned to rent allroad motorcycles, and afterwards ride around South Island for a week or two. Motorcycle rental company is informed that the Suzuki DR650 might be a little tall for GF, and would they set it up as low as possible? Sure.

        So they show up at the rental shop, and are presented with two DRs, both slowered even to the point that they fitted lower tyres. Shop had assumed from the name the other bike was going to be ridden by a female too.

        Companion is a tick over 1m90.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        About 20 years ago a group of us from our lab (all male), including the surgeon I was working for* and his registrar went off to a conference in Switzerland. Being on a budget we went for twin rooms.

        Unfortunately there had been a mis-translation somewhere along the way and we were all assigned double rooms, with most of us having to share beds. The registrar, however, managed to wangle himself the last remaining single room in the hotel.

        The surgeon, who came on the next flight, arrived at the hotel to be greeted by the receptionist in a loud voice "Mr. ----, Your assistant does not wish to sleep with you."

        * I still do, but in a different lab, hence a/c.

  15. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    All these intrusion stories.

    It's almost as though people never use those latches every US hotel and motel room comes equipped with ...

    1. It's just me

      Re: Bah!

      The majority of times the latch was used, there was no story.

  16. aregross

    Motorcycle trip, been riding 8+ hours. Believe me when I say you can't fall asleep behind the wheel (bars) of a motorcycle but there comes a point when you can't ride any longer (hallucinations for one).

    Checked into a hotel at 2AM, got a reduced rate because I was only gonna be there a few hours. Went to my room and opened it and as I walked through the threshold I noticed I was entering the wrong number room... but the key card worked on it! I tried the room across the hall and it worked there too! Found my room and it worked there too!

    I'm under the impression that once the key card is activated it opens *any* room in the hotel!

    1. Criggie
      Joke

      Should have tried it in an ATM or eftpos machine - sounds like you had a Mastercard.

    2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

      Believe me when I say you can't fall asleep behind the wheel (bars) of a motorcycle

      That's what I like when riding a bike, but that I don't like since I am driving a truck (but with a truck, you can park and take some rest).

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      18hrs, 1400km

      No hallucinations.

      Started in Sweden around ten,somewhere between the Vänern and Vättern lakes and halfway up their length, rode across Denmark, passed Hamburg around 23:00, Bremen just past midnight, then a rather tense 200km or so of Bundesstrasse with lots of stretches through forest. Where you don't want to encounter any wildlife larger than maybe a small rabbit. Got home, fed the cat and went another 100km for @reasons.

      Felt rather knackered of course, but only physically.

      Icon: would have licked it off any keyboard within reach.

    4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      "

      I'm under the impression that once the key card is activated it opens *any* room in the hotel!

      "

      Or perhaps no activation.

      Maybe they are using dummy locks that have no electronics and can be opened with anything the right shape & thickness.

  17. mIRCat

    If you survive until the last day

    I'll buy you a pint.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You expect a unique keycard?

    Have you tried you keycard in other doors? Some smaller establishments just give everyone the "housecleaning" key, that open all doors....

    Found this in some smaller hotels / motels in the western States.

  19. Paul Herber Silver badge

    Blood, Snot and Fears

    What a good name for a band!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hotel door key systems are surprisingly low-tech and unconnected. With lots of manual steps and opportunities for error. No limits on issuing duplicate keys for example - because guests lose keys all the time. Relatively easy to issue a concierge/valet master key that opens all doors too. I'm surprised it doesn't happen more frequently. I've got a 3 for 8 strike rate over the last 18 months of regularly travelling for work - one woman in a shower in Barking, something out of True Romance in Florida - that was pretty scary because, well, 'Murica, and just a clearly-lived in but unoccupied room for third. And in that time I've had someone walk in on me once because I'd forgotten to latch and deadlock the door.

    There's probably a book in this somewhere

  21. Z Ippy

    I seem to get this a lot... :-(

    Thrice in a hotel in Southampton booked by work.

    1. An empty room save for a very expensive cabin / laptop bag left on the bed. Owner had just booked the room and left it there. I insisted the hotel call the police to remove it. They reluctantly did.

    2. Arrived quite late and walked in on a single woman with kids who was understandably very upset.

    3. Walked in on a youngish couple. Got very red faced.

    I refuse to stay there now.

    In Belfast once, with a bloke just out of the shower.

    I now knock on the door before entering and always use the security locks.

    Mind you I wonder what would have happened if someone had walked in on me when I was in the States taking an angle grinder to a laptop's HD to destroy it on the instructions of my employer (posted elsewhere on this site).

  22. damo_al7

    Try the Travel Lodge Liverpool St Station

    So, after a works do, being heavily hibernated, i checked into the Travel Lodge Liverpool Street at 0130.

    They were expecting me, and gave me a room card.

    I stagger up to my room, open the door, switch on the lights, and a bloke sits upright in the bed.

    I apologise, turn lights out and return to reception.

    Receptionist mortified.

    Gives a new room card. And a complementary breakfast

    Stagger to the room

    Open the door, lights on... and someone sits up in bed.

    Back down reception

    Receptionist mortified, can't explain why this is happening

    Give a new room card. I ask if they want to come with me so i don't have to experience this again. They decline stating they can't leave reception.

    Stagger to room 3.

    It's locked from the inside.

    Back down to reception

    This time receptionist escorts me to room 4;

    At 0200, i get a room.

    A week later, I'm asked for customer feed back.

    Retale the above story

    Hear f3ck all back

  23. x 7

    It happened to me........

    In a Holiday Inn in Charlotte SC

    Lying down on the bed naked, tired after work having a damned good scratch.

    Door flies open, middle aged attractive woman walks in, takes one look at me and freezes........

    "What are you doing in my room?" she said

    "Its my room - I was here first, but you can stay if you want. Fancy a beer?"

    She politely declined the beer and exited backwards, staring at my exposed parts.

    Ah well.............

  24. earl grey Silver badge
    Joke

    Well, at least it wasn't Hotel California

    Or we wouldn't have read the story.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blood, Snot and Fear

    Well, if you will fly 1st Class where you routinely find the lizard elite, what do you expect?

  26. apraetor

    Happened to me and the room was occupied

    This exact situation happened to me in 2012 at a Hilton Garden Inn in Pennsylvania. It was late and was a walk-in. The receptionist assigned me a room, and I opened the door, flipped on the lights, and terrified a couple sound asleep in bed. I was livid, so I can only imagine how the other customers felt.

  27. Blackjack

    Always carry a towel

    Planes don't let you carry anything liquid anymore but if you had carried a towel at least you could have clearned yourself a bit first before landing.

  28. DeVino
    Facepalm

    Don't watch the inflight movie if it is the Shining

    Ah the days of unique mechanical access systems with on-time access security enablers stored in a vertical random access system behind the reception desk are gone !

    In my youth I spent too much time at past midnight stumbling along spooky long coridoors with my case in the US being very careful to pick the right door.

    Low point in key design was the use of unreliable mag swipe cards made even more dodgy by my Blackberry pouch.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Don't watch the inflight movie if it is the Shining

      "Low point in key design was the use of unreliable mag swipe cards made even more dodgy by my Blackberry pouch."

      I wiped out two railway season tickets in as many weeks before I realised the magnetic catch on my new phone case was wiping the magnetic strip on the ticket. After getting annoyed that I had to get my ticket replaced at regular intervals, the phone case underwent a bit of surgery.

  29. ThePhantom

    Many years ago my double-locked door at a Marriott hotel opened to the limit of the chain at 3AM. Long story short, someone claiming to be me went to the front desk said they couldn't get into their (my) room and they gave him or her (not sure which) a replacement key. Because the door was double-locked, it didn't work, so they sent security up with the God key to open the door.

    When I heard the door open, I kicked it shut and called the front desk to ask for security to be sent to my room pronto. That's when I was told security WAS at my room -- and I guess I got in, didn't I?

    Next AM I went to the front desk to complain about them not verifying the person's ID before giving them a key to my room, and I was told that they DID provide acceptable ID. I had to call Marriott corporate before anyone took this incident seriously, but I did get a security blog entry out of the experience.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019