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Getting ready for a vacation this week, so will post an edited rerun of a previous post related to travel while I pack my bags.

Here’s my running diary about a January airline trip from Los Angeles to Chicago in 2014. All times are AM:

Why do they abbreviate airports with three character cryptic codes? LAX for Los Angeles makes some sense. LA’s fine the sun shines most the time and the feeling is, laid back, reLAX.

ORD for Chicago, not so much. Chicago pizza is certainly not ORDinary. At least I am not flying to Sioux City, Iowa or as they call it SUX.

5:55 I was fortunate enough to get a seat on an exit aisle with actual leg room. Before we take off, a flight attendant informs me that I am seated in the exit aisle and asks if I am ready, willing, and able to assist should an emergency occur.

I assure her that if I can have this seat, I will also hand wash her uniform and spit shine her shoes. “Please please don’t make me move to the Houdini seats.” She doesn’t smile but asks my row mate the same question.

6:20 Crackle sound, “Uh this is your captain speaking. (Whew for a moment there, I thought we flew too high and it was God.) Welcome aboard our flight to Chicago where the temperature is five below zero Celsius. ”

OK, I get it. Not only are you the ‘way too cool guy’ who can fly an airplane, but you also know the temperature on a scale that nobody else in America refers to.

6:30 In-flight entertainment varies these days. On some flights, you get a free movie. On some, you get nothing, but they still put the headphones in the pocket in front of you just to tease you.

On this one, there are individual video screens right in front of you running live shows that STOP every five minutes the instant you are in the air.

Then, here comes the plug. For $6.99, you can watch the rest of the show or anything you want. I just paid $450.00 for this flight, I get no nuts, no pretzels, no meal and now you want seven bucks to watch TV? I pass.

6:45 The video screen runs the same ads over and over again. Something with Kevin Bacon, and by golly tart cherry juice can apparently raise the dead. Pay $6.99 for more information. I pass again.

7:00 The flight attendant brings the cart down the aisle. I was hungry and looked at the options. A hard-boiled egg, 10 grapes and a wedge of cheese. The only meat apparent is the Bacon on the screen in front of me. They want $6.99 for this too. Once more, I pass.

7:30 The beverage cart comes now. I consider a beer, but that costs … yep you guessed it, $6.99. I opt for a ginger ale. For the price of 2 beers, I can buy a whole case back home. The flight attendant also informs me there is no tart cherry juice on the cart.

7:45 The seat belt light has been off for an hour or so and while we were free to move about the cabin, only a few people dare. I am standing in the aisle, about to answer an urgent call of nature strategizing how to negotiate the 3 foot by 5 foot lavatory when a ding comes. Captain Celsius tells us, “We’ve hit a bit of turbulence, so please take your seats and fasten your seat belts.” He does not tell us the temperature.

OK, not only do I have to hold it in, I get to shake around for a while too with my belt fastened tightly around my waist. At least I have leg room. Eventually, I am free to move about the cabin and free to relieve my bladder.

8:00 There are two business clones in the aisle across from me wearing garish suits who have been looking at their computers for two hours solid and mutually nodding. One gets up to use the facilities. The other follows. Odd.

8:25 Apparently Kevin Bacon plays the role of Ryan Hardy. After 27 times through the spool I have gathered that. I briefly consider dropping $6.99 just to make the preview stop.

9:00 I check out the In Flight magazine and find a boarding pass from Hawaii (or HNL if you prefer) to LAX. I also find 3 Ohio instant lottery tickets already scratched. I check, just in case. None are winners.

9:35 The announcement comes from Captain Celsius, “We are making our arrival to Chicago. Flight attendants, prepare the cabin for arrival.”

At this announcement, all the flight attendants do nothing and instantly just sit down. Apparently, this is landing preparation.

The wing flaps start making this noise that you hope is a noise they are supposed to be making and you think, “Hey, flight attendants! Did you prepare for THAT? Did you check that right wing before you sat down? It’s shaking like crazy and making noises like when the brakes went out on my car. ARE you prepared for landing!?”

9:45 Safe landing. A well-prepared flight attendant announces, “Welcome to Chicago where the temperature is 23 degrees.” (I assume we are back in good old Fahrenheit land.)

“Please stay seated until the aircraft comes to a complete stop.” (Nobody does. Most people instantly stand at that announcement. Why? I do not know. Nobody is getting off any faster because they got their bags ready quicker.)

“Contents in the overhead bins may have shifted during flight.” (The contents of my stomach did indeed shift during that landing, so likely there was some shift in the bins. Luckily however, there was not much in my stomach because I didn’t spend $6.99. The overhead bins are stuffed tighter than a 15 pound turkey with 8 pounds of stuffing on Thanksgiving Day. Likely, nothing shifted there either.)

9:55 Home sweet home. I exit the plane and the airport wearing just a sweater and realize, damn, it’s January in Chicago. Celsius or Fahrenheit, it’s cold.

But maybe this has happened to you? Share your travel story if you dare.

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FLIGHT TIPS PART 1.

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When the Wright Brothers made their first flight off the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903 they had no clue how their form of transportation would change the world and evolve into what it is today.

I wonder, had they known how sophisticated the experience would eventually become, if the conversation before the initial flight might have gone something like this:

Orville: OK, I’m ready to give this a try.
Wilbur: One thing first bro. Take off your shoes and take off your belt before you climb up that sand dune to the plane.
Orville: Uh, Wilbur, I’m not even sure this thing will actually get off the ground, so why would I do that?
Wilbur: I can see the future of flying and that’s where it’s going. No shoes, no belt before the flight. Oh yeah, and show me a photo ID before you board that contraption too.
Orville: WTF, Wilbur, I’m your brother.
Wilbur: Rules are rules, bro.

Wilbur had a vision of where air travel was headed.

Today, Wedwand offers some airline travel suggestions as a public service to travelers.

Suggestion One:

When you arrive at the airport there are two options.

1) Wait in a massive line to get your boarding pass at the ticket counter or; 2) Go to an automated kiosk and get your boarding pass there. Choose option 2.

At the automated kiosk you must insert your bank card because it has a magnetic strip from which the airlines is able to glean your flight information. Apparently your bank knows you are on a trip. This is very scary because you are pretty sure the airlines will fleece you for even more money, but so far this has not happened to me.

After you have been confirmed as a real passenger, the airlines will then try and sell you stuff on the screen, like:

You are currently in boarding flight #2 to board the plane. Would you like to pay $15 to be on boarding flight #1?

Really, this is not a fabricated fact. The touch screen actually asks you if you want to spend an extra $15 to save 5 minutes of waiting time by boarding earlier AND be subjected to an even a longer period of claustrophobic time in the cramped 18 inch seat.

Wedwand suggests you do NOT select the $15 dollar option to board earlier. However, if you DO have that much extra cash to throw around, might we suggest a reputable charity organization?

Suggestion Two:

Do not wear loose fitting pants or day old socks to the airport.

Why? Because you will most likely be asked to take off your belt and shoes before entering the security check point. Loose pants will fall to the ground if you are beltless. Fresh socks are just a common courtesy for your fellow passengers in line when you take off your shoes.

Now, it’s time to enter the security checkpoint area which makes sure you are not carrying any dangerous objects aboard the plane, like an extra bottle of travel shampoo or God forbid, a bottle of water. (Hint: Carry an empty water bottle with you and fill it up on the other side.)

The security checkpoint contains a body scanning machine. (It oddly resembles the ”Cone of Silence” from Get Smart.) This is a highly sophisticated radiological cone that you enter which can tell whether you ate a peanut in the week prior to your flight, but it CANNOT tell whether there are dangerous items in your shoes or belt. Apparently, leather is like lead to the highly sophisticated radiological cone.

Therefore, you MUST put your shoes and belt in a plastic bin that goes through another separate highly sophisticated radiological device, but this one apparently CAN see through leather and detect dangerous items in your shoes and belt.

It is also programmed to look for quart baggies because ALL of your liquid items MUST fit into this baggie. I have not tried this, but you may be able to get several ounces of Jack Daniels into an empty shampoo container as long as it fits in the quart bag.

If all goes well, congratulations. You are now ready to travel to your gate. There, you will find other obstacles to face prior to your flight. But that’s another story for another time.

FOOTNOTE:
I bet by now you can tell that Wedwand has taken another airplane trip and yes, travelling on airplanes never ceases to be a plethora of material for another post. In case you missed the last one, here it is: https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/leaving-on-a-jet-plane/

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