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Thursday, December 2, 2010

From a flight attendant's point of view

Something a flight attendant shared. So funny! Be warned-profanity.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Great Las Vegas Deal

I just saw a commercial for a special that is running at the Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas. I couldn't believe my eyes. They are running a room special for $79 per night. That really is incredible. I've stayed at the Treasure Island and it is a great hotel. The rate is a good one for a hotel of that status. But the deal doesn't end there. You also get 2-for-1 show tickets to Mystere-the Cirque de Soleil production. They also have 2-for-1 dinner buffet and 20% off spa services. There are some restrictions. Here's a link to their website. Treasure Island Hotel Deal. There is no commissions or any other type of compensation I'm receiving. I'm just passing along a good deal. I sure wish they would have had this the last time I was in Las Vegas.

Hurry the offer is only good through 2/25/10.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hysteria in the Air

For the second time, military jets were scrambled when a mainland-bound flight from Hawaii reported disruptive passengers. Disruptive passengers have been part of situations that air crews have had to deal with ever since airlines have started carrying passengers instead of mail in the early part of the 20th century. Since the underpants bomber, I think we've gone a little overboard (pun intended). This level of hysteria has been unmatched, even since 9/11/01.

I asked my airline husband pilot to comment on this. He relayed an incident he had on his aircraft where a flight attendant wanted him to remove a passenger. Being the kind of cool and level-headed person that he is (one of the traits I admire about him!), he asked some questions. The situation was that the man had gotten upset because they made him check his bag plane side. This is standard operation for the smaller jets since there is very limited space in the under seat storage and overhead bins. He was "Muslim looking" and had pulled out a book that had, "some kind of funny writing." When questioned further, he had made no remarks to the flight attendants or any other kind of threatening gestures. Even his first officer wanted the passenger removed. My husband patiently explained to the worried flight attendant that without him being disruptive and knowing exactly what he was reading that the flight would go on as scheduled and should anything occur they would deal with the situation. Nothing happened. The man was just upset because he didn't trust the airlines to return his belongings to him. I can't say that I blame him-I always worry when I have to check in my luggage. The airlines don't exactly have a good track record with you and your luggage arriving at the same destination at the same time-or ever!

I'm not saying that air crews should not be cautious. I'm saying that air crews should use some common sense. Rather than reacting by emotion, some rational analysis is called for to decide on the best course of action. That's probably why my husband is a captain for an airline. That's also why when two engines went out in an Airbus over the Hudson River, the captain was able to land it on the water with no lives lost.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Look For Gifts and Souvenirs at the Grocery Store

Part of the fun of travel is bringing a little bit of it back with you to remember your trip. If you look in typical places like airports, souvenir shops and gift shops you can wind up paying a lot for something very cheap. Having relatives that live in Greece we definitely get to see the "real" Greece and that included going to the grocery store. There I was able to get some Metaxa and Ouzo to take back for friends to try and it was soooooo much cheaper than the duty free stores. I also found the chocolate that I always bought to take back at more than half of what I used to pay in the specialty shops.

Even in American tourist areas, always check the big super stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart. In high tourist areas some will have t-shirts. My daughter always goes to Panama City Beach, FL with her dad every summer. In the Wal-Mart, they have an air brush place and she gets a shirt from there every year. Although still a little pricey, she still pays much less than the places along the beachfront.

You might also look for souvenirs that you don't have to pay for. When in Germany, we took the coasters with us from the tavern where we stopped to have a beer and bratwurst. We've taken place mats from our favorite restaurant in Savannah, GA since it has a recipe and written history of Chatham Artillery Punch. The staff are accustomed to people asking and don't mind giving you a clean one to take with you. We always get a postcard for ourselves, too. Even though they cost money, they are super cheap. When we remodel our basement, we've decided to take all our postcards and line the stairway with them.

Share your ideas of some of the unusual you gotten for souvenirs. I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jet Lag-No Need to Suffer

Jet lag happens when you fly long distances across time zones. It disrupts your body ryhthm making it difficult to adjust your sleep. Anyone can get it, but it's up to you as to how long you suffer with it after you reach your destination. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you along so the time you spend at your destination will be enjoyable.

Keep yourself well hydrated on the flight. The airplane cabin pumps in pure oxygen which can quickly dry you out. Drink plenty of water during the entire flight. Flight crews know this and don't mind getting you water. A good crew will constantly push it during the flight. When you're well hydrated you don't have your body fighting that as well as the fatigue.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine during the flight. Alcohol and caffeine not only dry you out, your body has to spend time withdrawing from it during the flight. It takes several hours for your body to completely rid itself of caffeine and alcohol which disrupts the restfulness of sleep.

After you arrive at your destination, do not go to sleep. Don't even take a nap. It's best to try and adjust to the local time. Take it easy the first day of your arrival and go to sleep for the day when it is dark outside.

Get into the sun. The presence of sunlight is how the body establishes its body rhythms. Getting out in the sunshine and walking around shortly after you reach your destination will help you readjust.

Do not use a sleeping aid. Whether you are considering prescription or over-the-counter sleeping aids, don't be tempted to do it. It's a temporary fix and actually makes the problem worse.

Eat small meals made of easily digested foods. Avoid heavy foods such as meats and those that are greasy. They will cause the body to bog down with digestion when it should focus on rest and recovery.

Jet lag may be unavoidable, but using these tips will help you to make a swift recovery. Spending time at your destination enjoying the experience is certainly a much better choice than suffering the discomfort, fatigue and irritability from jet lag.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scheduling a Flight-When is the Best Time?

The best time to schedule a flight depends on many things. The most important thing to consider is leaving yourself enough time to get to the airport to make your flight and then enough time to make any connections. Here are some things you should consider when scheduling your flight.

Transportation to the airport

Depending on where you live, you have to consider the amount of time it will take you to get to the airport. If you are using mass transportation such as a bus or subway or even if you use a transportation service, you have their schedule to consider. This includes stops to pick up other people. If you are driving there, you need to allow enough time for traffic delays particularly during rush hour.

How much time to get to the airport

Always add an hour cushion. If it usually takes you an hour to get there, then give yourself two hours. It's stressful enough to travel without the added worry of trying to hurry for an unexpected delay.

Give Yourself Enough Time for the Airport Process

If you are taking your own vehicle, don't forget to leave enough time to park your car and get to the terminal. Once in the terminal, you will also need time to check-in. Even if your printed your boarding pass at home, you will still have to check in bags if you have them. If at all possible, travel with a carry-on so you can skip this step. Most people tend to pack to much anyway. Airlines are starting to cut people off from taking their scheduled flight if they have not checked in 45 – 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Also allow yourself enough time to get through security. If your traveling during a peak time, give yourself at least 30 minutes to get through security. Depending on the size of the airport and where your gate is located, you will need to allow yourself enough time to get to the gate once you've made it through security.

Take the First Flight of the Day

The first flight of the day is generally your best bet for avoiding delays. Those delays have a domino effect and get worse throughout the day.

Scheduling a Connecting Flight

Avoid a tight connection by making sure your layover is at least two hours. Problems with weather, having to go through customs, or any number of things that can cause a delay in your flight from arriving will leave you scrambling if you miss your connection. Sometimes, your connecting flight may be the only one out to your destination for a day or two. If you also book directly from the airline and not an online ticket service, you will get priority re-booking if your flight is canceled.

Leaving yourself enough time to get to the airport and through the airport check-in process as well as taking the first flight of the day and booking directly through the airline is your best bet to consider when scheduling a flight.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Airport Security-Europe vs. the United States

The pilot and I are going on a much needed vacation to see family in Thessaloniki, Greece. We take his airline over to Germany and then pay for a flight on one of our favorite airlines, Aegean Airlines, from Stuttgart to Thessaloniki. In the United States, we breezed through security. I could see no difference in procedures post-underpants bomber. In Germany, where security has always been tight, (German police have a heavy presence in the airport and carry guns on them as they patrol), they picked up something that the United States did not. I did not realize that I had a decorative metal piece on my pants. Of course, the metal detectors in Germany picked it up and I was subject to a pat down. (I've never gone through Germany without being patted down). That's when I saw that there was a metal piece on the pants. These were the very same pants that I wore out of the United States and through TSA security. I'm really starting to believe that you could probably drive a semi-truck full of explosives through the security screeners in the United States and they would never pick it up.

Bottom line is this...if the sensitivity for the metal detectors is not set high enough, it won't pick up metal very well. What I had on my pants was pretty substantial. I've been through courthouse metal detectors that picked up a foil gum wrapper that I had in my pocket. I think it's disgraceful that a courthouse, which has a less likelihood of trouble, has a more sensitive scanner than the busiest airport in the world. I think if I can figure this out, then it's not a stretch to think that terrorists bent on destruction will, too.

All the time and money that the United States has spent on the illusion of security is laughable. However, I'm not laughing and neither will anyone else when the next near miss, or God forbid, a tragedy occurs. The political posturing needs to stop and real security needs to take precedence.