Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Making connections

Good thing that I always

A) leave myself a little extra time getting to the airport
B) watch the incoming aircraft rather than posted times of my own.

As I got to PHX Terminal 3 at 4:50 for my 6pm flight to LA (with 40 min to make my connection to SFO there, including taking shuttle from American Eagle commuter to main terminal) I realized that even though it was showing on time, incoming flight was already 50+ min late departing LA!

And the flight I'd be connecting to is last SFO flight from LA on AA.

The first agent I pointed this out to said "no, no 3805 is on time at 6pm" - I had to ask her to look at 3806... "Hmm - arriving 6:06pm...". Now she asked one of the other agents to rebook me.

I had *just* enough time to convince them to push my ticket to USAir non-stop at 5:50 rather than the UA LAX-SFO flight which would require additional security clearing in LA and I ran for bus to T4, got a new boarding pass from the machine, stood forever in security, got the pad-down, grabbed a pretzel and got to my gate as they were boarding Zone 1 :)


Monday, April 26, 2010

People piss me off

So here I am at DFW.  It's one of those stupid airports without outlets along walls, but at least they provide these "charge-up" stations or at least Samsung Mobile does.

Six stools around a long "table" with a double outlet in front of each.  Five are occupied by people with laptops and phones plugged in.  One occupied by someone with nothing plugged in and she's not even using the table!!!

So I excuse myself and ask if I can plug in (which she nicely allows me to do) and she still doesn't notice that these tables with outlets actually have a purpose. 

And it's not like there aren't rows and rows of empty seats nearby!  There *are*!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

flying out of YYZ

Flying out of YYZ is just not a good idea anymore.

They are simply obsessed with "security" of carry-on items. Last time I was here it was the insane no carry-on allowed, only a small personal item with appropriate scrutiny of the size of my laptop back (because its form-factor is a backpack).

Now a single carry-on plus a personal item is allowed, yet the power-drunk barely 18-year-old in front of entrance to immigration/customs loudly tried arguing with everyone that their "personal item" was "too large" and constituted a second carry-on which was not allowed.

Even the other "guard" working there tried to tell her to leave me alone as my backpack contains basically only my laptop, but she was insisting and pointing at the following items to prove her point (the point being that only a bag with laptop and laptop accessories is considered a "laptop bag"):

- one 7 inch by 5 inch notebook with pen.
- two newspaper sections (4 pages in one, 8 in the other) folded to a crossword puzzle.
- one inflatable neck pillow which was deflated and it its smallest state, about the size of a laptop power brick
- one plastic eyeglass case
- a pocket filled with assorted USB flash drives, an iPod and some receipts

All I can say is that I knew that if these people had half a brain they'd have a better job than this, but this particular person topped my previous expectations which I thought were set as low as could be.

By the way, my flight to LGA along with half a dozen others was canceled so I'm in the Maple Leaf lounge seeing if things get better or worse...

I swear if I have to go through YYZ "security" again, I'll take the damn train instead.

Friday, September 04, 2009

In case you missed it

Airlines are desperate.

American announced a *second* DEQM (Double Elite Qualifying Miles) promotion from now till Dec 15th.

United immediately matched. 

No prior purchase required, just register. Given they already did that March-June, this basically means they've almost cut in half miles required for status.

Oh well...

Sent from my BlackBerry

Friday, July 10, 2009

Stupid American

I was routed MCO-LAX-SFO.  I was actually going to LAX for a reason!

So when their stupid system rebooked me on MCO-DFW-SFO (all on MD-80s, no "less" :( ) that doesn't really help me get to LAX.

At least being a connecting passenger I got rebooked at all. The LAX pax were sent outside security for who-knows-what-reason.  The plane we were on won't get the part it needs for two more hours and then they said it's four hours to make the repairs.  So chances are if they go on that plane they'll be getting in at midnight.  If they are lucky maybe they'll get rebooked on UA getting in at 10pm.

Oh well, at least I got a lunch voucher.  I was going to use it in DFW but apparently it's only good here.  All $7.50 of it. 

But wait!!!

There is more!

Because we just had some lightening, now *no* planes are arriving or departing MCO!  So I may have missed my last chance to get out of here!   My layover in DFW is only an hour so more excitement may be in store if this turns into a delay longer than the 20 minutes it already is...

Oh well

I'm glad AA is abiding by my tried and true "never fly with bad hydraulics" rule.

Unfortunately it means about a three hour delay over here :(


The door was closed, we were ready to go when suddenly there's a knock.

A woman in an orange vest comes in and heads up towards the closed cockpit door.

A few minutes later there's an announcement from the captain that we were all ready to go but maintenance found a possible problem with hydraulics. Hey, in my book that means we are *not* ready to go at all.

So we sit on the plane and wait to see if it's a big or small, fixable or not-fixable (immediately) problem.

As much as I hate long delays or worse canceled flights, I'm all in favor of flying only with fully functional hydraulic systems.

Those crack detectives at TSA

So I get to the X-Ray belt at MCO this afternoon and I can't find my freedom baggie (that's the one quart zip lock filled with 3.4 oz containers of liquids which are made magically safe by such packaging).

I have a huge backpack so either it's somewhere on the bottom of one of the compartments, or it's on the bathroom counter back at the hotel I checked out of a few hours ago.  It's uncrowded in security so as I push my crap through I tell the TSA guy my baggie of liquids might be in my pack still.  No problem, if it is they'll see it and I'll find it and pull it out separately.  (Because it's safer that way!)

Anyway, I'm sure you all guessed what happened next.  They saw no baggie with liquids, offered me a free empty baggie "courtesy of TSA" (I need the sunscreen, etc not a baggie!).  A few minutes later when putting away something else I come across my baggie right there in the middle compartment all the way on the bottom filled with a dozen or so little containers of who-knows-what).

I feel *so* safe now!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

More rental car annoyances

I land in Orlando tonight where I've been three or four times in the last few years and start looking for Hertz. I see every other major car rental company but them.

Turns out Hertz is off-airport here along with all the "no name" rent a wreck companies. Ugh!

Oh, and in the "it's better to upgrade than not" department, on my (luckily upgraded) DFW-MCO flight one of the coach lavs was out of service. So on a completely full flight I was pretty happy to be in F.

It certainly wasn't the food in F that made me happy!

Good day for a few more travel related rants...

I've got a few small rants for today, but Ben's got the big one. We left AUS around the same time today, me heading for MCO (Orlando) via DFW and him back to SFO via DEN.

Somehow his plane landed in PUB. Now, that's an airport code I was unfamiliar with, having never landed there, and that's because it's Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo Colorado.

Check out his flight path!

Of course this means he misconnected to his DEN-SFO flight even though that one was over an hour late, but it looks like they got him onto 741 coming in right about now...

Is it always better to upgrade?

Since I've made 1K on UA a while ago for this year (thanks to DEQMs) I've been working on my AA status, and EXP is in sight (thanks to DEQMs!).

On UA 1Ks get the same e500s that all elites do for space available upgrades 1,3 or 4 days before the flight and we also get 8 confirmable (in advance) regional upgrades.

On AA EXPs get unlimited upgrades (no e500 earning or deducting) but no CR-1s.

As a less than EXP, it's more painful to fly domestically on AA than UA as I can't confirm my upgrades in advance and when they are available I'm always having to ration them (or buy more - at least they are 40% cheaper to purchase than UA's are!).

However, what happens when I make my EXP next month?  If I fly AA to maximize my free upgrade utilization, I'll end up letting my UA e500's expire unused and that's no good too!!!

I can take e500s out of equation since unlimited and more-that-I-can-use are roughly the same and stick to UA for upgradeable-in-advance transcons or none-elite-heavy routes (tough out of SF!).  Or I can use UA when traveling w/SO so he can maintain his status and AA otherwise (work trips).

International is another consideration. UA gives me 6 SWUs (plus 2 more for each 50KEQMs over 100K), AA gives 8 eVIPs which I gather are the same or similar to SWUs so I'd have to split the international flying to make sure and use both of them up!

All of this is on my mind as I wait for my delayed AA DFW-MCO flight and mulling over whether I should upgrade - there was no one on the list and seats available, and it's only 2 stickers for over 900 miles.  On the other hand I've only got 5 now so this will leave me short if my upgrade MCO-LAX on Friday clears.

Oh well, I went with the old FT mantra "F>Y, always" and give up my bulkhead emergency row seat for an aisle in F.

Now I hope we board soon so I can maximize my utilization of it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Running out of car rental companies

Not car.


They are all retarted in unimaginable ways.  The latest is the beautiful idiocy of National/Alamo hybrid at Logan.

I had a confirmed reservation Monday night with National Emerald Aisle through our corporate discount number.  When I went through the booth somehow they managed to attach the car to Alamo at some absurd walk-up rate.

Of course the guy checking me out knows nothing, the counter lady can't fix it and at first the manager just tries to refund the difference back to the card.

Luckily he figures out that I'm not very happy with this and he's so puzzled that I didn't get matched up with my confirmed reservation and he's now fixing it right - zeroing out the wrong Alamo reservation and creating the new correct National rez for the right amount.

Only 20 minutes so far and since my flight is 30 minutes late it's no biggie.  But man would I be on tilt if I had to take care of this by e-mail!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Flight delays and gate postings

Here's a new one. I'm on AA194 today (SFO-BOS) which was supposed to leave at 1:15pm.

We start boarding 30 minutes before, even though Logan is a mess and everything is an hour or more late into it. Okay, no problem, maybe they expect that by 10pm it'll get better.

As people keep boarding, I'm settled in my exit row seat, the captain comes on the PA and tells us at the air traffic control gave us a 4pm wheels up time and we'll be going back into the terminal and reboarding around 3pm. He blamed our "wonderful" air traffic control system. Now, I know our ATC system is antiquated in many ways and has lots of limitations, but when Boston (and other airports like SFO or ORD) gets behind, there's not much that can be done because of the runway capacity limitations, right? All these planes which are late are competing with the planes which are scheduled to come in later, so the domino effect makes everything late for the rest of the day.

Now, we get off, and we notice that the board at the airport (and on aa.com) changed the departure from 1:15 to 2:15. The GA announces we should ignore that and it's that way because they can only push it by an hour at a time. Huh? If they get 4pm wheels up and they announce that we should come back at 3pm for re-boarding, why in the world would there be any limitation to what they can post as the new departure time???

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Flight cancelation

So last week I flew to LHR from ORD after working there and Ben was supposed to fly to LHR from SFO the same evening to join me.

As I'm sitting in the ORD Admiral's Club gtalking to Ben who's at the RCC at SFO, he tells me that they announced his flight has gone mechanical and they'll announce at 7:10 an update.  Since that's when they were originally supposed to depart, that means he'll be late (he was originally scheduled to come in about 90 minutes after me with a 40 minute earlier departure).

At 7:10 when I'm supposed to go to my gate to board, he texts me that his flight was cancelled.  Now as I'm heading to the gate for my flight, I'm trying to text/gtalk/SMS/talk him through what he needs to do next.

UA non-stops the next day are both zeroed out (no surprise).  I tell him that he should insist that they push his ticket over to another airline to leave SFO tonight (rather than making him go home and come back for an 8am departure through IAD arriving more than 24 hours late as they auto-rebooked him on).  He has the typical experience calling - some agent isn't willing to do that and claims it's not possible as the system already rebooked him.

Following FT mantra (if you don't like the answer, call again) he called back armed with information about flights which were leaving that night connecting to LHR flights which would get him here the same day (but 7-9 hours later) and he got a helpful agent who pushed him onto the AC flights through YYZ (Toronto).  He got in at 9pm instead of 1pm the same day at least.

Now the big issue will be to make sure he gets the Double EQM he's supposed to for the original flight which requires requesting original routing mileage credit and hoping it gets in there before the DEQM posts so that it happens automagically.  Otherwise who knows if there will even be a way to fix this in UAs MP+ system...

Monday, April 13, 2009

More seat assignment woes

Today's prize of most idiotic software design or implementation goes to...

Rearden Personal Travel Assistant.

This is the new frontend that replaced Cliqbooks (which was pretty retarded in its own ways) to allow me to book travel with our corporate travel agency.

It has this cool "feature" that if you tell it you prefer, say, aisle seats, and then you book a flight that doesn't have aisles available, it keeps checking for you to see if your preference opens up. Unfortunately, somehow it can't see what seat I actually have once I change it on the airline's own website.

So, a couple of days ago, a fairly full flight from Boston to SFO on Wednesday suddenly showed an aisle seat in EXIT ROW open up. I immediately grabbed it.

8am sharp the next morning, the Rearden Assistant moved me to an available middle seat... because well, it couldn't see where I was, and I guess determined that it must be a non-aisle seat so it moved me to the only thing that was available ... a middle seat. Thanks!

This evening thinking I was crazy after moving myself to a different open aisle exit row seat that opened up earlier this evening (the one I was moved out of was gone now) I then called AA to ask them about this. They confirmed that my travel agent moved me out of 9D into 25B and she confirmed I was definitely showing as being in 9C now, and I'm willing to bet that tomorrow at 8am sharp the system will try to move me to my preferred aisle seat and probably force me back into 25E or some such...

Sadly, AA has no way to lock my "travel agent" out of my record. Sadly, there is no preference I can set in Rearden that says "I prefer you LEAVE MY GODDAMN SEAT ASSIGNMENT ALONE". :(

Sunday, April 12, 2009

airline idiocy

The biggest idiocy of our day and age are "direct" flights.

In case you don't know, a direct flight is not a non-stop flight, so you still have to land somewhere, gather your crap, go to another gate, get back on a plane, but it's called a "direct" instead of a connecting flight because you get the same flight number on the first and second legs.

In every other way it's different from a connecting flight in many ways the airline gets to screw you.

Like making you reserve the same seat on both legs (one not available or only middles seats happen to be available for both? Too bad - you only get one boarding pass). Like not clearing your upgrade unless both legs have availability at the same time. Like giving you mileage for the non-stop even if you happened to have flown more actual miles. Like not keeping the same plane, gate or even terminal and certainly not waiting for you if your incoming is late (you figured you couldn't miss the second leg of a one-stop, didn't you?).

Amazing how easily they can suddenly split your ticket into two when they want to give away your seat for the second leg!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Awesome answer!

I'm at Boston Logan airport waiting to meet someone.  His flight is running late.  I see people coming out of the terminal.  I ask one of them:

Which flight are you from?

She answers:


Uh - thanks?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A couple of firsts

Was listening to channel 9 on my SFO-BOS flight today.  First they say:

United xxx cleared for take-off ...
Then as we start rolling we get a
United xxx cancel take-off

Our pilot actually asked after aborting if he heard right - we were first cleared and then uncleared for take-off which ATC confirmed.  I guess they decided there wasn't enough room after all...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heathrow to Sheraton

Good deal: go to central bus terminal and take 75, 76 or U3 bus for free (and take a five minute walk).

Good deal: arrange w/hotel for a car, £10 between hotel and terminals 1,2,3.
Not a good deal: Hotel Hoppa bus, £4 per person, takes as long as the free bus though gets you to the door of the hotel... Eventually.

Dutch trains not all that after all

Show up for my 12:02 train to Schipol from Eindhoven.  Due to hotel desk having their fire drill practice at 11:45 (when check-out is noon?) and the girl taking extra long on everything, train machines not taking CC (the same machines do at Schiphol) ATM machines giving only bills, train machines tajking only coins, line at ticket window, I miss the 12:02 by one minutes.

No problem, there's a 12:14 going non-stop to the airport arriving 13:46 giving me plenty of time for the 15:00 flight I'm already checked in for.

Except the train is not going past its first stop because it's ... something in Dutch.  So I change trains to Ultrich.  Where we arrive late, and one minute past the train to airport departing.  The next one is 15 minutes later and delivers me to Schiphol at 14:12.  No problem, except the kiosks that are supposed to reprint my BP aren't working and I have to go to a human who takes extra long for some reason (I should be used to that)

Security line is insanely long but UA 1K gold card comes in handy - I'm in the much shorter Premium line which is barely moving. So much for faster.

As I'm getting near the belt it's 2:28 and my flight is starting to board in a couple of minutes and two gentlemen are trying to push their way "excuse me, excuse me, our flight is leaving" I look at their BPs and it says 14:35 - your flight leaves in seven minutes?  No their flight starts boarding in seven minutes.  Well, wait in line along with everyone else, sheesh!

After I go through the metal detector, the dude working there looks at my BP and says "you're in the wrong area" even though I'm leaving from D18 and the signs here all say "All B, C, D gates".  Security guy insists this is only D thirty-something or higher.  The guy next to me is making "don't listen to him faces", I ask "can I get to my gate from here and the security guy says "yes".  So why is he wasting my time?

My careful planned time to check out AMS *A gold lounge and spend my remaining Euros is shot and I rush to the gate through passport control.  I get there 20 min before departure w/sign saying "gate closing" and *another* metal detector and a 10 minute line.

Oh well, no problem. Didn't have to run after all.

Monday, February 09, 2009

_not_ my favorite thing

Showing up to a hotel with a confirmed reservation and finding out the
reservation's been cancelled.

By the idiotic booking tool (or idiotic programmer who wrote it) that
thinks the proper way to handle a change in dates is send a
cancellation, send a rebooking, when the rebooking fails give a general
error, leave the live reservation in my record, send a cancellation on
to the hotel.


Don't ever use www.concursolutions.com

Sunday, February 08, 2009


We're over two hour to Heathrow and they just paged for any medical personnel on my flight to ring their FA button.

Hope this doesn't turn out to be a serious emergency for someone, we're pretty much over nothing, middle of Northern Atlantic.

Flight Plan, Videos, Photos

The flight plan for the coolest flight ever:


The videos I took from the flight:


The pictures from the flight and the rest of the weekend DO:


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Coolest. Flight. Evah!

At the Continental DO this weekend in Houston. This morning were the tours. Flight simulator, baggage control center, training facility, catering operation, mystery tour. 

I couldn't remember which one I put in for, but I was hoping to get second shift (10am start instead of 7am). Got the mystery tour.  The late start. 

It turned out to be the "flight to nowhere". High performance take off sharper than from SNA. Low altitude fly-over Houston downtown.  Missed approach and low buzz over Hobby airport.  Flight over Galveston, Corpus Cristi, Austin and back to IAH.

Tour and pictures of the cockpit *in*flight*  majorly cool.  Will post pix and videos... somewhere...


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hard to hate any scenario more...

You're sitting on your allegedly on-time ATL-CLT US flight, sweating your 39 min connection to IAH. If the ATL was late departing from ATL you could convince CSRs to push your ticket over to one of the non-stops on DL or CO. But you board early and the doors close and you push back slightly ahead of schedule.

As you wait for your turn to take off you hear the engines go off which is never a good thing and your captain announces that you just got a 30 minute hold from ATC.

Great, that gives you about 10 minutes to make your connection from the middle of one concourse to the very end of another. Thanks, Useless Air.

Sure enough, you arrive just with enough time to run to your gate and watch it be closed even though it's 5 min before departure, the monitor you just sprinted past has "Boarding" as the status of the flight and your helpful crew announced that "they knew you were coming".

One of those typical surly gate agents barks that no, she can't let you on the flight and the next one is in about 2.5 hours, which will mean another night of less than five hours of sleep for you. And no dinner voucher because it's not four hours or longer delay.

I can't wait till CO joins *A - later this year I'd be taking the non-stop tonight instead of this disaster.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oh my ears!

Having to wait on the station platform for an extra fifteen minutes while there are TVs screaming because the person who set the volume must have been deaf sucks the worst.

And really, it doesn't matter if I understand what the TV is hollering or not.  It's annoying as all hell.

Missed it by this much

Missing the train by 20 seconds and watching doors close as you're entering the station because you were stuck behind some slowpokes - sucks.

Missing the train by less than two seconds and having the doors close on top of your nose - sucks much much worse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

There are still smoking sections in the world?

Only the most idiotic space planner would put a smoking section in a restaurant next to the buffet. 

The fact that there are still smoking sections in eating establishments somewhere in the world is a rant of its own.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The only thing I hate about China

Damn, those locals talk on their cellphones everywhere and they are *loud*!!!

Especially annoying: on a long distance train, and in a nice, otherwise quiet restaurant.

Wow, just wow

I've stayed at some very impressive hotels in the last ten years.  Le Royal Meridien Shanghai room I just checked into is by far the most impressive. 

I was practically speechless for a few minutes.  And if this is what Gold gets you, I can't even imagine the kind of room that Platinium would get.
Pictures will show up on flickr as soon as I gather my wits about.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Whoa, elevator!

In Nanjing Sheraton, you come to a central station in lobby and punch in the floor you want to go to.  It gives you the letter of the elevator to take.  You go to that elevator.  There are no controls inside.  It takes you to your floor. 


Monday, January 05, 2009

Getting a Chinese Visa

Seems simple enough - come in person to Chinese Consulate, drop off your application, pay, come up for pick-up 1, 3 or more days later, depending on how much you paid extra.

I get here at 1:25pm and take a number.  It's 306.  They are serving... 195.  But that's not too bad, there are five windows and most people are out of there in less than a minute.  So, 110 numbers, maybe half an hour, right?


First thing I notice is that three of the windows haven't taken a number in a while and in fact there is no one there.  After an hour, one of the two open windows also stops taking new numbers!  This will take hours!  After another half an hour one of the other windows gets a move-on, but still, it's been almost 80 minutes and they've gotten through 45 numbers.

And that's with many people being no-shows given how they look at their number and give up.


So why don't they accept this by mail???

Thursday, December 25, 2008

How I know we'll be in Chicago for a while

Maybe we'll get there early but our plane to LGA just left for DFW where it's expected 35 minutes late, delaying its very tight turn around by about that, meaning its 40 minute turn-around to LGA will be delayed as well.

Luckily due to winds it also was going to pick up 15 minutes en route DFW-ORD so maybe we'll only leave 20 minutes late and if winds to the East keep up, maybe we'll only be 10 minutes late into LGA, and these days, 10 min late is just like getting in early these days.

Good news - bad news

Good news: tail winds have us scheduled into ORD 30 minutes early.

Bad news: lightening strikes here at SFO caused ground personnel to be sent back indoors before they were done fueling us/loading luggage.

Let's hope they balance each other out.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why can't you people take your assigned seats?

Listen up, Vacation Warriors!

When the GA announces it's going to be a full flight, and this is not Southwest, it means take your assigned seat.  That means if your boarding pass says "12E", do not sit in 12F, and then when the 12F occupant gets there don't go to the back of the plane to look for another window seat.

It means don't take any two seats together because you can't be bothered to pull out your boarding pass to check which are actually assigned to you, and if you have window and middle, don't take window and aisle and spread out hoping that the aisle will magically stay unassigned.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Karma is good

Well, I thought I already got my karma payback for losing p.s. F seat over Xmas to an old 767 when I got to ride in new reconfigured C from JFK last month in the most comfortable seat ever. 

Well, this morning waiting for my delayed SFO-JFK with an already cleared upgrade to p.s. C, I hear them say they won't need volunteers to bump and then I hear my name called.  Yes, it's an op-up to p.s. First class!  Yay!  Now let's hope the delay stays minimal as this will already cause me to miss the trains I was going to take to NJ (AirTrain to LIRR to NJTransit).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Well, I'm way behind on my rants! And I have SO MANY! I will catch up over the next week with my old notes, but I'm going to back-date them to the days that the lovely annoyances happened, in case you're actually trying to follow in order...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's the lounge for?

One of my biggest peeves about lounges is their silly hours.

Here I am in the PHX RCC (Red Carpet Club) waiting for my 7:35pm departure flight back to SFO but we won't start boarding till well after 8:30pm due to late incoming aircraft (I hope it's incoming, it hasn't left DEN yet though!). Yet the official hours of the RCC here is till 7pm, so that's when they are going to throw us out of here. Nice!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First thing to do in a hotel room

Unless you're in a Hilton family hotel, first thing to do is to head for the alarm clock radio and unset the alarm clock which the previous knucklehead left set to 4:00am and 4:30am.

And if it's a beautiful Marriott Butte Resort in Phoenix Arizona, forgetting one's swimsuit is definitely an EV- play, since their shop only has suits in two sizes (8 and 18) and in any case they want $82 for one and since it wasn't made out of gold, I drove to the nearest Target and bought one on clearance for less than $20.

Unfortunately the water in the gorgeous pool felt like it was about 98 degrees, so it was not quite as refreshing as I was hoping it would be.

How long can it take to get a car?

Apparently, Hertz in Phoenix has a major car shortage. After reserving a compact there through my corporate travel site for 10:30am arrival on a Wednesday, I show up around 10:35am at the desk (plane gets in early but shuttle to rental car center takes forever). No line but she has to get on the phone to find me my compact car. 12 minutes on hold and she says they are bringing the car for me and it'll take 10-15 to get the car the loading area.

In retrospect, maybe the shortage of compact cars is related to the price of gas. You think?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

One more flaw

Lie-flat seats are great.  But why isn't there a partition that can be raised (like AA F seats have) because with the guy next to me sleeping on his side his face would have been inches from mine if I also wanted to sleep on my side but facing the other direction. 

Use your own damn bathroom

On a 763 the one F bathroom is in the front of the plane.  The two C bathrooms are between C and Y and the four Y lavs are in the back of the plane. 

There is nothing that annoys me more than Y pax that queue up for the C bathrooms, especially when Y is mostly empty and their lavs are all available and C is full.  I also hate when the FAs say they'll make an announcement and they don't and they don't use the curtains between cabins.

As far seat selection, other than the forward vs rear facing, the only decision is window (view but have to step over someone to get out) or aisle.

Some minor glitches with my video - no worst than the typical DVR experience, occassional pixilation and image freeze-up.

Overhead bin on the side wouldn't stay closed.  But the fixed the second C lav at least.

little things

Nowhere to put any trash... Or shoes. 

The seat is super comfy even in T/O position!

More on the new 763

Five empty seats in C.   None in F. This is because it's Saturday, I guess.
Every open seat is a backwards facing one.

E+ looks identical, so no updating there, sadly.

This plane came from SFO. So it's not clear to me how new it is, I thought this was its second day but maybe not.


It *is* the new plane!

It's too cool. 

The C seat is possibly the most comfortable seat I've ever sat in.   Very nicely padded and comfortable as a bed or as a recliner. 

The magazines are in a strange place and it's not clear where one can stow junk for take-off.  And being UA something is already broken - one of the two C lavs are out of order. 

But who cares, this seat is AWESOME!!!


It's been almost two weeks since my disastrous flight to Newark where after I switched seats with someone across from me so that they could sit with their travel companion I ended up sitting next to the jerj who didn't MHOB, and I ended up leaving my brand new earphones and iPod on the plane. At least I think that's where I left them, after using them most of the flight, I reached for them a few days later on an Amtrak train and didn't find them. In addition to the annoyance of realizing I probably lost them, I had to listen to the way-too-loud volume of the person sitting next to me, taking little satisfaction in the fact that she's sure to go deaf soon.

I mention the seat switch, because no good deed goes unpunished and even though the seat was an even swap, if some honest person happened to pick up my iPod/earphones, they'd have no way to return to me as my name isn't associated with the seat I left them on, but the seat across the aisle from it. Oh well, live and learn.

Other bad karma was last Xmas when coming back from NY we had confirmed seats in F (first) on UA's p.s. service from JFK (three class international quality service and seats on JFK-SFO and JFK-LAX routes) and the nice-seat-p.s. 757 was swapped out for an international 767. Which is nowhere *near* as nice in F or C.

Well, last night I went to check in online for my p.s. flight today (confirmed in C on an upgrade) and realized OMG it's a 767 but the new, reconfigured one that United has made so much noise about since last summer, but since there are just a handful of them still, they've mostly been on international routes I don't fly. The closest I came to flying one was when my disaster abortion of a flight 75 SFO-HNL went mechanical and they were trying to get us a new plane and we almost ended up with the reconfigured 747 but no luck (and then they misfueled the plane we did get and we had to go back and then spend the night at the airport and they ran out of vouchers for hotel so we had to do our own, and then they left us off of the manifest for the extra segment replacement flight the next day but we got 17,500 miles for our troubles each).

Anyway, they had me in one of the backwards facing seats so I quickly switched myself to 6H, front row foward facing and have been holding my breath and keeping my fingers and toes crossed since then, hoping this really will be true.

I'm now sitting at the JFK RCC and sure enough the RCC matron even said "Oh, it's the new plane, I should go take a look at it" and I'm so excited I'll probably go to the gate an hour in advance to take a look and get in line to maximize my time on it!

Luckily I have my camera with me and it even seems to be charged, so I'll try to take some pictures even though lots of pictures have already been taken and posted all over the place.

This doesn't make up for lost iPod and earphones, but it sure makes up for the lost p.s. F opportunity last December!