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!