Thursday, December 24, 2009

More Football planes

Those pictures were taken by me, but apparently even the WSJ realizes the importance of sports to airlines and just published this article

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Star Alliance Gold vs US Standby list

I was done with work early so instead of waiting around until 9 pm I tried my chances at an earlier flight. Usually on United this results in a "you have a snowball's chance on the sun", but the agent at the first class/elite desk put me on the list with no commentary. I appreciated that because I already knew I had a snowball's chance! Flight when I got there was oversold and I was added to the list during boarding anyway so I had little hope.

Next flight was asking for volunteers and offering $450 in travel vouchers which is very generous for US.

Next flight was technically oversold (i think they said +2), but they were able to accommodate a few of the people I'd been waiting with, then a party of 2 didn't show so I got on as well as a lady traveling to DTW. She said she had been there since 11 am and needed to get on this flight or she'd miss her flight to DTW. I'm not sure what flight she was originally confirmed on, but I was called before she was and I was not connecting and I was confirmed for a flight in 3 hours.

After they called my name off the standby list the lady next to me in the waiting area asked how I got on an earlier flight so I told her about free standby and the Move Up program, but since no seats were confirmable there was no chance for move up. She was apparently just waiting there for all the Charlotte flights for no real reason! I didn't ask which flight she was confirmed on either, but I bet she was probably also on the last one of the night.

During Holiday rush star alliance gold beats standby again!

My fun recent airplane companions

These past 2 weeks have included some interesting characters on my flights home.

Last week I was on a redeye from Vegas. While waiting for my flight, I saw the gate agents deny boarding to a drunk man and then escort him outside the secured area. Then on my own flight right behind me was a man who kept loudly talking about how drunk he is, how he doesn't brush his teeth, how he's been kicked off flights before for being drunk. I thought about saying something, but I try not to be the one to ruin anyone's trip so I let it go. Luckily he fell asleep right after takeoff and woke up right after landing so the majority of the redeye was quiet. I did get some audio recorded on my phone, but I'm not sure what the recording laws are in situations like this so I'll keep it to myself for now. While exiting the plane I suggested to the FA that she should have kicked the man off the flight, but by then he was at his destination anyway.

Fast forward to today I got on an earlier flight and right in front of me was a little boy probably no more than 3 years old. His mom was in the window seat, he was in the middle, and big sis was in the aisle. Across the aisle was the aunt, father, and brother. Little boy (we'll call him 28B) was very loud. He had a stuffed blue bunny he kept tossing around and it came back into my row 3 times before takeoff. I blame this all on the selfish mother who took the window seat. During the taxi out to the runway the brother (28F) decided he needed to use the bathroom. Aunt and father get up, but the FA quickly tells them they need to sit down. FA phones up to the captain asking him to stall to allow the child to use the restroom. We had to wait for him to finish before reentering the queue. Luckily we were #3 in line. I've waited forever to take off in LGA before so #3 is OK with me. 28B is still yelling, kicking 27B's seat violently, etc. Aunt tried to get 28B to play games like counting the trucks outside. The mom was just telling the kid to calm down while she enjoyed her window seat. Everyone knows kids should always get window seats, not middles! During the flight the kid watched about 15 minutes of the Chipmunk movie, then some Barney, then something else. I don't think he finished anything before something else was started.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Supershuttle causes NYC frustration

I frequently use SuperShuttle in cities when I'm staying downtown and can either use transit or walk to my client. In cities like BWI I don't have any issue with them. They take me where I'm going and pick me up when they are supposed to or call to warn of any delays.

I landed in LGA after an hour delay.
My cell phone died
I found the phones the reservation said to use and I called Supershuttle. i was on hold for about 10 minutes before finally getting someone.
I waited for 20 minutes for a shuttle to arrive.
Shuttle guy calls me so I hop on
Shuttle is filled to capacity
Driver is a maniac and cuts everyone off by making his own lane and just squeezing in
After an hour we finally got from LGA to the intersection of 5th ave and 45th (not sure how NYers say street names). The driver said I needed to get off.
He hands me $10. I'm confused. He says he wasn't supposed to take me. He gave me back 2/3 of what I had prepaid and said I should just take a cab the rest of the way to near the Brooklyn Bridge!!
I knew I was far away and didn't want to bother with a $$$ cab ride so I walked for 10 blocks down 5th ave before I found a Starbucks near the Empire State Building.
I charged my phone for a while and used google maps to get transit directions
found the subway station, bought the fare, hopped on the train, got off at the station
walked around for quite a while before finding my hotel (use google maps on my phone and just hoped it wouldn't die before I figured out where I was going)
I wanted to hail a cab, but didn't see any with their lights on., I left my house at 10 am and got to the hotel at 6 pm. Long day.