Archive for the ‘airfare’ Category

Packing for comfort

January 3, 2011

We must think of ways to make ourselves as comfortable as possible on flights these days, because the airlines won’t do it for us. And when I say airlines, I don’t mean the attendants. Attendants on our flights last year, including Delta/KLM to Amsterdam, Air France from Paris, and Southwest to or from anywhere (I love Southwest), were all competent, friendly and professional; it isn’t there fault that American didn’t offer even a pretzel on our flight to Chicago – not one, tiny pretzel.

So, on the flights for our garden tours this year (Northeast gardens, May 14-22; northern France and Paris, June 19-30), we must do what we can for ourselves. When I fly, I try to keep food, drink, and entertainment self-contained, because I don’t want to end up climbing on someone’s head just to get to my bag out of the overhead compartment (and I hope you won’t do that to me).

Because my entertainment options are limited and, probably to most, archaic, I’ll just say that I’ve got my (older generation) iPod loaded with an audio book, and an actual paperback book that will fit in my purse. (I confess to asking Leighton to take anything heavier in his carryon).

A bottle of water is essential (bought as soon as I get through security). Yes, they will offer water on the plane, but it’s a small thing to carry … just in case.

Overseas flights still offer food, which I believe is more to keep us occupied than anything else, but even on long flights I take along a chocolate bar or two for us, plus a bag of toasted almonds/dried cranberries. I wish I could pop a few protein bars in my purse, but I am allergic to all nuts except almonds, and I am also allergic to peanuts; so far I haven’t seen a protein bar that wasn’t full of peanut butter or walnuts. Feel free to recommend a brand that suits my needs.

Dear airlines: look out. When Southwest begins flying overseas (I’ve heard this is a possibility), I will be first in line – OK, maybe not the very first, but I will pay for Early Bird check-in and be in the A line for sure) even if I have to pack my own fried chicken and potato salad for nine-hour flight.

 

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Everybody likes a bit of mustard, Richard

February 2, 2009

Two posts in one day!  Still, I couldn’t help but send you to this hilarious complaint letter sent to Virgin Airlines (and printed in the Daily Telegraph):

 

www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/4344890/Virgin-the-worlds-best-passenger-complaint-letter.html 

Time to fly

November 3, 2008

Big news in airfare — as announced in the AP story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today — Ryanair will offer transatlantic flights for 6 GBP (about $10).  The announcement was all over the wire; a Google search came up with MSNBC, the International Herald Tribune and a host of others reporting it.  But try as I may, I couldn’t find the announcement on the actual Ryanair Web site.  The Ireland airline still lists only its European destinations, including many within Ireland (for those of you flying to Knock).

            The big-time cheap airfares will, I’m sure, be hard to come by, and the airline is quick to say that business class will be expensive (to make up the costs), but still, it’s a boost to travelers to even hear such news.  Deals can be had, even if we don’t get them.

            And it reminds me to plug our 2009 tours — someone recently asked me if details were on this blog.  Our May tour to England is going to be great fun, and with the exchange rate looking so good right now (I just checked xe.com — one GBP is $1.58, yay!), a pint of the pub’s best bitter is going to taste quite fine.

            Look for details on next year’s tour at my Web site — martywingate.com.  Stories about what we’ll be doing will be appearing here soon.

Loyal laptop at my side

August 13, 2008

It’s getting easier to drag along the old laptop on even long-distance hauls.  I read that American will offer Wi-Fi on some of its planes later this year, and Delta plans to have it on all flights by the end of next year.  The service is provided by Aircell, which is irrelevant to most of us, as we just want to be online, thank you very much.  And I doubt if I’ll be checking on my PDA or iPhone, because I just can’t see the darn things well enough.  I recently saw a fellow checking his e-mail on some small device, and he had to use a magnifying glass to even read the display.  It’s either that or use large type, which means you have to scroll across every word; what kind of reading continuity is that?

So, it’s the laptop for me, as I’m usually writing an article on the road anyway.  But will I surf and e-mail when I’m flying off to London?  I find it a little difficult to focus when flying.  First, time to get settled and scope out the neighbors — will they be reasonable or insufferable?  We all end up looking pretty silly on a long flight, so we must tolerate the person who spends the entire trip, including walking to the toilet, with an inflatable pillow around his/her neck.  Then, after takeoff, it’s time to wait for the drinks service (still free on international flights — so far).  Then dinner, such as it is (good food still to be had on some, such as SAS).  Watching my own personal video screen (I must put on my reading glasses, because it’s so close).  Maybe then I’ll check e-mail.

More good news on the laptop front:  We no longer have to drag them out of our carryon and put them in their own little tray for security.  TSA just approved a new bag design with a “laptop only” flap that zips out and can lie flat.  One less thing to forget at security!  I just got a press release about a company that is hurrying their bags to shops:  Pathfinder Luggage is taking orders for its bag, so be prepared to wait!