Thursday, February 22, 2007

Travel tips for winter fliers

In light of all the recent flight cancellations and JetBlue passengers stranded on the tarmac for ten hours here are some travel suggestions for would-be air travelers.Check the weather forecast. If it’s not 72 degrees and clear EVERYWHERE in the United States, reschedule.

Do not call the airline for a weather update. You’ll learn it’s cool and overcast in New Delhi.

Allow two hours before the flight, ten hours for the tarmac, two hours for the unscheduled fuel stop, and two hours to retrieve your luggage. And if you’re flying from LA to San Francisco, 45 minutes for the flight itself.

If you print your ticket on one of those self-help stations realize that the chances of it working are the same as five cherries coming up on a slot machine.

Best to print your ticket at home the night before along with the flight schedules of every other airline going to your destination, airport shuttle schedules, Amtrak schedules, and the 1-800 numbers for Ramada, Holiday Inn, Hilton, Marriott, Quality Inn, Best Western, and the YMCA.

Never turn in your rental car until it’s the final boarding call on your flight.

Never fly to, from, or around Chicago.

Always use skycaps. And if you choose to ever see your luggage again, tip.

Remember: “the white zones are for assholes in SUV’s only”.

You are allowed several little three-ounce bottles of something but not one three-and-a-half-ounce bottle of the same thing.

You might want to put that Astroglide into a non descript little bottle.

Have extra zip lock bags that you can sell to clueless travelers for ten dollars apiece. If they haven’t gotten the word by now they deserve to pay ten bucks. And tell them FAA regulations are one item per bag.

You can usually tell who these nimrods are. They’re the ones who booked connecting flights in the winter. And buying furniture off the Sky Mall.

Don’t have children if you plan on flying anytime in the next fifteen years. Even if it’s one trip.

If they announce they’re overbooked and are looking for volunteers to take a later plane for free trips take it. The flight is going to be cancelled anyway. And you’ll have a jump at getting reservations at the airport Hilton.

Have your laptop, ipod, cellphone, Gameboy, pager, Blackberry, camcorder, transistor radio, electric razor, hand held fan, and pacemaker fully charged. Ten hours on the tarmac is a long time.

Upgrade.

Before you get on the flight take Airbourne, water, Xanex, Oscillococcinum, Clariton, Ambien, and tequila.

Fake a limp so you can pre-board and guarantee there will be room in the overhead compartments for your stuff.

Bring your own DVD’s, music selection, food, blankets, pillows, reading light, water, magazines, newspapers, coffee, toilet paper. And just to be on the safe side, your own oxygen masks and floatation devices.

But it’s not a good time to catch up on the first season of LOST.

Play the drinking game. Take a swig every time you hear “we apologize for the inconvenience”. Not recommended for those unwilling to get completely shitfaced.

Drinking game #2: “We thank you for your patience.”

Don’t kid yourself. EVERYONE is flying “stand by”.

The scary part used to be the landing. Now it’s pushing off from the gate.

Beware of free WIFI hotspots in airport terminals. Hackers use these to break into your computer. Not a joke.

It’s quieter and smoother in the front of the plane. And screw what they say, if you’re in Coach and you want to use the bathroom go to the ones in First Class.

And finally, always remember: it’s NEVER the airlines fault. It’s the weather, air traffic controllers, mechanical problems, baggage handler strike, FAA rules, homeland security, airport restrictions, lawmakers, the billy goat curse, lunar eclipses, and most of all -- the media.

13 comments:

girl_sedated said...

I fly an insane amount for my job and I can only say YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! I espeically like your drinking game and medication instructions.

wkmaier said...

OUTSTANDING!

Old Guy said...

I know they have two airports in Chicago but I didn't know they actually fly planes out of them.

Gary said...

JetBlue has just changed its name to JetBlew. If you have sex in a JetBlue lavoratory, you join the "Tarmac Club."

The Curmudgeon said...

Mr. Levine wrote, "Never fly to, from, or around Chicago."

Speaking as a Chicagoan, I suggest that this statement is a tad harsh.

Also speaking as a Chicago taxpayer, please come to Chicago -- and bring money.

Tom Quigley said...

When it comes to air travel, Chicago seems to be the weather capital of the world... Last time I flew into O'Hare and we encountered some turbulence, a rabbi two rows in front of me started singing the Prayer for the Dead...

As for Jet Blue, one business associate I know refuses to fly anything else... His wife won't let him have cable at home, so airline flights are the only time he can indulge his two favorite passions by watching the Golf and Cooking channels... A 10-hour holdover on the tarmac would have him in ecstasy...

Michael Zand said...

The bastards cite security reasons for not allowing you to use the bathrooms in first when you're in coach. You defy them and you'll be taking your next dump in a crowded room of dangerous men on a toilet with no seat.

Herb Popsfarter said...

Just last Tuesday I flew American into D/FW, and the pilot gets on the intercom and says, "Well folks, because of a good tail-wind, we've arrived in Dallas 25 minutes early."

I was about to start cheering and doing an interpretive dance when the plane suddenly stopped on the tarmac.

Pilot: "Because we arrived early, our gate is occupied by another flight - but they should be pulling out in approximately 5 minutes, so sit tight."
(Apparently they were using the "rhythm method")

FFWD: We ended up pulling into the gate 40 minutes late. During that time I sat bathing in an entirely different type of "tail-wind"

And it's nice to know some of the planes are now equipped with airbags. One served me a diet coke just before we landed.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'm old enough to remember the days when the stews were all young and attractive. Now they need those oxygen masks to fall from the ceiling every time they push the drink cart up the aisle. Flying used to be fun. Now it sucks.

Dwacon said...

I used to be 100% traveler but after 9/11 cut it down considerably... only taking fun trips to burn off my quarter-million frequent flyer miles...

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Advice for Traveling Alone
- Traveling alone can be an intimidating experience, especially for those who don't do it often. Knowing what to expect and thinking about the challenges solo air travel throws at you ahead of time can make it an easy and efficient experience.

Avoid checking a bag. This is true of any air travel really, but I find it's much easier to be a self-contained entity when alone, leaving as little responsibility to the airline as possible. There's nobody to search for the right baggage claim with you or to help you talk to the agent if a bag gets lost. By keeping everything with you, there's less chance of error.

Along those same lines, don't be afraid to gate check a bag (usually signified by yellow tags put on the bag as you board). This works differently from normal bag checking, as any gate checked bag is only given to the airline as you board the plane, and is retrieved right as you exit the plane. sportsbook, The bag never actually goes through the whole luggage system - that invariably ends misplacing things.

Traveling alone seems to increase the chance of you being searched at security, particularly if one is not obviously on a business trip. Just assume you will be searched and pack accordingly.

The biggest advantage of traveling alone is usually the ability to get an exit row seat. If the airline you are flying with allows online check-in (usually available 24 hours before departing time) exit row seats can usually be obtained there. If not, make sure to ask at the gate, as most of the time there will be the odd one exit row seat that nobody has taken because they want to sit with their traveling companions. They get company, you get leg room. Sometimes a book and being able to stretch is better than someone to talk to.
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