Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Have Blog Will Travel

As I fly home from Philadelphia (travelogue coming early next week), thought I’d share some random thoughts and rants on travel.

It’s been eight years now. How can people NOT understand the concept of airport security checks? I guess this isn’t too surprising when every night at Dodger Stadium there’s at least three couples on the Jumbovision board who can’t grasp the intricately complicated concept of “Kiss Cam”. But seriously, in every security line there’s guaranteed at least one moron who says, “I have to take my shoes off?” Another who doesn’t have I.D. Putting your laptop in its own bin completely befuddles seven out of every ten travelers.

And now airlines have automated baggage check-in? Are they kidding? Half these Neanderthals don’t even know how to zip up their luggage.

The new National I.Q. Test should include the following categories: Negotiating TSA security lines, finding your boarding gate, figuring out how to turn on your reading light, and when you arrive at your hotel and you’re trying to find your room – if your room is 283 and you walk down the hall and see the numbers are 200, 202, 204, 206… how many rooms until you realize they’re even numbers only? One point is lost for every room you pass past 204. And the test for genius: fitting your bag in the overhead compartment.

Anyone spending more than $100 on Sky Mall purchases should be led off the plane in a straight jacket.

How much do you tip housekeeping?

When planes touched down passengers used to cheer. Now they dive immediately for their cellphones.

New scam on U.S. AIRWAYS (and probably other carriers as wel): “Choice Seats”. You buy a ticket at one price, try to make your seat selection and discover there’s nothing available but middle aisle back of the plane. However, for an extra $20 you can get a “choice seat”, which essentially is any aisle or window in the first 30 rows.

And only preferred “Dividend Miles” club members or some such shit can book exit rows. I guess they figure the type of person who won’t help out in an emergency is the type of person who won’t take advantage of their frequent flier program.

Remember when all coast-to-coast flights used to feature movies? I understand cost-cutting but how expensive is it to pop in a tape of THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND?

Remember when car rental lots were in the same zip code as the airport?

Remember when flying from one US city to another was called “travel” not THE AMAZING RACE?

When airlines say: “For Your Safety” what they really mean is “For Our Convenience”.

Why do big city hotels give you complimentary copies of USA TODAY and not their local paper? This doesn’t apply to that growing number of major cities that no longer have local newspapers.

What room amenities do you steal?

Some hotels are now offering free phone service! Wow! What an incentive! We already have free phone service. It’s called our CELLPHONES.

When a baby screams on take-off or landing it’s because of the changing air pressure and their ears can’t handle it. Always travel with some hard candy like a lollipop for them to suck on. It greatly helps relieve the pressure.

Considering how prices fluctuate from moment to moment, buying a ticket on Travelocity or Expedia is like playing the stock market. And we all know how smart it is to play the stock market these days.

How much money are hotels losing on Adult Pay-Per-View movies now that most everyone travels with laptops? One time when I was with a ballclub one of our TV techs figured out how to break into a large hotel’s Pay-Per-View system. We could piggy-back any skin flick that someone else in the hotel was watching. On Saturday night at midnight, as you’d expect, there were about 200 subscribers to one of these soft core pornos. But Sunday morning? Church time? 150. I can vouch for this (but don’t ask me how).

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

fly private.

DonBoy said...

Why do big city hotels give you complimentary copies of USA TODAY and not their local paper?

Because USAT gives them to the hotels for nothing -- if not actually paying them to do so -- in order to inflate their circulation numbers. I read it on the Internet once so you know it's true.

Mel Ryane said...

I swear it's time to reconsider Greyhound. Air travel used to have an air of glamor; now it's just hot air.

On a bus (I hear) there's leg room, individual TV monitors, fellow passengers need as many meds up high as on the road and you always know where your luggage is.

Joe W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe W. said...

Anyone spending more than $100 on Sky Mall purchases should be led off the plane in a straight jacket.

...before the plane has landed.

DougJ said...

A baby shouldn't be given hard candy. It could choke...Oh, I see.

You sick bastard.

Tom K Mason said...

"What room amenities do you steal?"

I take the little soaps and the little shampoos and put them in my earthquake kit when I get home. I'll use them as currency when the big one hits. Also, for some reason I can't explain, I also take the sewing kit even though I don't sew.

When I was in London this summer, the hotel passed out complimentary Walker's shortbread cookies every day. I grabbed some for the trip home.

The Milner Coupe said...

I fly a lot. But I'm still one of the morons who says "I have to take my shoes off?" Not because I don't know, but because I'm still pissed off about it. I don't hesitate or hold the line up, but I bitch. It's stupid and I can't get over it. Sorry. I guess we should be glad the asshole didn't put the bomb in his shorts.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

I guess we should be glad the asshole didn't put the bomb in his shorts.

Or, as Eric Idle mentioned in his book, "The Greedy Bastard Diary":

"As Kevin Nealon so brilliantly observed: How selfish and unthinking of the shoe bomber. Why couldn't he have been the bra bomber? Or the panty bomber?"

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Mike said...

In Philadelphia, the rental counters aren't all that far from the terminal. It's just that the infrastructure demands a very circuitous route so it seems a lot further than it is.

I usually walk, although I wouldn't recommend it. It involves walking through the parking garage and then crossing the road - the kind of busy road - between the garage and the rental car places. Then, depending on who you rented from, walking down that road for a little bit. It's not exactly pedestrian-friendly, but it's quicker than the bus.

Patrick said...

Back in '03, or '04, I was crossing over the Canadian border often up in Blaine, WA.. Not by air, so I guess this is one of those low-end anecdotes that may sway some of you who are considering the idea of doing the Greyhound, LA to NYC, seven day Redeye.

I would get held up by the agents all the time. As much as I understood why -- nothing glamorous like smuggling weed, or muling secret government documents out of that other Kremlin in Vancouver, just familly stuff -- I always became annoyed, offended, just American priveldged attitude and such. It just made me feel over-scrutinized, especially at that point in time when there were some seriously unsavory people getting back and forth across the border.

On one passport scan, there was a Syrian guy being held up along with me. All the neo-hippies, transients and European students were back on the bus waiting while me and my Syrian brother were in a special room waiting for the final check. And the thing was, he was complaining more then me. Which would have been fine had I not seen his passport while we were in line. It was hand-written, with burnt edges and what looked like a bullet hole. Like he found it under a dead camel. Mine was neatly stamped by these same agents from previous crossings. How the hell did I wind up on a check list with this dude?

I was aloud back on the bus thirty minutes later, ego a little tattered, catching odd stares from the others out of general association. I got over it with the help of a Canadian Marlboro. My Syrian brother never got back on the bus. I don't complain anymore.

willieb said...

Sorry the flying was such a pain. Even sorrier the game was such a pain. (Not really. In Philly, we've been waiting for a team like this -- well, forever!)

Tom Quigley said...

"What room amenities do you steal?"


I once took a pair of terrycloth slippers from a hotel where I stayed in Italy -- Interpol's been after me ever since.... Next time I travel to Europe, I think I'll probably have to go under an assumed name -- like maybe, "Roman Polanski"...

Roger Owen Green said...

I'm w Milner Coupe. Everything I've read - not all of it on the Internet - suggests that much of what happens at the TSA screening at the gate is more for the appearance of being safe than any real improvement in us not getting blown up.

badhatharry said...

If you hook a VCR up to the hotel room TV, you can access the channels that carry the in-room porn. I was on tour with a play and I had to watch tapes of the show to train myself to mix it, and I discovered this. Also, the average in-room porn runs for 7 minutes. That is my favorite stat ever.

scrooks said...

RE: people not knowing flight security procedures

You should keep in mind that a lot of people fly much less often than you. I think I've taken 1 flight since 2000. No, I don't keep up on TSA rules, that's not a hobby of mine. The last time I flew I was one of those who didn't know the laptop needed to be in a separate bin, and I'm okay with that.

Mary Stella said...

Don't forget the people at TSA who have big bottles of perfume or water in their carryon and have temper tantrums when the things are confiscated.

I take a sewing kit from a hotel because I never know when I might need one.

I take the shampoo, conditioner and shower gel when I'm running low in my pool pack. The exception to this rule is when I attend a conference in Florida. I ask all of my friends to take the shower/conditioner/lotion/shower gel every day and give it to me. Then I donate it to the domestic abuse shelter.

(Way to go, Phillies!)

Jim said...

Re "When planes touched down passengers used to cheer": I actually was on a flight the week before last that garnered applause on landing, albeit only after the flight attendant began her welcome spiel on the P.A. with "And with that incredibly smooth landing..." (It was smooth, but I don't know if I would have considered it incredibly smooth.)

Luke said...

When he says "When a baby screams on take-off or landing it’s because of the changing air pressure and their ears can’t handle it. Always travel with some hard candy like a lollipop for them to suck on. It greatly helps relieve the pressure." what he means is "shove something in that babies mouth so I can hear myself think"! And I second his suggestion.

Mike McCann said...

Sorry your Dodgers fizzled. There are some airports that get it right re rental cars -- Seattle and Tampa come to mind from recent experience. But they are in the minority.

Did US Air (which a cynical friend often referred to as "Useless Air") charge you for the FIRST checked bag? Delta now pulls that stunt, meaning you can now add 30 bucks to the bottom line price of any roundtrip where you need to carry more than a backpack.

You're right about the useless newspapers. You'd think hotels would get a "deal" from the local papers which carry ads for local eateries and other places out-of-towners drop big coin.

Emmett Flatus said...

Just returned from a vacation in our 50th state and the TSA droids not only rummaged through all our checked baggage (as evicenced by their card droppings) they kept the TSA approved locks that were purchased specially for the trip...going AND coming.

Somebody's got to be making a fortune reselling locks. =(:>)

benson said...

Back to yesterday's post about Helene's Greek daddy. Be glad it wasn't this guy in Arizona...

http://tiny.cc/hm27G

wv: holoto Something Hugh Grant probably wouldn't purchase a quick pick for...

AlaskaRay said...

>>I fly a lot. But I'm still one of the morons who says "I have to take my shoes off?" Not because I don't know, but because I'm still pissed off about it. I don't hesitate or hold the line up, but I bitch. It's stupid and I can't get over it.<<

Don't worry, it won't be long before the days of taking off your shoes and full body pat downs will be a thing of the past. Soon you'll just walk through a large machine and the next day you'll be able to download nude photos of yourself from your favorite porn site.

Ray

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Well, Patrick, if you were "aloud on the bus" it's no wonder you were held up at the border in one of those little rooms. A little decorum next time, okay?

Sorry about the ass whooping the Phillies gave the Dodgers, Ken. Naw, not really. I just hope you weren't paid by the hour and you'll lose income now that the Dodgers are out of the playoffs.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Soon you'll just walk through a large machine and the next day you'll be able to download nude photos of yourself from your favorite porn site.

Can't wait for the spate of comments from that future: "Damn. I looked so good I jerked off to myself."

Anonymous said...

anyone who wants to lecture us on how much better things are today than the old days, when women had to stay home and raise the kids, and men all had to wear similar suits & ties, and the kids all had to learn by rote the same boring stuff that had made the country great, and - as opposed to now - everyone was all 'conformist' and stuff. not like *today*, when everyone's taking the identical goatee/tattoo path to nonconformity.

all you need to destroy those idiots is a discussion of the air travel system. the US system used to be the envy of the world: best airlines, best food, most convenience, all that. now, pretty much ANY air travel story told these days sounds like something a 1950's traveler would assume came from a 3rd world hellhole: no food or drink service. planes routinely hours late. filthy planes rushed back into service for the next flight. passengers trapped on the tarmac, toilets overflowing, for 6-8-10 hours at a time. moronic "security" stealing everything they can, under the guise of "confiscation".

way to go, baby boomers. you've made us all so proud.

Umbriago said...

What major city doesn't have a newspaper? And don't say Ann Arbor, Michigan.

But your title made me think of the series Have Gun Will Travel, and I found one of those great promo cards TV networks used to do, this one with Richard Boone. Man, what a face.

Nat G said...

And it's more worth it for USAToday to underwrite those giveaways than it would be for the local paper. If being exposed to USAToday gets you liking it, you can get it an any newsstand. Even if you happen to like the Philadelphia Inquirer (actually quite a respectable paper back when I used to read it) are the traveler really going to dig it up once back in L.A.?

bevo said...

I fly Southwest or I drive or I stay home. The fucks who ran and continue to run the so-called legacy airlines should spend the remainder of their days flying their airlines.

These people make the Bush II administration look like Mensa members.

Anonymous said...

"When a baby screams on take-off or landing it’s because of the changing air pressure and their ears can’t handle it. Always travel with some hard candy like a lollipop for them to suck on. It greatly helps relieve the pressure."

Ken, why do you hate babies and want them to choke? I know you're joking, but....

I've said it once, and I'll say it again: No one wants that baby to stop crying more than its mother. That is one of the most embarassing things ever.