Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tips for winter trips

Traveling is a nightmare anyway, but during the winter it gets even worse. But fear not, blog faithful. Here are some suggestions for winter air travel:

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 nondescript little bottle.

Don't book connecting flights in the winter, even in Hawaii.

Don't buy 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, iphone, Gameboy, Blackberry, camcorder, transistor radio, electric razor, hand held fan, and pacemaker fully charged. Ten hours on the tarmac is a long time.


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.


Anonymous said...

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

This includes cafes, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, well just about everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Ten hours on the tarmac? Psssh, we only spent six, and that's in Canada!...Of course, that was VANCOUVER, where an inch of snow of snow shuts down the entire city.

Unknown said...

Also, ask your pilot if he/she is any good at avoiding birds before takeoff. Geese in particular.

No matter who you're going to see, you can Always buy new handcuffs when you get there. Don't pack them. They frown upon these.

Juss_ILP said...

you may want to add that just because you spend 10 hours on the tarmac doesnt mean that you will actually take off.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure everybody has a horror story or two dozen from any airlines. I've still had the best experiances with Southwest, even when there is an issue they seem to a least to fake caring about their customers rather than show out and out contempt.

Then again, you may need to fly where they aren't and then your stuck at the mercy of the others.

Rich S.

WV: "hersod" as "In he planted his seed in . . .

Anonymous said...

Oh, and NEVER make a joke about anything unless you are trolling for a rough and VERY invasive search of your person -- for which the more depraved among us* might consider paying significant sums -- from a large person clad in an impressive amount of polyester.

No, really. Don't.

* Google up "Max Mosley" and "camp guard"

P.S. My WVW is "abbicate" which is what Edward the VIII was instructed by Wallis Simpson when she had a scorching case of sinusitis.

blogward said...

Please note: Chesley B Sullenburger III is taking no more bookings.

WV: allomi - Latin "Idol" version of the Manks and Simons standard.

Anonymous said...

On the plus side, over the past month our daughter has been able to underwrite flights to Seattle, Denver, Boston, and Minnesota, simply by being the first to rise enthusiastically whenever they ask if anyone would be willing to give up a seat to accommodate overbooking. Forget the pay per view porn gambit, with no TV at home; she considers the hotel room opportunity to watch House or The Office to be an additional frequent flyer bonus.

Now, what have we learned from other recent airline events?
1) Incredible as it may seem, there had to have been at least two prior Chesley B. Sullenbergers.
2) All being the spitting image of half a dozen Indian Viceroys appearing on British postage stamps.
3) The dude was bound to survive. Having trained at Nellis, the line on a smooth water landing out of Las Vegas was at least -14.
4) Wouldn’t you also do everything in your power to land safely on the Hudson, if failure meant the prospect of never again having the opportunity to land on that Lorrie Sullenberger, inarguably still one of the finest P.O.A.s a senior airline pilot has ever had anywhere within the bounds of matrimony?
5) A woman who has not only appeared on Bay area TV demonstrating (for apparent imbeciles) the precise maneuver guaranteed to save lives if executed at the exact moment of impact (approximately half way through video):
6) But who is also eminently capable of leading any search and rescue party, should you accidently plow into either the peak of Mt. Whitney or one of those Andes locations where survivors will be even more likely to ingest a fellow passenger or two, now that the carriers are cutting back on honey roasted peanuts.

Cap'n Bob said...

Landing on the Hudson River isn't that hard. It has the consistency of rubber cement.

I took a voluntary bump once. They gave my ticket to someone else for the bump flight. Nice work, Continental, you bastards.

TCinLA said...

Old aviation saying (from the 30s at least, repeated by those in the know in aviation every decade since):

"If you've time to spare, go by air."

I recently drove to San Francisco with a friend - it only took 2.5 hours more than it would have taken to drive from my home in the SFV to Burbank Airport, go through the Heimat Geheimstatspolizei b.s., get the rental at SFO, and drive up to see my friends in the city.

And the scenery along the 101 with an excursion to the 1 was far superior. Not to mention the legroom and the bar service. The extra time was worth the reduced blood pressure.

TCinLA said...

Some interesting information about Captain Sullenberger:

The guy has about 3,000 hours as a glider pilot, which means he likely has more unscheduled off-airport landings in his logbook than he does the regular kind. He knew exactly what to do/think.

He's also the go-to guy for safety training at his airline, having produced a crew emergency training syllabus that is used by other airlines. Also argued the strongest against the MBA morons who look to cut costs wherever they can in order to qualify for their yearly bonuses. He works with his union to get across-the-boards agreements that aircrew training is the one thing the "management geniuses" don't cut.

Nobody mentions the other heroes: the captains of those ferry boats and other boats who got there as fast as they could and then maneuvered so they didn't bump the bobbing airplane (very hard to do, BTW), which if any one of them had done so would have resulted in a far different outcome. You can see this in the USCG footage over at

As Emptywheel put it in her post over at Firedoglake: "this miracle brought to you courtesy of America's unions."

Anonymous said...

If Amtrak is still running in your part of the world, going by train is a lot more pleasant.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Chesley B Sullenburger the first was a Wells Fargo driver? Or maybe his dad, Chesley T J Sullenburger.

word=crist, as in crist almigty

Anonymous said...

"Never fly to, from, or around Chicago."

You forgot "over" and "through"!

Anonymous said...

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

Make that extra shots of tequila.

Anonymous said...

you forgot the french, and the terrorists

Buttermilk Sky said...

If you don't want to fake a limp, start your vacation early by requesting a wheelchair. Don't forget to tip your driver.