Sunday, January 08, 2017

Tips for Winter Travelers

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 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, camcorder, transistor radio, electric razor, hand held fan, and pacemaker fully charged. Ten hours on the tarmac is a long time and those electric outlets at your seat never work.


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 generator. 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 SULLY.

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.


B.A. said...

At the airport wait, find a seat facing the main drag. Literally the best girl-watching spot in the world, and you can pretend to be checking your phone if with spouse.

Ray said...

“The white zones are for assholes in SUV’s only.”
"Listen Betty, don't start up with your white zone shit again."
"There's just no stopping in a white zone."
"Oh really, Vernon? Why pretend, we both know perfectly well what this is about. You want me to have an abortion."

Peter said...

I really enjoyed your podcast, Ken! You're a total natural. Have you ever considered a career in radio? ;-)

Two bits in particular killed me. Your impression of Kathryn Murray announcing Cheers had won (I don't suppose a recording of it exists that you could upload to the blog?), and introducing the ELO song with "I'm into living things. That's right, I'm not one for necrophilia". On that, I have to ask if the station management said anything to you after. I can imagine some boring types even now would complain that it's too dark a joke for radio, let alone back in 1977!

A great first podcast! Can't wait for the next.

Mitchell Hundred said...

I flew through O'Hare once: it wasn't that bad. I did make a game of counting the number of American flags I saw while passing through the airport (including this bewildering but somehow unsurprising sight).

Mind you, that was in September rather than winter.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Best flying I ever did was out of LaGuardia on the dreaded day before Thanksgiving. It was so dreaded that everybody else stayed home. I even arrived at the airport early, and would have been earlier still if the cab had not had trouble with its E-Z Pass at the Midtown Tunnel. So yeah, give Chicago a try. Probably better than Atlanta, Airline Hub of the Galaxy.

YEKIMI said...

I would risk everything you mentioned just to get out of these low single digit temps.

MikeKPa. said...

I've had the misfortune of having to sleep over in Chicago and Atlanta airports during winter travel due to delays of my incoming flight. Given the disparate weather conditions around the country, there seems to be a major storm during all seasons that could affect your travel. Biggest tip is pack plenty of snacks in your carry-on bag.

Curious if you will review the reboot of ONE DAY AT A TIME. I didn't think I'd like it, but Rita Moreno is sensational in it and there are more laugh lines than I expected. I've only since the first three and the episodes seem to get better. And old hand Norman Lear, at 94, certainly doesn't hurt. Guess Carl Reiner might be looking to get back in TV, via streaming series like Netflix, soon.

Jeff said...

Totally non-related to the subject of this blog entry, but I thought of Ken when I saw this :)

cd1515 said...

O'Hare is the worst airport in the world. Beirut is better.

No matter when/where you fly, you'll absolutely encounter these 2 assholes:
a) the person in row 33 who stands up AS SOON AS THE PLANE TOUCHES DOWN and wants to get by everyone in front of him to get off.
b) the person at baggage claim who, no matter where you're standing, will come stand RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU, blocking your view of the bags.

Arthur Mee said...

Actually, I'm not inclined to blame the airlines. With the weather, air traffic controllers, baggage handler strikes, homeland security, and airport restrictions, it's a wonder you can fly anywhere at all.

Jahn Ghaly said...

Thanks to Ken for winter travelling tips - my next one to the CA/AZ desert for spring training will occur with Alaska still tightly within winter's grasp (but 11-hour days on the upswing).

Some impressions and variations:

I like to print my first tickets AT WORK.

I like to only book flights that come with a tailwind.

I'd LOVE to:
Never turn (my) rental car until it’s the final boarding call on your flight.
I'm unsure as to the details/logistics but I'm going to work on that.

Thanks for the notice on O'Hare as a flyover city - I guess I'll drive into town for a Cubs game. I think the last time I roamed the halls at O'Hare was en route Honolulu at Christmas ca. 1980-81. A Hare Krisna accosted me with her book. No. Actually it was 1994 right after the only strike I ever gave a damn about.

don't have children - I guess No. 1 Son didn't get the memo (heh heh).

Good tip on charging laptop (which I stash in bag UNDER my long legs with coat covering lap - F##K FAA REGS).

If my cell phone battery dies - no one can call me - a bonus.

Xanex! I hear that goes well with aromatic green herbs - from my doctor no less! I'll have to chat with her on a scrip.

I care nothing for "pre-boarding". I like the back right window seat when I can get it. My policy is:

Last On (with expertly rendered, insincere apologies),
Last Off (with compliments and kind wishes for the help).

Here's another tip: Alaska Airlines is the ONLY airline that HAS NOT P'O'ed ME IN FORTY YEARS - all the others are rank amateurs.

A question about O2 masks - any luck getting those green bottles on board? It occurs I could take one from the little old lady in the front - but she might beat me up.

Great tip about the First Class Head - that will make for a nice long stroll to stretch my long legs.

Big Thumbs Up to B.A. about the airport parade on the main drag.


- I'll see if I can find a telescoping vaudeville hook - for that A$$#O!E in row 33.
- Here's a line for the baggage claim MAN (WOMEN don't do that, do they?): "Let's help each other spot bags - mine has gray duct tape on it"