Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tips for winter travelers

Traveling is a nightmare anyway, but during the winter it gets even worse.  And this is one of the coldest on record. (But there's no Global Warming.)  Anyway, 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, ipad, iphone, 3DS,  camcorder, transistor radio, electric razor, hand held fan, and pacemaker fully charged. Ten hours on the tarmac is a long time and there are only outlets and they're in first class.


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 downloaded movies, 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.

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.


Dr Loser said...

Generally useful observations (if occasionally slightly exaggerated for comic effect). May I, as an ex-airline booking guy, correct a couple?

* Always pick a seat at the back of the plane if possible. If your plane doesn't crash, you'll suffer a slightly less comfortable ride. But if it does crash, you stand a far better chance of surviving. (It amazes me that first class isn't in the back. A case of semantics over real worth, if you ask me.)

* Chicago is almost certainly the best transfer point if you are an employee of the airline. Upgrade to first class is almost guaranteed. You get boarded faster and you get out the gate faster. And you get unlimited supplies of tequila slammers and champagne during the flight. Well, that was my experience, anyway.

* You are allowed to have children. Please do not bring them on the plane. Think about this: the average three year old dog is far better behaved than the average three year old child -- and for no very good reason, the dog has to travel in storage.

One final mild slap on the hand: try not to be too specific about help centers. Doing so has a tinge of inadvertent discrimination. Convenient substitutes for "New Delhi" include, but are not restricted to, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Ottawa, Atlanta, and if you are flying on a very tight budget, Istanbul. In reality you are incredibly unlikely to be given the weather conditions in New Delhi, for two reasons:

1) Most Indians would neither know nor care
2) Most Indian call centers train their staff to "acclimatize" to the locale of the caller, by watching endless amounts of TV.

Which means that you would be far more likely to get the weather conditions in, say, Beverly Hills 90210.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

If you replace Gameboy with 3DS (or Switch) for a more current videogame reference, I'd say everything written is 100% accurate when it comes to travel woes.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

P.S. - I'm actually travelling in two weeks. I'm hoping it won't be snowing by then.

MikeN said...

You forgot about rental car line.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Where's the most popular hijacking destination these days? When I was a kid Cuba was the place, but it seems to have fallen out of favor lately. I certainly wouldn't want to wind up in one of those "shithole" countries! Why doesn't anyone hijack planes to Tahiti or Cancun or Fiji? As long as they don't blow up the plane that would be pretty cool.

Dr Loser said...

Did I mention lobster? I forgot to mention lobster.

You don't get free lobster on a first class flight to Chicago (apparently it takes too long to boil them to death).

However, lobsters, which unlike dogs or children have a theoretically infinite life span, would be equally annoying as three year olds and are thus consigned to storage.

Just another tip you might want to consider in the eventuality that, say, you are a devotee of GĂ©rard Labrunie.

(And for those with long legs, which I believe includes both myself and Ken, and quite possibly certain exotic species of lobster, I recommend learning the patter to get an exit seat over the wing. The responsibilities mostly involve smiling winningly at the steward/ess, squinting at the desiderata on the two-page sheet, and performing some sort of boy-scout salute.)

Definitely worth the leg room. Not to mention the extra attention to your baggage space, should you be carrying something awkwardly shaped such as, for example, a lobster.

Ted said...

It's true that you should never fly through Chicago in the wintertime. And if you're planning to fly through Chicago on United, you might as well buy a pair of snowshoes instead -- you'll arrive at your destination faster by walking.

Liggie said...

I once read a book on childbirth and baby care for a project research. The writer said before he became a dad, he always wondered why people bring babies on flights. After he had his first child, he learned why: grandparents.

TimWarp said...

Ken, those are actually quite helpful. And thanks to Dr Loser for the fine-tweaking!