Posts Tagged "Flight"
Like the last kernel to pop in the pot, I bounced around the co-pilot seat repeating “Yeah that’s gonna leave a mark.” rubbing my hips from the brutal seatbelt attack. I like rough plane rides; especially in small aircraft like the Cessna 302 making its approach into Key West.
I drew the lucky straw for the co-pilot seat in Miami on the short flight to Key West. Answering an ad on Craigslist, a 1947 Nivens 34-foot wooden sailboat was waiting my arrival. This rare find was a stroke of luck. If the boat checked out as described, I would make the eight hour sail back to Fort Lauderdale that afternoon.
One, two, three hops and an armrest breaking grip, the Cessna rolled down the runway. Several “phews” escaped the passengers sitting behind me. The pilot wiped a few beads of sweat from his face that did not look old enough to grace a driver’s license. I couldn’t resist a quip.Read More
It wasn’t that long ago that I was sitting in the back of a DC-9 flying from Miami to Newark choking on clouds of smoke. An hour before, Reagan had given one of his ‘super power’ speeches on a TV, barely visible through blue plumes in the bar. I was headed to basic training and I didn’t care how smoky it was. In a few short hours I wouldn’t be able to smoke for 8 weeks. Determined to get as much tar and nicotine into my system as possible before walking through the gates of hell, aka Fort Dix New Jersey, I puffed away with the best of them.
I can only imagine what it was like for non-smokers to be stuck on a plane filled with smoke. It is no wonder that smokers are looked down on these days. Like every other aspect of our lives, technology has caught up with smoking. Electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more popular every day. I see them in clubs, restaurants, airports and even airplanes. E-Smokers are not immune to the occasional sideways glance though. Mostly out of curiosity, but on occasion annoyance. The casual passerby would assume the person was smoking a regular cigarette.
How E-Cigarettes work
A look and feel similar to cigarettes, electronic cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in tobacco. Unlike other stop smoking aids, you get a billowy cloud of smoke when exhaling; so it feels like you are smoking, not substituting. The cloud of smoke is actually harmless water vapor that has no odor to bother non smokers.
How to smoke on a plane
If you are going to draw attention to yourself, draw inquisitive over negative attention. Toy guns are not allowed on aircraft, not because they are dangerous but because they give the perception of danger. No one on the plane would care if you had a toy gun in your bag for your nephew’s birthday if they knew it was a toy. Take a toy gun out on a plane and wave it around and you have serious problems. Be very open with people around you on the plane with an electronic cigarette. Before using it ask the people next to you if they have ever seen one. Show them that it looks like a cigarette but is not. Always refer to it as a nicotine inhaler. Never use the word cigarette. Explain how it works. Make sure they understand that you may exhale a small amount of water vapor. The longer you hold it in the less vapor you exhale. Assure them there is no odor or second hand smoke.
What Electronic Cigarette is best
There several brands available. I decided since I had committed myself to quit smoking that I would try all the major brands. Blu came out on top. Based on price and quality, Blu leads the pack (pun intended). I found a couple brands that had a cheaper trial offer, but I didn’t care for them. The longer term price for refills was no bargain with the cheap trial offers. With Blu the price is 75% cheaper than smoking cigarettes; it is durable and looks better. I had the choice of white or black and chose black. Since I wanted to be able to use the electronic cigarette in places I couldn’t smoke, I opted for something that looks more like a pen than a cigarette to draw less attention to myself.Read More
There is something about clicking the Buy button for plane tickets that makes an adventure real. The thumb worn travel magazines littering the coffee table and must see sights bookmarks leave the realm of fantasy and enter the realm of reality. Purchasing plane tickets is the lightning flash above the castle tower that compels us to raise our hands and yell “It’s alive, It’s alive.”.
Those long international flights riding in coach, in which you feel as vacuum packed as a Tokyo subway commuter, tend to drain the excitement like a bloodletting. For your dining pleasure, the menu is provided courtesy of the state penal system. No matter what language the airport signs are written in, you know when you accidentally enter the arrivals terminal instead of the departures. Smiling faces and excited laughter is replaced with surviving gladiators leaving the coliseum.
Plane travel does not have to be the miserable experience travelers have come to expect. They say it’s all about the journey and not the destination. I don’t know who “they” are, but they must know these few tricks I am about to share with you to make such a profound and unbelievable statement.
Planning the Flight
If you are like most of us, you probably spend hour after hour looking at all the interesting facts and photos of the places you will visit on your trip. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that price is not a deciding factor in purchasing plane tickets, otherwise first class tickets are the obvious choice. If the ride to the airport is $19 for a ride on the paperboys handlebars or $20 for an air-conditioned taxi; I’m opting for the latter. Spending five minutes to find the lowest price airline ticket often yields the same results. A little extra time researching for what will be the prelude to your entire journey is well worth the effort.
Making a Flight List with Booking Engines
Decide what you are willing to pay for tickets before you open the browser. This will prevent preconceived ideas of “value” in deciding what flight is best for you. The final choice is usually not the one you would have expected. Copy the information for every flight within your price range. The information gathering has just begun. Now it is time to call the airlines. Ask the reservationist what equipment (aircraft model) is being flown for each of the flights on your list for that airline. The type of aircraft is the most important choice when it comes to comfort and amenities. Ask if there are any specials and the price. While airlines state that their lowest rates are published online, occasionally special rate codes, cargo reduction or group cancelations will lower a price that is not updated in booking engines.
Choosing the Aircraft Type
All aircraft are not created equal. A road trip in a 1987 Yugo is not going to provide the same comfort as a 2010 Lincoln Town car. Airline fleets often have a mixture of new aircraft as well as old. Eastern Airlines went out of business in 1991 with a huge fleet that is still being flown by many airlines due to long term leases. At the Yugo end of the spectrum, the old Boeing 767 is a popular aircraft for transatlantic flights. The new Airbus A330/340 fly the same routes at the same price, but has wider seats that recline further, next generation individual entertainment systems, improved climate control and much better galleys, which translates to better meals. Know the type of aircraft before you decide on a flight. Specific information on Fleet pages is available on most airline websites.
Choosing Seat Assignments
Of all the inconveniences encountered on aircraft, nothing compares to the odiferous emanation in the proximity of the lavatory. Add the constant sea of eye level butts and “good book?” inquisitors waiting in line and you have the making of a miserable flight. For the very tall, exit rows with the added legroom are best. Also consider what happens when the aircraft lands. Passengers sitting furthest away from the debarkation exit are the last to make it through customs and immigration. Not all aircraft deplane at the front, most new aircraft deplane about a third of the way back. Sitting as close to the exit as possible can save hours waiting in line to clear customs. The Seat Guru www.seatguru.com has a layout of all aircraft seating charts. If the booking engine does not offer available seat assignments, a call to the airlines for a pre-assigned seat is worth the effort.
I like to have layovers at certain airports because of the restaurants. Depending on the airline to provide a meal worth talking about is wishful thinking at best. When I book a flight, I would rather pay less for a layover than a direct flight if I have the opportunity to dine at Legal Seafood in Boston. Many airports have fabulous dining establishments. The in-flight meal is little more than a way to pass the time. Obtaining a better meal than the typical Chicken or Pasta option is possible. Airlines have a large “special meal” list to choose from. You have to ask the reservationist to learn what is offered. The best quality meals are cold plates. Keeping items fresh and cold is easier than keeping items fresh and hot. A seafood only meal often consists of shrimp cocktail or crab claws. Fruit plates tend have a good variety of fresh fruit.
Confident that you have booked the best possible flight, the time arrives when you are ready to begin your journey. Ensuring you arrive at your destination refreshed and relaxed takes a few more tips.
How to Board the Aircraft
In most cases the gate attendant will announce boarding in the order of first class passengers followed by seat assignments starting at the back of the aircraft. If you managed a seat closest to the exit you will be one of the last to board. All of your planning can go out the window if you do not follow this step. When your section is called, being the closest to the first person to board is best. Overhead compartments fill up quick. Late boarders often have their carryon luggage checked at the gate or taken by the flight attendant and squeezed in where ever it fits. This will guarantee you are the last to leave the aircraft. Waiting for everyone to disembark before you can retrieve your carryon will win you last in line at customs. Stow your luggage as quickly as you can either above or in front of your seat assignment.
Making friends with the flight attendant is probably the most overlooked key to a comfortable flight. They don’t know where your luggage is, and they can’t check for you. Is it really a good idea to vent to the person who has been assigned to take care of you for the next eight hours? The first thing I look for after finding my seat is which flight attendant belongs to the jump seat closest to me. They often place a sweater or magazine in the folding seat as a giveaway. I make contact with a simple smile and hello. Know when to strike up a conversation with a busy flight attendant. Once the majority of people are sitting and the overhead compartments are closed is a good sign that they have time to kill. Make the conversation about them. They don’t want to hear another “almost missed my flight” anecdote. Once a rapport has been established, I reach in my backpack and pull out a paperback and offer it to them. I pack at least one pre-read paperback per leg for just this reason. This one statement: “I finished this. Would you like it?” can provide you with amenities and service beyond the average traveler’s. Human nature urges us to give back when something is given to us. Flight attendants are the Wikipedia of the skies. They know the best restaurants, best attractions, things to avoid, things not to avoid and everything you would expect someone who visits your destination several times a month.
Avoiding Long Flight Aches and Pains
Aircraft cabins are flying deserts. The dry air causes dehydration quickly and without notice. This can prevent you from sleeping on the flight, cause headaches and exacerbate jetlag. Drink more water than you think you need. Walk the aisle as often as permitted allowing for time to sleep. Exercise, hydration and sleep are your biggest weapons to fight jetlag and soreness.Read More