Well, not exactly . . .
There were creatures stirring this morning, but not as many as I thought would be. I had a very early 6:30am flight out of Orlando. The Delta Sky Club was virtually empty. The concourse was busy, but not as crazy-busy as a typical travel day.
The flight to Atlanta was surprisingly empty, both in First and in Coach. The Atlanta concourse was hopping, but again not as hectic as I thought it would be. I even had time to visit the Kiehl’s store in Terminal B for some gifts to self!
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
The next flight was into O’Hare, and we had a very full flight. It was amazing how quiet all the kids on the plane were. It must’ve been the timeless threat from parents on this all-important day about Santa not coming if they misbehave. Too bad this threat doesn’t work on every flight of the year!
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer
Lots of flights cancelled out of O’Hare with many unhappy passengers standing in very long lines for Customer Service. I’m sure they’re hoping for a sleigh to swoop down to get them out of the line and get them to where they are going.
For me, I am very grateful that I had two on-time flights today and that I’m now with my family for the next week. So to all travelers, Godspeed in getting to your friends and family on this Christmas Eve, and
It’s always fun to plan future travel. Coming up with an idea of where to go and what to do AND have everyone agree can often be a challenge. Here’s a tool that determines your travel personality and can recommend appropriate travel choices – the Plog Travel Personality Quiz located at www.besttripchoices.com.
The Plog Travel Personality Quiz was developed by Dr. Stanley C. Plog who received his doctorate from Harvard University. The concepts are scientifically validated and based on 40 years of continuous research involving over 250,000 people who have taken the quiz. I think you will find the quiz interesting and fun and you may also learn something about yourself. There are six different categories of travelers and you’ll be given your results immediately after answering a quick 15 questions.
My results: I’m a Mid Venturer. Some things about this type of traveler (all very accurate, by the way):
. . . You like to travel, especially to foreign destinations and you seek new experiences and new destinations for almost all trips you take.
. . . you like a comfortable bed at night, a warm shower (Oh Yes! No camping for this smart woman traveler!)
. . . I listen to friends and read to learn about the hidden, but interesting out of the way places that others have not yet become popular or have only recently gotten some publicity. (No chain restaurants for this girl. Only one-of-a-kind eateries that offer local cuisine, friendly people and lots of charm.)
. . .even your media habits don't follow the norm. Typically you read more than most -- books, magazines and newspapers -- and watch TV less. (How does Dr. Plog know that I almost never turn on my television in my hotel room?)
So take 5 minutes and find out what kind of traveler you are (and have your travel mates take the test also). The questions are quick and easy. The results will give you fun things to talk about, and provide you with a short-list of places to visit in 2010. And maybe you’ll even find that you and your family members really are compatible travelers!
Obsession with our mobile phones, that is. Just observe the people around you the next time your flight is getting ready to take off. When the plane door closes and we need to turn off our phones, watch how many people keep on talking and checking their emails. I feel sorry for flight attendants. They often have to ask people several times to turn off their electronics, and have to listen to rude comments by passengers.
I sat next to a guy in first class last week and he never did turn off his phone. He set it to airplane mode instead, telling me that studies have shown that cell phones cause no interference for the pilots and their systems. Is this the time to be disputing studies, right before the all-important take-off? Personally, I’d rather not cause any unnecessary risk to the flight, whether real or not, so my phone is always off. (My husband will tell you that I always follow the rules and I get upset with him if his bag is not fully underneath his seat.)
This obsession about not wanting to turn off cell phones isn’t funny ... it could possibly cause havoc with the plane’s electronics (I’d love to get some pilot feedback here!).
What’s really comical to watch is how fast people grab their cell phones the very second the wheels hit the ground. People that seemed asleep the entire flight suddenly jump to action and lunge for their phones. Others who were deep in conversation with the person beside them stop mid-sentence to hit the power button. Within seconds, heads are all down staring at the all-important emails that came in while in-flight.
And we’re not happy with just checking emails once the flight lands. We continue this obsession on the bus heading to the car rental station. Jump on the bus, drop your bag, sit down, tune in. Bus stops, grab your bag, hustle to the next point. No conversation, no looking at the people on the bus ... just staring into our phones. This is where I find our obsession most comical, especially when I look through the entire bus and see the majority of people all glued to their little screens.
The humor stops when I’m driving on the highway next to someone who’s texting with both hands while trying to keep control of the steering wheel at 80mph. I get as far away from the texter as possible, as fast as possible.
And where am I at in all this connected-craziness, you ask? I do check my email upon boarding my flight. Then I turn off my phone, forcing myself to disconnect from both the phone and from the non-stop mind chatter. I probably have a few feelings of withdrawal as I shut down (but I do totally shut down my phone!). Upon landing, I do turn on my phone, though usually I’m not in too much of a scurry to see who wrote or called me. And on the rental car bus, I just love watching all the rest of you in your heads-down position, smiling all the way to our destination in wonderment of our obsession!
On Saturday, I saw the movie, Up in the Air. Living away from home a couple hundred days a year myself, I wondered how Hollywood would glamorize jetting off from place to place. Wonder no more.
George Clooney was excellent, as always. It was easy to imagine him as a hurried corporate downsizer living on the road 322 days a year. Yes, his character was a bit cold and steely but looking into his beautiful eyes, he can fire me any day.
But was the movie real? Clooney went through the same TSA lines as everyone else. One very real point also was a great tip: Business travelers never get in a line behind, as he says, families or older people. The fastest lines generally are those dedicated to frequent travelers who know all the rules.
The scene where the new associate comes into the airport lugging a large suitcase was great. Clooney is right, nearly all business travelers live out of a carry-on, avoiding checked bags whenever possible.
Much of the movie was shot in secondary airports like St Louis, Omaha, and Tulsa. Missing were the monster airports with multiple terminals and massive TSA lines like Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. I kind of envied him there.
The part of the movie where he talks about his accumulated miles is actually pretty real. Most of the frequent travelers I know are at least aware of their total awards and points, if not obsessed to where they check them each day. By the way, I use Mileport as my dashboard of award balances.
While American Airlines is not my primary carrier, I did
have a couple observations. First, there were empty seats in first
class? I don’t see that on Continental
or Delta. Second, there were quite
a few puddle jumper flights but even those had large first class sections. Really, this is the way it works on
While American Airlines is not my primary carrier, I did have a couple observations. First, there were empty seats in first class? I don’t see that on Continental or Delta. Second, there were quite a few puddle jumper flights but even those had large first class sections. Really, this is the way it works on American Eagle?
As a HiltonHonors high status member, he certainly would have had room upgrades all the time. In other words, his hotel rooms should have been pretty nice suites. Instead, they looked to be, well, very ordinary rooms.
The scene where Clooney pulls out his many loyalty cards was a little overkill but funny. The only time a card is necessary is for entrance to the airport lounges. The others – airlines, hotels, car rentals, etc – already have the numbers in their systems so the scene at Hertz where the young guy asks Clooney for his member number never would have happened.
The part about the 10 million miles with AA was confusing. The movie suggested he was seeking to be credited with that many base air miles. That is quite different than an equal amount of frequent flier points which can be achieved many ways other than flying.
At about 350,000 miles flown each year, it would take him nearly 30 years to rack up 10 million air miles. Sorry, Clooney doesn’t look nearly old enough to have been doing that kind of flying, but I suppose it’s possible.
And then there was his sparse home. Well, he calls it home for about 40 nights a year. As a bachelor always on the run, that might be quite an accurate portrayal. Fortunately I can’t relate to that part.
All in all, a bittersweet movie but nice to sit back and see much of what I probably look like during the hustle and bustle each week. Well, without the extracurricular romance, anyway.
With Christmas just around the corner, the majority of us still have a long list of people to buy gifts for. It's challenging enough to find the perfect gift for someone. Add in the challenge of being on the road for business or conferences and then finding the time to shop is the biggest challenge.
I only have 5 days at home between today and December 24th before I head to Chicago for the holiday, and I have only just begun to think of my Christmas list or where I am going to shop at. After this article is written, I had better get my shopping started!
I have a deadline of next Monday, December 15th, to have gifts ready for a child I selected to buy for in Houston, so that will get me heading to Amazon so that I'll have what this girl asked for by next week.
MSNBC had a great article this week on giving yourself the gift of air miles while shopping for the holidays. Many airlines have partnered with loads of great name stores so that you can buy exactly what you're looking for at typical online prices, with the added benefit of getting air miles for each dollar spent. Prices are no higher by going through the airline's shopping link, as you are redirected to your desired store's website. The airlines get their revenue from the stores themselves, typically a percentage of what you and I spend. So there is no cost to you to use the airlines' online stores ... just the added benefit of getting air miles for your purchase.
I created an account with Delta's SkyMiles Shopping so that they could record my miles for what I spend. It's easy to see how many miles are offered by store, so that I can select the stores that I want to purchase from:
The results of a poll taken by Business Traveller magazine show that less than 1 in 5 of us are using a mobile boarding pass. Since this is poll taken by a business travel magazine, the results reflect what frequent fliers are doing rather than the general public. When adding in all fliers, it is probably less than 2% that are using mobile boarding passes.
In fact, I asked a TSA agent at the Orlando airport this week as to how many people come through his line using a mobile boarding pass. He estimates only 2 people per hour, so I was 50% of his mobile boarding pass customers in the 7am hour. Since so many travelers coming through MCO are family tourists, it is not surprising that the number in Orlando is low.However, I see about the same results in Houston’s Intercontinental Airport where there are a lot of business travelers on Thursday and Friday evenings. The TSA agent in Houston I spoke with also said that very few mobile boarding passes come through. Until recently, the mobile boarding pass machines were usually off in Houston, and needed to be turned on when I came through with my phone’s boarding pass. Today the machines were actually on, so maybe business is picking up.