Sunday, April 30, 2006

Baking Cookies

Today's been a lazy, relaxing Sunday.

After checking out this little quiz, I got the sudden urge bake cookies. Not fortune cookies, though. I went with some shortbread cookies.

You Are a Fortune Cookie

You're a rather normal person, except that you have extraordinary luck in life.
People want to be around you (even when they're a little sick of you), in hopes of being lucky too!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Judge Rules That Comair Did Not Bargain in Good Faith

Get your ass back to the bargaining table!

Well, that's not exactly how the bankruptcy court judge put it, but that's certainly what he meant in rejecting a motion by regional airline Comair, a Delta commuter, to void its contract with its flight attendants union.  Both sides were ordered back to the table to resume negotiations.

In his ruling, Judge Hardin rules that Comair did not bargain in good faith as required by law.  The Company had made a demand for concessions from the flight attendants and said that the amount was "non-negotiable."  Negotiations require give and take on both sides.

Comair's President, Fred Buttrell, was quick to put the company propaganda machine into work, blaming the failure of the flight attendants to accept the demanded concessions, and claiming that the company's restructuring plan was now likely to fail. 

Yes, let's blame the flight attendants for the potential demise of the company.  Because otherwise, they'd have to look inward and managements and their own decisions.

I don't think we've heard the end of this yet, so stand by.


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New Poll: Will You Go to See United 93

Opinions seems to be all over the board on this question, so now it's time to find out what you think.

Take the poll at left.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

100 Top Hotel Restaurants

USA Today brings us this fabulous list of the Top 100 Hotel Restaurants
Let me assure you, these are not any of my layover hotels!
I'd love to hear from anyone who has sampled any of these.
Via:  Flyaway Cafe

Monday, April 24, 2006

Mumps Outbreak From Sick Travelers

The other day when I was flying, a passenger was denied boarding because they were ill. 
I don't know all the specifics of the passenger's symptoms, as it happened on the ground, all I know is that there were lots of people grumbling that an airline shouldn't be able to decide someone is too sick to travel.  After all, the passenger just wanted to get home.
Flying a bunch of people around in a long metal tube involves some issues of public health. 
And if you don't think so, consider that passengers infected with the mumps caused the disease to spread to epidemic proportions in seven miswestern states.  People were exposed in the airport as well as on the plane.
To date, over 600 suspected cases of mumps have been reported in Iowa , Nebraska, Kansas, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. 
The incubation period for months is two to three weeks, so it's entirely possible we will see more cases of the disease appearing in the next week.
Remember -- if you're sick, do yourself and everyone, else a favor -- don't fly!
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You're Hexed!

In keeping with the continuing theme of bad passenger behavior, The Rocky Mountain News reports that a passenger recently put a hex on a Delta flight between Las Vegas and New York.

The 50 year old woman was allegedly observed drinking from a personal bottle of wine while the aircraft was taxiing for take off in Las Vegas.  The Flight Attendant took away the bottle, and the woman's behavior proceeded to escalate in inappropriatenes.  It's reported that she sang, chanted, and proceeded to put a hex on all of the passengers at the plane saying that the plane was going to crash, and everyone was going to die,

When Flight Attendants tried to approach her to calm down, she slapped one of them, and continued with her erratic behavior.

The flight made an unschedule landing in Denver, where the passenger was removed and arrested.  She was charged with interfering with a crew member, a federal offense.  No information is available as to whether she hexed the arresting officers.

This stuff really happens, people.  We couldn't make this up.

Via The Travel Bloggers

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Supermodel vs. Flight Attendant

Say it isn't so!
A Supermodel assaulting a Flight Attendant?  Sounds like something out of a very bad "B" movie, but that is among the charges levied against former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, May Anderson.
Ms May was on a Martinair flight from Amsterdam to Miami this past week, and it is alleged that she was disruptive throughout the flight, eventually assaulting a Flight Attendant.  It is reported that her unruly behavior did not stop when she was met by police in Miami.
She was arrested for battery, resisting arrest, and disorderly intoxication. 
Anyone surprised about that last one?
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Earth Day

In honor of Earth Day ---

You Are a Yellow Flower

A yellow flower tends to represent joy, friendship, and playfulness.

At times, you are childlike, as a buttercup is.

And at other times, you are fickle, like a dahlia.

And more than you wish, you tend to feel bittersweet, like a marigold.

Friday, April 21, 2006

NWA Airlines Re-Thought the $15 Premium Seat Fee

Here's a shocker!
Northwest Airlines has reconsidered its policy to charge an additional $15 to reserve an exit row or aisle seat.
Turns out that this policy angered NWA frequent flyers who were incensed over this most recent attempt to nickel and dime the most loyal customers. 
The "modified" policy now allow elite members to reserve a premium seat, at no extra charge, 24 hours prior to scheduled departure.  That's the same time they go on sale to everyone else, so it doesn't really sound like much of advantage to me.
Elite members can reserve a seat in the first few rows of the coach cabin up to 90 days prior to scheduled departure.  Evidently these are seen as "desirable" seats, but not "premium" ones.
Whew -- glad we got that straight!.
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Thursday, April 20, 2006

More on Ice Cream

Lately, I've been a big cookie dough ice cream fan. 
But here -- brought to you by Ben & Jerry's is an opportunity to design your very own flavor of ice cream.
You can even enter your flavor in a contest there.
My creation:  Blackberry Honey Nut.  Vanilla and Sweet Cream ice cream, with Cashews and Fudge Chunks and Blackberry and Honey Swirls.
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We All Scream for Ice Cream

In a delayed celebration of Earth Day, and as a 28 year anniversary gift to its customers, Ben & Jerry's will be giving away free ice cream cones.
Not all loations will be participating, so check it out here.
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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Taps is playing for Hooters Air

Taps is playing for Hooters Air.

Yes, the tacky airlines is done, flying its last regularly scheduled commercial flight on Monday.

There go all the opportunity for cheap Hooter jokes.


Via USA Today in the Sky

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Sick & Tired

Sometimes I feel like I am just sick and tired of my job. Turns out there may be some basis in fact, not just in my mind, for feeling this way.

According to an article in the Sidney Morning Herald, Flight Attendants are just one of several occupations cited for being at risk of seriously harming their health by a forced on-the-job friendliness and politeness.

Frankfurt (Germany) University researchers say that Flight Attendants, along with sales personnel, call center operators, wait staff, and others who have contact with the public for extended period of times, are at risk of seriously harming their health. Potential problems stemming from this faux friendliness is depression, stress, lowering of the immune system, and susceptibility to more serious ailments.

Professor Zapf of the university says:

"We are all able to rein in our emotions," he said. "It becomes difficult when you have to do this over a protracted period as cabin attendants are forced to on long-haul flights. "These people need space away from the passengers where they can be on their own and let their feelings run free. We have to get away from the 'customer is king' attitude and show more respect to those working in the service industries,"

I wonder when we’ll see this study cited as a defense in Flight Attendant discipline cases.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Candy

Cadbury Creme Egg

You're the type that stole little brother's easter basket so that you could have MORE CANDY!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Window or Aisle?

Q:  I know that middle seat is the worst, but which is the best – window or aisle?

This is one of those questions that everyone answers differently.  It’s all about personal preference.

I prefer an aisle.  It’s hard for me to sit still for any length of time, and an aisle seat allows me to easily get up without disturbing anyone.  Some people choose a window seat specifically to avoid people like me who have the need to get up frequently.  

If you are seated by the window, you will not be disturbed by anyone getting up during the flight.  This means that you can sleep without interruption, or work without the constant demand to pick up your laptop to let someone out into the aisle.  Of course, if you get up, you will need to disturb those next to you to do so.

Another reason you may want to choose a window seat is if you’d like to sleep.  It’s much easier to lean against the side of the plane to catch a few minutes of shut-eye than it is to sleep upright, or run the risk of leaning against the person seated next to you.

If you are traveling with a child in a car seat, the car seat is going to need to be in a window seat.  Plan accordingly.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Wake Up Call

One of the worst things that can happen on a layover is a problem with your wake-up call.

It happens to everyone, at one time or another, but a really early wake-up makes me put into place a system of backups without rival:

  • Step 1:  I leave a wakeup request with the hotel.

  • Step 2:  I set the alarm on the alarm clock in the room, or on the television if it has an alarm system.

  • Step 3:  I set the alarm on my personal travel clock.

  • Step 4:  I set a wakeup alarm on my cell phone, with the ring tone volume turned to high.

And if, after all of that, I still oversleep, my appearance standards at work that day will just not be up to the usual.  Oh well!

ALPA & Delta Reach Tentative Agreement

Watching the news this morning and caught a breaking bulletin that the pilots union (ALPA) and Delta Airlines have reached a tentative agreement.

The agreement is subject to the ratification process, and details are not being released at this time.

Once the ratification process is underway, details will be released to union members, and I would expect some details to lead their way into the media.

For now, a strike has been averted.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Airline Humor

The Old Man is Snoring

I had a difficult request from a passenger the other day.

It was an early morning flight, and the man seated behind her had fallen back to sleep.  How did she know he was asleep?  Because his snores could be heard throughout the entire cabin!

She asked me if I could make him stop.  

I tired a few of the old stand by tricks:  walking by and gently bumping into him, asking if anyone in his row wanted anything, suggesting that she recline her seat back, and I even tried leaning across him.  Nothing worked.  So I put my hand on him arm, and spoke directly to him, “ Sir?  Sir?”  Still nothing.

The passenger grew more and more agitated.  She wanted him to stop.  Hell, the whole cabin did.  But nothing seemed to work, and she just huffed at me, turned away, and yelled at me for not doing my job.

I would never shake someone who was asleep for fear that they could wake up startled, and potentially aggressive.  I’m guessing that on a few occasions someone has rolled over in bed and kicked him to get him to stop.

But short of that, what more could I do?  

Monday, April 10, 2006

Getting the Point -- 600,000 of Them

You gotta love it when there are ways to get some "points" for your frequent flyer/guest program without flying/spending the night.

Well, Starwood Preferred Guest program is tempting you to fill out a brief survey with the possibility of winning 600,000 points. 

That's one helluva lot of points.  You might fill it out.  I did.

Via The Lobby

Isl Jet Blue Singing the Blues?

One of the best things about the airline industry is that everyone has an opinion.  From airline management and employees, to industry analysts, to venture capitalists and other money people, to passengers and even to strangers.  Everyone has an opinion about what needs to be done to fix the current state of the industry.
For the last couple of years, Jet Blue has been touted as the "model" for how an airline should be run.  Before that, it was Southwest Airlines.  And for those who've been around the industry for awhile, you can probably remember when the airline darling was People's Express.
The problem with being at the top of the heap, is that everyone is gunning for you.  It reminds me of the old rental car campaign that Avis had where it talked about being in direct competition with Hertz (who bills itself as Number #1):  "We're number two, so we try harder."
No doubt about it -- 2005 was a pretty good year for Jet Blue.  Good numbers (except for being last in on-time ratings), happy employees, good customer service, low prices, and great press.  All that, and making money, too.  Things that the rest of the airlines didn't quite seem able to master.
Now, however, it appears that investment analysts are predicting that Jet Blue will just be one of the rest of 'em for 2006.  Citing an aggressive expansion plan that worked well in the early years, but now is running into the same issues as all the other carriers -- high fuel prices and fierce competition -- coupled with some poor choices about choosing new markets (17 of 20 new markets have been unprofitable).
How the company weathers the turbulent times remains to be seen, but even Jet Blue executives acknowledge that 2006 will likely be an unprofitable year for them.  The company posted the first quarterly loss in last year's 4th quarter, fuel costs and increased maintenance costs were two reasons cited for the loss, and this year is not off to a banner start either.
All this gloom and doom talk may not seem significant to Jet Blue customers, although ticket prices have risen, but it has had greater impact on Wall Street and investors. 
I'm sure the company will make some course corrections, and, in fact, some have already been made.  It will be fun to look back a year from now and see if Jet Blue is the same company as we know it today.
And, because everyone has a prediction, here's mine:  Jet Blue will be around a year from now, and they will have expanded their route structure -- although not without some missteps along the way.  They will not be showing a profit in 2006, ticket prices will rise, employee satisfaction will drop, and they will be cursing the same fates as the rest of the industry.  Whether the company is around two years from now will depend on how they step up to the plate to meet these challenges. 


Sunday, April 09, 2006

All Work and No Play

It's the end of a weekend, and one thing has become obvious to meet -- I spent most of it working.

Since all work. and no play, makes YuHu a dull girl, I have plans to have less work and more play this coming week.

This evening I've playing with the Personal Tartan Generator. I've spent quite a few hours trying out different colors, thread counts and pattern combinations. Here's my latest masterpiece, and one that I've made into my computer wallpaper:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Airline Ratings

The new airline ratings are out.  Previous year rating is in parenthesis.

1. JetBlue (1)
2. AirTran (2)
3. Independence Air
4. Southwest (3)
5. United (4)
6. America West (6)
7. Northwest (7)
8. Continental (9)
9. Alaska Air (5)
10. American (8)
11. ATA (10)
12. Delta (11)
13. SkyWest (14)
14. American Eagle (13)
15. US Airways (12)
16. Comair (15)
17. Atlantic Southeast (16)


Via:  Flyaway Cafe

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Travel Lighter With Disposal Underwear

I consider myself relatively expert at packing. 
Even experts stay on the lookout for ways to improve, however, so when I read about disposal underwear on Her Accessories, it was worth a second look.
Once I got past the eeeeeeeew factor, I realized how Tagalongs might make sense for the traveler.  It's a way to guarantee that you will be taking home less than you started out with, making room for those purchases along the way.
Tagalongs come in two styles, bikini and thong, and have an assortment of colors.  They come in 2-packs and 5-packs, with each panty individually wrapped, and are priced moderately enough to make it a realistic option.  The only retail location that I could find was at Wal-Mart in Canada, so if anyone else has seen them elsewhere, give a shout out.
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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Link Update

I've done some updating on my favorite links in the sidebar. Please take a look and see if there's something that catching your eye, and visit some of my blogging friends.

I Belong in Amsterdam

But I'm not. I'm at home.

Where do you belong?

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern - you're the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam.
Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).