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Old 09-03-2014, 08:57 PM   #21
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I have flown quite a bit for both business and leisure. In my experience, flying is what you make of it. A little good humor and flexibility can go a long way to making your trip pleasant for both you and the people around you. Among other things, I would advise the following:

1. Don't cut your connections too close. Flights are often delayed and the stress over whether you'll get to the intermediate airport in time to make your connection can ruin your entire day. Also, get to the initial departure airport in plenty of time, and give yourself plenty of time at the final arrival terminal to get your luggage and be on your way.

2. Don't cut your money too close. If having to stay over somewhere or eating an extra restaurant meal because your flight is delayed or canceled will cause you financial hardship, you probably should have waited until you saved more before traveling. The stuff at the airport is always going to cost a fortune. That's just the way it is. Being mad won't make it any cheaper.

3. Accept that it is a complicated system, often affected by weather and mechanical malfunction. There is nothing you can say or do to make it work any differently. So relax and go with the flow. If the gate changes, go to the new one without complaining. If the flight is delayed, it gives you more time to read your book.

4. Realize that other travelers are also anxious and upset about these things. Be courteous to them. It doesn't cost anything and it will make you both happier. Also, be nice to the airline personnel. They want everything to go smoothly and the ones you deal with generally have no power to change the things that are bothering you. Smile at your flight attendant and comply with his or her instructions. Don't obsess about other people who don't. It's not your problem.

5. Pay the money and check your luggage. It is so much more pleasant to walk around the airport without lugging a suitcase, and you wont have to obsess about who gets the overhead space - something that causes the inevitable cattle herd to form in the boarding area and leads to much bad behavior aboard the plane.

6. Always have a good book to read.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:59 PM   #22
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I hate flying with a passion, all the more so when it is at the behest/whim of an employer. Between the nonsensical (in)security routine and the way the airlines act these days, I would never fly again if I could get away with it. If I can avoid flying til mid-November for this new contract gig I picked up I will at least have managed a full year without the pain and indignity of airline travel.
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Why Fly?
Old 09-03-2014, 09:25 PM   #23
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Why Fly?

While your principles are good in general (and I'd add springing for lounge access on long layovers and flying Business in long hauls), it's hard to stay mellow when your vacation time is being spent in an airport or on the tarmac instead of your destination, or you're going to get in at 2 AM or your elderly parents miss a family wedding after their flight is cancelled .

DH and I fly only when we have to, for destinations such as Europe or Alaska. Now that I'm retired, we're no longer constrained by vacation days, we'll drive even more and fly less.
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:56 PM   #24
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I fly only for pleasure, and have done a few of the insanely long routes (To NZ and Mongolia) and many shorter ones. It is, as Gumby suggests, all in your intent and frame of mind. This is why I think travel gets harder as we get older--and less flexible and able to roll with the punches.

I can't say I love flying, but those big buses are sometimes the only way to get where I want to go!

And on one memorable leg, from South Korea to Texas on American, I got to fly first class (on points, Fuego!) and oh what a wonderful time that was! And I got to keep the pajamas, too!
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Old 09-03-2014, 09:58 PM   #25
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My last trip we had turbulence so I had a glass of wine between flights . The cost was $19 . I just laughed .
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Old 09-03-2014, 10:23 PM   #26
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I still fly for w*rk, and I will fly after I ER. Sure, it's a flying bus and I'm jammed into a not-very-big space, but it helps to keep it all in perspective: doing this lets me cross the country in 5 hours, and at less cost and greater safety than driving. I don't expect to be entertained or even fed a good meal, I just want safe, rapid, cheap transportation, and the airlines generally provide that.
For those who want to be pampered, there's first class. It's not a whole lot mroe expense (adjusted for inflation) than what coach used to cost before deregulation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
1. Don't cut your connections too close. Flights are often delayed and the stress over whether you'll get to the intermediate airport in time to make your connection can ruin your entire day..
The online booking services will sell customers a ticket with a 30 minute connect time in Atlanta. Anyone who has connected through ATL knows this is seldom going to work, and if by some miracle you make it, your bag probably won't. My personal minimum is 90 minutes connection in ATL, DFW, or Chicago, one hour everywhere else. But a little longer is better.

Good tips, Gumby. I'd add: Checked bags don't always make it to the destination on time, but in domestic travel they will almost certainly get there the next day. It's good to bring medications, toiletries, a change of underwear, etc in your carryon bag in case the checked bag is delayed.
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:35 PM   #27
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Flying is a necessary evil for me; I do not get any enjoyment out of it.
I work overseas and it is the only reasonable means to go on vacation and such.
I pay to fly business class as I am quite large and do not comfortably fit in coach (6’4” and 265lbs.). I do not care about the “bells and whistles”, just the larger seat space.
My wife on the other hand loves the travel part and could sit anywhere, can swing her feet like a lil’ girl in the business class seats and loves the champagne and cookies etc. (5’ 110lbs).
I would teleport if that was an option!
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Old 09-03-2014, 11:46 PM   #28
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I do not like to fly and avoid it when possible. Almost all of our US vacations have been driving vacations. We even drove from Texas to Quebec for vacation several years ago.

But to go to Europe and Asia we've flown. I think it would be fun though to go by cruise to Europe and might do that sometime.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:04 AM   #29
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+ Gumby on all points. +1 Samclem on carrying on toiletries and some essentials. I like international travel and the occasional west coast or Hawaii trip. Absent planes I wouldn't go. Simple as that. I flew quite a bit at work but while F2F is nice I could have done almost everything by phone/teleconference. Some training sessions would have been less effective but with a little effort could be done.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:33 AM   #30
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Got burnt out on flying during the first 15 years of my career, so do not enjoy it at all, but sometimes it is the only way to get to a destination in a timely manner.
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:06 AM   #31
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Quote:
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5. Pay the money and check your luggage. It is so much more pleasant to walk around the airport without lugging a suitcase, and you wont have to obsess about who gets the overhead space - something that causes the inevitable cattle herd to form in the boarding area and leads to much bad behavior aboard the plane.
This is only part where I disagree, the rest is spot on.
But we pack very light, comparing to most.
While it's pleasant to walk without a suitcase, if you just have a small backpack it's typically not a big deal to walk around nor get the overhead space.
And when I needed to check luggage in the past, I had it delayed countless times and lost twice, so I avoid checking my luggage whenever I can.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:28 AM   #32
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I have not been on a commercial aircraft from well before TSA existed. Have no intention of ever geting on commercial flights, barring some extreme need.

Spent many years flying back and forth to Alaska on commercial flights, and inside on small planes.

There was once once an air cargo company called Flying Tigers, the founder was fond of saying, cargo does not complain about accomodations or schedule.
Don't recall who bought them.

As for happy pilots, would they be the cargo carriers' flight jockeys? Fed ex, DHL, UPS. I have not heard from any in the media. Maybe keeping a good thing quiet? Then there is CONAIR, I seem to recall they ferry convicts around the country. Maybe the safest airline in the US.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:55 AM   #33
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There was once once an air cargo company called Flying Tigers, the founder was fond of saying, cargo does not complain about accomodations or schedule.
Don't recall who bought them.
The Flying Tigers pilots were a good bunch. Wikipedia says they were bought out by FedEx in 1988, but I thought there was some sort of intermediate step when they were bought by Tower Air or World
Airways. Anyway, Flying Tigers was the world's first cargo airline, and had a colorful history tangled up in Cold War intrigue. I deployed to the Gulf War up in the crew compartment of an ex-Flying Tigers plane with an ex-Flying Tigers crew. Their ties and shoes came off as soon as the plane reached altitude. They treated us great. "What are those--box lunches from the Army? Throw that sh*t in the can. We've got plenty of catered food in the back, help yourself". They had lots of stories.

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As for happy pilots, would they be the cargo carriers' flight jockeys? Fed ex, DHL, UPS. I have not heard from any in the media. Maybe keeping a good thing quiet?
The schedules are predicable, but the weather is not, and "corporate" wants those boxes moved on time. Virtually all their flying is at night which is tough on families, mood, and health.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:04 AM   #34
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In Cold Bay, Aleutians of Alaska I often got weathered in, the hangout for the duration was The Weathered Inn, owned and operated by Tigers. The accomodations were sparse but super clean, food was great, booze relatively cheap for Alaska, "weather" as guest of the Reeve Alutian Airline, when stranded which parked us for the duration, or passing through.

Cold bay had a 15000 foot runway, good for many things. In a supercub on slow days would land across the runway, to minimize taxi time.

I knew many of their crew very well. Yeas their history is colorful to say the least.

Return to normal airline bashing.....
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:06 AM   #35
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When DH and I were dating, I lived in LA and he lived in SF (med school/college). It was the early 80s. We sprung together for a coupon book of flights on a now defunct airline, Pacific Express. We bought 10 one way flights for $290. Needless to say those hopper flights helped our relationship immensely, as did discount long distance calling...
It was easier visit each other on the weekends than to drive from West LA to Newport Beach, LOL.

I don't mind flying at all. It's the takeoff and landing that is nerve-wracking. I try to sleep through both when I can.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:28 AM   #36
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Life would go on, but the world would be less accessible, particularly to those of us still working! When I retire, my appetite for long road trips may increase. That said, living in one corner of the country but with family in two other corners, I'd rather fly than drive. That's certain!

I don't mind flying. Bose QC noise canceling headphones make a world of difference with respect to the kiddos. And who knows? If we can save enough and retire with plenty, First Class may not be out of the question!
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:30 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I have flown quite a bit for both business and leisure. In my experience, flying is what you make of it. A little good humor and flexibility can go a long way to making your trip pleasant for both you and the people around you. Among other things, I would advise the following:

1. Don't cut your connections too close. Flights are often delayed and the stress over whether you'll get to the intermediate airport in time to make your connection can ruin your entire day. Also, get to the initial departure airport in plenty of time, and give yourself plenty of time at the final arrival terminal to get your luggage and be on your way.

2. Don't cut your money too close. If having to stay over somewhere or eating an extra restaurant meal because your flight is delayed or canceled will cause you financial hardship, you probably should have waited until you saved more before traveling. The stuff at the airport is always going to cost a fortune. That's just the way it is. Being mad won't make it any cheaper.

3. Accept that it is a complicated system, often affected by weather and mechanical malfunction. There is nothing you can say or do to make it work any differently. So relax and go with the flow. If the gate changes, go to the new one without complaining. If the flight is delayed, it gives you more time to read your book.

4. Realize that other travelers are also anxious and upset about these things. Be courteous to them. It doesn't cost anything and it will make you both happier. Also, be nice to the airline personnel. They want everything to go smoothly and the ones you deal with generally have no power to change the things that are bothering you. Smile at your flight attendant and comply with his or her instructions. Don't obsess about other people who don't. It's not your problem.

5. Pay the money and check your luggage. It is so much more pleasant to walk around the airport without lugging a suitcase, and you wont have to obsess about who gets the overhead space - something that causes the inevitable cattle herd to form in the boarding area and leads to much bad behavior aboard the plane.

6. Always have a good book to read.
Good list. I agree with #5 if you're traveling for more than a couple of days. I'd always rather be comfortable and spend a few extra minutes waiting at the end of the flights than have to stress about overhead bin space, etc.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:38 AM   #38
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Can't say I "hate" flying, but it is a major PITA...

But I'll be going to the old hometown in a few weeks for a family reunion. It would be a money saver to drive, thus avoiding the airline ticket, airport parking, and rental car, but adding the cost of fuel (in a Prius, though), extra nights for lodging, and spending thirty hours driving...

In the end, I chose to fly. When driving, I always think, about the time I hit Texarkana, that I'd be landing at SDF or IND right about then; instead, I still have at least ten more hours of driving...

Once I'm FIREd, though, and not on a time schedule, I will be driving more and flying less.
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Old 09-04-2014, 11:48 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I have flown quite a bit for both business and leisure. In my experience, flying is what you make of it. A little good humor and flexibility can go a long way to making your trip pleasant for both you and the people around you. Among other things, I would advise the following:

1. Don't cut your connections too close. Flights are often delayed and the stress over whether you'll get to the intermediate airport in time to make your connection can ruin your entire day. Also, get to the initial departure airport in plenty of time, and give yourself plenty of time at the final arrival terminal to get your luggage and be on your way.

2. Don't cut your money too close. If having to stay over somewhere or eating an extra restaurant meal because your flight is delayed or canceled will cause you financial hardship, you probably should have waited until you saved more before traveling. The stuff at the airport is always going to cost a fortune. That's just the way it is. Being mad won't make it any cheaper.

3. Accept that it is a complicated system, often affected by weather and mechanical malfunction. There is nothing you can say or do to make it work any differently. So relax and go with the flow. If the gate changes, go to the new one without complaining. If the flight is delayed, it gives you more time to read your book.

4. Realize that other travelers are also anxious and upset about these things. Be courteous to them. It doesn't cost anything and it will make you both happier. Also, be nice to the airline personnel. They want everything to go smoothly and the ones you deal with generally have no power to change the things that are bothering you. Smile at your flight attendant and comply with his or her instructions. Don't obsess about other people who don't. It's not your problem.

5. Pay the money and check your luggage. It is so much more pleasant to walk around the airport without lugging a suitcase, and you wont have to obsess about who gets the overhead space - something that causes the inevitable cattle herd to form in the boarding area and leads to much bad behavior aboard the plane.

6. Always have a good book to read.
An excellent list. If I might be so bold as to add a point to your #6, it would be "always have a good book to read and a snack to tide you over". More often than not they will be worth their weight in gold.

Airports generate incredible stress for travelers and employees alike. Each time I have been exposed to serious or major travel disruption, being friendly, polite and positive with the airline employees has resulted in a favorable outcome for me.

I still remember back in the day when I commuted, weekly by air, to my remote territory. Only once in a year and a half did I miss the Monday 6am flight, by less than 5 minutes, and I yelled and pouted at the counter, to no avail.

The flight was hijacked to Cuba...
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Old 09-04-2014, 12:13 PM   #40
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The flight was hijacked to Cuba...
Now that would have been a story!
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