The case of the spraying water bottle

Ok this will be a short blog post but it was too funny not to recount. This past Monday, me and the family were returning home from New York to go back to Florida free celebrating my 9th wedding anniversary with my wife and daughter and attending our friends EPIC wedding in which my daughter was a flower girl. My daughter loves her juice so we bought some at the airport (I know, cardinal sin for a frequent traveler, never pay airport prices for anything but she was thirsty). We dumped the juice in her drink bottle from Camelback that has a straw so that it doesn’t spill easily. We boarded the plane and were seated and off we were. My daughter wanted some juice so my wife brought out her water bottle and opened the straw piece. Unbeknown to me and the wife, the bottle became pressurized and when my wife opened the straw it shot out a decent amount of juice into the cabin. I wasn’t able to take a pic of the after math but needless to say there was a lot of juice that was on the ceiling of the plane. I personally got a decent amount of spray and had some in my hair. Kind of embarrassing but it was also pretty funny to see the red juice on the ceiling of the plane. The flight attendants were very nice about it and helped us clean it up.

So for you parents, do not use your own drink bottles on planes filled with juice, embarrassment will ensue and a mess will be made although it will be funny.

What I gave up when DL 836 was canceled

This is just to let my little friends at Delta know what it is I gave up when their plane broke down and rebooked me to try and get me home on the same day as my original flight schedule. I’ll probably make this blog post a retweet and send it to their customer service twitter account and hash tag it with #DeltaFAIL or something.

1) A one stop flight (I now have 2 stops and on my first stop I’ll have to run with my wife and baby to the next gate)
2) Lie flat seats so my family can sleep during this 10 hour journey from the islands of Aloha
3) Dinner and breakfast (and I mean real food not this sandwich bullshit you pull on your regular domestic flights)
4) Personal entertainment system
5) Leg room (I mean a LOT of legroom too where I can put my feet up using the lie flat seat)
6) A real pillow
7) A real blanket (not these strips of cloth you say are blankets on your smaller aircraft)
8) Better snacks (not just the weak offering of peanuts, pretzels, or cookies)
9) A quieter/newer aircraft
10) 9 hours of my Saturday that I’ll never get back that I could have used to prepare for the coming work week (those 9 hours would have let me get some rest, do some laundry, do a little last minute relaxing, give my daughter some time to readjust to being at home, sort my mail, go for a motorcycle ride, vacuum my house, buy groceries, eat at least 2 meals, catch up on shows on my TiVo, download all my vacation pictures, the list is almost endless)

After giving up these 10 things, all you can offer me and my wife is $200 Delta Dollars after I paid over $2000 for my round trip flight from FLL to HNL (and this is after getting a supervisor to talk with me for a good 10 minutes after speaking to 2 gate agents and a customer service rep who originally offered me only $100 Delta Dollars). $200 Delta Dollars is about half a flight or 4 checked bags. You let me know if I have no right to be angry. Go ahead I dare you!

Update: I got two more $150 vouchers from Delta Airlines so I guess this gets me pretty close to almost half of what I paid for my ticket. I’m still a bit pissed though but I will eventually have to fly Delta to use my vouchers which expire in a year.

Our Terrible Experience with Delta Airlines

I’m in my way back from HNL trying to get home and as luck would have it, the plane that I was supposed to fly out on is broken. The kicker to that is that this A330 is broken in such a way that a part needs to be flown in from LAX. As fortune smiles on me even more, the inbound plane from LAX is delayed so everyone and their mother is rebooked on anything flying out. In my opinion, if you are flying a route with a particular plane, at least have repair parts at both ends to fix the damn plane! Now I paid over 2K to get lie flat seats, a meal, and entertainment system on my flight to and from HNL. After talking to Delta, all they can offer me is $200 Delta dollars and a $10 voucher for food. Now that in my humble opinion is totall bullshit and does not make up for the inconvenience of having to wait in the airport for another flight, having to connect through two cities instead of one, and having to give up all the creature comforts I PAID for. The $200 Delta Dollars is frankly an insult, I should get 2 round trip tickets anywhere on the fucking planet I want to go in First Class. I’d love to see a customer service rep deal with a sleep deprived baby waiting all this extra time and trying to sprint from one gate to another in 2 unfamiliar airports.

The gate agents were offering $400 and a night at a hotel to give up their seats for another flight the next day. I know that Delta should be able offer a first class paying customer more than $200 Delta Dollars for all my inconvenience. If that’s all they can do, then they have just lost a customer until United decides to fuck me over somehow. Congratulations Delta, I can now say you are the second worst airline next to US Airways in my opinion.

I’ll be sure to to light up Delta Airlines plenty on twitter in the next few days and maybe even on the Flyer Talk forums just for good measure. You can bet I’ll be flying United the next time I choose to go anywhere for vacation or even American over Delta after I milk them for all the travel vouchers I know are coming to me.

Almost Time for Hawaii

Only four more days to go until my first family vacation with the Mrs and the baby. I’m looking forward to getting a week off from work to relax and unwind. True to form I’m not going to take my work phone with me so if there is some sort of work emergency, it will have to work itself out without me. I’ve laid out all the clothes that I’m going to take with me but since I’m traveling for work I can’t pack all of it away in my suitcase until I get home on Wednesday. The great part about going to Hawaii is that my father is there so I can do my laundry so I don’t have to pack as much stuff as I would normally pack with me.

We got some neat new toys for E to play with on the plane. We’ve been hiding them from her for the most part so that she is distracted with her new toys while on the 10 hour plane ride to Hawaii. Yesterday we picked up some simple toys like painters tape and some sticky notes since she seemed to enjoy playing with those things and they will keep her hands busy. We’re flying Delta for this trip which is nice since we were able to use a lot of points for the tickets. We are doing the infant in arms thing until E turns 2 and as an added bonus we decided to fly First class so we have the extra room to play with her. I’m hoping she won’t be too fussy on the plane but she’s a little baby so a little fussiness is to be expected on a really long trip like this one.

An added bonus for this trip is that it happens to be my 7th wedding anniversary and the wife’s first mothers day. This will probably be one of the more special trips that we’ve taken to Hawaii even though we go to Hawaii often enough over the last few years. I think my father will also enjoy the fact that he will be able to spend quite a bit of time with his grand daughter since she was baptized in October. In years past I would bring a whole truck load of tech and cameras with me but I’m trying as much as possible to keep it low key by only dragging along my iPads, iPhones, and my water proof camera so I can take pictures of E in the pool.

The real challenge will be trying to keep E on her schedule since we are going to be six hours behind Eastern time. We might have to make some adjustments and hopefully she won’t be too cranky during the day and will be able to sleep through the afternoons or evenings. I made sure that we can stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village during this trip since there is so much there right at the resort so we don’t have to leave the property if we don’t want to. The Hilton is supposed to have a ton of pools that we can take advantage of and it will be good for us to make E practice her swimming that she has been learning over the last week. It also has its own lagoon and beach area so that will be very useful as well if we don’t want to venture too far. I have a feeling we’ll be going out quite a bit just to eat since thats just what we do when we’re on vacation. I personally am looking forward to the penguin habitat at Hilton Hawaiian Village and walking around Waikiki every day to just take in the time I have off while in paradise.

All I have to do is survive the next 4 days at work and then I’ll be checking out for a week! I’ll be missing a large meeting for work but I can deal with that, I think I’ll be having more fun in Hawaii than my co-workers will be having in Chicago.

Heading back to the Garden State

20120406-140041.jpg

Late last year I predicted that I wouldn’t be traveling to New Jersey for the rest of 2011and on that prediction I was pretty spot on. Oh how the travel and consulting gods love to tease me, it would appear that I will be spending a significant amount of time in New Jersey starting next week. Doing work for my client is fine but I really don’t like the location. I’ve spent a great deal of effort trying to avoid Jersey due to the numerous flight delays I’ve experienced in the past, the crazy traffic that always seems to meet my taxi when I need to get to the airport, or the general unpleasantness of the air quality because there seems to be a cloud of pestilence in the air near the airport at all times.

My travel schedule for the next month is going to be quite crazy due to the availability and cost of flights into Newark. In this month alone I have to fly United, American, and Delta. In addition to flying to Newark, for one week I have to fly out of LGA because there were no flights available into Newark. Due to my lack of travel last year, I’ve lost all status on all the airlines so you can bet that I’m going to be traveling in crappy seats and will most likely have to gate check something which will add even more travel time than I want. I have managed to find a Hilton property fairly close to my coworkers who all like to stay at Starwood and I registered for a challenge with Hilton so I can at least get back my Gold status with them in only 4 stays or 9 nights. Until I make Gold, no free Internet or breakfast for me.

I’m hoping it’s not all bad. I am fairly close to the path train that leads into Manhattan so I figure every once in a while I should be able to make it into the city for a meal or something. There are a few places that I want to go back to where I’ve eaten before just to try some new dish. I’ll also cruise food network to see if there is any place that I really need to try out. Maybe I can bring some food home for the family on the weekend. After all, my hotel room has a fridge and a microwave and it’s only a 3 hour ride back to lovely South Florida.

I don’t know how long I’ll be in Jersey, right now it’s slated for about 3 months which isn’t bad but it could go as far as 12. I’ll have to be careful not to pick up a weird accent, a spray on tan, or some gelled up hair during my time there. I know my wife’s friend is going to enjoy making fun of me because of all those times I teased her about constantly working in Jersey and she’s a proud New Yorker. I should probably try and invest in a rebreather mask to filter out the airborne pestilence that will consume me the moment I step foot off my plane in Newark……

Sunset at 34,000 Feet

This was the last picture that I took leaving Minneapolis from seat on my Delta flight.  Every once in a while, I try and sneak out my iPhone when I’m not supposed to in order to snap pictures that I think will look really cool.  I don’t have anything fancy for picture taking, mostly I use my iPhone or my Olympus Stylus 790SW.  For no flash situations, my iPhone is actually better than using my digital camera although all that is going to change with the new iPhone which actually has a flash on it.

I have some other awesome pictures of sunrise from my hotel room in Minneapolis during the winter.  Minneapolis in the winter is really really cold but it does offer some excellent sunrises.  I would have gotten some pictures of sunsets during winter but it was always too dark out when I left work to capture anything good.  Here is one that I captured that has some pretty sweet colors in it.

I finally have Platinum status with Delta!

After three years of continuous travel, I finally have achieved Platinum status with Delta Airlines.  For a lot of people that travel for business, achieving Platinum isn’t such a big deal if you remain loyal to one carrier.  Over the three years that I have been traveling for work, I’ve had to deal with bouts of not traveling, traveling to areas where Delta was way too expensive, or where my trips were far too short (600 miles each way) for me to achieve Platinum status.  Delta has made changes to its SkyMiles program recently so that segments also count towards elite status, I wish they had this back in 2008/2009 when I was going to Atlanta, I would have made Platinum easily.

One of the perks of being Platinum is that I can give someone Silver status with Delta.  Since my wife is going to start traveling for work as well, I thought it would be nice to give her Silver status so she can pick premium seats and board early on the plane so she doesn’t risk not being able to find room for her bag in the overhead bins.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if my next project will allow me to use Delta.  Just as I achieve my goal of getting Platinum on Delta, now I might not even be able to take advantage of my status and will have to switch to using my United Mileage Plus account.  The one saving grace is that I was able to get a status match on United for my current Delta status but thats little consolation since I have next to no miles in that account and I know I won’t make 1K status which is the equivalent of Platinum with Delta.  Oh well, I guess we’ll see how things go.  Maybe Delta will miraculously give me a direct flight into DC in the month of June.