Tag Archives: air travel

Hands down

When you think ‘New York City,’ you think expensive.  But there is one thing you can buy in my adopted hometown cheaper than anywhere else I’ve traveled…

…and that’s a manicure.

It’s true.  The nail salons in Manhattan, with their mani/pedi specials, have ruined me for any other city.  Not that I get them that often.  But when I get a hankering to treat myself special, the salons in my ‘hood deliver the goods at a very reasonable price.

Just yesterday I had a layover in the San Francisco airport before my red-eye to JFK.  It was the perfect time to try XpresSpa, a chain of quick manicure/pedicure/massage salons that have popped up at airports all over the country.

I wheelied myself over to the storefront in my terminal and was gratified to see a $10 off special for the mani/pedi combo – perfect!  But then I got a look at the price — $90 for the set!

Say wha??

At my Upper West Side salon, you can get the combo for $25.  Even with the XpresSpa coupon, we’re still talking $80 before tip.  Yowza.

My fingers and toes can wait to be pampered until I get home to NYC.

Where things are CHEAP.

Road weary

I fly a lot.  Depending on my work schedule, I am sometimes in a different city each day.

With air travel what it is today, you’d wonder if it would be a the drudgery.  And I’ll admit — there are weeks when I question my choice of employment.

But stick me in a car for more than two hours and — Jesus Christ Mercy — I am craving the site of an airport terminal gate!

How can writers in good conscious romanticize the endless monotony of the open road? The ‘bump bump bump’ of the tires crossing the pavement? The summer construction that chokes traffic? The sudden storms? The sun’s piercing glare? The boredom that eventually defeats even the best conversationalist?

I just don’t get it.

Orbitz.com, you’ll be hearing from me very soon.

This blog entry was written on a four-hour road trip between Boston and New York City at the end of a very long day.

Rainy days

It’s raining, so I must be flying somewhere.

That a bit whiny, I know.

I’ve never been one to mind the rain or let the rain affect my mood.  In fact, I’ve always liked rainy days.  Rory sleeps in a bit longer, and he doesn’t like to walk in the rain like a Golden Retriever or Lab might.  That gives me some extra time in the morning that I don’t normally have to get things done.

It’s a win-win.

But on travel days, rain just kinda mucks up the works.

It’s harder to hail a cab…’cause even the locals don’t want to walk on rainy days.  When I get to the airport, it’s filled with other slightly damp, even-more-rushed-than-usual people trying to get through security to their gate.

And once they are through?

Well, they’ll probably sit and wait because the rain will more often than not delay their flight.  And then they’re grouchy and mouthy with the poor gate agents.  It’s not pretty to watch.

Man, this is a fun blog entry. Clearly, the rain doesn’t affect my mood at all…except maybe on travel days.

Come on, sun!

Air space

So, I’m standing in Hudson News at DFW this afternoon, pretending to select a magazine (but really in a bit of a post-meeting fog), when the lights in the airport newsstand suddenly appeared to dim.

It wasn’t an emergency situation, or even a passing storm.  No, the tallest airline pilot I have ever seen in my life stood next to me and temporarily blotted out the light!

I kid you not — this guy must have been seven feet tall!  I spent the rest of my time at the racks watching him stare at magazines and wondered…

How the heck does he fit in that teeny tiny cockpit??

Granted, in the post-9/11 era, none of us are doing cockpit tours a la “Airplane!”  But from the quickest of peeks that I’ve taken when boarding, their ride looks even more cramped than mine back in coach.

So, I did what I always do when I have a question — I turn to Google.  According to airlinepilotforums.com, all jets have adjustable rudder pedals and seats.  So, presumably, even the Goliath pilot that was purchasing woodworking mags earlier today has legroom during his flight.

So, now I know.  And now you know.

And when I get on my flight today, I’m going to ask the flight attendant where my adjustable rudder pedals are!

Cab with a view

My good friends Jeff and Vikki are visiting this week.  Their two kids are on spring break, and they wanted to show them New York City for the very first time.

Do you know the first thing their daughter said to me about the Big Apple?

“We had a TV in our cab!”

I’m not sure how many cities have Taxi TV;  I’ve seen it in NYC and Boston.  It’s a good way to pass the time between the airport and home…that is, if you don’t mind reruns (the programming is on a 15-minute loop).

Since I live in Manhattan, I have always considered it a good source for local news and weather.  Also, if my cellphone has died for some reason, it keeps me entertained.  It takes a good 25-30 minutes to get from LaGuardia to my apartment on the Upper West Side.

But for brand spanking new tourists who have just arrived in New York City, I hate to think of their eyes glued to that tiny TV monitor.  They should be staring out the window in wonderment at all the sights and sounds of the city.

There is an off button on that Taxi TV.  I use it quite often.

Look out the window, people.  New York City is the greatest show on earth.

First, ya’ll

To paraphrase Katy Perry:

“I flew first class, and I liked it.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve been in the ‘uppity-up’ cabin before.  As a frequent flier for American Airlines, I earned points to travel first class from time to time.

But now that I am an elite member of Delta Airlines, they bestow first class on me whenever they have capacity (and no one higher up on the food chain is in the way).  It’s like this little gift that appears at the gate when they swipe my ticket.  Such joy!

This week, I’ve been upgraded on pretty much every flight — and there have been a lot of them — so I’m kinda getting used to it.

Now, first class is fairly stripped down these days.  On most flights, you are no longer guaranteed a meal or even warmed nuts (my personal favorite).  The drinks are still free, of course, and you board early.

But I think the two reasons first class will always be popular is the space and better service.  Being able to stretch out is such a luxury, and I’ve rarely met a flight attendant in first who wasn’t pleasant and helpful.

First class is like taking a tiny trip to the South every time you sit there.  Open spaces.  Friendly people.

And, oh yeah — the liquor.

Sleepy time

I’m headed home today…or I was, until my early morning flight was delayed almost 2 1/2 hours.

The reason?  The crew got in late last night and needs their sleep.

I shouldn’t gripe about this.  All travelers should feel safer knowing that the airlines require a minimum amount of down time for pilots and attendants between flights.  That way, we avoid those embarrassing ‘flying past the city’ incidents because the crew is having a pajama party in the cockpit.

Heck, even my cab driver in Lexington told me he is required to have a minimum of three hours of sleep every 16 hours.  (I smiled and nodded and then got out at the next corner.)

It says a lot about our society that we have to set requirements for people in transportation jobs to make sure they get enough sleep.  We just don’t value sleep enough to get much of it on our own.

I just wish other industries felt as strongly about sleep to ensure that their employees — and consultants — had their eight hours.  Most of the time, we wear our lack of sleep like a badge of honor instead.

So, to make my contribution toward a more well-rested society, I plan to sleep on the plane all the way to New York City.

Do your part — take a nap at your desk!