Saturday, February 17, 2007

Travel Advice for the Un-initiated

I will pass along a few tips I have picked up in my years as a traveler, in the hopes that it will maybe make your life easier. To be honest it's not really out of any altruistic motivation that I impart these pearls of wisdom. It's really in the hope that I won't be stuck behind your sorry, clueless ass because you are fiddle farting around and didn't pay attention. Selfishness aside, lets move on to the reason for this post.

Before You Arrive

1. I use Kayak, it has all of the major carriers (except Southwest :( ). You can easily pick the time you want to leave and arrive, put in multiple stops, etc. My boss turned me on to it and it's really the best way I've found on the next to find the right flights and times. NOTE: If the link from Kayak does not go directly to the airlines but instead to Orbitz or Cheap Tickets, get the flight information and book it directly with the airline. If you don't book directly with the airline it gives the airlines one more excuse not to reimburse/compensate you if there's a problem with your flight. The same goes with hotels and rental cars, go straight to the source.

2. Check in on the airline Web Site - Some airlines allow you to check in and print your boarding pass at home. If you can't do that, use the self service terminals near the airline check-in counters. This will save you time. NOTE: Make sure to read all of the fine print. You may not be able to use Web Site check in, if you have checked luggage.

3. Travel Light - Use the roll away luggage that will fit in the overhead bins, don't check luggage and it will cut 30-60 minutes off of your travel time easily. NOTE: Be prepared to "Gate Check" your luggage on smaller planes. Ask at the ticket counter before you get board. Otherwise you'll hold everyone on the plane up after you figure out you can't fit your bag in the plane and have to get back to the front of the plane to give it to the flight attendant to check.

4. Print out or Write down your flight information and have it handy. Get your ID out and have it ready as you will probably need to show it more than once. If you are leaving the country make sure you have your passport.

5. Take a bath. Nobody wants to sit next to your stinky ass all the way from California to New York. And while your at it, that breath mint I'm offering you, it's not because I'm being all nice and sharing, it's because the malodorous stench emanating from your festering gob is about ready to make the hair on my head leave their follicles and migrate to a more hospitable environment.

6. Measure your ass. If you can't fit the bar down that separates one seat from another, you need to purchase enough seat to hold your ass. No offense to fat people, but DAMN! Get your ass outta my seat.

At the Airport
1. Paste on a smile and suck it up. Probably the number one rule. I've seen this a hundred times at least. Traveler talks to airline personnel, traveler is justifiably angry and vents anger at airline personnel, airline personnel politely tells traveler that there is nothing they can do to help and they're terribly sorry, as the airline personnel think to themselves "I've got your customer service hangin'". If you paste on the smile, suck it up, and ask them, please if they could assist you with your problem, chances are they'll still think to themselves "I've got it hangin' right here buddy", but at least there is the oft chance that they will actually assist you with your problem and do what they can to help. If you go in with an attitude you reduce your chances of getting help to somewhere around zero. Just remember, when using air travel, not only does shit happen, shit happens ALOT.

2. Have your ID and your boarding pass in your hand and ready when you get to the first checkpoint. Fumbling through your bag or pockets to find your ID or boarding pass is bad form.

3. No you can't take liquids through the checkpoint. No that water bottle can't go. You can technically take bottles of 3 ounces or less in a 1 quart plastic bag. You have to take the plastic bag out all by itself when you get to the x-ray machine, and at some airports you have to present it to a preliminary inspector. I avoid all the hassle and leave the liquids at home. You can take stick deodorant and all your other toiletries, except for: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and shaving cream. Those things you do not bring, you can get at the hotel on the other end. Make sure you call ahead and that your hotel has what you need before you arrive (most decent ones do).

4. As you approach the X-ray untie your shoes and take your laptops out of the bags. The shoes must go through the X-ray machine and the laptops have to go through all by themselves. Check your pockets for metal, belt buckles, money clips, etc. Having to go through the checkpoint multiple times because you forgot metal on your person increases your chump status in the eyes of your fellow travelers.

5. No you cannot take those lighters through. Check your pockets man!! Toss them before you get to the x-ray machine.

Getting On The Plane

You'd think this would be simple but so many people mess this one up.

1. Yo! Get out of the frickin' aisle! If you are near the front of the plane and there are people that need to get by, step out of the aisle and wait to "F" with putting your stuff in the overhead rack when there is nobody waiting to get by you.

2. Hey that's my stuff in there. When you do put your things in the overhead rack. Be considerate of other peoples stuff. GENTLY, move it aside, but don't smash it to get your stuff in.

3. Get to your seat, sit down and keep your hands and arms inside until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Don't get up, wander around, talk to your buddy in the seat 5 rows back, or go to the bathroom. Sit down and buckle up.

Getting off the plane
For some people this is even harder than getting on, but with practice, it's a skill that can be easily mastered.

1. Yo! Get out of the frickin' aisle! - If you have stuff in the overhead bin and you can get it out quickly, then do so. Otherwise, wait for the people that can operate an overhead luggage bin to pass until you can figure out the operational details of the in-flight luggage storage unit.

2. Yo! Get out the frickin' aisle! - When you get off of the plane, don't stand around in front of the gate exit looking for where to go next. Move along citizen, get out of the way and off to the side before stopping to make sure your head and other body parts are still attached.

I'm Traveling to Sunny (we hope) San Diego next week for a family vaction. I'll post some pictures of our wandering and the interesting folks we meet along the way. Until then these words of wisdom - taken from a poster

It Could Be that the Purpose of Your Life Is Only to Serve as a Warning to Others.

1 comment:

GeekTravels said...

Nice, site. I went and checked it out. The thing that trabber is lacking is the ability to adjust the time after all the flights are displayed. The one thing that puts Kayak above the rest is the ability to be able to use a slider, after it's found your flights, to adjust your arrival or departure time. It can't hurt to look more than one place for the best prices though.