Thursday, June 30, 2011

Will You Fly on September 11?

While booking some travel today, it occurred to me that some people will avoid flying on 9/11/11, the tenth anniversary of the infamous hijackings.

On the other hand, my co-author Crosscheck pointed out that the inevitable heightening of security screenings might make 9/11 among the safer days for flying – from an anti-terrorism standpoint, anyway.

Are you flying on 9/11? Or are you avoiding it?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don't You Know Who I Am?

I'm a 1k flyer on United. We've spent a lot of time together, United and me. For most of 2010, we were having a mad affair 34,000 feet up.

So here's what I don't get: United still doesn't know me. Like, really know me. United forgets that I prefer aisle seats. And that I have very particular dietary requests. When I get an upgrade, or if I'm traveling overseas, I know I have to pick up the phone and call United. My online profile with United clearly states my meal preference, so it should be in their system...but for some reason, that information isn't transferred over to the ground staff at the airport. Why do I have to call and request a special meal, when that information is clearly included in my profile?

Yeah, yeah, I know: "you got the upgrade, so why are you complaining?"

It's the principle.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Your Feet Smell, or Airplane Etiquette 101

When we're not scrapping for an upgrade, both Crosscheck and I are likely to be taking in a baseball game. We long ago discovered Murray Cook's Field Blog. Major League Baseball's chief groundskeeper travels the globe to build and resuscitate ballfields in countries you've never even heard of, and logs many air miles in the process.

We were thrilled when Murray blogged about his frustration with the lack of flying etiquette displayed by so many travelers. We'll let you read his full post for yourself, but here are the ones we thought most on target:
  • Too-big Carry-ons
    • As Murray points out, sneaking a steamer trunk on board doesn't entitle you to let it smack me in the side of the head as you head to your seat.
  • Aggressive Recliners
    • We agree with Murray: check to see who's behind you and what they are doing before you crush their laptop screen or splash their drink into their lap. Then recline gradually.
  • Headphone Intruders
    • If we have headphones on, guess what? We're listening to something other than you and we don't want to start a conversation.
  • Kicking Kids
    • I'm talking about kids you wish you could kick because of their behavior. But it's the parents who deserve the kicking – that is, if they don't even try to prevent their precious babies from kicking the back of your seat, or touching your head from the row behind you, or playing a handheld game with the sound on and no cetera.
  • Shoeless Joe
    • Even clean feet are disgusting. You've been hoofing it through airport security and running the concourse to get to the gate, so your filthy, sweaty, stinking sock (or worse, bare) feet are not welcome outside of your shoes. Especially if you put them up on the bulkhead. Gross.
We'll cover more pet peeves in future posts, but this seems like a good start.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Korean Air's Prestige Lie-Flat Dental Torture-Looking Seat

We're all for lie-flat seats – I personally can't sleep, even on a long-haul flight, unless I'm lying flat. Some of the seats you see on major carriers not only perform this function, they do it with style. You can get a pretty good run down over at the Skytrax seat review site.

But I was horrified by the design (pictured here) of Korean Air's Prestige Sleeper Seat. Never mind that it gets bad reviews, it looks like a torture device from one of the Saw movies.

Or worse – it looks like something you'd see at a combination dental + gynecology practice.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Who Are We? Why Are We Here?

Stamp: Civil aviation in the GDRImage via WikipediaGreetings from your authors.

I'm Arrival, and this is Crosscheck.

Who are we? 

And why another goddamn clever blog about flying?

We're just regular business folks, who have to fly – sort of a lot, sometimes – for work.

Rather than bemoan the hassles and inhumanity of commercial air travel, we decided to make it into a bit of a hobby. Flying is partially part of our job, and partially something that turns out to be interesting – and even fun sometimes. Or at least, funny.

On the blog we'll write occasional commentaries about all the stuff regular business travelers are familiar with:

  • airports
  • aircraft
  • passengers
  • airlines
  • lounges, and 
  • flight crews. 

We'll also cover the eternal quest for upgrades, news about the industry, horror stories, minor annoyances and the occasional "Hooray!" for good service or other noteworthy wins in the air.

Hope you'll subscribe, and that you'll leave a comment if you like – or despise – what we have to say.

And meanwhile, follow us on the Twitter! We're over there as @ExitRowAisle.

See you at the gate.