Friday, October 31, 2008

Pet Peeve

i like to think i'm pretty easygoing...but there are a few things that really tick me off. actually, one. so karee's dad, bob, thinks cars should come without cupholders in them. similarly, i think cars should come without horns. i swear...they are the most horrific sound to me. they put me in a bad mood. they ruin my day. every time.

a few nights ago, a car alarm went off in front of my house for 20 minutes. at three am. it was a honking car alarm. i was pissed off for a full 24 hours after that.

another irrational (yes, i can admit that its ridiculous...see how mature i am?) peeve i have is motorcycles revving.

i dont think i was sensitive to either of these sounds until i lived in San Francisco right by the Broadway tunnel and would listen to motorcycle gangs roaring through it all night. god, that was miserable.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Things you dont want to hear on a plane...

so this is an old story, and I bet some of you (ie - my dad) have heard it before...and likely re-told it...but for some of you, it will be brand new.

I flew to DC about a year ago...I dont know what for, but I think it was when we had a family reunion in Baltimore, then i took the train up to Delaware for work. Either way...i was flying from DEN to Reagan National.

So about 3 hours into the flight, the pilot comes on the speakers and says that due to "Extreme Winds", we are running out of fuel and will have to stop in Pittsburg to refuel before we get to DC. People start mumbling and grumbling but we all figure "hey...it would be really terrible to run out of fuel and plummet to our deaths". So we accept this, and i keep reading my educational, historical novel (read: UsWeekly).

A few minutes later, pilot comes back on the radio and says "ok - we've been cleared for landing in Pittsburg...we're going to land, re-fuel, then be back in the air within about 20 minutes. we should make up some time in the air, so probably only be a few minutes late". Everyone sighs a little bit in relief.

A few minutes later, pilot comes back on and says "Folks, we're gonna scrap the re-fueling landing in Pittsburg and just try to make it to DC on this tank". There was a millisecond of dead silence, then people started flipppppppping out. i mean, what kind of idiot pilot was this? telling us we dont have enough fuel (like 5 times), then saying 'were gonna give it a shot"

So....we made it (apprently...coasting in on fumes, if the pilot was to be believed). It was a mildly stressful hour, let me tell you.

That's all for now.

ps - this post was a blatant way for me to avoid doing homework. you're welcome.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

6 week break!!

so...since Thailand, i have still had a LOT of trips. more than i really planned on.

I flew to Denver for chris & erin's wedding, which was So much fun...even with the freak windstorm that blew into the reception. no really...it was like a movie. wine glasses toppling, tableclothes flying up and around in the wind.

I flew to Dallas (then drove to Wichita Falls) for my cousin Colin's wedding. Wichita Falls (full disclaimer...it's pronouced "Witch-i-tah" with the emphasis on the Witch....though me and my siblings and Dan kept pronouncing it "wi-cheetah" with the emphasis on the cheetah....we think we're hilarious, dont we??). anyway....WF is not so happening. i think i can check it off my life-list. CHECK! but the dallas airport was the same as always. only negative was the dude playing music on his cell phone at full volume. even though i gave him the stink eye in the waiting area (for litearlly like 20 minutes)....then politely asked him to put in earphones (really....i was nice)...and he still didn't. ugh...very rude.

I flew to San Antonio this past weekend to help celebrate my mom's big award (YAY MOM!!!!). so apparently they haven't updated this yet...but keep your eyes peeled for the winner in 2008...it will be her! http://som.uthscsa.edu/Alumni/distinguishedalum.asp The best part of the event was that they gave Katy (my sister) an MD (on her nametag). so i guess she gets to skip the next few years of her life.....she's already a doctor. Congratulations Katy!! no-one deserves it more than you! you make us proud!

highlights of the SA trip were:
1. Rick bayless was on my flight to SA. there was apparently a Latin American Cooking symposium in SA, which would make sense.
2. las Palapas (see previous entries on SA)
3. nice, on time flights
4. upgrades both ways

Lets see - now...i am a full time student! studying hard...making new friends...and spending way more money than i really should be.

Eveeryone make sure to wish karee a happy (late) birthday...it was yesterday, but we're celebrating tomorrow....

next flight is in 6 weeks for thanksgiving, when i'm flying back to TX. Who is going to be there!

any ideas for what i should post about in the next 6 weeks? business school shenanigans? recruiting? classes? new brown-nosing friends?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thailand!!!

HI guys!!! Well, if i thought the travel would subside after quitting my job, I was wrong.

I went to Thailand for a week with 15 new friends (a school organized trip). Yes, it was basically like the Real World. We all met at the gate at Ohare...so litearlly we were complete strangers.

Anyway - a 3rd party had booked all of this travel for us (TravelMBA) so we had no say on the airlines or anything...but lo and behold, we were on United. Obviously, I was thrilled. So i cashed in some of my systemwide (intl) upgrades and flew business class the whole way. which was SO nice.

Now, as we've discussed several times on here...International upgrades are not all that fabulous on a domestic carrier (ie - United). if we'd been on on eof the partner airlines, i'm sure the business class would have been so much nicer, but it was decent. at least the seats reclined more than in coach. but i didn't have a personalized entertainment station. the food was ok. not fabulous, but ok.

we flew from Ohare to Tokyo (12-13 hour flight), then had a 2 hour layover in Tokyo, then flew from Tokyo to Bangkok (6 hour flight). needless to say, this was a LONG LONG day. we arrived in Bangkok about 11pm or so, and then headed out for the night. We spent a few days in Bangkok, then a few days in Pattaya (um...look it up...crazy), then back to Bangkok for 2 days, then flew home.

The trip was awesome, I met some fun new friends, and saw some BEAUTIFUL stuff there. I would like to go back without a party of 16 (i mean...it makes EVERYTHING difficult), and to see some different parts of the country. We didn't get to some of the southern beaches (the really famous gorgeous ones), and we didn't get to the northern part of the country (chang mai, in particular). So now i have a reason to go back! Preferably not during the HOT HOT HOT humid humid humid monsoon season :)

Lets see - what else. Last weekend I flew to Denver for Chris & Erin's wedding (Congratulations!!!!). Flew on American since United was crazy expensive. The flights were delayed in both directions (clearly not AA's fault, but because of the monster thunderstorms that sat on top of chicago all weekend). I have to say, AA wasn't my favorite. Maybe bc i'm so used to Economy Plus on United, but the seats were TINY, the planes are smaller too. so for example, the seat config is 2-3. so on the 2 side of the plane (seats A&B), there isn't space for roller bags because the bins are too shallow. meaning....there isn't really room on the plan for all the luggage. poor design, if i say so :) what else....they had a nice variety of snack packs for purchase (I didn't). otherwise, pretty much the same as any other airline.

I'm flying United again next week to go to Dallas for my cousin's wedding, but that's a quick trip (24 hours) so hopefully no delays!!!

Once the travel slows down (should be another few weeks), then I"ll start posting about obnoxious business school trends and peopls (dont worry, there's tons)

bye!!!

also - SHOUT OUT. my dear friends Steve & Amanda are studying abroad (they're in law school) in Madrid this fall. I put their blog link on the right!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tulsa, Oklahoma

TULSA is quite the metropolitan destination and the airport fit right in. I arrived right on time (yay) and quickly met up with keli's parents. we had about 30 minutes to kill until keli landed, so we wandered around and quickly stumbled across this vending machine. i had to take a picture of course....have you EVER seen this? it delivers piping hot food right to you?! i didn't know whether to be grossed out or totally in love.


has anyone tried one of these before? i'm curious how they heat it all up and deliver it at the perfect temperature? i would have tried myself, but this one was out of order, and i didn't discover there was another one there until too late. sad. maybe next year i'll try it!

the week in oklahoma (at keli's family lakehouse) was great! lots of sun, reading, relaxing, beerade, and fun.

let's fast forward to the departure from tulsa....

so...we were flying out on monday afternoon (keli to DC, and me to Chicago). when we came in from the lake to shower and clean up, i notice i have like 3 missed calls and voicemails from united. bad sign. the first one says my flight is delayed, the 2nd one says my flight is actually cancelled, and the 3rd one is a nice friendly man at the tulsa airport telling me my options. he has rebooked me on a 2pm flight (my flight was at 5 originally), and says the 2pm is already so delayed that even if i arrive at 4...i'll get on it fine. so...ok. nothing to worry about? sounds like i'm all set! great!

we arrive at the airport, keli leaves right on time, and i realize my flight (the 2pm) is now delayed until 7-something. so i go have some food (not the tyson machine), and hang out and read. then i notice its delayed more. apparently (i had no idea) the worst storm in years was pummeling chicago (ie - when i was talking to my friend on the phone...the tornado sirens were all going off downtown, they evacuated wrigley field, trees blowing down all over town, etc....very bad). needless to say, total ground stop in effect.

i honestly have no idea how i killed time - i think i have purged this memory from my mind. all of a sudden, it's 9. we board the plane, back up, and start taxiing. ohhhhhhhhhhh wait...not so fast....captain comes on the horn says ground stop is back in effect, we're going back to the gate. at this point, i would have rather just sat on the plane, as tiny and squished as it was. but that wasn't an option. so back to the gate we go....back to the bar i go. i needed a beer. badly.

finally, we end up leaving at like 1130 or so. the flight was so scary...i have never seen lightning like that. it was just constant. not flashes, but like the lights were on up in the sky. spooky!

so...we land, the cab line is of course a total hell hole (and sorry...i know i'm trying to be fiscally responsible here, but....im not taking the el home at 2am...no way jose). so the cabbie turns onto my street, and it's like we're staring straight into hell. there are trees (big ones...whole entire trees, not little wimpy branches) all in my street...and not a light in sight. that's right folks, no power. (note - the power didn't come back on until WEDNESDAY...which for those of you who can add well....that's 3 days of no power). so i have to use my cell phone like a flashlight to go up my stairs (and most of you know that i'm like the biggest scaredy cat wussy in the WORLD about the dark). then i walk into my spooky pitch dark apartment and crash. the cabbie nicely offered to walk me up to my place....um, pass.

so tulsa....you were good to me during my delay. i think it's pretty weak that your only food-serving establishment closes at 630, but hey...i dont make the decisions. your bar stayed open later, which i appreciated. and your magazine store didn't dissapoint, even if the girl had no idea what she was doing and asked if 'details' was a book. and yes, i know details is for closeted gay men, but i wanted to read about james mcevoy. no dice.

Boston!

overdue post alert! well, i promised you guys some good blogs about my airport experiences, and im finally here to deliver. and lucky you...you're going to get a load of posts today.

first off...boston!
so my flight to boston was pretty uneventful except that it was about 5 hours late due to weather in boston. i was on a 6pm flight, and was supposed to land at like 9 or so but ended up getting more and more and more delayed as the night went on. there were about 5 flights from ohare to boston all delayed...so i at least felt better that i wasn't on the 2pm flight...which was also still there. (sidenote - several days after the flight, i got a 'personal' email from united apologizing for the delay, which i thought was a nice, if generic, touch.)

the interesting part of the story is that there was a huge group of travelers with a lot of kids on my flight....and the kids were all laying on the seats sleeping. each kid taking up 2 seats. so essentially, there is nowhere for any of the adults to sit. i found this to be pretttty unacceptable that the gate agents would allow this, so i just went and sat at another gate, but was kind of fired up about it.

when i arrived in boston, it was pretty late, so i booked it to the cab line and got outta dodge.

however, when i was leaving boston, i had some more time to explore. we got to Logan at about 5am... first thing i notice, the easy check-in kiosks (for united) are all broken. well, that's not true....out of a clump of 5 of them, 2 work. so there is a long line of people to use them. and what i absolutely will never understand is people who take like 20 minutes to check in with a kiosk. i mean....once you scan your credit card, you dont really have anything else to do (except maybe pick a seat). how on earth are people so slow at these???

once we were int he terminal, i got to explore. theres about 3 places to eat (this is the united terminal, which is clearly the stepchild of logan). first weird thing is that this rinky dinky little cafe had one of the most impressive airport salad bars i've ever seen. i even took a photo it was so impressive. lucky you.


pretty hot, huh!?

second thing....you know how some airports (primarily in the south....think charleston, charlotte, atlanta) try to up the charm-factor by having rocking chairs in the waiting areas? well, boston is certainly not trying to charm anyone....all the seats were your standard waiting area seats, except for one random stray rocking chair. how on earth do you think it got there? did someone fly it in and leave it? did it come through security? i thought this was totally bizarre...so again...i took a picture. (note - these were taken with my phone, so the quality is probably not so good - you can deal)

other weird thing about the boston airport was that there was a dunkin donuts right next to my gate, and the lady working the counter....had a voice volume of 8 million. as did most of the customers. so i got to hear a LOT of people bitching and moaning about how you can't get good coffee anywhere these days (except dunkin donuts, naturally). one guy had the nerve to scream "I was in San Antonio last week and wouldnt you know it....no dunkins there....those people must DIE". i was too tired to assault him, but i think karma is probably not on his side.

anyway - boston was wonderful. had a blast and would love to go back. i've heard great things about the other terminals there, but didn't have the chance to see them...so now i have an excuse to go back!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Charleston, SC

Hi my loyal readers!


I just returned from a week of family vacation and got to experience a brand new airport (new to me)! CHS - charleston, SC.


Before i get into the details, a comment. When i flew out of ohare, the flights for charleston, SC (CHS) and charleston, WV (CRW) were right next to eachother, and the flights were leaving at right around the same time. talk about confusing. i can't believe they dont have more people accidentally 1) book the wrong city, 2) get on the wrong plane. if i was gate control at Ohare, I would probably put a little space between those gates, but i guess they have a method to their madness.


Now, the airport.


Overall - I arrived and had about 30 minutes until my family arrived, so i got to explore the airport a little. um, 30 minutes was about 25 minutes too long. the airport is lovely, but pretty teeny. I think there were 5 gates in my terminal (term A). Within Terminal A, there was a magazine shop, a sam adams bar, and attached to the bar, a bagel cafe. i pretty much just bolted to baggage when i landed, so i didn't really explore. dont worry - i had plenty of time to explore when i departed. we'll get to that

Baggage - Slow. i know, i know...shocking. It was slow and it was small. there were 2 carousels for the whole airport, and the area around them was very cramped. lots of crazy behavior exhibited at baggage claim (the crazies who canNOT bear to wait 10 extra seconds and must push and shove to access their bag rather than waiting for it to circle to them).

Car Rental - EXCELLENT. not ONLY have they not implemented the dreaded 'rental car center' shuttle....but they dont even have rental car buses. the cars are literally parked like 10 feet outside the terminal. so you just stroll right over with your luggage and load on up! the Avis man was very nice and friendly and gave us a nice big car. 2 thumbs up!

Distance to City - Excellent. Just about 10 minutes to drive downtown. Even in the rain. EVEN including a small detour (aka - getting lost).

Now, we spent a week in South Carolina, then I was flying out of CHS back to ORD (on a direct flight, thankfully). So I get the helpful email from United that we're already running an hour behind, so i time my arrival appropriately. Then i sit and wait. I have a nice seat where I can see the plane at our gate...and there are some mechanics working on the door of the plane. After awhile, a mechanic walks out with a ROLL OF DUCT TAPE and all the passengers (who are staring out the window) start stirring nervously. they cancel the flight within like 2 minutes. mass panic ensues.

**Now, I have to think that many of these people have been reading this oh-so-widely-read blog, because some of them had the United Reservations # in their cell phone (a tip i recommended a while back). So they start calling all around me, and they've all been rebooked on the 545am flight the next morning. So...then i finally talk to the lady on the phone, and turns out I have been rebooked on a flight that same night to IAD then continuing on to ORD. i waved goodbye to all my new friends, as they left to go back home, and settled in for my flight in just about an hour. i was very excited to hear I'd be getting home that night, but a little confused as to why noone else was on this flight? curious, huh?

So....finally I board to DC, fly there (no problems whatsoever), then in DC i get to my gate, and it's completely packed to the gills. DC has the helpful screens with lots of info about your flight (ie - arrival time, list of standby passengers, list of upgrades available, etc). So i can quickly tell that there are 81 people on the standby list. EIGHTY-ONE. and united had just rebooked me on there and given me a seat.

now i know i bitch and moan about united, but come on....how can i possibly break up with them when they treat me THIS well? i can't. i cut a line of 81 people and had an aisle seat in economy plus. woo!!!

once i arrived back in chicago (late late late), i go to claim my luggage...and...nothing. i suspected my luggage might not be onboard, but the lady at the counter was just so incredibly stupid, i have to comment. She says 'your bag was checked onto flight XXX (whatever my original flight from charleston was), that flight landed several hours ago, so its here somewhere!" now you brilliant readers will recall that this flight was cancelled. so i tell her this. she reiterates "the flight landed and your bag is here". i say 'Maam, the flight never left, it's sitting on the ground in South Carolina". "oooooooooooohhhhh, well then yes, your bag is not here"

Fast Forward to Saturday about 5pm....my bag arrives at my house in Chicago. This actually wasn't that big of an issue, since i was at home (where i have lots of other clothes & toiletries) and not on the road. however, i did get an important tip out of the experience - pack your glasses in your carry -on, not your checked bag. those of you who dont wear glasses/contacts - i'm jealous...and in the words of katy's hilarious friend heston, "you are so lucky to have the gift of sight". haha

Next up - I'm flying to Boston on Thursday evening, so I am excited to see that airport too. I know its going to be big and exciting :)