I’ve Had It With These Monkey Fighting Incidents on These Monday to Friday Planes

United has a man dragged off a plane. A flight attendant is in an altercation with a passenger after the flight attendant hits a woman with a stroller. Passengers fighting on planes.  This is getting out of control. I don’t get it. I’ve flown quite a bit. Short fights from here to Nashville or Louisville. Longer fights out west. Even a 24 hour trip to Zambia. I’ve never seen any of this happen on my flights. The flight crews have been either pleasant or at the very least blandly competent. There have been annoying passengers, but none that have inspired a fight. I have been on flights where the flight crew had to remind a passenger that they were holding the flight by refusing to take a seat, but it ended with the passenger taking their seat. I don’t know how things have gotten our of control, but I have some advice for flyers.

First, to the flight crews – I don’t now anything about your jobs so I can’t really speak to your experience. I can say, though, that most people who work with the public every day at some point would like to have a customer dragged out by security. It doesn’t make it an appropriate response. The only thing I can say is to be professional and not act in a way that will escalate the issues.

Now passengers:

  • Get to the airport early. No reason to be anxious from the start because you are short on time.
  • Start with the security line – know what to take out of your pockets before you get to the front of the line. Be ready to move through as quickly as possible. A bad security line experience can lead to angry travelers before they ever get to the plane.
  • Board quickly. Get on the plane, store your bags and sit down. If there are things you need out of your bags, take them out before boarding, not while standing in the aisle while others are trying to board.
  • If the flight crew says you need to check an item, check the item.
  • Bring entertainment – books, magazines, music. Whatever will distract you from the stress of traveling. I am an anxious flyer and this really helps me not to focus on the bad parts of travel.
  • Be aware of how your actions affect those around you. Kicked seats, seat reclined in to your lap, etc will not make for happy cabin mates.

I know that it is easy to blame the airlines for all of the issues and I agree that they need to start treating passengers better, but a lot of the issues can also be fixed by the traveler. Just be a decent person and think about how your actions affect others. Or take the bus.

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Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

Today’s challenge was to post a picture that represents travel. I have hundreds of travel photos I could have chosen, but I decided this simple sign from the middle of a bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe was the best for this challenge. I was officially standing in Zimbabwe taking the picture and then to a couple of steps back over to Zambia where I was staying.

zambia

via Photo Challenge: Wanderlust

Reflections From the Road

I’m sure the 10’s of you who actually read this blog noticed that I have not posted in a few days. Since pretty much all of you are my actual friends in real life, you likely know why. I have been traveling back home to Kentucky more frequently to visit my mom who is ill. It is good to see my family and everything, but it is not a fun reason to get to go home. Please keep my mom and our family in your prayers. It has been a tough time recently and it will not get easier from here. Below are some of my reflections from the road(and air since I flew this time).

The airports this time around were very easy. Both National Airport and Nashville Airport security lines moved smoothly and quickly. I didn’t notice any of the people who tend to slow down the lines because they don’t think about the giant metal jewelry they are wearing or the jumbo size bottle of shampoo in their luggage. Both flights were on time and people seemed to be able to board efficiently without holding up the line while they contemplate luggage placement. I’m sure I will pay for this on my next trip and everything will go wrong, but for one weekend air travel was pleasant, efficient and on time. Well, with the exception of breakfast Tuesday morning. I stopped at Swett’s on the way to the gate to get something to eat and they were out of biscuits. How the heck does a restaurant in the south, even one in an airport, run out of biscuits? They should be shut down on principle.

Speaking of food: We had a grand plan to head to Owensboro to eat at Moonlight BBQ after visiting my mom on Sunday. I was very happy with this plan because I have not been to Moonlite in years. We all headed out to Owensboro from my mom’s house. I decided to check the hours to make sure they were open and discovered they close at 3pm on Sunday. We turned around, headed back to Bowling Green and ended up eating at O’Charley’s. I like O’Charley’s, but it just wasn’t the same. This was likely the worst good meal I’ve ever eaten.

There have been some creepy clown sitings in Bowling Green. I was really hoping to see one.  I really want to get a picture of a creepy clown in the wild. The streets around my brother’s neighborhood is perfect for a creepy clown. I was very disappointed with the lack of clowns there. I don’t think they share my opinion.

Finally, it was very nice to be at my brother’s house the week I crushed him in fantasy football. Winning against him is fun. Almost doubling him in points is more fun. Doing this while at his house is perfect.

Challenge Day 5: Oh The Places I’ll Go

Day 5 of the writing challenge is to list five places I would like to visit. A much simpler, less introspective challenge. I’m glad I got this one on a Saturday. Who wants to be introspective on a weekend?

  1. Australia: Let’s go to the land down under and have a Vegemite sandwich while we throw another shrimp on the barbie, mate. I can’t really explain while Australia is the top of my list. I can’t even name one major thing(besides kangaroos) that I want to see there. I’ve just always wanted to go.
  2. Ireland: I’ve been London. I’ve been to France. I’ve seen your underpants. But I never made it to Ireland while I was in the area. We planned to go back to London while we had family there and then to hit Ireland while there, but they moved back to Kentucky before we got there. So, this one is on the list as “the one that got away.” even though it didn’t really get away. It’s still right where it’s always been.
  3. San Francisco: The number one place in the US I want to visit. I’ve only been to California once and I never left the area of the conference. I need to get back to California and actually see something. San Francisco seems like the most interesting of the California cities.
  4. Spain: Another of the major European countries I missed the two times I toured the area. Again, a place where I couldn’t tell you one actual thing I want to see, but still has been on my list of places to go for a while. I guess it is the idea of Spain more than the specific places in Spain.
  5. This place in Finland. We went to Finland, but didn’t have time to head north. Since then, I’ve seen this picture several times. Now I want to stay here and see the Northern Lights
  6. kakslauttanen_igloos_3598

May the Norse Be With You Part 2 – Aurland and Flam

We left Oslo on Sunday afternoon and headed for Aurland and the fjords(much more fun to say if you use the hard j). We stopped along the way a few times to enjoy the scenery and to cross a wobbly bridge. drive3

drive1 We got to Aurland later that afternoon and checked into our room. It was not really a hotel, just a place with apartments and cabins. We had a two bedroom with a kitchen and this view. hotelviewa

The next day we slept in a little and then did a long day with a 4 hour round trip boat tour of the fjord. boat boat2 The views along the tour were great and I was envious of the people who lived in the village on the water where no cars could reach. They have the longest life span in Norway, some say because of the purity of the water. After the boat tour, we did a round trip train ride from Flam to Myrdal and back. The train went up the mountain and past a waterfall. It wasn’t quite as scary as I thought it would be. We stopped at the waterfall for photo ops.train train2

We got back from the train very late, so that was it for the day.

The following day, we got up early and made the 2 hour drive to the glacier. To get to the glacier, we drove through a 24 km tunneltunnel There were three rest stops in the tunnel, i guess in case you wanted to take pictures or if you got nervous about being underground for so long and needed a break. We arrived at the glacier visitor’s center where we were told it was a 45 minute walk to the glacier. Once we got to the parking area to start the walk, we could see the glacier and couldn’t understand how it would take 45 minutes to walk there. Turns out the “walk” was over boulders, up rock surfaces and some areas where they had a rope for you to use to help climb. It wasn’t hard, but not what i would classify as a “walk”. It was worth it to see the glacier.glacier1 glacier2 glacier3 We stopped on the way back at a historical Stave Church stave1 and then went back to Flam that night to buy souvenirs and then prepared to head to our next stop.

Eastern Travel Services/Megabus – A Review

I traveled to New York City from Baltimore this week on an Eastern Travel bus via Megabus.com.  The trip cost $10 round trip and this price plus all of the negative reviews on yelp made me very wary about what I would experience on the trip.  I left my house early Monday morning to make the trek to the Cherry Hill Light Rail Station to catch the 7:45 bus to New York.  I arrived at 7:10 and found just an empty street in front of the station with no signs directing me to the pick up location.  Before too long, however, a few more travelers arrived and I was satisfied that I was in the right place.  The bus arrived a few minutes before the 7:45 departure time and we were on the road right on time.  The bus wasn’t full, so I was able to head to the back and get two empty seats so I could stretch out and relax.  Two movies were shown on the drive and I had my books, so I was amply entertained.  There was some problem with the air conditioning for the first part of the trip, but it was came on about halfway through and we were comfortable for most of the trip.  The only downside of the Monday drive was the 20 minute rest stop at a service area in NJ which blew any chance we had to make NYC at the scheduled time.  They really need to add this time into the trip itinerary they have online.

The trip back to Baltimore was not quite as easy.  There was a representative from the bus company at the stop, but they didn’t do much to help the confusion of the mass of people waiting for two different buses to two different locations.  There also seemed to be some issues with the bus schedule being different than what was posted online, so we ended up with people with three different scheduled departure times on our bus.  I was able to board the 6PM bus that arrived at 6:25PM and we headed uptown. Unfortunately, even though the bus was almost full when we left Pike Street, we still had to go to 34th street and pick up a few more passengers.  There would be no empty seats on this bus.  We finally made it through the Lincoln Tunnel and into NJ where the traffic was light, but our bus driver drove very slowly and we were an hour past the scheduled drop off on Baltimore by the time we arrived. This caused problems for some passengers who planned to use the light rail to get to their actual destination but could not because the light rail was closed.  The trip itself was also not as pleasant. In addition to being not being able to stretch my legs, I also had no light for reading and only one movie was shown and that ended long before we got to Baltimore so I had several hours in the dark on a bus with nothing to do.

Overall, though, the bus was not a horrible experience and is well worth the small price you pay for the tickets.  I learned my lesson and will make sure I book a return bus for earlier in the day as NY traffic is miserable the later in the evening you get.  Also, traveling early gives me the daylight I need to read to pass the time.  Eastern is no worse than my experience on Greyhound, in some ways it was better and was much cheaper.  If you are taking the bus to NY.  I would definitely recommend Megabus/Eastern.