Tuesday, November 1, 2011


  I wrote about travel a year ago and had all kinds of tips and tricks learned by experience blah, blah, blah.  I think I droned on about how to be totally cool at the airport and how to get your frequently used airline to kiss your ass etc.
  That's all well and good but it's not really all there is.  Which is why this post is the sequel.  There's the other side of air travel that's kind of cooler and there are other ways to travel.  My fantasy for years has been that someone in this country would somehow magically get that high-speed train system installed.  The one that every other vaguely modern country has and then I could travel like a civilized human being.  Although I did get randomly selected at DC Union Station to have my handbag swiped for gunpowder or whatever that test is for, it still is a more humane experience than airport security.  That said, I also got randomly chosen for the 'all clear' security experience at Atlanta-Hartsfield where it was just like the old days and I didn't have to take off shoes and belts and watches and put my bag of miniature toiletries on the belt etc...  I just went through like the innocent, have- not- done -anything- to- cause- alarm traveler that I am.  Just like you used to do before the guilty before proven innocent days of travel.  It was joyous at first and then very depressing because of the realization of these modern times etc.  Anyhoo, the high speed train would be great.  Even the Acela train from NY to DC is more civilized than flying. 

The Acela

  More spacious, more friendly, plugs next to your seat so your stuff stays fully charged, someone with a snack trolly comes through, the bathrooms, although more challenging in terms of balancing, are much larger, and there is a constant flow of scenery outside the window.

Actual contents of complimentary bag of peanuts on Delta
coach legroom on Delta

  Given the ungracious and ever changing 'priority' service one is offered at airlines, you can take a more rogue perspective and a less ' they are going to take care of me - maybe'  perspective on air travel.  By 'rogue' I just mean to admit that you're on your own and make the most of the internet and the airline website.  And don't forget sites like Priceline.  They often still have tickets at the lower rate that your airline site is sold out of.  And apps like 'GateGuru' which give all sorts of updated info on delays, airport services, security wait time etc.  plus helpful comments from fellow travelers. 
sign on bathroom door

built-in ashtray in same bathroom

Another form of travel that I like is driving.  It has taken a beating with the abusively inflated prices at the pump, but sometimes a 6 - 8 hour+  drive is pleasant and you have your car with you, so packing and eating are easier.  It's really sort of the luxury method of travel.   That one too can be made easier and happier with a little help from the internet.  A little planning goes a long way and tips on speed traps etc are certainly helpful.
  Thanksgiving is coming up and it is said to be the most traveled time of the year.  I think that means all of the modes mentioned above.  So, arm yourself with knowledge and 'don't let the bastards get you down'.  I will be flying the day before Thanksgiving.  I intend on having a painless experience.  Even fun because although holiday travel is rife with amateurs, those amateurs can be very friendly and a breath of fresh air in contrast to the bored and jaded road warriors (myself included). 

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