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Posts Tagged ‘airport’

CSI The Experience Lands at MGM in Las Vegas

Posted by thetraveldoctor on September 22, 2009


MGM Hotel in Las Vegas

MGM Hotel in Las Vegas

“CSI: The Experience” which has been touring the country has found a permanent home at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. This new attraction will give visitors the chance to be part of the CSI phenomenon. Guest will be able to survey their own crime scene, analyze evidence and crack the case. The experience starts at one of three crime scenes. After exiting the crime scene, the guests will head to the crime lab with their list of evidence and begin to piece together the mystery.

This is the first permanent exhibit for CSI, which has been touring the country for the past 2 years.

Rather than a “look-and-see” exhibit, this one lets visitors control the action. The interactive nature of the program and the technology are what sets “CSI: The Experience” apart from other museum exhibits

“CSI: The Experience” will be open to its first visitors starting at 10 a.m. Sunday September 13. The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with tickets priced at $30.

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Ryanair To Consider “Pay To Pee”

Posted by thetraveldoctor on March 6, 2009


 

Ryanair on Take Off

Ryanair on Take Off

Ok, this is the most ridiculous thing I have every heard. Ryanair, an Irish discount airline is considering a new way to make money. They already charge for everything extra on their flights, but now they want you to pay to pee! That’s right, you have to go, you have to pay! I never thought that anyone would have the nerve to charge you to go to the toilet on an airplane! 

So there you are at 35,000 feet and you have to go and you don’t have any change? What do you do? Do you wet your pants? Do you walk down the aisle and ask everyone for spare change so you can GO? 

Here is a quote from a Ryanair official. “One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future,” This is just crazy! 

So if you are thinking of flying Ryanair in Europe, be sure to take some spare change. You never know when you may have to GO!

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A Tale of Two American Airline’s Cities

Posted by thetraveldoctor on November 17, 2008


 

New American Terminal at Miami Airport

New American Terminal at Miami Airport

I am writing this on my way home from a conference in Miami FL. I am sitting in seat 28C on an American Airlines 757. I don’t know why, but American can’t seem to give me two problem free flights in a row. 

Let’s start on Saturday morning at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. I had a 9AM flight to Miami. I arrived at O’Hare at 7:20AM. I walked up to the self-service kiosk, checked my bag (for $15 –Ouch!) and was on my way to the gate. The American employees we very helpful and very pleasant.

I made it through security. Let me tell you, that is always an experience. I was behind a family of 3. They had 3 suitcases, 3 carry-on bags, a stroller and various stuff in their pockets. Well, it took them 10 minutes to get every thing on the belt and get it into the scanner. Then of course they could not get through the metal detector. They must have gone through that detector 10 times until they stopped beeping. It was a comedy of errors. I had to laugh or I would have started to cry. They need to bring the “Family Lane” to O’Hare so that people that travel a lot and know how to go through security can avoid these situations.

So I made it through security, finally! I proceed to the gate and waited to board. The boarding process went smooth, even with a full plane and we were off to Miami on time! Wow, what a great flight. I really enjoyed it, all the on board entertainment worked very well, and the seat reclined too, as little as it reclines, it’s still nice when it works. We arrived at Miami 10 minutes early and I was a happy customer. Now remember, I check my bag. I guess that was a mistake. I waited almost 40 minutes for my bag and my bag was one of the first ones to come around the belt. I guess this should have been my first clue that American at the Miami Airport has some major operational problems. I took my bag and I was off to the Hyatt Regency Miami in a cab. I actually got a cab driver that knew where he was going and got me to the hotel in record time.

It was a great weekend conference. I had hundreds of people at my workshop and panel. It was a really wonderful experience.

So it is now 5:30AM on Monday and I am on my way to the Miami Airport for my return flight home. I arrive at the American Airlines terminal and proceed to the self-service check-in. As easy as it was at O’Hare on Saturday, it was that very difficult in Miami. I had already checked in on my computer at the hotel and I had my boarding pass. So I followed the directions on the self check-in machine and I touched “Bag Check Only.” I am good at following directions. It then told me to scan my boarding pass or put in my record locator number. Well, my boarding pass would not scan, so I entered my record locator number. It took it a while but it found me. It asked me how many bags I wanted to check and I pressed 1. It then asked me for my credit card. I inserted my Amex, it didn’t like that one, it said, “Enter another Credit Card” so I entered my Visa. I guess it liked that magnetic strip, and it charged my credit card. It then told me to go to the “Checked Baggage Only” line. And then it printed another boarding pass for me. Why I don’t know. So there are signs all over that state “Look For The Baggage Only Check-in Line.” That’s great, I am looking all over the place for this Baggage line and I can’t find it. I ask one of the AA employees, where is this Baggage Only line for self-serve? She informs me that I should just get in any line, we don’t have a Baggage Only line. Now mind you, I am standing in front of this sign that is telling people to look for this Baggage Only line and this employee is telling me they don’t have a Baggage Only line. So I get in line and I wait 20 minutes to hand my bag to an agent and it is 6AM! Once I get to the agent, she could not print out my luggage tracking tag that I had already put in all the info in the check-in kiosk. Unlike the Chicago Check-in kiosk where your luggage tags are printed out at the front of the bank of kiosks. So it took 30 minutes for me to check in at a very disorganized Miami Check-in area for American. Then you have to lug your bag over to this area where another employee takes your bag. And this is out of the way. They really have to figure this baggage thing out in Miami.

Now it’s off to the security. I figured, 630AM on a Monday morning, how bad could it be. I came around the corner and noticed that the line was not that long. So that was a good sign. Little did I know that the TSA agent that was checking ID’s thought he was Columbo and was interrogating every passenger that had to pass through his post. This short line that should have been no more than 5 minutes turned into another 20-minute ordeal.

Once I got through security, and yes I was behind another family that had at least 120 pieces of stuff to put thought the belt. How do I get so lucky! All I want to do is check in, go through security and get on my airplane. Is that too much to ask?

I now hike to the new gate area at the Miami Airport. American has opened part of their new terminal. It is really very nice, but the hike to the last gate, well, it’s a REAL hike. And there are no moving sidewalks like some other new airports with long walks have. But I make it to the gate with about 35 minutes to spare. I find a nice spot to settle in to wait for boarding. Now I understand how AA wants to board. You have a group and you are to board by group. Well, it kind of didn’t happen, as the agents lost control of the entire boarding process, which in turn backed everything up. It was like watching a keystone cop movie. Instead of having each group board, they boarded the early boards and then they called group 1, then 2 minutes later they called group 1, 2 and 3. And this is on a FULL 757! On the plane, there was not enough space for the deluge of carryon bags that the $15 bag charge has caused. People standing in the aisles shoving these bags that should have never gotten past the gate agent, trying to cram them into the overhead bins. Well, we did leave 8 minutes late, because no one that was in the aisle would sit down. What a nut house!

So we finally get settled and the plane gets pushed back, taxied and we took off.  The crew was friendly and efficient, but the audio system had this terrible buzz that it was very hard to watch the video. After about 15 minutes of the buzz, it started to fade, so I was able to watch the “CBS eye on American” video entertainment on the video screen. They showed 3 sitcoms. “How I Met Your Mother” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “The Big Band Theory.” Now these are prime time family sitcoms right? Well, I guess American doesn’t think so. Get this, they were bleeping out 25% of the dialog. It ruined the video. I was able to read lips at times and the words they were bleeping out were, sex, screwed and full sentences. Folks, these are not programs that are on pay per view, these are prime time network sitcoms. I just don’t get it. Why would they censor these programs? It really ticked me off. I think that American needs to chill out or stop airing video on its aircraft.

 The flight itself was comfortable and the plane was clean. But if you have to fly out of Miami on American, beware! They don’t have their act together like they do at Chicago O’Hare and it could be very frustrating.

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American Airlines to buy up to 100 Boeing 787’s

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 28, 2008


 

787 Dreamliner

787 Dreamliner

American Airlines announced this past week that they plan on purchasing up to 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners at a cost of $15 billion dollars. This purchase could make American the largest operator of the new Boeing aircraft.

 

“This state-of-the-art aircraft will offer many cost and environmental benefits, particularly fuel efficiency and customer friendly attributes and comforts” said Thomas Horton, executive vice president and CFO during the airlines October 15 conference call with financial analysts.

American plans to buy 42 of the 787 Dreamliners for delivery between 2012 and 2018, with an option for 58 more for delivery between 2015 and 2020.

The first 787 flight was scheduled for August of 2007, with deliveries to begin in May of 2008. But due to delays and a strike at Boeing, the first flight is now planned for the fourth quarter of 2008 and initial deliveries slated for the third quarter of 2009.

The new 787-9 is designed to carry up to 290 passengers, with at range of up to 8,500 nautical mailes. The 787-9 is a stretch version of the 787-8 and will use 20% less fuel then current aircraft flying today.

These are some of the airlines that have ordered the 787 Dreamliner. 

  1. Qantas – 65 planes
  2. All Nippon Airways – 50 planes
  3. Air Canada – 37 planes
  4. Japan Airlines – 35 planes
  5. Etihad Airways – 35 planes
  6. LAN Airlines – 26 planes
  7. Continental – 25 planes
  8. Aeroflot – 22 planes

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JetBlue to Increase Service to the Caribbean

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 26, 2008


 

JetBlue at the Gate

JetBlue at the Gate

JetBlue announced that it will add service to Nassau Bahamas from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale on February 1, 2009. And St. Maarten will be getting a new Saturday flight from Boston beginning February 14. All service is subject to government approval. So getting to the Caribbean just got a little easer. Check http://www.jetblue.com for reservations and fares.

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AirTran to Cancun starting in February

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 2, 2008


 

 

AirTran 737 in Flight

AirTran 737 in Flight

For all of you living in the Atlanta area and The Baltimore/Washington area, AirTran will begin service to Cancun from your airports. The Atlanta  service will be daily and the Baltimore/Washington service will be on weekend only. The Atlanta service will begin on February 25 and the Baltimore service will begin on March 7. 

 

 

A press release states “Cancun is a premier vacation destination, and we will begin offering flights just in time to drive down fares and accommodate heavy passenger traffic for Winter and Spring Breaks,” said Kevin Healy, senior vice president of marketing and planning for AirTran Airways.  “AirTran Airways is committed to providing our customers with high quality service and low fares to the destinations they prefer.”

Here is the schedule for both Atlanta and Baltimore.

 

Nonstop Service Between Cancun and Atlanta

From   To   Flight   Departs Arrives Frequency
Atlanta   Cancun   41   10:00 a.m. 11:30 a.m. Daily
Cancun   Atlanta   42   12:15 p.m.   3:50 p.m. Daily

The following nonstop flights between Cancun and Baltimore/Washington will be available beginning March 7*:

Nonstop Service Between Cancun and Baltimore/Washington

From   To   Flight   Departs   Arrives   Frequency
Baltimore /Washington   Cancun   84   11:35 a.m.   2:00 p.m.   Sat / Sun**
Cancun   Baltimore /Washington   85     2:45 p.m.   7:10 p.m.   Sat / Sun**

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, Business Class, cancun, caribbean, Coach, economy, first class, free, Hotels, islands, Las Vegas, luggage, Mexico, news, seniors, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Customer Service at United Airlines Reservation Dept

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 30, 2008


 

United Flight Board at O'Hare Airport

United Flight Board at O'Hare

I just got off the phone with a United Reservation agent. I don’t know what country he was in, but it was no where near the United States. I was trying to use a denied boarding compensation ticket voucher I received because I was bumped off a United flight from Seattle to Chicago a few months ago. This agent did not know which end was up. I told him I was flying from Chicago O’Hare to Las Vegas. He then asked me if I was flying out of Ontario CA, I told him I just said I was flying out of O’Hare. He probably has never even been to O’Hare. I told him that I wanted to use my Denied boarding voucher. He told me I would have to mail it to a PO box and have it postmarked by Monday to use it. Well, I told him Monday was a holiday, Labor Day and there was no way I could have it postmarked by Monday Sept 1 as the post office is closed on Sunday and Monday. He said he was sorry but I had to have it postmarked by Monday. I could not believe it. I told him that he was making it very difficult for me to make this reservation and then he insulted me by telling me I was the one that was making it difficult. What a jerk! I then said, OK, I will go to O’Hare tomorrow to pick it up. He said I would have to get it ticketed at O’Hare by 7PM on Sunday as the ticket counter closes at 7PM. I told him that there are flight out of O’Hare after 7PM, how can the ticket counter close at 7PM. He told me people can check in but they cannot buy tickets. Now how ludicrous is that statement. What if you want to take a flight at 9PM but you don’t have a ticket. Well, if you talked to the agent I talked to, you could not buy a ticket. Maybe United should just close up shop and call it quits, as their employees don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Needless to say, I did not get my reservation and I just said thank you and hung up the phone in discuss. I will try this again tomorrow. Maybe I will get someone that can help me and not criticize me.

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United Airlines Gets My Vote!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on May 27, 2008


United Flight at Lift-offThis past Sunday I had the good fortune to fly from Seattle to Chicago on United Airlines. I have to tell you that I had the best experience with the gate agent at United in Seattle. This Agent, was so friendly and helpful that it made it a pleasure to be a passenger. I wish I would have gotten her name, but she was the Best!! Kudos to United in Seattle. You made my flight back home to Chicago just a little less stressful.

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