I think I have given up

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by Dovster, Oct 13, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Dovster
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    Dovster Gold Member

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    Perhaps I pushed it too much and that is the reason but I think I have given up flying to the States.

    In the past 12 months I have made three trips to Las Vegas. Yes, I broke them up by staying in Atlanta each time for a couple of days in both directions, but even then 17 hours in aluminum tubes in each direction is just too much.

    I made the flights as easy on myself as possible by flying Biz Elite/FC (until two years ago I would usually book Economy) but the simple fact is that it is simply not possible for me to avoid being miserable when stuck in planes for that long.

    My last itinerary was TLV-MXP-PRG-TLV. The longest segment was 4 1/2 hours. My next one will be TLV-PRG-DUS and returning FRA-PRG-TLV. I will spend four days in PRG in one direction and two days on the return trip and the longest segment will be 4 hours, 10 minutes.

    That is so workable that I am taking Economy again and forking out about $450 instead of over $4000 as I did on my Vegas trips.

    As hard as it is for me to admit it to myself, I may never see my native country again. I am not going to give up travel completely, but I may well restrict myself to European trips.

    If I do go to the US, it is almost certain to be the Northeast and even then with a long stop in Europe in both directions. That should limit my time in an aluminum tube to about 9 hours. That is a lot better than the 13 hour TLV-ATL segments but still is not something I look forward to.

    Oddly enough, this may make me into more of a frequent flyer although it certainly will reduce my mileage total to the point where I won't have elite status on any airline when my current Delta Gold disappears in Feb 2013.
     
  2. Flyer1976
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    After doing LAX-HND-ICN-HKG-AKL-PER I can say I feel your pain...Unfortunately for me I'm mostly international so being in America guarantees me 8+ hours in an aluminum tube either direction...I can only suck it up and appreciate being in J/F more often...
     
  3. dhammer53
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    Good. We can visit the old neighborhood. :cool:
     
  4. jbcarioca
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    You both are soon to become lucky. The B787 is not aluminum, so you can then be stuck in a plastic tube. Isn't that better?
     
  5. NYBanker
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    Why did you travel to LAS. Was it to see friends? Or just for fun?
     
  6. Gaucho
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    LOL :D
     
  7. Gaucho
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    Whats wrong with LAS...?

    Plenty of things to do even if you dont have friends or family in town..... :cool:
     
  8. NYBanker
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    No issue here. When I was younger and had business in lax, I'd fly to las, spend the night (up at the casino) then take an early morning flight to lax. No hotel. I'd sleep on the flight to lax...sort of my 45 minute red eye flight. Then shower at the admirals club and be ready for the day...

    Too old to do that now (I'd not make it to lunch the following day)...but it was fun.
     
  9. Gaucho
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    Why does that routine sound familiar....???? :cool:
     
  10. NYBanker
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    I used to joke that my secretary stuffed up and booked me an overnight connection in vegas by accident.

    Notwithstanding any gambling losses, I saved a bunch on airfare as those point to point trips are far less expensive than the transcon.
     
  11. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    I wish I had only 17 hours for my flights. I've got over 60 hours on my flight next week. A forced overnight in ICN may help a little bit, but flying most of itinerary HA F is going to be an adventure I won't want to repeat soon.
     
  12. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    I feel your pain too. I had a stretch of 4 trips in 20 months from SFO-TLV (not that many, I know), and it was grueling, especially the one in Y. My kids were wiped out from that one for 4 days.

    Of course, the thrill of visiting Israel overcomes that for me, so I'll be back in December.
     
  13. Dovster
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    I chose LAS for the fun -- but while there I saw friends.
     
  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Oh... Lots of things... Where do I start? ;-)


    F & F ensure that I visit a few times a year, but fortunately for me it's just a short hop from the bay area.
     
  15. Dovster
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    I'll be back in Israel in December, too -- after spending the first two weeks of the month in Germany and Prague.
     
  16. nime01
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    How about a stopover in Reykjavik? Free stopovers when you fly Icelandair, and you can have a very relaxing break there.
     
  17. Dovster
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    Icelandair does not fly into Israel, but you have reminded me of one of my most pleasurable trips ever (for reasons which will become obvious).

    In the late 1960s, Icelandair (then known as Loftleidir) was an LCC. It flew out of JFK, you connected in Reykjavik, and then continued on to the only European airport it served -- in Luxembourg. It had only Economy class, cost less than half of what other airlines charged, and almost everyone on its flights were backpacking youths. It was not a quiet flight as generally at least one would take out his guitar, start singing, and most other passengers would join in.

    The itinerary started out very well -- the plane had mechanical issues and Loftleidir put us all up in a hotel near the airport. Before the flight was cancelled I had already started talking with a German student who was on her way home, where she was going to join her fiance. When we got to the hotel we spent some time in the bar and then she decided that if she was going to cheat on her fiance this was the time to do it -- before they got married and it became adultery.

    (I actually met her and her fiance in Germany a few weeks later. He was a very nice fellow but I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and didn't tell him about our pre-flight activities.)

    On the way back, we had a scheduled overnight layover in Reykjavik. It was on the flight there that I managed the most difficult type of pick up imaginable -- separating two women who were traveling together. We started talking in the airport and shortly after takeoff one of them switched seats to be next to me. Her companion got the extra bonus of having a private hotel room that night.

    Alas, these days my chances of a repeat experience are almost nil -- especially with women in their early 20's.
     
  18. jbcarioca
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    Now my faith is restored. It was indeed Dovster who started this thread. I was beginning to wonder.:D
     
  19. Dovster
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    I have never kept it a secret that long before I became a Dirty Old Man, I was a Dirty Young Man.
     
  20. rwoman
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    At least you're honest... ;)
     
  21. Toula
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    What a wimp, I suggest you take yourself off from London to Sydney in economy and turn around and comeback the next day. That will make you realise how easy it is going from TLV to the US.

    Seriously I do feel for you. We are well over long haul flights. We have declared that in retirement we will be treating flights like buses and will not go further than 6 hours in any day.
     
  22. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    Man, reading the above thread is depressing. Is this what I have to look forward to in 20-30 years?

    I'd say it's all about getting sleep and/or having some form of entertainment that truly entertains you. In the last year, I've done LAX to BKK and EZE.... in economy.... and I can honestly say that it wasn't bad at all. Just kept myself occupied and/or slept. Heck, I caught 5 movies on the BKK-LAX on TG.
     
  23. miles and smiles
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    Just don't give up on entertaining us with your stories, Dovster. :D

    Of course, your problem would be solved, I am sure, if you would arrange for the proper female accompaniment on your flights. ;)
     
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  24. Traveller
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    Let's see what you say in 30 years. :)
     
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  25. Dovster
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    We have different outlooks. The way I see it is that I have been in two armies, both dedicated to keeping me free.

    As a result, I can now get into an aluminum tube for 13 hours, be told when I can get up and when I have to sit down with a belt on; when and what I can eat (with some minor choices); if I can go to the toilet; what movies I have to choose from (if they allow a choice at all); who I have to sit next to; that under no circumstances can I have a cigarette; and how much I can carry with me on board.

    For this, I have to fork out a minimum of $4000!

    Been there, done that, and the result was even worse. Witness this trip report I once made on another bulletin board, whose name I can't remember, which at the time was run by some guy who lives in Colorado Springs:

    Never, ever, take a trip with my UIG (Used Italian Girlfriend). I am not telling you this out of jealousy, but simply to save your sanity. (That presumes that you have any sanity at all -- which is highly questionable if you are even considering flying anywhere with the UIG.)

    In the past, there was never any question of the UIG going with me to the States. As a confirmed Euro Leftist, she has a visceral hatred of anything American (which I often suspect includes me). She has been boycotting the U.S. for years and I had every reason to believe that she would continue to do so.

    Then, tragedy struck! Last summer, she told me that if Obama won the election, she would take a trip to America. As I knew that she would not go alone, I immediately sent a large donation to the McCain campaign.
    Alas, I apparently did not send enough and both McCain and I were sunk. When she learned that I was going to Florida and New York in June, she informed me that she would be joining me.

    She flew to Israel about a week before the flight and, on the ill-fated day, we went to TLV together. Yosithezet had posted that he would be flying at the same time and I accepted his invitation to take us both into El Al's King David Lounge.

    As we left, the UIG launched into a lecture on how it was anti-social for airlines to give lounge services to some passengers and not all of them.

    We got on our flight to ATL and I figured that she would at least be happy with the seats. Yes, they were in Economy, but they were exit row and bulkhead with plenty of room for us. By the time we landed, she swore she would never sit there again -- too many people had disturbed her sleep while they lined up for the lavs.

    We made our connection for our FLL flight and, upon arriving, went straight to Hertz. The woman at the Gold Counter remembered me from my trip in November and immediately upgraded us. Naturally, the UIG was furious -- figuring that I must have fooled around with her during that trip. Why else, the UIG demanded to know, would she give me an upgrade at no extra charge?

    When we got to the hotel room, the UIG announced that it was freezing and demanded that I turn off the air conditioner. It was not to be turned on again -- not the greatest way to be comfortable in Boca Raton in June.

    The next day, she announced that we were going to the beach. It is completely unimportant that she has a house in Tel Aviv that is 5 minutes from the Med. She had never been in the Atlantic and that was that.
    It didn't matter that there had been thunderstorms all night and the sky was heavily clouded -- she insisted that she was going swimming. I pulled into a parking lot, paid for three hours (which was the minimum she would agree to) and showed her to the beach. I headed, instead, to eat some chocolate cake. I barely finished when she called for me to come and get her. It really was no surprise as there was a downpour which rivaled a minor hurricane.

    Naturally, this was somehow my fault, too.

    After two more days of her not finding anything at all in Florida that she liked, we flew to New York. The first day was spent walking around lower Manhattan. This was okay -- except that she could not find any food that she liked, which is almost an impossibility in New York City.

    The next day was really a problem. She wanted to spend it in the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art. No way that I was going to go to either of these place. I could simply have enough rum and Cokes and most anything I looked at would seem just like the paintings they have there.

    I did agree to take her to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has a lot of things that don't look like they came out of a kaleidoscope, but that was my limit. She decided I was a complete barbarian when she headed to MOMA and I went to see the latest Star Trek movie instead.

    The next day was spent shopping, mostly in the trendy Chelsea shops, where she went through more money than our combined airfares had cost. This, of course, left her with a new complaint -- I had not packed anything fancy enough to wear to a restaurant where her new clothes would not be over-dressy.

    I solved this problem at a store near Times Square which was having a large sale on men's designer clothes. I bought a Ralph Lauren suit, a dress shirt, and silk-cotton blend vest and paid $340 for the whole thing. A good price, right? Wrong. There is no place in Israel where I will ever wear that outfit and it will probably remain in my closet until I gain enough weight so that I won't be able to fit into it.

    Still, she finally had no reason to complain and we headed off to an Italian restaurant which was fancy enough to match our clothing (and which cost almost as much).

    We had reservations for four nights at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tribeca (Manhattan) and two more nights at another Hilton Garden Inn near JFK. The plan was to drive out to JFK on Friday night to switch hotels, and drive back Saturday morning to meet DHammer's bus for the Brooklyn Reality Tour.

    When I picked up the car from the Hertz in Tribeca, I was not given an upgrade. Somehow, this was my fault, too. I guess I should have visited New York last November and fooled around with the girl at that counter.

    It was only 18 miles from one hotel to the other, but as this was 5 pm, and we were driving out of Manhattan, the trip took almost two hours. The UIG spent most of it complaining about how we were going to face the same problem on Saturday and Sunday. I tried explaining about New York rush hour (which should not have been surprising to her as she faces the same thing in both Milan and Tel Aviv) but she would not listen. She was positive we were going to spend four hours each day driving.

    Okay, she liked the next two days (which included the Brooklyn Reality Tour and a return visit to Brooklyn on Sunday). On Sunday evening, we planned to fly out and she kept demanding that we not get those exit row seats again.

    When we got to JFK we were told that our flight was overbooked and they were looking for volunteers to be bumped. Delta was offering $400 in Delta Dollars (not real money) for those who agreed to fly the following day. I spoke with the GA, told her I didn't care about the Delta Dollars but wanted an upgrade to Biz Elite. She told me to wait -- they needed so many volunteers that they would probably offer that before the end.
    When it was announced that the price had gone up to $600 (plus hotel accommodations and food vouchers) the UIG started pressing me to agree. I still held out and eventually we received the upgrade as well.

    Delta put us in the Ramada Plaza, which required us walking to the airport train, taking it to where the shuttle buses come, and then getting on a bus to the hotel. Of course, they didn't give us the vouchers until they managed to finish boarding the flight (about an hour late) and by the time we got to the hotel it was two hours after the original takeoff and the UIG was furious again.

    Mostly, she was upset that she would have to go through check in and the TSA line all over again (both had been very crowded) and she barely spoke to me (except to repeat the complaints) for the next 20 hours.
    When we got back to JFK, we went through the First Class check in, which was almost empty, and the TSA line for FC -- which was also very short. At that point she started complaining about how unfair it was that people who could afford to pay more had shorter waits.

    We went to the Delta Crown Room Club (flying international in Biz Elite got us entry), discovered she had free internet, snacks, and drinks, and suddenly cheered up.

    We waited until shortly before boarding and went to the gate. The flight was again overbooked and Delta was offering the same $600. She couldn't make up her mind of whether to take it or not. I couldn't do it because I have to take an injection 90 minutes before flying and had just used up my last one. Naturally, this gave her another reason to complain.

    Fortunately, when she found that Biz Elite means seats that almost turn into beds and very good food, she calmed down -- at least until we arrived at TLV and found that we faced another traffic jam to to get to her house.
     

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