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Top 5 Friday: 5 Random Observations from This Week’s Trip

I’m back a bit early from my excursion (I’ve recently changed jobs, so I’ll be traveling more nowadays), and I thought I’d share 5 thoughts from the trip:

- Changing your return flight on an international trip can be ridiculous.  My roundtrip fare was originally $800.  I decided to come back early…the cost to make that change?  $1600.  Instead I threw out the return ticket and  booked a roundtrip for $700.  I’ve said before that my biggest issue with this type of thing is not that it’s ridiculous – airlines are just trying to maximize revenue.  My issue is that most of us on that plane are just trying to get home to our families, and when it costs $1600 to do that on an $800 ticket, it’s annoying.  My solution?  Airlines send Elite members a “get home free” card where once (twice?) a year they change their return ticket for free.

- You know how after a long flight, the cabin is in complete disarray with newspapers, food, blankets, and random crap strewn everywhere?  Somehow the flight over to Amsterdam was nearly spotless when we disembarked.  Weird.

- Flights to Europe from the East Coast are brutal.  No matter how many times you do it, or how much ambien you take, it’s not long enough to get a night’s sleep and the time change makes a short work trip into a series of dream-like experiences.  I looked across the table during one meeting and saw my co-worker with her head down on the table fighting to stay awake.  There’s no real answer to this, but it became the theme of the trip.  I’ll take the 10-hour South American overnight with no time change any day.

- On a short Edelweiss Air flight from Amsterdam to Zurich they served a sandwich of some sort during the 65 minute hop.  I’ve heard repeatedly about how amazing the service is in other countries because they serve food even on short flights.  But honestly – what the hell difference does that make?  If you can’t go from 9:50am to 11:05am without eating a ham and cheese sandwich, you have problems.  (Disclaimer:  I ate it.)

- I know I’m the only person in the world who loves Spirit Airlines, but I called them on Friday at 5:15pm to book a 7:45pm flight to Florida with a Sunday return.  It cost $190.  You can hate them all you want, but that’s just fantastic.

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  1. Yes, consider that I fly Montreal to Boston quite a bit, a 40 minute flight on a 50 seat RJ [cost break even at 13 passengers] and even if you’re lucky and two weeks ahead and all the star are properly aligned, you will never pay less than 400$. Even if I use my aeroplan points, it’s 15,000 points and 150$. So, to be able to get a 150$ ticket to ANYWHERE is a miracle that everyone in the USA should be very grateful for. You guys fly to europe for less than it costs me to fly 40 minutes in a RJ…

    As for junk in planes, I’m sorry to say, but it depends on who is in the plane. I’ve been puzzled by this. I can’t point it to one demographic either. Seems to be on larger planes too… And they DO clean between flights. So, it really is the poeple inside that make the difference. Maybe longer flights and not enough visits from the crew armed with trash bags? I know we pay to get a clean plane. But throwing trash on the ground is totally uncivilized, no one can tell me otherwise. If you throw trash to the ground, if you throw your cigarette out your car window, you’re a pig and don’t care about other people’s liberty to have a clean environment. You don’t care that it means longer turn around times for the airline and so, higher ticket prices. Maybe it IS longer flights and not enough trash runs. Maybe they could announce “trash run” or a little special sound effect that represents trash and have someone NOT WITH A TROLLEY but with a simple plastic bad quickly go down the aisle once per hour on the flight. It might help. But doesn’t excuse anyone into acting like an animal that loves to roll in mud.


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