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Life Of The Lorigans » Blog Archive » Traveling Fool

Traveling Fool

Written by Pat on March 11th, 2009

Well, Shae and I made it back from our trip up to King City/Lockwood. Overall it was a pretty good trip. Shae’s dad’s retirement party was lots of fun. Good food, a few beers, and lots of funny game warden stories. My dad and Dorothy made a trip down for the party so Jack and Ella had lots of grandparents to play with. As a bonus, it was my mom’s birthday on Sunday so it was nice to be able to spend some time with her on her b-day. Like I said, it was a good trip and a fun weekend.

I could probably recap the party and grandparent visits more, but I’d rather bitch about my travels. Since Shae drove up with the little ones a week before I headed North, I caught a flight up to Monterey to meet up with them. There aren’t a lot of flights from San Diego to Monterey so I had little choice but to hitch a ride on a tiny plane from SD to LAX and then another puddle jumper up to Monterey. I’ve had the pleasure of flying in the tiny American Eagle planes in the past so I wasn’t exactly expecting first class accomidations or anything. In fact, my first flight was cramped but nothing too bad. The SkyMall magazine was in rare form this trip. From a replica Capt. Kirk seat to $70 dog nail trimmers there was tons of great stuff. It was once I got to LAX that my trip soured.

When we landed at LAX, our flight attendant read off the gates of connecting American Eagle flights and I was happy to learn that my flight to Monterey was only three gates down from the gate I was arriving at. I would soon learn that was because the crappy terminal we landed at consisted of about six gates. There must have been a whole thirty people waiting at the terminal. Talk about life in the big city. Anyway, after hanging out at the hub of LAX for a bit (and typing up a blog on my phone), I realized I should probably make a quick stop at the restroom before boarding my next flight. After about 30 seconds of exploring the entire terminal, I finally found the one men’s bathroom in the terminal and of course it was closed. Seriously, if you only have one freakin’ restroom in a terminal maybe you should clean it sometime other than the middle of the day. Perhaps try cleaning one of the 50 other terminals that have been graced with multiple crappers during the day and hit up the solo terminal when the place is empty (well…emptier…at full capacity the puddle jumper terminal is pretty close to empty). Just an idea.

About an hour or so after my arrival at LAX it was time to board my next flight. Once again, I folded myself into my tiny seat and got ready to get airborne. Here’s the part about my entire airplane experience that really got to me. My flight was pretty full, but it wasn’t packed (I saw about 10 empty seats when I glanced around). However, as we were waiting to leave the gate a representative from the airline got on board and told us that the plane was too heavy and one passenger would have to get off (“This plane will not leave this gate until someone gets of.”). I understand that the airlines are hurting and need to sell every ticket possible, but if the plane can’t fly with a full load of passengers then why the hell don’t they take out a row or two and give everyone more leg room?!? How does it make sense to make seats smaller to get more on the plane if you can’t even fly if the plane is full? If it was one or two empty seats I would think maybe the luggage was heavier than normal but there were at least 10 open seats, and I’ve heard from several other people that this has happened on their flights too. It cost American a $200 travel voucher to get a passenger to wait an hour for another flight, which is more than double what the full-fare LAX-Monterey ticket costs. That’s some good business there.

Anyway, once the plane got airborne the flight was actually pretty nice (even if I could really have used the extra leg room that removing a row or two would have provided…go read the rant in the previous paragraph again while I calm down…OK, I’m good now). The flight from LAX to Monterey goes right up the coast for a while and then over some coastal hills that were beautiful. We landed right on time (although I would like to know how a “50 minute” flight can take off 20 minutes late and land on time…shouldn’t they just schedule it as a 30 minute flight and list the real departure time?), and was met at the airport by Shae, her dad, and the twins. After a week apart, it was actually pretty great to see Jack and Ella again.

A few other random notes on my travel experience:

  • As usual, I checked in online and printed out my boarding passes. The difference this time, however, was that American placed ads for hotels and tourist attractions on the boarding pass screen. I was able to find a “Print without attractions” link so the ads weren’t on my actual boarding passes, but still…wow. The airlines have resorted to selling advertisements on boarding passes now. I wonder what’s next.
  • This is not the first time I’ve been on a plane since they started selling peanuts and almonds, but it’s the first time I actually caught the price. $3.00 for almonds? What the hell?!? Beer/liquor bottles are $6.00, but a little bag of nuts cost 3 bucks. Out in the “real” world a can of Heineken or whatever costs what, a buck-fifty? That would put the markup at around 400% which is a lot, but nothing near charging $3 for a $0.25 bag of nuts (1200%). Does anyone actually pay three dollars for the almonds? I’d like to meet that person and ask them how long they had to starve themselves before they were willing to pay that much money for half of a snack.
  • I got to the San Diego airport around 10:30 (for an 11:30 flight), and got off the plane in Monterey at 2:50. So it took me almost 4.5 hours to get from SD to Monterey, of which all of about 60 minutes was spent in the air. Factor in the hour to drive back down to King City and it actually took the same amount of time to fly as it would have to just drive (pre-baby). Of course, if I’d driven I wouldn’t have gotten to learn about the replica Capt. Kirk chair and the $70 dog nail clippers. Thanks SkyMall.

Well, that’s about it for my travelling rant. The drive home was much better than our last trip. Shae was able to squeeze in between the car seats so we didn’t have to stop for 30 minutes every time Jack and Ella had to eat, and we actually made pretty decent time. The trip still took longer than it used to before Shae and babies, but it wasn’t the 10 hour ordeal of our last drive from King City to SD. Overall it was a pretty nice weekend and it’s good to have Shae and the babies home, even if I do miss being able to sleep. Shae took something like 350 photos (seriously, for once I’m not exagerating) so hopefully we’ll have some new pics over in our gallery sometime soon.

One last thing: if you haven’t checked out Shae’s “Daily Photo” blog (not really daily, but I’m giving up on that battle), she’s actually been updating it lately and has some cool photos (and edits).

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