Starling Travel

June 17, 2012

Welcome To Miami: United Airlines Style

Filed under: Airline Travel,Florida,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Found in Mom’s Basement has a ton of vintage travel posters from United Airlines, but I particularly like this one for Miami.

United Airlines Miami

I love the bold lines and colors that represent a relaxing day in the sun. I hate flying, so the thought of getting on an airplane so I can relax in the sun seems counter-intuitive to me, but I’m sure I’d feel differently if I were suffering through the thick of winter right now.

January 24, 2012

See Cuba, Just Not Today

Filed under: Airline Travel,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

It’s possible for Americans to visit Cuba, but there is a ton of red tape to cut through and even more hoops to jump through before you can. If you are just a casual traveler, Cuba really isn’t an option, but you CAN see Cuba, just not today.

Here is a video travelogue from 1937, showing a pre-Castro Cuba in all its glory.

Back then, travel via airplane was a novelty and an expensive one at that, so most citizens of the United States were only able to visit Cuba vicariously through this film reel. Just like us, they were trapped in their movie theaters, unable to visit this island, but the restrictions were pecuniary, not political. Just recovering from the Great Depression, so many of our citizens were just glad to have survived.

The next time you are feeling trapped in your hometown, whether it’s because of the economy, gas prices or the fact that our countries are still locked in disagreement with each other, take a virtual vacation to Cuba and fly the Lindbergh Trail.

August 25, 2011

FINALLY! Some Consumer Protection From Airlines

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 10:07 am

Delta Royal Service Flights: click to see full sizeIt has been over two years since my last Delta flight. Mike, Stacey, Dan and I were taking a Christmas flight to California from Salt Lake City, Utah. After a long delay, they finally boarded our plane and we thought we were going to get to California, even if we were more than a couple hours late. Then we sat in the plane. And we sat. And we SAT! Our plane was still at the gate, but the doors were closed and we were not allowed to leave. We waited in that damn plane for FIVE hours before they finally taxied down the runway.

That wasn’t even the end of the story. Because they had waited so long, they couldn’t land at our destination airport because it was CLOSED, so they landed at Orange County and “graciously” offered to bus us to John Wayne Airport. Of course, it was closed, so we wouldn’t have been able to get a cab there to our hotel, so we ended up paying THREE times as much for a cab ride to our hotel in Anaheim.

They offered us some points on our Delta Miles, which turned out to be useless (like all those miles are). They didn’t feed us. They didn’t let us just GET OFF the plane. They barely apologized. In the end, it took us ELEVEN hours from the time we arrived at the SLC airport to the time we got to our hotel. We could have DRIVEN it in that time and Delta did NOTHING to reimburse us.

We haven’t flown Delta since.

This isn’t the first time something like this happened. Here is a famous YouTube video of someone who had a VERY similar experience as ours:

Just watching that video gives me flashbacks. In fact, it became so ubiquitous that 30 Rock wrote a plot line about being trapped on the tarmac. You can actually watch the whole episode on HULU here:

I broke into a cold sweat as I watched that episode and when Liz Lemon tried to defend us, I applauded.

You know what? This is WRONG! I can see the terminal from my window, where people are buying new magazines and crossing their legs and eating at a Chili’s Express. We were like them once and we CAN BE AGAIN! We still have our dignity.

Are your passengers just cattle, or are maybe some of them, maybe even just ONE of them, someone you care about?

If this is you doing your job, you’re TERRIBLE at it!

That entire episode left me shellshocked from our experience. It’s nice to know that the Department of Transportation is trying to do SOMETHING to protect us from situations like this. Consumer Reports gives us the information on the new rules that the airlines have to follow.

Here are the rules to protect you:

  • If a U.S. or international flight sits on the tarmac for more than four hours the DOT can impose fines of up to $27,500 per passenger.
  • Passengers bumped from an oversold flight must be compensated double the price of the purchased ticket (up to $650), unless the airline gets them to their destination within a few hours. Currently, compensation is equal to the ticket up to $400. If the arrival time of bumped travelers is delayed by more than a few hours it would mean payments of four times the value of a ticket, up to $1,300. Currently, that compensation is capped at $800.
  • Airlines must prominently display all fees on their websites, including fees for checked bags, in-flight meals and cancelled reservations.

Had Delta been facing a fine of almost two million dollars for my flight so many years ago, I think they would have cancelled it rather than lock us in that plane for HOURS. The four of us could have retrieved our luggage and driven to California in the same amount of time that they tortured us. Hopefully, these new rules will urge the airlines to treat us more like customers and less like cattle.

Via: Lifehacker: Make Sure You Get Fair Treatment Thanks to the Department of Transportation’s New Air Travel Rules

June 30, 2011

How to Deal with Airline Damage

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 8:00 am

Airline DamageWhenever we fly, there is a new skid mark on our luggage. I always feel a little angry about the damage, but at the same time, I feel amazed that it arrived within thirty minutes of my disembarkation. I am constantly in awe at how airports are able to get my luggage onto my plane, transferred to my second plane and off the plane with as little damage as I see.

Sometimes, your luggage is damaged FAR more than the minor scuffs and scrapes. If it is, here is how to deal with it.

  • Inspect your bags BEFORE you leave the airport: It might not be too late if you go home first, but you will have to make a trip back to the airport, so make sure your luggage is fine before you leave.

  • Take pictures: Take pictures of the damage to your suitcase and then open your suitcase and inspect the contents. If anything is damaged within the suitcase, photograph it.

  • Find the baggage handling service desk: This may be a bigger task than you realize, especially if your flight arrived late at night when the airport is nearly empty. Once you find the desk, you’ll need to show your ticketing information and the damaged luggage to make a claim.

  • Damage reports are different for each airline: You’ll need to fill out a damage report, so make sure you are given one for the appropriate airline.

  • Wait and then call and then wait and then call: Honestly, these claims take FOREVER to process and getting reimbursed is a lengthy process. Expect to call the airline SEVERAL times in order to find out how your claim is progressing.

In the end, it may not be worth your time to pursue a claim against the airline if your luggage is damaged. I have always just thanked my lucky stars that I arrived at my destination with all of my bags, whether they were intact or not.

December 11, 2009

Air Travel

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 12:40 pm

I was enjoying the prosh sounds of Mod Scene. I imagined that at any moment Michael Caine could walk up to me and ask for a shag. Then this song came on: Air Travel by Chris Farlowe.

It was a song extolling the convenience and joys of air travel. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t being ironic.

Here are the lyrics:

Air travel (air travel) it’s the thing of the day
Air travel (air travel) it’s doin’ fine
So come on everybody now let’s get on board
We`re gonna take a trip around the world

We’re gonna take a little trip up to China
Just to see the China wall
We’re gonna take a trip over to Niagara
Just to see the pretty waterfall


We’re gonna take a little trip up to Norfolk
Just to see them build a great big ship
We’re gonna take a trip over to New Orleans
Just to see the girls shake their hips


When all of this is over
I know it’ll be too soon
But we’ll all come over to my house
And we will dance by the light of the moon


Can you imagine it? A time when people ENJOYED flying in an airplane? No strip searches at security. No elbows and shoulders crowding you for hours. I imagine it to look a lot like this:

Click to see full size United Airlines ad

Ad via: vintage_ads: United Airlines

November 26, 2009

Delta Royal Service Flights

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

This advertisement for Delta Royal Service Flights seems surreal to me.

Delta Royal Service Flights: click to see full size

It reads:

Extra hands assure extra luxuries on Delta Royal Service Flights.

Not two, but three alert stewardesses assure you of every attention in the brief span of a Delta Royal Service Flight. So linger over your luncheon or dinner with its complimentary champagne and choice of entree (tenderloin steak to order, Rock Cornish hen or seafood on appropriate days). There’s also music by Muzak, fast baggage handling, and beverage service for the discerning passengers who specify these luxurious flights.

I have to admit that every flight I’ve been on has had at least two and usually three flight attendants, but the idea of tenderloin steak served with champagne on an airplane is completely foreign to me. I’ve heard that air travel used to be something one dressed up for, but I’m not old enough to have ever seen it.

Personally, I like my flight the way it is. I don’t want to be fed on an airplane unless they hold me hostage for eight hours on the tarmac. I don’t even want an in-flight movie. What I’d really like is free Internet connectivity and three more inches of personal space. If I have to wear a pink Jackie O suit and pearls to get it, I’d be willing to do it.

Advert via: vintage_ads: Оригинал   (733×1024)

December 14, 2007

Planeguage: All The Reasons I HATE Flying

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 11:06 am

I’m sure Delta Airlines created these videos to show us how we are supposed to act politely on an airplane, but it just fell short for me. Each video tells me why I HATE to fly.

Planeguage: LavDance – A woman comes out of the lavatory to find a line of people waiting. The aisle is so small that she can’t get past them without some jostling. Who’s the rude one? The lady in the lavatory? The line of people blocking her way? How about the airline who designed a plane that can’t accommodate two people in the aisle.

Planeguage: Kidtastrophe – A man is assaulted by a boy kicking his chair while the parent does nothing to stop him. Anyone who has taken a flight to Salt Lake City has encountered this exact scenario.

Planeguage: Shady Lady – Everyone is watching the in-flight movie and they are surprised by a lady opening her shade so she can read her magazine. Later, a child is pointing at the Empire State Building, but the shade suddenly closes under the hand of the Shady Lady.

Planeguage: Middleman – A man hogs the armrests in the middle seat. The problem here is that there are no rules. A simple line down the middle of the armrest would solve ninety percent of this problem.

Planeguage: Miracle – A couple in love are destined to sit apart from each other, but a Miracle on 34th Row happens that allows them to sit together. This actually happened to Mike and me when we were flying to Hawaii, except without the miracle. Snow delayed our plan from SLC, so we missed our planned flight to Hawaii. The only other plane for 12 hours had us sitting so far apart and no one was willing to trade. SEVEN hours apart on our ROMANTIC Hawaii getaway. Thanks, Delta.

Instead of solving the logistical problems that cause LavDances and Middlemen and the need for Miracles, Delta spent a ton of money on an advertising agency to “train” us to be better travelers.

Bad form, Delta Airlines, bad form.

October 9, 2007

Take Out Your Nike+ Before You Go Through Security

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

They’re my running shoes. I wear them when I fly because there are times when I have to run to catch a plane connection. I once saw a girl trying to catch a plane wearing flip flops. I passed her up wearing my running shoes despite the fact that I was lugging my huge laptop and outweighed her by twenty pounds. I don’t know if she caught her flight, but I KNOW I caught mine. I’ve worn running shoes on the airplane ever since.

Only problem is, my running shoes set off a security flag and I had to go through the additional swipe and swab because of them:

Nike+ sets off airport security

This little Nike+ gadget has been a godsend to my running because it can track how far I’ve run. It’s better than any other exercise gadget I’ve ever owned, but it set off airport security.

Ironically, the same gadget in my purse was completely ignored, but when it was in my shoes, I had to go through the additional security screen. Since both my shoes and my purse are x-rayed, I thought it wouldn’t be an issue. Since the sensor in my shoe says Nike+ right on it, I didn’t think there would be a problem, but I spent an extra five minutes getting wanded and watching my shoes get swabbed in isolation while my husband wondered where I went.

If you wear Nike+ shoes, make sure you take your sensor out of your shoe and put it in your carry-on luggage when you go through security. Don’t forget to turn it off so that it doesn’t send the wireless signal when you move your feet. It is required by federal law.

To turn off your sensor, remove it from your shoe and with a pen, hold down the button for three seconds. To turn it back on, just press the button once very quickly.

The Nike+ is an awesome tool for measuring how far you’ve run, but it can set off airport security, so make sure you take the proper precautions when the TSA x-rays your shoes.

August 16, 2006

Latest Flight Advice

Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Since the latest terrorist plot to take down planes in England, flying with carry-on luggage is much more difficult. Here is the latest advice for traveling on airplanes:

The restrictions are limiting even baby food:

“Baby milk and liquid baby food are allowed but the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the parent.”

Plan on checking everything and then you won’t be surprised when they allow you to take your wallet and cellphone.

Here are the current limitations:

  • No liquids: This includes drinks and toiletries. Even prescription drugs that are in liquid form need to be checked by the airport pharmacist.

  • No sharp objects: This is a restriction from the post-9-11 era. No box cutters, fingernail files or pocket knives.

  • Wheelchairs, pushchairs and walkers can be brought aboard, but require thorough inspection.

  • Baby milk and liquid baby food are allowed but the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the parent.

  • Even liquid items bought in the airport shopping after the security checkpoint are not allowed in the airport cabin.

Make sure you thoroughly check all your carry-on luggage for any questionable items. It took security over twenty minutes to find my tiny pocket knife stuffed in the back corner of my laptop bag. I didn’t even know it was there, but the bag kept getting rejected by the system. All I could do was stand by anxiously worried about missing my flight because my stupid laptop bag was setting things off. If I had searched all my pockets before we went to the airport, I wouldn’t have been stressed about missing my flight.

Once again, flying has become even MORE unpleasant. Plan for it and you’ll enjoy your travel much more.

June 15, 2006


Filed under: Airline Travel,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I found this video on YouTube. It’s an excellent short video that shows clips of traveling on planes, trains and beyond.

I finished watching this video wishing for more. I wish they had done a video for the full song because twenty seconds of it wasn’t enough for me.

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