Saturday, May 31, 2008
Luggage on Plane Trips
How to tell a seasoned traveler from a novice one: Look at how they handle their luggage and what they pack. Here's how I usually go about it:
First of all, I do not check in luggage unless I absolutely have to. I usually bring one of those new roller bags that are exactly the right size for the overhead bins, as well as a special notebook backpack. For more adventurous trips - like the the trip to Costa Rica I just returned from - I replace the roller bag with a duffel bag, since it is often easier to get that into cars and boats.
The roller bag I have is pretty cool. It has an extra zipper that extends the whole thing to fit quite a bit more. If pressed, I zip it up, often at great difficulty :-), at least temporarily. This way, most airline staff only hassles me temporarily. Often they will tell me it is to big (although it really isn't). In that case, I always say "OK, I will give it a try... if it doesn't fit, I will gate-check it". This has always worked for me, and I usually never need to gate-check it anyway. Only on small city-hopper planes are the overhead bins too small for my bag. In that case, gate-checking is no problem. You hand them the bag outside the plane (typically, you have to walk out the runway for those smaller planes) and I they hand it back to me outside the plane when I arrive. I then carry it on to my next flight or final destination.
The smaller bag I carry, I use for my computer, as well as all my important documents, such as an ID or passport, the printout for eTickets or a hotel, and extra credit cards or cash (I generally carry a small wallet with some cash and 2 or 3 credit cards in a zipped pocket of my pants) and other important items, like keys, my cell phone, and my camera. I *never* give that bag away. I carry it with me at all times. I won't even put it into the trunk of a taxi cab. When I take a nap at an airport, I wrap the strap around my leg. When I go to the bathroom, I typically carry it with me. And I *always* put all the documents and important stuff in the same place inside the bag. It is by far the best way to make sure you don't misplace them or forget them.
I also usually put an extra shirt, a toothbrush, and maybe even a pair of pants into that bag. After all, I am much less likely to get separated from my backsack than my second carry-on. And luggage does get lost. A lot. On our recent Costa Rica trip, we met a couple that spent several days in a jungle lodge completely without luggage (which was still in Miami). There was no chance for them to get it either, since it would have had to be flown there by a small airline, and then brought to them by boat. So they each had a pair of sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt. Not exactly a great way to spend a dream vacation. We didn't lose our luggage (thank god), but if we would have, I would have had an extra t-shirt, a pair of shorts I could have worn to swim as well as hike, and a pair of hiking-quality sandals. I had all this stuff in my rucksack, since I decided it would be exactly what I needed as a minimum if my luggage got lost.
"So why do I never check anything in", you ask? Well, for one, you need to be at the airport earlier to check stuff in. Also, luggage tends to get lost. A lot. If you travel enough, you will lose stuff if you check it in. (BTW: If all your checked in stuff is lost, it isn't that bad... it probably got delayed somewhere. If only one bag is missing, it really got misplaced. You should have kissed it goodbye before you checked it in!) If you have a short connection (or a delayed flight somewhere and you need to run to the gate), checked luggage will almost never make it. This is particularly bad when you travel on after your final destination. (Flying somewhere to go on a cruise and your luggage gets lost by the airlines? Good luck!) Also, luggage you carry on (even if you end up having to gate-check it) is less at risk of getting damaged. This is important, not just for fragile stuff inside your bags, but your actual bags will get trashed as well. Check in a brand new bag, and by the time you get it back, something will be broken off. It is one of those facts of life.
So what do you need to do to make sure you can carry your bag on? For one, get a regulation size bag. Of course, you can also only bring whatever fits. However, I don't usually give too much thought to what I bring (I usually start packing about an hour before I leave). I find that with the backpack and the roller bag I have, I can easily pack for 2 weeks or even a bit more, even if I need business and casual cloths. The other thing you need to pay attention to is liquids. Yes, it is completely stupid, but you have to deal with it. I now have a collection of small bottles and containers that I collection from hotels (the empty ones that is ;-)). I refill them before the trip, so I can bring small quantities of my favorite shampoos and such. I pack them into a small transparent bag. I actually have gallon-bags, even though you are only supposed to bring quart bags. Nobody ever complained about it so far. I also try to have at least one or two things in there that have an official prescription label on it. It tends to avoid stupid questions. (Probably security staff doesn't want the hassle of giving you a smaller bag, since they can't really make you throw some of the stuff out without giving you a way to keep the prescription drugs).
Sometimes, the airline staff will not want you to carry your bag on anyway. They may claim it is too big or too heavy (and an airline can meassure practically anything and come up with reasons why it is too big or too heavy, no matter how small and light it is, as regular laws of physics do not appear to be valid in the eyes of most airport staff...). In that case, I have a few phrases that often allow me to carry it on anyway. The aforementioned "I will gate-check it, if it really ends up being a problem" often does the trick. In more severe cases I resort to "I would really rather check it in too rather than having the hassle of carrying it around, but I have this really expensive [X] worth $[Y] in the bag that I am worried about. Will you guarantee to replace it if it gets damaged?". You'd be surprised how well this works, and how other passenger's bags all of a suddent are in line before yours to get relegated to the cargo area.
I also have that one finger that is very well trained to lift heavy weights. I figure I can lift up to 35lbs with that finger for very short durations. It hurts like hell, but I have trained myself to look like I am smiling when I am in that kind of pain. So when they ask how heavy my carry-on is, I lift it up quite leisurely and demonstratively with one finger and say (smilling that smile) "oh, not heavy at all".
Some people might consider some of this to be borderline lying. (Other people may notice that the line has been crossed...). But hey! This is airlines we are talking about here. We are dealing with the same people that tell us on the phone that "yes, you are all set... your ticket has been changed" just so you hang up the phone and discover at the airport that nothing is in order at all. It's the same people that tell you 6 different prices when you call them 3 times. It is the same people that tell you at the gate that "seat 12E" is an aisle seat just so you get out of their hair, and by the time you are on the plane, it is too late to strangle them. So I don't think I am the one crossing that line. It's more like they are grabbing me by the throat and dragging me along involuntarily...
Generally, all of this allows me to bring everything I need, and hang on to it when other people lose their stuff. I don't spend a huge amount of time thinking about what I want to bring. I generally bring tons of magazines and books. I can't even read half of them, but I am terrified of getting bored on planes. Plus, I want the freedom to read whatever I am in the mood for. I also try to bring magazines I throw away after I read them. I like to read Money Magazine, for instance, but I never keep it after I read it. So I leave it in the seat-back-pocket in the seat in front of me. Maybe it makes the next passenger happy. I also have other magazines that I do not throw away after I read them (CoDe Magazine, anyone? :-)). But I bring fewer of those. I also typically bring my iPhone to watch movies on, as well as my PSP for extreme cases of boredom.
BTW: Sometimes you may be allowed to bring on your luggage, but then there really isn't any room in the overhead bins. Now you really are in trouble, trying to back up through the aisle way against the flow of boarding passengers, getting your bag ready for gate-check. I usually manage to avoid this by trying to maintain at least a minimum level of frequent flyer status on several airlines. This usually covers those airlines as well as a good number of partners, and it allows you to board with the first class passengers, even when you are in coach. This way, the overhead bins are still empty and you are in good shape. (This is also one of the reasons why I actively avoid airlines such as Delta who have a zone-boarding policy... frequent delays caused by this nonsense being the other reason).
Talking about gate-checks: I much prefer to gate-check my luggage over really checking it in. In most cases, you get your bag back right at the exit of the airplane. Even if you have to claim it at the regular baggage claim, gate checked bags are usually the last ones that get loaded, which means they are the first ones to get unloaded. So you are still better off than the other passengers since you get your bags first. Also, gate-checked bags are not very likely to get lost.
So that's it. I hate checking in luggage. There are few things more frustrating than getting to your destination after a 24 hour trip, and then waiting for your luggage for an hour, just to learn that it was lost. Now you spend another hour or two, waiting in line so you can tell the airline what happened (as if you knew!). Also, if you don't have to wait for your luggage to show up, you are usually first in line at the taxi stand. It makes quite the difference when you got off a plane with 250 other people...
Posted @ 2:35 PM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Did you know that as an airline passenger, you have fewer rights than a prisoner of war, according to the Geneva Convention?
For instance, if the plane sits on the runway for hours, you have no right to go to the bathroom, get a glass of water (or other drink), stretch your legs, or get off the plane (they can basically detain you indefinitely). It really sucks, and I have been stuck in such a situation several times.
And I am not the only one who noticed this. Check out www.FlyersRights.com. This is an organization who tries to battle this problem. They have even appeared before congress a number of times. Here is how they describe themselves:
Also, check out their proposed Bill of Rights for passengers. Sounds all reasonable to me. Amazing really, that things like "allow passengers access to needed medical attention" are not yet covered in any way. It really goes to show how the airline industry lives in a world of their own, and the lack of choice (you can choose a different airline, but get the same crap) can lead to monopoly-like customer experiences.
You can sign a petition on that page as well, if you want...
The Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights was formed by hundreds of passengers who were stranded on several American Airlines planes for up to 9 hours at Austin International Airport on December 29, 2006. During that period we were denied food, water or access to working bathroom facilities. Ignoring our pleas, the airline refused to allow passengers to deplane despite medical emergencies, and other health and safety issues. As a result of this ordeal, we discovered that there were thousands of other passengers who share similar experiences and together we decided to turn our anger and frustration into action. We are the fastest growing coalition of airline passengers, with over 21,000 members onboard. Since forming, our coalition has made numerous visits to Congress and there are several passengers' rights provisions pending in the form of legislation and Department of Transportation regulation.
Posted @ 1:15 PM by Egger, Markus (email@example.com) -
Saturday, May 31, 2008
No more paper tickets...
As of June 1st, there will be no more paper tickets. The IATA has announced that paper tickets will be completely abandoned, and all tickets will be electronic only. Former plans of being able to get paper tickets on request have been dropped.
For more info, check out this link.
Suits me fine. Paper tickets were a hassle anyway. Some people thought that it was nice to have paper tickets, as you have something "in hand". But that was really baloney anyway. Paper tickets didn't do diddley for a long time now, other than giving you a chance to lose them.
Posted @ 10:31 AM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Sunday, May 18, 2008
About skiing in Austria and not blogging...
So I haven't blogged very much over the last 6 months. At least not on my travel blog. "What's up?" you may say, "is he not going anywhere anymore?!?". Quite the contrary, actually! I have been traveling like crazy, and I have been so busy with all kinds of situations that I just didn't have the time and energy to blog. I guess I needed a "blogging hiatus" you could say. But now I am back! And I have some catching up to do! I haven't at all talked about the time I spent in Europe this winter, so I will do that in this post). I also haven't told you about my inner-American trips, some of which I still plan to catch up on (such as my recent cruise down to Mexico).
So what have I been up to this past fall and winter? Well, I spend a whole lot of time going back between the US and Europe. Most of my Europe-time I spent in Austria as you may have guessed. In fact, this was an awesome winter. Not a huge amount of snow all in all, but it snowed enough early on to make it an awesome skiing winter. And unlike in recent years, I had decided to buy my own gear and season tickets again, and even though I do not live there full time, I managed to take great advantage of them. (For about Euro 450, I got a "Super Ticket" which allowed me to ski anywhere in the region of Salzburg and parts of Tirol, which amounts to a large number of resorts and god knows how many thousands of miles of slopes). I probably skied about 20 times or more. Having my own gear (as opposed to renting them) allowed me to just grab my stuff and go for 2 or 3 hours if I didn't have more time. It was expensive to get all the gear again, but in hindsight, it was def. worth it. Plus, I can use it all again next season, so it is an "investment into the future".
I did most of my skiing near my hometown of Saalfelden, which means the resorts of Zell am See, Saalbach, Kitzsteinhorn (the glacier where that big accident happened a few years ago), Leogang, and Hochkoenig. Combined, these resorts make some of the greatest skiing you can do on this planet. If you are into skiing at all and fancy a trip to the alps sometime, this is def. an area you should consider. Zell am See and Saalbach are touristic slam-dunks anyway, and Leogang is really catching up and an insider-tip. (For a great fancy hotel, check out the Krallerhof!).
BTW: If you consider going there, you basically have two options: 1) Fly into Salzburg, which is most convenient but also expensive, or 2) fly into Munich, which leaves you with a 2 hour drive (either by taxi or with a rental car, which is quite easy), but is generally the better option from the US because it is less expensive and also because you have way more flight options. You could probably get there with frequent flyer miles if you fly a lot (going to Salzburg, that has never worked for me so far...).
Even Ellen got into it and improved a lot. Unfortunately, she twisted her knee the last day we went, which put a damper on things.Luckily, she didn't need any surgery. Knee-injuries are very common with modern skies, unfortunately. But it could have been worse, and I hope she will ski again next year.
Anyway: I was so busy skiing this year, I didn't take a lot of photos. Here are a few thought that should give you an impression (for a complete set of skiing photos, visit the album I created on Facebook):
Here are some I took with the iPhone, which came out predictably crappy, but should still give you an impression of what it is like:
Posted @ 10:41 PM by Egger, Markus (email@example.com) -
Friday, May 16, 2008
From New Orleans to Toronto
I just returned from a few short trips. Last weekend, we went to New Orleans. We drove by car, since we were 4 people, so flying would have been more expensive. We left Friday afternoon from Houston. Lots of traffic, so it took a loooong time to even get out of the city. It took us about 6 1/2 hours to get to our hotel there.
We stayed at the Royal St. Charles hotel. The hotel was reasonably nice and had a little bit of a modern funky look to it that I liked. However, what made the hotel a bit of a downer is that I really felt ripped off as soon as we checked in. We booked the hotel online (Expedia.com) and paid it in advance. However, as soon as we got there, they charged us a "mandatory resort fee" or they wouldn't allow us to check in. This is a daily fee that covers the "resort amenities", I guess. It also is supposed to include free high-speed Internet. However, besides not being there to enjoy the "resort", this ain't a "resort" in the first place. It is a pretty basic hotel with a bar downstairs. Secondly, the free high speed Internet this was supposedly for didn't work. So it boiled down to the fact that we paid for the hotel in advance online and then had to pay a little more when we checked in. (This had already been a long day, so I didn't have the energy to raise hell about this, but in hindsight, I probably should have...).
Anyway: This was the only downer really. Other than that, we had a blast. We went to Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse that evening. Not the most imaginative choice I guess, but it was already 9:30pm and we needed something quick, and I found Dickie's is always a safe bet for a decent dinner. And besides, it is right there just off Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, which made it very convenient for us. The waiter was fun too. My steak was excellent.
Then, we "did the Bourbon Street thing". We hung out at several different bars and listened to some good old rock. We enjoyed a few beers, and had a genuinely enjoyable evening. There was a bit of an "interruption" when a girl got shot into the thigh next door at Chris Owen's, but they just closed off that part of Bourbon Street for a while, and we really only found out what had happened later. (I had suspected that something like that must have gone on, but we decided to ignore it as best we could...). In general, Bourbon Street seems to be back to its old self. Maybe there are a few less people than before, and maybe some of the bars have turned into strip-joints, but by and large, things are like they were before the hurricane. (In other parts of town, it is real obvious that things have changed... or not been fixed as the case may be...).
The next morning I finally managed to sleep in before we grabbed a sandwich around noon and drove back to Houston (driving time somewhere between 5 1/2 hours and 5 3/4 hours). So I made it back in time for my hockey game :-). At first I was worried that driving to New Orleans for a single night was crazy, but it actually worked out pretty well, and I am glad we did it. We def. had a great time.
One day later, we flew up to Toronto. This was a business trip. I always like Toronto as a town. It has an almost European flair. In fact, for some reason it always reminds me of London. Not sure why really, but the feel seems to be similar. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to do much other than work, but we did have an excellent sushi dinner at Masa Sushi, which I can recommend. Beyond that, we had a crappy flight going to Toronto (which I blogged about here), and we visited the Hockey Hall of Fame, which I blogged about here.
Posted @ 7:29 PM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame (Toronto)
Since I am in Toronto this week, I took advantage of the opportunity and visited the Hockey Hall of Fame! :-)This was actually much cooler than I expected. At first, I wasn't even sure whether I wanted to go. To be honest, I only decided to go because Ellen had suggested it, and I thought "well... it will give me something to blog about". And now I am really glad I went. It was well worth seeing. I even found the building cool, which says "Temple du Hockey" on the outside:
Inside, you can see a whole bunch of stuff. Anything from display cases dedicated to individual "hall-of-famers" (like the one for Wayne Gretzky below) to just cool gear, videos, and even an area where you can shoot the puck or try your luck as a goalie.
Even my home country of Austria has a small appearance there, but only in the form of a few jerseys:
Well, maybe Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres, and former "Zeller Eisbaeren" player... the club where I played as a kid) will be a hall-of-famer one day.Anyway: The coolest display is the Stanley Cup. This is the closest I will ever get to it, unless the Ice Dragons go on a heck of a winning streak:
It was quite impressive in a way to see this thing up close. I actually didn't realize that the cup looked different before, with quite a few of its pieces cut off and put on a wall. I guess that makes sense considering that they have been doing this for over 100 years now. (Every winning player's name gets engraved on the cup, so they keep running out of room). Of course they also have a gift-shop there. I considered buying a jersey or two, but holy-moly! Anywhere between $130 and $200 for a stupid jersey?!? They gotta be kidding. And that isn't even with a number or personalized or anything! (So I ended up going on NHL.com later, buying a personalized jersey with my name and number, which I can wear at some of my hobby games...for less than $100). Anyway: This was a cool experience. If you are a hockey fan, I recommend you check this out if you ever have the chance...
Posted @ 10:56 PM by Egger, Markus (email@example.com) -
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
US Border Crossings Getting Worse and Worse...
It always amazes me how much of a hassle it is to cross the US border. I have heard politicians talk about how easy it is to cross the border compared to other countries. Well, apparently those politicians have never been outside the US, because such as a statement is complete BS. Even US citizens have a hard time crossing their own border. (It is much easier and quicker for a US citizen to enter most European countries than it is for a US citizen to return home...) At the same time, border controls seem to be less efficient than anywhere else. It is a hassle and it is insulting and it sure seems incompetent for the most parts.
Often the questions asked make no sense to anyone who has actually done some traveling. For instance, I am often asked whether I am married, because I wear a ring on my left hand. (I am not married, and I do not see how that question is important to homeland security). I tell them no, and they get all suspicious. But shouldn't it be pretty basic knowledge for someone who's job it is to find true suspicious behavior, that some in some countries (Germany and Austria for instance) you would not wear a wedding band on your left hand?!? After all, it's their job to deal with *foreigners*!
Anyway: Enough ranting. What really caused me to write this post is this link: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2008/05/01/border-search-open-letter. It has now become a fairly common occurrence that people need to turn over their electronic devices to customs officers. Don't want to give up your password? Too bad... no entry for you! You have data you are legally not allowed to give anyone access too? Too bad! For instance, my company has done work for a large lawsuit settlement (very large... you heard of it I am sure) and I was always under order from a (very high) US court, to not grant anyone access to the data I had. Some of which I had to take with me on travels. So the US border officers would have put me in direct violation with US courts. So it comes down to "you can only enter the country if you do something that is in violation with US law"?!? Great!
Posted @ 11:02 AM by Egger, Markus (firstname.lastname@example.org) -
Monday, May 12, 2008
Continental made us miss our flight...
I am at the airport in Houston at the moment. I am actually supposed to be on a plane right now, on the way to Toronto. But I am not. I blame Continental. Here is why:
Our flight was supposed to leave at 12:30 from Houston directly to Toronto. We checked the flight status before we left home this morning, and it showed as "now leaving at 12:48". This gave us a little more time, but we still decided to come to the airport relatively early, since this is an international flight. (Even though we were already checked in, are Continental Elite members, and don't check luggage). So by the time we made it through security, and got something to eat, we were still at the gate before 11. This is one of the small gates, since the flight is operated by Express Jet, which is basically the Continental City Hopper brand (I think). When we arrived, the place was a madhouse, since there were several flights ahead of us, and all those people were still at our gate. So we sat down a few seats over.
We also checked the monitors a few more times. Still, the same departure time was showing. (In fact, I even twittered about the flight being late, so people in Toronto would know to expect us a little late...).
Long story short: At close to 12:30, we were starting to wonder what had happened. So we checked the monitors again, and the flight was not even listed anymore! So we walked up to the gate-desk (this is one of those desks int he middle of the terminal that is shared by about 10 gates), and they told us the flight had left! Hu? All of a sudden it had left early?!? Apparently so. Why did nobody tell us? Well, they claimed they made an announcement, but we sure didn't hear anything. Granted, we were about 50 or 60 feet from our gate, but why the hell would they make an announcement you cannot hear 2 speakers over?!? I heard all the other flight announcements! So *if* they announced it at all, they certainly didn't make a great effort. Is it possible that I missed one announcement? I'd be surprised, since I was paying attention (I was already wondering what was going on), but I guess it is possible that I missed *one* announcement. I still don't think so.
How could we have even missed all the people boarding?!? I am not sure. I even made a point to try watch the gate. I guess this was just one of those really small flights with only a handful of people checking in.
So here is was really pushes my buttons though:
The customer service reps weren't sorry that we missed the flight. They basically told us that "we have made plenty of announcements and all the other people got on [you dumbasses]!". They treated us like a bunch of complete idiots! What ever happened with "the customer is always right or at least has a point"? Even if I *did* show up late for my flight (which is not the case), or even if I did miss 10 announcements (which I guarantee you is not the case), as a frequent flyer (and Continental shareholder, I might add), I would at least expect a friendly rep that helps me get on the next flight. But apparently, these people take the "the customer is always a retard" attitude. Missing a flight is not the end of the world, but the way they handled the situation was just about as bad as they possibly could if they tried to piss me off. I feel insulted and am completely pissed off at Continental. And their "I don't give a fu.." attitude pretty much confirms that they just didn't really care whether I made that flight or not. In fact, they even lied to us telling us that the flight was never late. In terms of customer service, it doesn't get much worse than lying to your customer.
I guess as far as airlines go, it is still the same status quo: The customer doesn't really have a choice, so they can provide service that would not be acceptable in any other industry. After all, if I want to travel from Houston to Toronto, I realistically don't have a choice of carriers, no matter what anyone tells you.
So now we are at the Continental President's Club. We had to pay to get in. It would have been a simple matter to let us in for free after all this. Probably would have been enough to make me a happy customer after all. I am not even looking to eat any of their food. Just looking for a semi-comfortable place to sit, a power outlet, and an Internet connection. How much could that have possibly cost them compared to the trouble and expense they are causing me (I am missing an important business meeting tonight because of this). But nope. No seat for you!
And then Continental wonders and sends me marketing messages about why I am not a Platinum member anymore like I used to be. Heck, I am quickly approaching a point where I wonder whether it is worth being a Continental Elite member of any level!
Update: After I blogged about this from the Continental Club, we went back downstairs to get on the later flight. While we were there waiting, I took extra care to pay attention to the announcements and boarding procedures. It is now much clearer to me why we missed our flight. As it turns out there are no real flight announcements! The airline representatives simply stood at the little door next to the gate and *said* the row number that was about to board the plane. And not very loudly at that. No speaker systems were used for most flights (I only saw them use the PA for one of the flights... so obviously it was working, but for some reason they didn't use it...). So unless you were right there, you had no way to know your flight was leaving.
In fact, we watched several flights where they didn't have all the people that were supposed to be on the flight. They just stood there and *said* the name of the person missing. "Last call for Mr. [Smith]". No speakers. Didn't even raise their voices. Unless Mr. [Smith] was already within 10 feet of the counter, (in which case there was no need to call him out), there simply was no way for Mr. [Smith] to hear the "announcement". One of the flights we watched being boarded this way had a guy walk up to the desk right after it left, asking when his flight was going to leave. They told him that he missed it and they made several announcements to try to find him. This is a flat out lie. We watched the whole process unfold, and not once did they use the speaker system to call for him. And only twice did they say his name at the gate. Of course they still told him it was his on fault for missing the flight. I talked to him afterwards. He said "...I am not sure how I could have missed it... I just sat here and read...". Yeah, I agree. It wasn't your fault, buddy!
Why all this was going on, I have no clue. Obviously they have a working PA system there. Laziness cannot explain this. After all, it isn't much more work to use the PA system, and having to deal with several disgruntled travelers for every flight can't be that much fun. So I am puzzled.
If you are following me on Twitter (http://twitter.com/markusegger), you could see the whole thing unfold in real time. Here is a recap of my Twitter posts from that day in reverse chronological order (in other words: read from the bottom up):
- And to top things off, it is now after 10, so all the restaurants are closed... 09:14 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- Hm... And no wireless web either. Well silly me, expecting such luxury in a Hilton... 09:10 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- Ah f... and no mini bar either. How can a hotel that charged $250/night (special conf rate) not have a minibar?!? 08:52 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- @TheADOGuy yeah no kidding. And for no reason really. Just because people don't care enough to do a good job. 08:36 PM May 12, 2008 from web in reply to TheADOGuy
- Hotel is oversold. Apparently that is now my problem and my fault because I showed up so late in the day. If they only knew... 08:35 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- At the hotel. Now they do not have any king size bed rooms anymore. And no record that my room us paid for. Argh. Not my day today... 08:24 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- landed in Toronto. No more major incidents. Amazing! :-) 07:23 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- On the plane now. AC not working right. This is getting better and better. I guess AC doesn't matter on flights to Toronto. 04:14 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- This is all very weird. Every flight has people missing. Ground crew doesn't care. It's almost like Continental is on strike or something. 04:12 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- We watched it all. No announcements. Just said a name. No speaker. No way anyone could have heard it unless they were already in line. 04:10 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- Talked to the guy. Says he just sat there reading a mag for the last hour. Continental rep told him she made several announcements. 04:08 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- Some guy just walked up to the desk and raises he'll bacause he missed his flight... 03:58 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- Now, a bunch of people are missing their flight to Lake Charles. She just *said* their names. I didn't understand them. I am 8 chairs away. 03:53 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- @jeffreypalermo And I am going to miss it because of that damn airline. Grrrrrrrrr... 03:50 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud in reply to jeffreypalermo
- Looks like a whole bunch of people are missing their flight to Wichita. Surprise. I am 5 feet from the desk and can't hear them. Outrageouso 03:43 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- paying close attention to the announcements now. Turns out they are not using a speaker system. They are just *saying* "boarding row...". 03:38 PM May 12, 2008 from web
- @olivers A piece of wood about 2x4 inches thick and incidentally something I could have made good use of at the airport today. 03:35 PM May 12, 2008 from web in reply to olivers [question about what it is that American's call a "2x4")
- Hard to belive but true: Continental just sent me a marketing email as to how I get to a higher elite status. Not the best timing, fellas... 02:22 PM May 12, 2008 from twhirl
- Blogged about the flight screwup (and passed it on to some friends inside Continental): http://snurl.com/28ipw Still seriously pissed. 01:46 PM May 12, 2008 from twhirl
- @akselsoft Missin the flight is not the end of the world. What is pissing me off is how I am being treated here. 01:07 PM May 12, 2008 from web in reply to akselsoft
- Makes me real proud to be a Continental shareholder and frequent flyer. Real proud... 12:57 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- Now they are acting as if the are doing us a favor by putting us on a later flight. Jerks. 12:55 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- How about at least make an announcement, assholes? I was 50 feet from your desk and you couldn't have told me!?!?! 12:54 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- And then they are lying to us saying the flight was never late. It f-ing showed as late before we left home. It showed late everywhere here. 12:52 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- Missed the flight. Argh! First it showed late. Then it left early. No announcments made. F... you, Continental! 12:50 PM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- At IAH waiting for the flight to Toronto. It says there is a slight delay. 11:24 AM May 12, 2008 from ThinCloud
- On the way to the airport. Flying to Toronto for DevTeach today. 10:35 AM May 12, 2008 from twhirl
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