Thursday, 29 September 2011

Exciting Changes to HCH

That's right!  There are exciting changes happening over here at High Class Hitchhiking.

The 1st and foremost change... I've moved!  Please change your bookmarks to  That's right, I bought my own domain name!  So, head on over to the new site to see all the other new and exciting things that are happening!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Even "Experienced" Flyers Have Hiccups!

Now, I consider myself a pretty "Seasoned, Experienced" traveler. Truly. I mean, I GREW up in a household where my father worked for an airline.  We took family trips.  Whether a quick trip to the St. Louis Zoo for the weekend or a couple of weeks in Hawaii, I KNOW how to travel.
I always pack a carry-on that has my "necessities."  Very rarely, do I check a back for fear that, A: I do not make the flight or 2: no seats.  No matter what the situation, I was prepared.
Many, many years later, an unfortunate event happened. One that would change travel as we knew it. This "event" started the "Transportation and Security Administration."  They were visible EVERYWHERE!  Now, there were restrictions as what we could carry on.  Over the last few years, adjustments were made as well as changes.
Yesterday, I had an item removed from my bag.  An item that, by the way, I ARRIVED with!  An item I had traveled with MANY times.  I mean, I WORK for an Airline.  I am with TSA everyday.  I am very familiar with what items I can and can NOT carry.  I verify items daily with TSA on what is appropriate and what isn't.  The item that was removed was a small swiss army tool.  According to TSA, it is okay.  In fact, here is what their website says:

Scissors - Metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches - carry on
Tools - Seven inches or less in length - carry on

Here is a picture of "said" item:

Now, as you can see, open, it is LESS THAN 4 inches!
I was nice to the man.  I did not/would not, just toss it.  He told me I could mail it to myself.  Really?  Seriously?  He kept it while I walked across to the gift shop to purchase an envelope and about 4 stamps.  Sure. No problem.  Sales clerk said they sold the envelopes, but the stamps, they sold in books of 10.  I don't want a book.  I have an entire roll at home!  I only need 4 I tell her.  Whatever.  While addressing the envelope to myself, I remind her she owes me change!  Ready for this? She apologized because she had to COUNT, yes COUNT OUT 10 STAMPS!!  FROM.  A.  FREAKIN.  ROLL!!!!!!!!  They aren't in a BOOK AT ALL!  I finish my business, return BACK to the lovely TSA agent.  Sign in the book they have,  saying they aren't responsible, blah, blah, blah.  Whatever.  I thank him {because I was reared better} and head to my gate.

Seriously, as soon as I return to work, I WILL be talking to the supervisor of TSA in my station and asking him if the rules have changed.  So folks, I guess it makes sense to check ALL guidelines before traveling, that TSA advises, so that YOU won't be delayed while going thru Security!  Learn from my mistakes, even tho', I don't believe I did, and you can travel freely without troubles.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Changed World

I can't believe it's been 10 years since the attacks of 11 September 2001.  It's a very different world from that which we had before.  I imagine I'm not alone in saying, I know exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news.

As one of the most obviously effected areas, I thought it fitting to post a tribute on a travel blog.  For a striking memorial, I recommend this Yahoo News Tribute.  Warning:  It's extremely emotional. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The View From Above

Just flew over the Grand Canyon. Haven't been since I was 10 years old. I really ought to go back. Maybe this winter.

As we came into Salt Lake, we did so from a very different direction than I'd ever previously done. Right over the copper mine on the far Eastern side of the valley!

And therefore, right across the Great Salt Lake.

1st Class Baby!

Finally! On my last leg home. Had to get up at seriously stupid o'clock in the morning. The flight left at 6.00 am, which of course meant I had to be there for earlier. But, as I didn't have bags to check and I'd already checked in online and printed my seat request card, I didn't have to be there til around 5. My friend only lives 20 minutes from the airport, so we planned to get up at 4.45 and just jump straight in the car. I happened to wake up at 4.30, so was already up and finished brushing my teeth, had checked the status of the flight and made sure my carryon was packed by the time the alarm went off. My friend just threw on clothes, grabbed us each a Diet Pepsi, and we took off. So we were out the door by 4.50 this morning, putting us into the airport just after 5.

On our way, we met a local critter that my friend had never seen in her part of the city before. A coyote! He was just wandering across the road. It was funny because my friend saw him way before me (obviously, she was driving and watching the road!) and says, "Critter! Get out of the road." I looked over and said, "That's a coyote!" She said she'd seen them in other parts of the city, but not around her place before. But, it's only 3 miles to a less urban area, so I fugue that's where he came from. I'd never seen one in the city before. Only ever in Yellowstone. So, I thought it was a cool spot!

At the gate the agent called my name (got it very wrong, bless him! Called me "Able" instead of "Adele"!) and I went up to the front. Asked if he'd meant me, he said, "Oooh, sorry!" No problem, just makes me smile. Anyway, he said, "I've got you listed in coach, and I don't know why, so give me a moment, and then board when I call 1st class." Ummm... ok! Twist my arm! So I'm writing this from 1st class. Last row, but still, 1st class!

Once we got on the plane, the stewardess came around with drinks. Then snacks! I was actually really grateful for the snack, since I'd not really wanted to eat anything at a quarter of 5 this morning. So it took the edge off.

The flying time is only 1 hour 40 minutes. I'm like, really? That's only enough time to get up to cruising altitude, and come back down! I guess I'm just so used to the long haul flights like the previous two I have been on this week.

Saw a really cool thing on takeoff. There were a whole line of planes all queued up for takeoff. Would have loved to get a photo, but obviously I couldn't, since my camera had to be off at that point. Anyway, there was a US flight, a Delta flight, then 6 Southwest flights in a row, and another Delta, and another Southwest was just joining the queue. Was quite a sight, all those planes lined up together.

Also have seen 2 rainbows this morning! There's a funny layer of cloud just below us, and the sun's apparently at just the right angle to refract. They're very pretty, especially since, a rainbow seen from above is actually a circle.

Anyway, we're about to be served more drinks. Seriously, life's tough up front ;)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

No one has mastered the principle of Hurry Up and Wait like the airlines. Bless them, it's not always (or even usually) their fault. But, it is still miserable to be stuck on the runway for an hour. Especially stuck on the runway for an hour just before a 4 1/2 hour flight! Yeah, and then the pilot comes on and says... it'll be another 15 minutes! You know that went down like a lead balloon.

Never mind. we're finally on our way. I'm shattered, but looking forward to meeting my friend. And sleeping. Going to be honest. Looking forward to sleeping.

6 am flight tomorrow's going to be "fun". But, it shouldn't be a full flight. Fingers crossed again!

The Honest Truth

The following account is true. I promise.

I was sitting in Terminal 3 JFK today, waiting for the last Minneapolis flight (which I didn't get on!) when a family sat down along the table next to me. They were using the free iPads set up on the table, checking out this that and something else. About 82 kids (ok, only 4, but they were EVERYWHERE) older teens or early 20s, all of them. Anyway, they were talking about various things, and I just knew they were from Salt Lake. But, I didn't ask, because I didn't want to make them uncomfortable (a random stranger asking where they lived.) Eventually, though, my curiosity over came my good sense. I asked, "Are you from Salt Lake?" They said yes (the mom) and I said, "That's where I'm living now, too." And we started talking. They asked what I do, and lacking anything better to say for the moment, I said, "I've been teaching at BYU for the past year." They asked what subject. I said Linguistics. They said, "Oh, our son Mack graduates on Friday from BYU in Linguistics."

I went... Mack. Graduating. Do you mean Mack xxxxxx? Gobsmacked looks. YES! Hilarious. I actually had him for two different classes! I had him for one class Winter Term, and another Spring.

What are the chances?

Actually, he was the best student in the second class he had from me.