Thursday, July 26, 2007

On Traveling by Air

This summer airline travelers have had a rough time with delays and cancelled flights due to weather problems, but I am happy to report that all my flights (there were four) for my recent trip started on schedule and landed ahead of schedule except for the flight from Phoenix to Boston which started late but made up the time en route. The reason for the late start was so they could take on more fuel in order to be able to fly around some thunderstorms. That's OK by me, I just wish they hadn't waited for all the passengers to be on the plane before they did this. We sat for half an hour before take-off.

Sitting on airplanes has gotten to be the most uncomfortable thing going. You tell yourself it's only for a few hours. Why spend the money to go first class? But soon you are so cramped and feeling claustrophobic that you vow never to travel by air again. One of my trips was on a very small jet where everyone kept bumping their heads (including me) coming on board. The man in front of me was tall and lanky. When the steward told him that he had to put his carry-on bag under the seat in front of him, he replied, "That's where I put my feet!" I am a small person and if I am uncomfortable, I can't imagine how large people must feel.

Food has become a real problem, especially for someone like me who is trying to follow a diet. The total travel time for my trip home was 7 hours and 40 minutes plus another hour and a half to get to the airport. I had breakfast at 6 am EDT and didn't get lunch until 9 hours later. Luckily, I brought food with me or I would have starved. The snack boxes they sell for $5 are full of no-no's like cookies, crackers, candy bars, etc. Unfortunately, security confiscated my freezer pack on my way out of Los Angeles so I had nothing to keep the food cold. I have traveled before with this cold pack with no problems, but things keep changing, I guess. We used to complain royally about airline meals and I never thought I would remember those days with fondness.

Speaking of security... getting through security in Boston and Hartford was a breeze, but here at LAX it was a nightmare. My first flight was with US Airways and at Terminal 1, the line for security was out the door and down the sidewalk. Once you were inside, they lined you up in front of the stairs and then with a word from an official, everyone headed up the stairs in a mad rush only to wait in another line that snaked back and forth several times. I had given myself 3 hours to get to the gate and I just made it.

It's so hard to figure out all their rules, too. I decided not to bring my knitting on board because I didn't want them confiscating my lovely Options needles, but I wasn't about to pack my camera in my suitcase and trust that it would still be there and in one piece when I arrived in Boston. I forgot that I had a 1 oz. bottle of lens cleaner in the case but they didn't find it, or didn't bother about it because it was too small. Last February I flew with a .5 oz bottle of lens cleaner in my eyeglass case (I never thought about it) and no one found it. You are supposed to declare all liquids and gels you want to bring on board and put them in a 1 quart Ziploc bag and take them out of your carry-on luggage. Life is getting too complicated.

I packed as lightly as I could for this trip, but since the main purpose of the trip was to attend a nephew's wedding, some extras were required like a nice outfit, make-up, shoes, etc. My suitcase weighs 15 lbs. empty, so I am off to a bad start before I have put anything in it. Coming home, the Skycap at Hartford, sensing that my bag was heavy, weighed it. Fortunately, it was only 46 lbs. and 50 are allowed. I put all the books I bought (I can't resist) in my carry-on, and when I reached O'Hare and had to walk a mile from the American Airlines terminal to United, I felt it. I had brought a duffel bag without wheels as my carry-on because of that small plane that brought me to O'Hare which had a smaller limit for carry-ons. All bags with wheels were checked at the door.

On Cameras and Electronics

Now that I have done all my complaining, I will try to get those photos ready so I can talk about the more pleasant happenings on my trip. People keep asking me about my camera so here are the specs. It's a Canon EOS Rebel SLR digital camera bought in 2004. The mega pixels are about 6.3. The only lens I brought with me is an all-purpose lens, the Canon EFS 18-55 mm lens. I have other lenses, but I left them at home. All the lenses that we have bought with our previous film Canon SLR work with this camera also. The newer Rebels have more mega pixels and are lighter in weight, but I have taken over 10,000 photos with this camera and I'm still happy with it.

I used to lug my heavy laptop around with me when I traveled to download photos, but last summer my son suggested I get an iPod for this purpose. It has worked out great! I have a refurbished 20 GB Photo iPod that I use for listening to music and lectures, and downloading photos. It fits in my purse. I have 6 CompactFlash cards for use with my camera, 3 are 256 MB, 2 are 512, and one is a gigabyte, a gift from my son-in-law. He thought I would never fill it. Hah! I filled them all on this trip. I take large JPEGs almost exclusively. I tried RAW for awhile, but they turned out to be too time-consuming to manage on the computer. To process the photos, I have used Paint Shop Pro on the PC through all its permutations for years. It is now sold by Corel.

My son and his family were with me on this trip and they brought along their iPhones and a GPS system for the car. The iPhones came in handy for directions (Google), phone numbers, weather reports, and picture-taking, not to mention using them as phones. I think they also watched a couple of movies on them during our flight. The GPS system also worked very well getting us out of Logan and through Boston as well as finding new routes to places I had been many times in the past and it was very accurate. When the lovely woman's voice announced, "You have arrived," we were right at the front door of our destination.

No comments:

Post a Comment