Without notification

airline flight schedules on flat screen televisions

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Someone left town to visit family this weekend. Flying in these times is a rather curious endeavor now and there was already anticipation that some flexibility would be needed. The thought was that returning home might end up being a problem (that still remains to be seen). So…

Night before flight, 11:23pm: Flight is on time for an 8:00am departure.

Morning of flight, 4:11a.m: Flight cancelled and booked to another flight at 10:21am.

If I hadn’t checked of my own volition, the change would not have been known until arriving at the airport.

Did you catch that, “of my own volition”?

That’s right. Not a single notification from the airline that the flight details had changed. No text. No email. No call. That last one I didn’t really expect, but not even an email? Is that how they handle flight changes now?

Really disappointed in Alaska Airlines.

Granted, for the first leg of the trip the flight is not on their actual airline, but the trip was booked through them and they are the “confirmation number issuer” so you would think they were the ones responsible for notification.

I have always liked flying with them. They take pretty good care of you and they fly to most places I want to go for a fair price (most of the time). But, this taints the relationship a little. She luster is now gone. Oh, I’ll still probably fly with them but there is a little love lost now.

I may have a wandering eye, checking out the other options available. Fair warning Alaska, fair warning.

 

Power(less)

people wall blur inside

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Traveling in the electronic age is rather interesting, or frustrating, depending on your point of view and experience.

On my vacation last week, I had the opportunity to visit four different airport concourses. All were Southwest Airlines concourses, but I am not actually sure who is responsible for setting them up. Obviously the airport maintains them (cleaning, etc.), but as far as designing and then implementing the design, as I understand, that is up to the airline.

The interesting thing is that all four airports had vastly different designs and amenities. Seattle’s hub, surprisingly, was the most comfortable and there were AMPLE places to plug in the electronic devices. Between a bar looking setup with plugs to all the chairs having plugs and USB ports, there was no fighting over access. As such, there was no possibility of running short on power, but I was just starting my trip so everything was fully powered already.

San Jose’s Southwest concourse was rather dinky and probably the least comfortable of all four, but again the chairs all had plugs and USB ports available so now finding a place to top off the devices wasn’t difficult. Find an open seat (maybe more difficult since it was a small place) and plug in.

Phoenix’s Southwest concourse was actually comfortable, but access to power was rather sparse. Again, I was fully charged so I didn’t need a place to power-up, but if I had there seemed to be a few “bar” looking places spaced throughout the concourse, but the plugs available at these were limited. The seating had no charging capability at all, at least not at the gate I was at and it didn’t look any different any place else.

Finally, Southwest’s Sacramento concourse was a decent size but again the power options were really limited. Again, there were a few of those “bar” options, but again nothing in the chairs. Fortunately, there wasn’t anything that needed topped off for me at this point in my trip. I was conserving power fairly well.

The return trip home was rather eye-opening. I fully expected that what I had available to me on my trip down would be available to me on the way home. That was not the case. I was a little surprised that the airline didn’t have the same amenities available in all of it’s concourses, at least as far as access to power goes. Yes, I know size of the airport and what other comforts available depend highly on the design of the building, but the easiest and most effective way to offer power options to your flyers is to add the chairs with power access right in them. The last two airports, not so much.

So, if you haven’t flown in a while, be prepared to be “powerless” on some legs of your trip. You may have to supply your own as the battle for outlets continues to increase in our electronics driven lives.

Exhausted

photography of bedroom

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So, I got a good night’s sleep last night. After being up at 3:00am to get to the airport, I waited as long as I could to go to bed so that I didn’t end up getting up too early from going to bed too early.

It worked. I got eight and a half hours of sleep, BUT I am still tired. The last five days have really worn me out! It was packed full of activity and warm, sunny weather.

It is safe to say that was one of my top vacations ever. I couldn’t have asked for much better. And, as you probably have gathered, I am not really the kind of person to “see the bright side” of many things so that is saying a lot.

I am going to lay low today and tomorrow before being back at work (I’m telecommuting) Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will be back to the office.

I’ll pick up with the regularly scheduled Piss and Moan tomorrow. I am sure there will be something to make your eyes roll then.

Morning flight

man walking on the road holding black luggage during sunset

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Travel day has arrived! To say that I am excited might be an understatement. Sun, baseball, buddies, beer, food,…yeah, it’s gonna be a blast.

Unfortunately, the start hasn’t been completely smooth.

I left the house one time and got the the airport exactly as anticipated. Grabbed the small suitcase, pulled up the handle for better handling while rolling, and headed to check in for my flight. I was checking the bag (it’s free) so I didn’t bother to check in early.

I got to the kiosk, checked in, and went to put the handle down on the suitcase and it won’t go down…like not move, at all….I pushed. I shoved. I pulled. I pounded. I tried finessing it. NOTHING. It isn’t moving. Great.

I am not unpacking this thing to see if I can get the bars for the handle to move from the inside. Oh, and I didn’t happen to bring my hacksaw with me so I can’t cut the dang thing off.

I asked the luggage people what I should do. They said, “We’ll still check it.” REALLY? Thank goodness!

Stress melted away.

Coffee is being consumed and I am waiting to board my flight. Let’s hope that is the only challenge faced during this trip.

 

The list

notebook

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I am leaving, on a jet plane…and I know when I’ll be back again, unfortunately. I seriously could enjoy the life of retirement and no plan or commitments every day. *sigh* Alas, I must settle for small breaks in the routine.

Anyway, I have a list.

A self-imposed list. It’s always self-imposed.

I wrote up all the things I need to do and would like to do before leaving, in less than 24 hours. It’s too long.

Some of the things are just reminders of small things I need to make sure get packed and other things are actually things I want to get done.

I know one of my blogger friends, Curt, wrote about his “to do list” not too long ago, and how a list before traveling is a love/hate-win/lose kind of exercise. I totally identified with it because I do it too, and have done it again!

How many of you are the same way? Suddenly seeing your physical or mental “to do list” grow so long before vacation that you can never get it all done if you had two weeks to do it? Why do we stress ourselves even a little before we vacation?

 

Need to know

red and yellow stop sticker

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“You’re on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

The above phrase gets tossed around a lot, but there are actual times when it applies. Yesterday, I ran into an instance from my employer that seems to fit this to a T.

The admin assistance to our department director came around with a new form to fill out. It supposedly is something that we have filled out previously and supposedly only has one line changed on the whole document. The supposed change is “to comply with federal grant requirements.” The added line really isn’t the issue for me though.

The document is basically a “driver screening” risk management form. I get that in order for me to drive a company vehicle, they have to ask certain questions and it is expected that I report certain details should circumstances require the necessity to do so. That isn’t really an issue for me. I understand the necessity of such a screening. HOWEVER…

The document goes on to ask about information that I believe is totally unnecessary and, quite frankly, a violation of my privacy by asking about my personal vehicle. As in, should I drive my personal vehicle during work hours and on work time. The document is asking for the kind of vehicle I drive and license plate (why would it matter what vehicle I drive if it is my vehicle?), what insurance company I use and the policy number (with specific amounts of coverage); it requires to inform my employer if I drop expected level of insurance to a lower level, and expects me to waive all rights as an employee if on company time and there is an accident in my personal vehicle.

Does this sound invasive? Is this typical? Do you willingly give your employer information they don’t really need?

Yes, there is travel required as part of my job. Yes, I do prefer to drive my personal vehicle instead of the crappy company cars. But, the requirements of this document are “part of my continued employment” with the company, as though the document and my driving my vehicle have anything to do with my job performance and skills as a trainer and software analyst.

A big part of me bristles as this whole thing. I can accept that my employer needs to know certain things about me, but I don’t accept that they need to know everything about me.

I partially joked with a co-worker who was feeling the same way as I was yesterday that it won’t be long and they’ll be asking for our homeowner’s insurance policies since we telecommute several days a week.

I can see the future, and I don’t like it.

Huh? *sigh*

It’s only 11:13am and it has already been one of those days. On a Friday, no less. Aren’t Friday’s supposed to be easy?

It’s already a “throw your hands in the air” kind of day.

It’s an Arsenio Hall “Things that make you say HMMMM…” kind of day.

At work.

At home.

With family.

Relationships.

I’m tired.

I’m ready to pack it in.

I’m ready to go some place warm with a tropical breeze, by myself, kick up my feet, and throw back a few cold ones.

beverage bottle on seashore

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Can I return this day? I don’t want it any longer. It’s only slightly used and in like new condition. I still have my receipt.