Introducing TravelCloud

January 19, 2013

It’s pretty obvious that I should have been categorizing and tagging posts since I started this blog back in late 2009. Today I “tagged and bagged” 2012, 2011, and 2009. I ran out of energy to do 2010! I’ll do it one of these years, promise.

What categorization gives you, fair noplasticshowers reader, is a way to cut through the massive content pile on the blog. Two of my favorite tags are:
cocktail recipe

Snapshot or TravelCloud on 1.19.13

Snapshot or TravelCloud on 1.19.13

To the right you can see the actual TravelCloud. And you can click on it too.

No Fly Noel 2012

December 2, 2012

It’s December, and that’s a good thing. No fly noel begins on December 1st. A break from relentless travel is just what the doctor ordered. Well kinda. I am flying to New Orleans next weekend for a leukemia cup event since Team Tartan won the cup this year. It’s not work though, so it doesn’t count!

Travel was up one notch from last year, and that’s bad. I’m looking for another 10% reduction somehow. The Coal Stove Sink hack seems to have played up to its max (17 guests again this year) and no fly July and no fly Noel hold firm.

2012 Tripometer.  The data show that trips are up.  That is bad.

2012 Tripometer. The data show that trips are up. That is bad.

During 2012, I flew 100,323 miles (so far…one trip still to go, and two segments not yet recorded by United whose computer system is blazingly slow). Speaking of United, did I mention that UNITED AIRLINES SUCKS?! I meant to say that. 2012 was even worse that 2011. Astoundingly awful. Lets review:

  1. United off to a Pedantic 2012
  2. United Express Random Number Generation
  3. No Upgrade for You -or- United Sucks in 2012 Too
  4. United: Small Patch of Light Replaced by Darkness
  5. United Express: Mesa vs Shuttle America, Mesa Loses
  6. United Airlines Sucks in Advance
  7. How Does United Suck? Let us Count the Ways
  8. Frequent Travel is for the Birds: United Still Sucks
  9. United International Travel Not What it Used to Be
  10. A, O, Way to Go United
  11. United Sucks: One Third the Airline for the Same Full Price -or- All Your Regional Upgrade Certs Are Belong to Us
  12. United Regional Travel Woes
  13. How United Airlines Deals with Sandy
  14. United Airlines Still Sucks: Global Premiere Upgrade Useless Again
  15. United Airlines New Low: 2012 Service Sucks

Holy cow, 15 entries about why United blows chunks?! I guess 2012 was worse than I remembered. I really need to fly a different airline.

It should be very clear why no fly Noel is important. Must retain sanity and rest my weary bones beside the fire. Then I can do it all over again in 2013.

No fly July 2012

July 16, 2012

After a two week delay (including a trip to Athens on United), no fly July has finally arrived.

No flying means no hotels. No hotels equals no strange showers at all (plastic or otherwise). See you after August 20th.

By now, “no fly July” is usually nicely underway and the river beckons. This year’s edition is being postponed until after I get back from Athens on July 16th. That means it’s really going to be more like “no fly July/August conglomeration.”

Maybe Athens will look like this.

First some numbers:
1,411,587 miles
almost 10 years of 100k status
premier 1k status (with lifetime gold)
a handful of global premier upgrade blips
4 days in the row flying on United planes (indy, newark, dulles, amsterdam)

Now, try to fly to Amsterdam and use one of the “global premier upgrades.” Did we think it was going to suck in advance? Yes we did. We know that United sucks and nobody is listening. UNITED SUCKS AND NOBODY IS LISTENING!

So, how could it be any worse? Well, pull up a stool and have a listen.

I went to the gate pretty early to discover that I had been dropped from the upgrade list AGAIN. This is the third time the computer has done that for no apparent reason. Nobody can tell me why. Anyway, I got on the upgrade list again way too late (as number one of course)…and lo and behold there was a seat.

30 minutes before takeoff I was upgraded and given a paper boarding pass for BusinessFirst. I boarded. 10 minutes later the gate agent came and asked me to move. “The computer made a mistake.” My economy seat was already occupied, but they made that poor guy move too.

Only later did I find out what really happened from the crew (who were all very nice and who also agree that Jeff Smisek is a crap CEO and he should resign so someone else can “clean up the mess” FWIW). A premier gold had been confirmed upgraded on an earlier flight that he missed when he fell asleep in the Denver red carpet club. That meant he was standby on my later flight. He should have had the last available seat. But he raised such a stink about being in business class (since he was previously confirmed) that the solution was to bump me…a guy with double his status…back to economy?! What an asshole. And what pathetic gate agents. I guess I am just not enough of a jerk to get my way even when I am right? And they were dead wrong about who should have been upgraded. Sadly, I found out too late to stand my ground.

So the awful (and I mean worst ever) gate agents AnaMaria Espimo and Asmara Samery are responsible for my current foul mood. Not to mention the asshole.

Just to pile it on, I was slated to join up with Privium in Amsterdam, but it turns out the that Dutch don’t understand McNames. My passport says “MC NAME” but the application said “MCNAME” so back to square one for that process. Ridiculous. Come to think of it, maybe that is the problem with the United computer?

United sucks enough that it needs a reboot. Start at the top.

Wow. I am about to get another taste of economy class to Europe courtesy of United. I am flying to Amsterdam in early May and was counting on my 1,000,000 miles and 100k status along with a couple of “system wide upgrades” to boost me to business class. Nope. The return trip is already filled to the gills. And I am number 8 on the upgrade list with 6 seats available on the way over (and 30+ people below me on the list).

My system wide upgrades (and I have lots of them) are utterly useless. My 100k status? About the same. I can barely remember why I used to fly on this airline.

Hey Jeff Smisek, you have completely ruined United and ticked off a bunch of your best customers. Time to resign.

I really can’t stand United any more. United Sucks even more in 2012 than they did in 2011. In advance.

When I flew to Germany last week, I did not rely on getting an upgrade. I bought a business class ticket. Looks like United has trained me just like they wanted to.

The international flights were fine. On time. Decent equipment. Reasonable service.

Meanwhile back in domestic flying land, United is still broken and they still suck. The computer opted not to put me on the upgrade list for a puddle hopper flight (flown by the worst of the worst subcontractors, Mesa). I was added to the list only after I went to the airport to check in. By that time, First Class was full (duh). Nobody in customer service can explain what happened or do anything to guarantee it won’t happen again.

In the “no Upgrade for you” United is now 2 for 11. (I am not counting the business class fares I bought to fly to Europe in the tally.) That sucks. My million mile 1k status on United is utterly meaningless.