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Parkland FL

This Is Not My Parkland FL……. Is This My World?……. A Bit Of A Rant

** Heads up, this is not a travel-related post **

This afternoon I was traveling from Jackson, MS to Birmingham, AL when I received this text from my wife.

Active shooter at Stoneman. Happened at dismissal. 100 law enforcement vechicles surround…100+ law enforce surrounding 3 story building. Shooter now on 3rd floor.

NE CORNER beside parking lot

20 victims so far

That came four hours after this text from her.

We got gun shots on Apopka Vinelend and Silver Star!

Jeez are you serious”

Omg… right here by the fire station

Happy Valentine’s Day

Yes-eight shots

Welcome to Tuesday, February 14, 2018. Today’s events hit home, too close to home.

Parkland FL

You see, I spent my formative years in Coral Springs, Florida….. Coral Springs High School class of 1982! At that time Parkland was in its infancy. Homes with horse barns dotted the gravel roads, Parkland was our playground.

Parkland FL

I worked after school and weekends at the local feed and seed. And our free time was spent 4-wheeling, fishing and chasing armadillos in what is now Parkland. This Is Not My Parkland.

 

Parkland FL

We wore matching suits from JC Penny’s to events at the Elks Lodge. We drank Mickey’s Wide Mouth Beer behind Don Carter’s Bowling Alley. The consensus was that the “Wide Mouth” bottle allowed you to drink the beer quicker thus allowing you to get drunk quicker……. we were 18 and lightweights. During school, most of us carried knives in our pockets and a handful of us had firearms in our vehicles. This Is Not My Parkland.

Parkland FL

I was in the Coral Springs Fire Department, Station 4 and we kicked ass. We covered Parkland and I remember extinguishing brush fires where the ground got so hot that my feet swelled and I couldn’t remove my boots. This Is Not My Parkland.

My mother-in-law was an educator and recently retired as a department head from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I can only imagine the impact on her as well as the teachers still working there. This Is Not Her Parkland.

So what in the hell has happened in the last 36 years?

Part of the blame falls on us, the parents, we’ve become lazy! Back in my day, parents were involved. We corrected the neighbors’ kid when they did something inappropriate, Nowadays if you correct a kid that’s not your own be prepared for an onslaught of insults and criticism…… “Mind your own damn business”. We have stopped parenting and let some electronic “Smart Device” replace us.

Part of the blame falls on the media, television, print and social. They glamorize the perpetrators…. if it bleeds, it leads baby. It seems that they can’t publicize the perpetrator’s name fast enough. Want to decrease some of this madness? Don’t give these scumbags a second of publicity.

Part of the blame falls on society. We crave this crap, we love tabloid, we love scandal, it seems that anything that makes us feel better about our own life is acceptable. I rarely turn on the TV, especially when traveling, but tonight I’ve had it on and it seems that the news heads were focused on little besides being able to finally display a death toll from this tragedy

Parkland FL

What happened today isn’t OK and it isn’t normal. Unfortunately, thoughts and prayers do little, it’s time for us to take a stand and say this behavior isn’t acceptable. This isn’t about politics or gun control it’s about accountability and the future of the world we want to leave behind.

Parkland FL

This was to have been one of those “Traveling During A Holiday” posts, but dammit the world got in the way. Resolving this garbage begins at home and in our neighborhoods. Time for another quote “ Be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

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TSA MCO

What’s Going On With TSA And The Orlando Airport?

Orlando Sentinel

Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

I relocated to Orlando roughly 20 months ago. In that time I’ve flown in or out of Orlando International Airport (MCO) over sixty times. Last week Orlando International was named the busiest airport in Florida. Last year MCO handled forty-four million passengers and generated $31 billion annually in revenue for the regional economy.” that’s thirty-one followed by nine zeros.

Before I launch into this you deserve full disclosure (The I’m section). I’m not easily rattled if things change I can usually go with the flow. I’m a glass-half-full person, most of my Yelp and Untappd reviews hover close to four stars. I’m in favor of privatization with many government-run entities.

It seems that there’s the “Screening Partnership Program“. The Screening Partnership Program contracts security screening services at commercial airports to qualified private companies. These companies run screening operations under federal oversight and must comply with all TSA security screening procedures.

Last week Kevin Spear addressed this in an article at the Orlando Sentinel. Some of the following quotes come from that. The article, as well as the video, are worthy of your attention.

TSA MCO

Last year MCO saw 2.7 million new passengers, that’s an increase of almost 7400 travelers each day. For a traveler that visits various airports each week, the word efficiency is paramount since time is money. TSA’s actual job is keeping us safe, and there have been several times that my bags have been flagged, even in the Pre-check lane….in other words, they get it.

TSA MCO

My gold standard in airport traffic is Atlanta. They service 95 million travelers each year, were at 44 million. Atlanta provides four TSA checkpoints, we provide two, sounds like we’re keeping pace.

TSA MCO

Like it or not, most controversies are about the dollar.Yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel opinion page posted “TSA the scapegoat for aviation authority at Orlando airport: Letters“. Today, most contracts do go to the lowest bidder. Think about lowest bidder next time you need surgery, there’s nothing wrong with paying for quality.

TSA MCO

Last week TSA posted the graphic above. I’m concerned with two things, safety first and then efficiency. So I ask this, “Do you feel safe while traveling?” For me, the answer is YES. Most of the meltdowns I experience has nothing to do with weapons or security concerns. Usually, it has to do with someone being over-served, canceled flights or missed connections.

Next up airport efficiency,  I’m a travel snob, I have TSA Pre-Check. That means I can clear most of the TSA lines in under ten minutes. Isn’t that what most of you complain about? “I spent 15, 20, 30 or 40 minutes going through TSA”… spend a minute and think about it.

I’m the first to bust TSA’s chops. Security breaches happen all the time, but most of them TSA has thwarted.  My opinion, for what it’s worth, is to leave the existing TSA configuration in place, it seems to be working.

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TSA MCO

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Long Beach

Coach Finstock: There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese. (Teen Wolf)

I have a few rules that I try and live by and one of those is I don’t check luggage. This past Monday I broke that rule and paid for it. I had meetings in Irvine CA. set for Tuesday and Wednesday, being a good steward of corporate money two of us decided to share a rental. John Wayne, the closest airport was too expensive, the other choice was Long Beach. Long Beach on Southwest, was 3 or 4 connections and 12 plus hours of travel time for a six-hour flight, not cool. I bit the bullet and booked American Airlines into Long Beach, which included a one-hour layover in Phoenix. American is an airline which I’ve flown on once in the last 12 months. This means I have no status and I’ll be boarding with the regular folks and competing for overhead bin space.

No staus got me Zone 9 basic economy. In Zone 9 you get to board last and here’s the kicker “No large carry-on bags will be allowed for basic economy travelers. You will, however, be allowed to take on a small personal item that fits under the seat in In front of you, such as a purse or backpack. Any bag that needs to be checked at the gate will be charged the checked baggage fee plus an additional $25 service fee. LINK” Once again being a good steward of my company’s money I paid to check my bag ahead of time avoiding the additional $25 service fee.

Let’s call this section Good News/Bad News

Good News – TSA PreCheck was a breeze. Bad News – Boarding began, first the business travelers, then the Disney families, after that the cheerleader squad and then me. Good News – I found myself in a row all to myself. Bad News – The overhead speaker comes to life “Ah (anytime the pilot begins a sentence with ah, it’s not going to be good news) we’re going to have a two-hour delay due to runway construction at the Phoenix airport“. I grab my phone and a quick search returns One of Three Runways Closed Through Feb. 21. Expected delays would’ve been a handy bit of information when I was booking this trip. Good News – They let us get off the plane. While most passengers were complaining to the flight attendants about the delay I head to the gate agent.

Travel Blues

 

More Good News – I’m the second person in line behind Spencer, not his real name but he looked like a Spencer. Bad News – Spencer discovers he can be rebooked but can’t get his checked luggage. Spencer threatens to run down the jetway to retrieve his checked luggage. Good News – I have my cell phone ready in case Spencer follows through on his threat. Bad News – he doesn’t.

Bad News – I realize that I can’t retrieve my luggage either. Good News –  The gate agent, Magic Mike can book me on the next flight, and it’s direct. Bad News – It’s into LAX and not Long Beach which is where my luggage will be some point on Tuesday. Good News – I get in at 9:30 PM Pacific an hour earlier than my original flight to Long Beach. Bad News – I’ve got to figure out some way to get from LAX to Long Beach. Good News – I found a cab for only $85.00.

Travel Blues
Bad News – I have no clothes. Good News – My coworker with the rental arrived at the hotel 20 minutes after I did. More Good News – There’s a Walmart less than a mile from the hotel. Much better Good News – Their clothing selection offers something that I can actually wear to a meeting, and it fits. Bad News – It’s 12:30 PM Pacific time when I go to bed. More Bad News – I wake up 2 1/2 hours at 3:00 AM Pacific time, my body thinking believing it’s 6:00 AM Eastern time.

Travel Blues

Good News – The Hampton Inn provided a great breakfast. Bad News – The traffic from Long Beach to Irvine was worse than I-4. Good News – I have the American Airlines app loaded and it has the ability to track baggage. Bad News – It appears that my luggage is at LAX and not Long Beach, so I call American Airlines.

Travel Blues

Good News – Michelle at American Airlines confirms that my luggage is at LAX and she is going to have it delivered to the hotel I’ll be staying at Wednesday night. Also, they’re going to reimburse me for my recent Walmart shopping spree. Bad News – It’s 10:42 PM Pacific time and Armando from WheresMySuitcase.com calls from the hotel looking for me. I tell Armando, I won’t be there until tomorrow night, please leave it at the desk.

Travel Blues

Good News – I rolled into the Hampton Long Beach Airport late Wednesday and locked in their storage room was my luggage, hallelujah!

As with most things, there’s some sort of a lesson. The biggest lesson, keeping my cool. I could have released my frustration on Magic Mike, and it would have felt amazing, but chances are he wouldn’t have booked me on the next flight out. The next lesson, adapting to the situation. In the words of REO Speedwagon – Roll With the Changes. Sometimes your rental car won’t be ready, sometimes you’ll forget to book a hotel room and sometimes your luggage won’t show up and then you’ll be forced to adapt. Don’t panic, take a deep breath and ask for help if you need it.

In the morning, against my will, I will check my bag and board a plane for #FlyHomeThursday keep me in your thoughts.

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January Crazy Travel

January Crazy Travel Roundup

I don’t think that 2018 is going to disappoint, especially when it comes to crazy travel.

Impatient man on long flight walks on wing of plane after escaping through emergency exit

For most of us, our flights end in Orlando and that means lots of kids and lots of carry-on luggage. I understand the frustration of not being able to get off the plane quickly. I’m not looking to visit a theme park, I’m looking to visit my bed. That being said, opening the emergency exit is going to result in a bad afternoon for you.

January Crazy Travel

 

Snakes on a plane? Nope, poop on a plane

An adult male smeared the excrement in a couple of bathrooms, and took off his shirt and tried to stuff it in a toilet. He was cooperative with the flight crew and was seated when the flight landed in Anchorage.

The passenger was met by FBI agents and Airport Police at the plane and was interviewed by both agencies. Airport Police say he was taken to a hospital for a psych evaluation.

The sullied Boeing 777 was grounded overnight for maintenance.

No charges were filed. LINK

No charges were filed, seriously? if you want to fingerpaint like that, then you need to be behind bars, or at least in a padded room.

January Crazy Travel

MARRIOTT HOTEL SUED You Kicked Me Out …JUST BECAUSE I WASN’T A SWINGER!

Can’t say we’ve heard this before — a woman is suing Marriott for allegedly kicking her out of one of their hotels ’cause she was a non-swinger on a swingers’ floor … yup.

Hale Lewis says she booked a 3-day stay at a Marriott in Atlanta last year for a New Year’s Eve party, and before she knew it … she claims she was hauled out in cuffs because of a mix-up over the floor she was on … which was apparently restricted to swingers. LINK

File this under…… “Things this never happen to me”. I’m a bit skeptical about this one. The police have better things to do than handcuff a bunch of innocent people, especially non-swingers, imagine the paperwork and all those handcuffs.

January Crazy Travel

Cruel Couple Checks Cat in Luggage

I was alerted to this one by Forever Young, But Growing Old. As cruel as it sounds I’ve often said, “Lock your significant other and your dog in the trunk of your car. Open your trunk an hour later, and see which one is happy to see you”. Looking to save a few dollars by stuffing your pet in checked baggage? More than likely it won’t work. Stay tuned for my next podcast, guaranteed to include my cat/air travel story. Yes, Florida was mentioned. LINK

Drunk’ British Airways pilot is hauled off Gatwick flight

Once again drinking and flying make the news. This time, the one with the booze was piloting the plane. LINK

 

Angry Buzz Aldrin Misses Delta Flight

It’s not entirely clear what happened, but at 9:20AM he’s still at the check-in counter for his 9:25AM flight. When he’s told that he’ll be rebooked on the next flight he isn’t happy at all, and gets up from his wheelchair to approach the Delta employees.

We’re not sure what exactly caused this, though Buzz tells the Delta employees that “I’m telling you guys, you’re going to be in a little bit of trouble, because we’ve been sitting here now 20 minutes for somebody to come and fix a two minute problem.” We don’t know what that two minute problem was. LINK

In the Brian Regan clip above the punch line is, “I Walked on the Moon”. If you managed to control some sort of a rocket-fueled aluminum tube 200,000+ miles, and then walked on the moon, there’s no reason that your 700-mile flight shouldn’t be completed in a timely manner.

January Crazy Travel

Jet grounds two senior pilots fighting in cockpit of London-Mumbai flight

NEW DELHI: Jet Airways has grounded two of its senior commanders for fighting inside the cockpit of a London-Mumbai flight on January 1.
The commander flying as co-pilot allegedly slapped the lady commander mid-flight after which she left the cockpit in tears.

After great persuation, the lady pilot went back to the cockpit but reportedly came out in a huff shortly afterwards. This time, a frightened cabin crew, fearing for everyone’s safety, requested her to go back to the controls and operate the flight to its destination. Luckily, the plane landed safely. LINK

Nothing better than a fistfight to welcome in 2018, but you can’t slap a woman. Normally the cockpit door is barred to protect the pilots, this time it should’ve been barred to protect the passengers.

January Crazy Travel

Flight from Denver to Hawaii diverted after toilet troubles on plane

SAN FRANCISCO — Toilet troubles caused a United Airlines flight from Denver to Hawaii full of passengers to divert back to land when they were halfway over the Pacific Ocean.

The issue doubled the flight time and cut passengers’ vacations short.

“Everyone was disgusted,” passenger Rich Anderson said. “We were probably three hours from Hawaii and they announced that the toilets were all full,” Kristin Anderson said. Link

Two poop stories in the same month, is this the trend for 2018? It’s rare that I use the plane’s lavatory, but these folks filled the tanks up in a matter of hours. What’s even more crappy is that they had to turn the plane around.

In case you haven’t had enough, here’s a few more.

 

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Emotional Support Peacock

Is 2018 The Year Of The Animal?

During 2017 it seemed like almost every week there was a story that involved airline passengers dishing out abuse or being abused. At this point, it appears that 2018 is going to be the year of the animal. First Delta changed their service/support animal policy, and Forever Young, But Growing Old detailed the challenges of flying with your pet. Then Wednesday morning I came across this headline, A woman tried to board a plane with her emotional support peacock. United wouldn’t let it fly.

K-9s, felines . . . and peacocks.

Airlines that have begun talking about tightening restrictions on a proliferating array of “emotional support” animals on commercial flights may have found their case bolstered this week after a picture of a peacock that was reportedly denied a seat aboard a United Airlines flight traveled far and wide.

The Jet Set, a travel-focused television show based in Washington, posted the photo on Facebook of the resplendent blue-and-green bird, saying that the “emotional support peacock” had been denied boarding on a flight at Newark International Airport.

United Airlines confirmed that the exotic animal was barred from the plane Saturday because it “did not meet guidelines for a number of reasons, including its weight and size.” LINK

I want to call this a stunt, a marketing stunt, but I can’t figure out the angle. Is it someone wanting to once again make United Airlines look bad? Could it be one of those “YouTube” pranksters? Yet, SmarteCarte can now market themselves as the Tripple-P (Perfect Peacock Perch), because their product is in damn near every photo.

My skepticism hit another level once I realized that the person shooting the video was perfectly positioned and ready to roll. Also, why is this the only video we’ve seen?

If this was a legit emotional support animal she would’ve had the “required” doctor approved letter. Here’s a tip, people aren’t used to seeing peacocks outside the zoo. If you’re carrying one based on an emotional need make sure you’ve got the required peacock paperwork.

I get the whole “emotional” attachment thing, my sister carried a blanket with her till she was 17, it was 6 but 17 sounds better.

Possibly the United passengers emotional issue is never getting enough attention. Side note, that is a beautiful peacock.

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Delta Support Animal

Delta introduces enhanced requirements for customers traveling with service or support animals effective March 1

Delta Support Animal

While burritos are an acceptable support vehicle, Delta dropped some major news last Thursday;

Delta Air Lines is taking steps to further protect its customers, employees and service and support animals by implementing advance documentation requirements for those animals. This comes as a result of a lack of regulation that has led to serious safety risks involving untrained animals in flight. The new requirements support Delta’s top priority of ensuring safety for its customers, employees and trained service and support animals, while supporting the rights of customers with legitimate needs, such as disabled veterans, to travel with trained animals.

Delta carries approximately 700 service or support animals daily — nearly 250,000 annually. Putting this into perspective, Delta carries more than 180 million passengers annually. Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more. Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs. Delta has seen an 84 percent increase in reported animal incidents since 2016, including urination/defecation, biting and even a widely reported attack by a 70-pound dog. In 2017, Delta employees reported increased acts of aggression (barking, growling, lunging and biting) from service and support animals, behavior not typically seen in these animals when properly trained and working. LINK

 

If you’ve spent any time in airports or on planes, I’m sure you’ve seen someone with a service or support animal and questioned the validity of it. When I got married my soon to be brother-in-law couldn’t find anyone to babysit his dog while he attended the event. He found a website on the interwebs that, for a fee, produced a letter that allowed him to keep the dog in his hotel room for the weekend……….. no questions asked.

Delta Support AnimalDelta Support Animal

 

I’m a dog lover, we have a “Meth Lab” currently residing at Chateau’ Relaxo. Jessie’s a great dog if you can tolerate her anxiousness, her barking at anyone and anything that passes by the window or her constantly following you every time you leave her sight. I guess we’re her support human. If I had lost any sense of reason and decided that I wanted her to travel with me I could easily head over to Amazon and purchase her a cool looking harness for $25.00. Have you ever seen anyone question a service animal?

Delta goes on the add:

Traveling with a trained service animal

  • Customers traveling with a trained service animal will be required to submit a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date) for their animal to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel.

Traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal

  • Customers traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal will be required to submit a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date), an Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Request form which requires a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional, and a signed Confirmation of Animal Training form to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel. LINK

The changes are fair. If you need an ESA (Emotional Support Animal) chance are you have all the documentation that Delta is asking for. Pets provide unconditional love. If you don’t believe me lock your pet and loved one in the trunk of your car after an hour open the trunk and see which one is glad to see you.

Delta Service Animal

Airports and airlines aware that people travel with all kinds of animals. Atlanta Hartsfield even offers an indoor relief area in the following locations T7, A10, B33, C19, D Centerpoint, E14 and F7.

While I’ve never had any issues with service or support animals I agree with what Delta is doing. Think about it, being on a plane with a turkey, pig, horse or dog that at 30,000′ decides it’s time to lose their mind. You have no place to go, it’s like being on a cruise ship where everybody gets sick.

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Amazon Prime

My 8 Best Travel Purchases Of 2017

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime, like it or not, it’s here to stay. For me, it’s changed the way I shop, especially when traveling. Often I’ll order items that I need and have them shipped to clients or hotels so they’re there when I arrive. You’ll be surprised how Amazon Prime can reduce those last-minute FedEx charges.

December is the month that I use to reflect on the previous 11 months. In this case, I looked at my Amazon purchases in search of that “best bang” for the buck.

Adjustable Camera Stand Holder with Remote and Universal Clip – I take a crazy amount of pictures and video when traveling, and this contraception keeps my phone steady and lets me control it remotely. $14.00

Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Journal  –  I still enjoy writing, ink on paper gives me a sense of accomplishment, especially in 2017. For years the Moleskine had been my journal, this year I moved to a Leuchtturm 1917. $20.00

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag – For our anniversary my wife and I took a nighttime photo tour of Savannah, GA. One of the requirements was a tripod, which was something that we’d never bothered to purchase. $24.00

Hard Shell Stylus Pen Pencil Case – I have a couple of vices watches, writing instruments & beer… make that three vices. I almost always have 3 or 4 different pens with me, and this pen case makes it easy to keep them all together. $8.00

AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set – As silly as it sounds these have been a huge help. Especially if I’m driving and flying in the same week, as I can pack a cube for each portion of the week. I’ve given these as gifts to several of the people I work with. $23.00

The Pill Bag – Between my Flintstone vitamins, the Omegas’ this and Omegas’ that, I carry around enough supplements to count as a meal. Each and every pillbox I bought never stayed closed in my luggage. These simple reusable pill bags were the answer. $6.50

Arched Back Stretcher – After years of lifting weights, my spine is destroyed. My L1 through L5 is commonly referred to as “The Area” when I’m visiting my doctor. Surgery will certainly help, but I’ve yet to meet anyone that’s only had back surgery ONCE. Until the “One Stop Shop” back procedure is perfected I’m sticking with Yin Yoga and my back stretcher, especially after a flight. $35.00

It’s really odd, I work in the technology field, and not one of these items plugs into anything nor do they send anyone any information. For right around $130.00, I’ve managed to make my life a bit easier.

Even though we’re all addicted to Amazon Prime, don’t miss out on shopping local, drinking local and eating local. I’ve come home with some beautiful handmade trinkets from my travels.

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December Crazy Travel

December Crazy Travel Roundup, Part 2

This month’s Crazy Travel Round was so jam-packed that we had to give you Part 1 a few weeks ago. Here’s Part 2 to end the month and the year.

December Crazy Travel

Burnt bagel causes Lambert Airport evacuation –

NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) –
The burning of a bagel prompted a full evacuation of Terminal 2 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport on Tuesday night.

Ever been in the office when someone microwaves leftover fish? It can be room clearing. Apparently, a burnt bagel can clear a whole airport terminal. I wonder if they still had to pay $8.00 for the bagel? LINK

December Crazy Travel

Man stabbed for wearing smelly socks on plane – 

A quarrel over smelly socks between two plane passengers escalated into a fight on arrival, which saw one of them ending up in hospital with a serious stab wound, police in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region has said.

It appears that a “Sock of the month club” member ending up sitting next to a “Knife of the month club” member….. and in case you didn’t know knife beats sock. LINK

December Crazy Travel 7

Drunk man groped multiple women on United flight from Newark, passenger says – 

Almost as soon as a man got on a United Airlines flight departing Newark on Tuesday night, he grabbed the thigh of the woman next to him, she says

I’ve said it time after time, drinking and flying don’t mix. And what the hell is wrong with the modern man? Seriously, you’re not that good looking and women really don’t want you touching them without their permission. LINK

December Crazy Travel

“Possessed” airline passenger causes captain to turn plane around after declaring mid-air emergency on Air China flight – 

An airline passenger who claimed she was “possessed” caused an Air China plane to turn around after take-off.

The female traveller, in her 50s, sparked a mid-air emergency when she fainted shortly after flight CA 4102 from Beijing to Chengdu departed today.

A bit of a long read but due to the fainting spell the pilot turned the plane around so she could receive medical treatment. To which she responded “I have to be in Chengdu. There are things possessing my body and you cannot find it by health checks.”  Kind of surprised this didn’t happen in Florida. LINK

December Crazy Travel

More Than 300 Passengers Get Nasty Stomach Bug On Royal Caribbean Cruise – 

More than 300 people on a Royal Caribbean cruise fell ill with a nasty gastrointestinal sickness that included bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. The Independence of the Seas, which had visited Haiti and Jamaica, returned to Port Everglades, Florida, on Saturday.

This was the second time in less than a month that guests had become sick on one of Royal Caribbean’s ships, according to USA Today. About 200 passengers took ill earlier this month on a Royal Caribbean cruise between Singapore and Australia. Five of those passengers required hospital treatment, NBC News reported.

I’m not a cruise person. I’ve only been on one and even with the drink package, it was a giant cub of suck. Here’s the really bad part about getting sick on a ship, you can’t escape it. You can’t jump in the car and head home…… you’re stuck on a boat, with all the other sick people. LINK

December Crazy Travel

 

TSA Agent “Accidentally” Brings Gun To Work – 

Ugh, don’t you just hate when you accidentally pack a gun in your lunch box when going to work? CBS Boston is reporting how a TSA agent at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport packed a gun in his/her lunchbox last Friday. This was only discovered when the worker underwent a security screening before their shift started (I didn’t realize this was a thing that the TSA did).

One of the great money saving strategies is brown bagging your lunch to work – Sandwich – check. Doritos – check. Soda – check. 357 Magnum – check. I really don’t grasp how so many gun owners forget that they’re carrying a gun. Besides isn’t it TSA’s responsibility to be on the lookout for guns? Curious to see how they handle “Bring your kids to work day”. LINK

December Crazy Travel

Delta Flight Diverts So Passengers Could Use Bathroom After Blue Water Runs Down Aisle –

A direct Delta flight from New York City to Seattle on Saturday night made an unplanned stop in Billings for what several passengers considered an emergency — a potty break.

While enroute, the Boeing 757’s toilets “ceased functioning, with passengers queuing up and indicating they needed to visit the toilet,” according to a Delta incident report.

I can’t recall the last time I used an airplane bathroom, thankfully most of my flights are under 2 hours. I know where “Blue Water” comes from and if I see it running down the aisle it’s a solid indicator that things are about to get a bit dicey. LINK

December Crazy Travel

Sick Child And Family Kicked Off Flight – 

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — A local family says they were kicked off a plane because their son got sick.

Newport mom Yvette Kohan said she was running up the aisle of the plane with her 3-year-old son in her arms heading for the bathroom when it happened.

She said her son suffers from motion sickness like she does.

Traveling with kids is rough, especially one that gets motion sickness. My parents used to load my sister up on Dramamine for a 45 minute car ride. The article is run of the mill, but what makes this is the comments from others….. I love the internet. LINK 

That’s a wrap on 2017  “Crazy Travel Roundup”. I’m sure that 2018 won’t disappoint and thanks to the internet we’ll be able to follow it all.

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Social Media

Social Media, Is The Review Is Mightier Than The Sword?

Until yesterday I’d never heard of Vitaly Zdorovetskiy. Vitaly Zdorovetskiy is known for his social media YouTube channel VitalyzdTv. Vitaly is a prankster, think Candid Camera, but a bit more diabolical.

According to his Wikipedia page, so take this with a grain of salt, his pranks have included.

  • In 2012, Zdorovetskiy received his first significant success, with the video “Miami Zombie Attack Prank!” Inspired by the cannibal attack of a homeless man in Miami in May 2012, Zdorovetskiy dressed up as a zombie and traveled to some of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami to scare random bystanders.
  • On June 16, 2012, Zdorovetskiy and cameraman Jonathan Vanegas filmed the “Russian Hitman Prank”. As part of the prank, Zdorovetskiy approached a Boca Raton man and informed him they had 60 seconds to get away from a briefcase he placed on the ground.
  • On October 15, 2014, Zdorovetskiy pulled a prank which involved himself dressing up as Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, pretending to saw off the legs of Hanhart syndrome patient Nick Santonastasso with a chainsaw in front of unsuspecting witnesses.

 

Yesterday Chris Matyszczyk at INC posted, “This 5-Star Hotel Just Ruined Its Online Reputation By Getting the Police to Help Kick Out a Guest (He’s Famous)“. It seems that hotel management figured out who Vitaly was after he had checked in. The Boca Raton Resort then had the cops remove Vitaly and his girlfriend from the property. Their fear was becoming the backdrop for one of his pranks.

Here’s the video, shot on a cellphone since Vitaly wasn’t equipped with his normal camera gear. NSFW – strong language….. I’m such an adult.

 

 

If you make it through all 9 minutes you can see that Vitaly remained calm, no meltdown, no resistance. He had no reason to, he had struck video gold, and he knew it. The hotel gave him a late Christmas gift…… 500,000 views of his video in under 24 hours. As the video unfolds, Vitaly puts his plan of revenge in action. He asks his 9.4 million YouTube subscribers to call the hotel, even posting the hotels number in the video. He also asks for bad Yelp reviews to be posted. His followers obliged and the Boca Raton Resort, The Waldorf Astoria Collection now has a Yelp rating of 1.5 stars. People even took the time to create a Yelp account just to blast the resort. There are 930 posted reviews with 4600 additional reviews that aren’t currently recommended.

Social Media

Growing up the phrase “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was heard and for the most was true, but that was before social media.

Should we be concerned about the resorts effected Yelp rating? Not for this business, with rooms starting at $450.00 per night their target audience isn’t checking Yelp before they book a room. Yet, we have a 2-week old pizza restaurant in our neighborhood and they’ve been roasted in our Nextdoor app as they’ve been working to get everything up to speed. For them, a pile-on from someone like a Vitaly could be devastating.

Was the hotel correct in what they did? You bet. If your claim to fame is producing Zombie and Russian hitman videos you’ve got to realize stuff like getting kicked out of a hotel comes with the territory. I’m willing to bet that the resorts legal staff “greenlighted” the removal long before the police were called. I’m not a lawyer, but my guess is that there’s some law that states, “your rules, your property”, but also contains words like race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status in it.

So who came out on top? Vitaly, but not by much. People like me now know about him. I’m sure he got new followers and then there are all those video views, that’s what really counts. The resort got some free publicity, which is always good. Believe me, there are plenty of “monied” people that will now book there because the hotel stood their ground. Monied people love doing stuff like that.

You never know Vitaly may have orchestrated this whole fiasco, knowing the hotel would ask him to leave and he would be there to film it all, first person. Ah, to be internet-famous.

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Hilton Do Not Disturb

Hilton’s “Do Not Disturb” Policy Has Been Updated

Hilton Do Not Disturb

The internet is an odd place, a mixture of trolls, helpers and me-tooers. This past week Hilton published changes to their “Do Not Disturb” guest policy, and the internet went “Bat S Crazy” over it,  here, here, here. Don’t spend time clicking all those links I just put them there to clog the internet.

Welcome to my me-tooers post. It’s for the simple reason that I want to weigh in, just like everyone else.

Hilton Do Not Disturb

https://loyaltylobby.com/2017/12/28/hilton-do-not-disturb-dnd-update-hotel-employee-will-enter-once-a-day-to-inspect/

The graphic above comes from the Loyalty Lobby, a site that covers travel loyalty programs. I’ve been working from the home office all week, so I haven’t seen this notice at a Hilton property.

Their post highlights:

New wording on Hilton guest directories under Guest Privacy:

“We understand and respect your need for privacy. The hotel reserves the right to visually inspect all guest rooms every 24 hours to ensure the well-being of our guests and confirm the condition of the room.”

Unable to service rooms cards contain the following language:

“We understand and respect your need for privacy. The hotel reserves the right to visually inspect all guest rooms every 24 hours to ensure the well-being of our guests and confirm the condition of the room. If service is refused for this length of time, a member of hotel management will check on the guest room.”

 

Hilton Do Not Disturb

I’m fairly familiar with the Hilton site and the last update on their privacy policy was November 14, 2017… since the internet has gone “Bat S Crazy” I shall weigh in.

The  Loyalty Lobby post goes on to outline several additional points. My response is in RED

What Hilton considers suspicious behavior?

Hilton has collected a long laundry list of issues that one could consider suspicious but some perhaps are not such as:

– Guests overly concerned about privacy – Basic concerns, but I’m not relying on you to keep me alive. Is Glock spelled with one K or two K’s?

– Guests refusing room cleaning for extended period of time – I always hang the DND sign on my door, I’m a big boy I can hang up my own towel and make my own bed.

– Those taking photos and notes about the hotel – I’m a Yelp and Instagram nerd, unfortunately taking pictures is part of the landscape, beside 5 stars review might make your day.

– Switching rooms number of times – As long as you’ve cleaned it we’re cool.

– Requesting specific rooms – Seriously? Unless it’s the presidential suite in Savannah the room you assign will be fine.

– Extended use of DND sign – It’s on the door from the time I arrive, till the time I’m gone…… deal with it.

– Using cash for payment – Ha, you said cash…. carry on

– Guest doesn’t leave the room for extended period – If it’s not snowstorm or another divorce I’ll be leaving each morning.

– Guest leaves the room for extended period – Short of a  lottery takedown or needing to bail a friend out of jail, I’ll be back each day by midnight. 

Do Not Disturb – Occupied

Housekeeping staff needs to slide the Unable to service note if the DND sign has been hanging through 2PM in the afternoon and are supposed to report guests to the management that have had the sign on the door for 24 hours continuously and refused two service attempts.

Security or Manager on Duty then needs to “investigate” and possibly to enter the room unless the guest is deemed to be low risk such as part of the flight crew or law enforcement member.

Do Not Disturb – Departure

Housekeeping staff can knock the door if it past the standard check out time and the guest has not requested late check out but the DND is hanging outside of the door.

Then there are basically three scenarios; someone is inside the room, room is occupied but nobody is there or room is vacant.

 

When I get to a hotel room one of the first things I do is hang the “Do Not Disturb” hanger on the door. The second thing I do is flip the “U Lock”. Unfortunately, most hotel room secondary locks can be easily bypassed (don’t watch if you’re easily spooked). I’m betting that most hotel staff won’t go to those lengths in order to open a guests door.

Here are a few tips, don’t leave anything of value in your car overnight, and don’t leave anything of value in your hotel room during the day. After traveling 20+ years I’ve found that if you spend 5 minutes at the front desk letting them know you’re not a total whack-a-do most everyone will leave you the heck alone. Ask to not be disturbed, ask for a late checkout, but put your phone down, look them straight in the eye and appear marginally normal.

This “policy” change was in response to the Las Vegas tragedy last October. While I appreciate the diligence, you’re putting my safety in the hands of the folks that stock my room with two conditioners instead of one conditioner and one shampoo. Not the best defense.

As far as an invasion of my privacy, most hotels have more cameras than TMZ. Besides, if the room attendants barge in while I’m in my travel thong and tank-top they’ll be the ones traumatized, not me.

There you go I’ve weighed in with all the other me-tooers as well as the “Internet Travel Experts”.

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