As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of a couple of airline loyalty schemes, 2 of my preferred trio from the past life. I have no idea why I never joined Aer Lingus, but besides that…Yes, the conglomerate now known as American, who gobbled up my other loyalty scheme with US Airlines, and Delta.
I’ve checked American’s site, and changing my name, and gender, while keeping my mileage stored there, not seemingly an issue. No, not actually done it yet, as it will be next year before I fly with them at the earliest. Irony, their miles only last 18 months, so I had to give back 1,000, to keep the other 34,000 via a charity scheme, but thats fine by me.
So then I look at Delta, expecting it to be the same situation, but no, you cant even change your name by yourself, let alone your gender. Must be crazy when people get married, but anyway…The big snag? Well, on their website, it says that to change such things, you have to send it in writing to Atlanta. Yes, fine if you’re in the US, but if like me, you’re in the UK, not a serious option, especially if you might be booking with them in a month or so. I know, I could open a new account, but again, I have about 35,000 miles on the scheme with them, and even if I’m never likely to travel enough for an international flight, fitting in a US domestic one, hmm, as they dont expire, ever!
So, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I sent in a question about the matter, and included in the attachment, the deed poll of my name change, and half expected them to say, fine, but you need to send it to our UK office or something. No, the first working day (Monday) after I did so, I came back home to a lovely email saying all was fine, account was changed, name and gender, and wishing me all the best for the future!
To be fair, the September trip, if its into Boston, and out of Boston, I’m flying Delta after that! I prefer them anyway, as you get more leg room options than Aer Lingus. If either way involves flying via Hartford, its probably going to be Aer Lingus, and make my knees suffer, simply because they have the direct flights, that Delta doesnt to that airport. But yes, if its only outward from Hartford, I might look at Delta, now, all the same.
OK, video time. Fine, it took me seconds to come up with this one. A not greatly edited version of the obvious song, but its live, and not only do you get Helen Reddy, you get Glen Campbell too
Oh, and while we’re talking transgender airline moments, 50 days from today, my first flight as a woman, cool! 😀
Yes, pretty much a major part of work in any call centre I’ve worked in, but in honesty, thats not what this is about. Well, there was one call centre that seemed to want to annoy their customers, but enough of that…
Loyalty cards, or more pertinent with many firms nowadays, loyalty accounts, without the card.
Yes, I’ve got a few, and its fair to say that they do influence my choices. Hotel wise, I’m always likely to give first glance to Choice Hotels, before others, because I’m a member of their scheme, and get respected, and treated accordingly. Indeed, its fair to say that if one of their hotels, and an opposition one offer a similar deal for LA next year, I’ll probably be loyal! See, they work!
For the same reason, 3, now 2 airlines always had a pull over others for the same reason. Delta, and their partners, and now, American Airlines (the other was US Airlines, who are now one and the same) have the same advantage over others. I am actually a Silver grade at Delta this year, but of course, never got the chance to use it! Ah well…
But yes, in terms of free nights, or cheap flights (you have to pay fees), I’ve not yet got enough to profit from them. Mainly because the hotels are pretty much all in the US, and the Airlines would require an international flight (far more points), but slowly, I’m getting there.
So fine, the more exciting freebies are still a little bit beyond me at present, but on a more mundane level… Especially when you’re trying to keep every penny possible, finding somewhere nearby, relatively cheap for lunch, while working, was pretty important. Thankfully there are 2 that fit that bill. So yes, I’m the proud owner of a Subway loyalty card, and slowly building up a few points on that. I have no idea how many points I have to get to for a free lunch, but someday I’ll get there! I also have no idea if I will be able to use it in the US, as well as the UK, but thats a while off, anyway.
But the pertinent one, is a lovely little bakery shop, called Greggs. So every time you buy a coffee, even as part of a lunch deal, you have this little card marked, and when you’ve bought 9, you are entitled to a free one! Wednesday, I bought my 9th coffee, with my lunch, and was due a free one. So when, on Friday, I had a straightforward journey to work (first time in weeks, due to roadworks), I arrived at work with a few minutes to spare, so I went and got myself a nice cup of coffee, for free!
I know, its only a small thing, but given it was my first reward for customer loyalty, hey, it was fun! I know, easily satisfied lol!
The video, for those as old as me, or with good memories, you make have worked it out. If not, wait no more…
Earlier today, while trawling through the headlines at MSN, I came across a list of the supposed best 10, and worst 10 airlines in the World. Now, forgive me, given how much of these sort of things are personal taste, and about getting the right, or wrong flight, and things can lead you wildly astray. But anyway, curiosity, and all that, I went and took a look.
As to the best 10, I’ve only ever flown on 2, and one of those (British Airways), has never jumped out at me, as being that great. The other was Air Canada, about a decade ago, and I must admit, I was impressed. The fact I havent flown with them more recently is down to the fact that the 1 time I flew to Canada since then, Air Transat had the direct flight from Manchester, so hey…
Up until now, I’ve had concerns about returning to Canada, as a woman, because their security/immigration folk are supposed to have changed the rules that you have to look like the gender on your passport, and well, up to recently…Can do it again now, without issues, if I ever get enough money to do so.
The one I thought that might have made it, and didnt, was Jet Blue, who seriously impressed me when I flew with them. But as I say, these things are personal taste, so…
I’ll be honest, the worst list had a few culprits that I wasnt surprised to see there, from past experience. Easy Jet, and Ryanair, no, I wouldnt rush to fly with either, given the choice. Aer Lingus also made the list, and I will say that their express flights are an awful experience in economy. Their long distance flights wouldnt win any awards, for leg space, service, or food, but I have been known to bite the bullet, because doing Immigration in Ireland is a million times easier than doing it in the US, compared to certain airports over there!
But the one that surprised me, on that list, was Virgin Atlantic. Third worst, seriously? I first flew with them in April, it was great, one of my better flights of all time. And yes, they matched it in October too. Now I know I might not be the most demanding passenger in the world, but they would be on my praise list, not bad one! I know, that was the premium economy experience, but I saw the other seats, they didnt look that bad!
A couple of my ‘favoured’ airlines made neither list, American Airlines, and Delta. Yes, I’m in their frequent flyer schemes for a reason! If you asked me to pick between the 2, probably say Delta, but I’d happily fly with either, or most definitely, with Virgin Atlantic. Certainly would rather fly on any of them to British Airways, for sure.
But if anyone wants to pay for me to do flights on these other airlines, purely for survey purposes, I wont say no.
As I say, surveys are funny things, arent they?
Right, the video. I dont think I’ve used this one before, and besides its a lovely song, if I have.
Yes, I know technically its a couple of days early, but I dont know how much time I’ll have on Monday, so lets play it safe and do it now.
Actually because of events, a couple of things which have became the norm for me didnt happen. Nothing critical, and both sports related. For the first time in quite a number of years, I didnt get to a Baseball game this year. It was always going to be a ‘one off’ in Seattle in April, but then thanks to a marathon delay from American Airlines, combined with there only being the one game in town on the Sunday the week I was there, it never happened. Funnily enough, unless I have a major change in plans next year, I’ll make it 2 in a row, as neither Wichita, or Rochester have a MLB team. I might get a game of baseball though, of the college kind in Wichita next April, lets see how things play out though, so much depends on other influences for that.
The other, due to Euro 2012, the Olympics, and a few other things was not getting to see Ireland play cricket live, and in the flesh. I did see some of the virtual washout against the Aussies on Sky, but only at work. This is something I definitely intend to correct next year, if only so I can see Trent Johnston play once more before his expected retirement at the end of next season.
So what did happen beyond 2 wonderful US holidays? Well, I got to see my first Louise Brooks film in full, a real delight. And yes, as is well known, I wore a dress to the Works Christmas Dinner, and then again for the house Christmas Dinner too! That may have been a first, but somehow I suspect now, it wont be the last. First wearing of a skirt to work too, but that was slightly less sensational lol!
Seattle, my solo trip in April was lovely, after the initial flight delay, so lovely to see it again before easing off dramatically on West Coast trips, its just getting a bit much for the old body to do it regularly now. September was wonderful, back to New England (and New York State) to meet up again with Kate for a wonderful week, and James for a wonderful day in Albany.
Next year, I go ‘state bagging’ in the US, adding Kansas to my list, and taking the total up to 22. There is a possibility of making it 23, with Oklahoma, but a few things have to fall into place for that. I have a sort of target of 25, but not sure how I get there to be honest. No, I dont expect to get very close to 50 lol! The ‘Louise Brooks memorial tour’ will be fun, even if there is so no great anniversary in her life, it will be special for me all the same. Yes, Wichita, Kansas, where she lived for a few years in 2 splits, and then Rochester, New York, where she died, and is buried.
Beyond that, I dont expect to pick the winner of the Grand National (my only bet of the year nowadays), its been a few years, and I cant see my luck changing lol! Other than that, no idea, will just have to wait and see what 2013 brings, other than my 55th birthday, which God permitting will happen in March. Oh my, I’m getting older lol!
Right, enough words, lets get to the video, and yes, back to form, its the obvious one!
I doubt many will know the pop group concerned here in the video, if it wasnt for the category giveaway at least lol! Its only frightening what ancient songs I can vaguely remember at times!
Yes, tomorrow, I finally get back in the old routine, a fortnight after I stopped work for my holiday. Wisely, I asked for my days off this week to be Monday and Tuesday, just in case I needed it, to get over the jet lag. And yes, doing so yesterday was a pretty wise move in all honesty. Today might have been fine, but given its my normal day off…I stuck with it.
The journey back was actually fine, both flights were a few minutes late, but I do only mean a few, this time around. Given I wouldnt be flying with American Airlines again before next April (Aer Lingus have a far better Boston connection), I have time to mellow my thoughts about them, but I suspect I will at least look at other airlines when booking that trip. Connection times, and prices will play a bigger part in my choice though, thats for sure. And yes, I know pretty much where I’m going then, in fact I do for both holidays next year, and I suspect the first for 2014 as well. Frightening, or what?
For better or worse, tomorrow is just a short day at work, just 5 hours. Unfortunately that means that the rest of the week isnt so good lol! I’m sure I will quickly get back in the old routine, I usually do to be honest. Mind, its just a matter of how long before I start counting down to the next holiday (flight now booked) all the same.
Going to be a busy weekend, thats for sure. The first 2 horse racing classics of the year, which I knew about, and as I found out today, the FA cup final too. Shows how much I care about soccer lol! World Snooker final might attract my interest more though. Oh, and being a bank holiday weekend, public transport will be a delight too, with Sunday bus services on Monday as well, oh joy!
So yes, excuses being made, I make no promises as to the time of the next blog, probably as reliable as Trans Pennine Express again now lol!
So alright, as promised, we are
The holiday that is, if anyone was in any doubt! And hopefully the flights back will be considerably easier than the flights getting here. I cant say smoother, because both flights, when they happened, were very smooth. But…
The week itself has been very enjoyable, have revisited a few ‘old friends’, made a few new ones, and was sorry to see a few landmarks from past visits are no more, closed down I assume by the economic crisis, but dont quote me on that.
Little did I know that when I went up the Space Needle on Monday, I’d missed its 50th birthday, by 2 days, had actually happened on the Saturday. And just to prove the visit
No, the picture background is a digitised add on, but that is really me. You get your photo taken as you start the visit, and then there’s a place to see it on the observation desk, and select your preferred background. Most amazingly, to get the picture by email, is free! Thats right, I couldnt believe it either, especially over here!
Then a first, at the science museum, I got to see a film in 3D, so weird! Not the film, it was about the Arctic, but the effect. They did this thing with the titles, so they turned to ice, broke up, and seemed to fly towards you. And yes, at one point, I moved out the way, lol. Well, I am blonde… Other than that, I’ve been to a lot better science museums in all honesty.
The Aquarium the next day was quite good though, as was the harbour cruise, all 4 of those things done on the City Pass, good value at $69 considering. Much of the rest of the next 2 days was spent walking around, shopping, drinking coffee, but a lot of it just walking, seeing sights, old and new. Was sorry to see the Online Coffee House gone, but I guess progress has overtaken places like that in the last 9 years, PC’s are no longer the only way to get on the net of course. But the place where my back was introduced to the pleasure of a massage 9 years ago is still there, though I’m not sure if its the same lady, my memory isnt that good.
Today I went to Tacoma, definitely the poor relation of the 2 linked in name by the airport I shall fly out of tomorrow at least. Tomorrow, I shall combine the 2, and go to SeaTac Airport, and fly home, well presumably I will, looks nervously at American Airlines for all this! I trust someone will check the flight before leaving home to collect me, lol!
I wouldnt say the weather has been perfect over here, but it hasnt been too bad. Seemingly a lot, lot better than at home, thats for sure!
Sorry, no video. Nothing personal and all that, but all the same… Primarily, I have internet here, and its a decent enough feed for most things. But trying to watch music videos on You Tube…you get my drift?
So, this is Stevie Lou, closing for now from Seattle, saying I’ll see you again back in England…God willing!
Sorry, I’m not normally one for piling on the dirt on anyone, well other than Trans Pennine Express at least, but…This is the tale of a company dropping themselves further and further into a hole, lol
If you read yesterdays piece, you know by now that AA (for short) misfired with the plane to Chicago, the only reason we were ever given being an operational decision. What that excuse means, anybody’s guess? But no, that isnt the cause of todays hilarity, this is.
Just over a month ago, I sent an email to their customer services dept re wearing my enhancers while flying with them. Given they dont do security issues, the TSA do over here, and they were more than happy for me to wear them, this should be straightforward, anything but!
Principally, until this morning, Seattle time, I never heard back from them. That is, over a month, for a 6 line email! So, as is already known, I wore them for the flight Saturday, and again the bonus, oh dear we messed up and had to rearrange, flight on Sunday on to here. Not a problem, not a murmur from anyone, as James would say, they probably assumed they were naturally me, I wish!
So, ah ha, this morning I have an email from AA concerning my query. No, not the one about possible compensation for my hotel bill for Saturday created at Manchester Airport, which I by now assumed, but this ancient email sent over a month ago! Basically, unless the enhancers were surgically implanted (which I had told them they werent), I shouldnt wear them on the flight when I made it, even though the TSA said it was fine to do so!
Sadly, the email was sent from one of those ‘no reply’ addresses that so many firms seem to employ nowadays, or I would have broken the news to them, that too late, it had already happened…twice! In a sense now, I’m glad it didnt arrive, and that I just went with TSA advice instead!
I’d been told by a friend that AA had gone downhill since the liquidation protection thing, and sad to say, they werent joking. The crew on board the planes were good,but customer service, and reliability seem to have gone out of the window with this firm. Fortunately, in September, I’m flying with Aer Lingus!
The video, an extremely loose connection, thats all. AA’s local flight thing is called American Eagle, and so…
No, its not really been that dramatic a weekend, though it might have felt it at times. Facebook contacts already should know the basic details, but… The frightening thing is, this isnt the worst trip to the US, or maybe technically it is, because the other time I didnt get here!
Now, to be fair to American Airlines, I knew there were problems of a major kind, even before I left home Saturday morning. What I didnt know was the exact details. And given that I had to be at the airport for 8.40 (2 hours before flight), and their customer services dont open till 8.30 on a Saturday…
I’ll admit it, we didnt get there for 8.40, even though we left in plenty of time, because in all her panic, some daft blonde, namely me, forgot her handbag, with all the important stuff in it! Got there for 8.50, hoping I was going to get an alternate routing, but no. Long and short of it, case is booked in, and then I have a choice, 11 hours of boredom at the airport (given the battery life is about an hour on the laptop), or pay up, and come home for 5 hours or so. Yes, I did the latter, and glad I did, when I found out in the evening that you now only get half an hour of free internet at the airport, unlike before!
We finally take off about 9.30pm, instead of 10.40 am, and arrive in Chicago about 11.45 their time. Immigration are fine, once they decide everyone goes through in one line, instead of the usual separation for US citizens, which put us in the wrong queue. But itwas so short, that by about 12.10, I’m picking up baggage, plus hotel vouchers, and my flight ticket for this morning.
So yes, I finally got here today, arrived at the hotel about midday, after a short delay for baggage, and waiting for the shuttle bus. Sadly plans for the afternoon Mariners game therefore get wiped out, given it was a 1.10 start, and I’m at least 45 minutes from town! Did contemplate a late start as its the only game I could get to this week, but then the shuttle bus had vanished by the time I’d unpacked, so…they lost anyway, shock horror, not!
Oh, did I mention its been in the 70’s over here today, and just walking around in a light top this afternoon, showing off the cleavage and all that. Same tomorrow, but then the weather is forecast to go downhill, ah well…Will have to go up Space Needle tomorrow before all you can see from the top is rain, lol! Ironically, the area I plan to be in next April is being forecast for 5-8 inches of snow! And no, that isnt Alaska either!
And in case anyone was wondering, TSA were right, just went straight through security absolutely fine both times! Mind, that wasnt the body scanner, might have been different if it had been, but should still have been fine after a pat down, so they tell me.
So yes, you can understand the choice of music, in an ironic wayl