Saturday, April 21, 2012

Joys of Travel

Had a wonderful time in California last weekend.  There were a few set backs (mostly with flights) but getting 4 days with my hubby made it all worth while. 

About those flights though...

I'm kind of torn on United Airlines, while almost every flight I was on was delayed or cancelled, I did make it to my final destinations on the intended travel day (albeit several hours later than anticipated).  This wasn't much different than US Airways last time around either, so I'll just assume delays & rerouting are the new status quo for air travel and not a foible of United specifically.

Their staff wasn't overly impressive either.  While they were efficient in getting new itineraries, that's about all I can say to their benefit.  Most that I observed (had several hours to kill) lacked conflict resolution skills.  I can forgive a lack of sympathy, after a while I'm sure everyone sounds the same clamoring about how their plans are ruined due to something an attendant can do nothing to prevent or rectify.  However, their job is to make the situation at least appear better, not worse, and help with what little they can control. 

Case in point: There was one poor bastard at Palm Spring Airport that got the unofficially-official goat-rope.  He & his family disembark from the plane (PSP uses open stairs, not enclosed catwalks) and while his family continues in, he stops *just* before entering the building & remembers they have door-checked luggage.  The United ticket attendant sees him, calls him into the building to ask why he was going back & he explains about the luggage.  She then informs him that since he stepped into the terminal, he could no longer exit again & his luggage would then be sent to baggage claim. O_o  He points out that she called him in, apparently that didn't matter, he was in the terminal.  Thus ensues a rather Abbott & Costello-esque argument.  Eventually, a porter comes and moves the bags the whole 10' to the door so the gentleman could make his connection.  FYI, there were no signs stating you couldn't go back.  All she needed to say was "wait a moment and I'll have a porter bring the bags over" instead she kept escalating the situation by telling him he couldn't go out there and there wasn't anything she could do.  *sigh*  I'm not sure how the frequent fliers do it anymore.  I used to love flying, now I keep recalculating the cost of driving.

The above situation notwithstanding, I really like Palm Springs Airport.  It's small, easy to get in & out of and they have a lovely outside waiting area between security and the terminal buildings.  It costs about $50 - $100 more than flying into Ontario or LAX, but with the the extra drive time & the cost of gas, it about evens out.  The reduced stress counts for a helluva lot in my book as well.  I'm to 29 Palms in about an hour and it's a straight shot vs 2 1/2 hrs+ and the need of a GPS.  Not to mention LA traffic!      

I actually stayed on base this trip, which was quite an improvement from staying in 29 Palms proper.  I have to give props to the Sleeping Tortoise, I've never been so pleasantly surprised by hotel accommodations.  The room was comfortable, clean and extremely well priced.  Our room had the largest kitchen I've ever seen in a hotel room (full size fridge / freezer, dishwasher, stove top, sink & microwave) and a large, serviceable bathroom / shower (it wasn't spa like, but the hot water never stopped and the exhaust fan was damn near industrial).  The room included internet, cable, outdoor grill stations, picnic area, playground & continental breakfast.  All the staff were courteous, helpful and efficient.  The only thing I would have changed was asking for a non-courtyard room to avoid the playground noise, but there may not have been any available.  Overall, I would recommend staying there to any military personnel / family passing through the 29 Palms area.  I'm actually looking forward to staying there again.

Post about the actual weekend forthcoming :-)



Old NFO said...

That's pretty much the norm anymore... sigh... And the bases are actually getting better about on base 'hotels'. Glad you got a weekend with Heath! :-)

Chasing Freedom said...

I'm very glad I got a weekend with him, too. We've got a little less than 3 months to go & I should be out there over Memorial weekend. Never thought I'd see this much of California!

Old NFO said...

Just makes you glad to LEAVE Kalifornia... :-) Enjoy Memorial Day and travel safe!