Hoist Yer Damn Bag To The Overhead Yerself, Ya Lame Old Goat!

Of course, those exact words weren’t spouted at me when I asked the flight attendant to stow my carry-on. But that was the meaning when she curtly told me she wasn’t required to do it. After being wheeled through the airport and assisted in boarding, this slightly feeble 92-year-old kinda expected help.

In olden days, when I was a younger, healthier flier, stewardesses always gladly helped me with overhead stowing and everything else. However, these days, and probably after a union meeting declaring their independence from doing anything physical for passengers, the no-help rule applies.

The situation with the U.S. airline is also disturbing because my recent experiences with many foreign airlines are much different. Their flight attendants happily assist with hoisting carry-ons and politely perform other in-flight duties not practiced here anymore.

Airline seats: Would you pay extra to board first? PDF Print E-mail

Cartoon of running passengers

If you hate stomping at the crowded airline gate like horses ready for the race, there’s a way to pay so you can go aboard first. Southwest, the bargain airline with the no-reserve seats, has been doing it for several years. For $10, you can be part of its Early Bird Check-in, go aboard first, get your choice of seats and be first to stash your carry-on in an overhead bin.

Now, some of the reserved-seating airlines are offering the same. American’s Boarding and Flexibility Package permits passengers who buy their tickets online the same privilege. AA charges from $9 to $19 each way for early boarding. Other airlines have similar features. United’s "Premier Line" early boarding service costs $19, and Ryanair’s current early boarding charge is $5.

As with all airlines, the extra payment doesn’t actually mean you’ll be the very first aboard. Passengers with highest class tickets and the handicapped, as with all airlines, still continue to go on ahead of everyone else.

Tip: Take iPad with you on flight, drive, cruise PDF Print E-mail


Apple’s iPad has proven to be a big success for computing, and it can be a great companion for commuting from home to summer vacation destinations. Depending on the model you want and its capabilities, an iPad costs from $150 to $500. It can be a great investment for making your travels easier and more interesting.

Your very portable iPad can be your internet and correspondence connection to your office and/or family back home. a music and DVD movie entertainment center and a GPS electronic map to guide you on the road, in the air and at sea. If you’re in a hotel that offers Wi-Fi in guest rooms, you can use your iPad for dozens of purposes, including movies, music, electronic books and research. For more information, contact your nearest Apple Store or go to www.apple.com/ipad

Las Vegas fun: Look, Ma, I can fly! PDF Print E-mail

Indoor skydiver

If you’re vacationing in Sin City and getting tired of the gambling tables and machines, and need a bit of relief from all the buffets, try Vegas Indoor Skydiving. You need to be in good physical shape and there are health restrictions, but no age limits. People in their 80s have enjoyed the ride and happily returned for more.

For $75, they’ll put you in a puffy flight suit, given some basic flying instructions and guided into the indoor wind tunnel. For about 20 minutes, you’ll have the wonderful sensation of being one of the three flying P’s: Harry Potter, Peter Pan or Mary Poppins. For more information, ask at your hotel front desk or go to www.vegasindoorskydiving.com

Cruise ship auctions: Honest or rip-offs? PDF Print E-mail

Mona Lisa w/sunglasses

Q: On several recent sailings we’ve wandered into the scheduled art auctions that seem to be a feature of every cruise. The art displayed is usually very colorful and splashy, often obvious copies of the styles of Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse and other impressionists. From education (BFA, Philly Museum College of Art) and experience, we’re a bit suspicious of the deals. Are those shipboard auctions OK or a bad deal?

Las Vegas swim pools: Must you bare it all? PDF Print E-mail

Venus di Milo

We’ve been asked by some of our more modest senior travelers about nude and topless bathing in Las Vegas swimming pools. They don’t want to show up for a sun and swim and be shown up by a bunch of younger, firmer people who are proud to bare it all.

This just seems to be a complaint here in the U.S. Although nudity never seems to bother seniors who are familiar with bare-it-all beaches in France, the Caribbean and elsewhere, but nude hotel poolsides in Vegas may bother them.

Yes, there are a few Vegas resorts that allow topless bathing in certain private, screened-off pool areas. Don’t worry about doing your more covered-up sunning, because in all hotels and resorts, you’ll find the major pool areas occupied by fully-swimsuited adults and kids.

Suggestion: If you haven’t selected the resort or hotel yet for your Vegas visit, check the bare facts with your online or hometown travel agency about where the topless pools are located. Then, you can make your plans accordingly. But, always remember, Vegas isn’t called Sin City for nothing.


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