Airline comfort: Personal gripe about flying sardine cans PDF Print E-mail

Cramped seat

Just completed a round-trip, six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale. Fortunately, it was non-stop, because the cheap seats were so close, even my shrunken old legs were squeezed up into my chest.

Making it worse, the guy in front reclined his seat and I was completely fetal. Getting in and out to use the lav required bending even a pretzel would find difficult.

Of course, mine isn’t an isolated incident. Last year, a guy tried to punch out Mitt Romney on a flight when the candidate asked him to unrecline his seat before takeoff.

I was flying Virgin, and that airline makes cheapo Southwest look like luxury with its effort to jam every passenger in as possible. The only way to avoid the sardine can flight is to buy a first-class seat.

For example, a typical round-trip economy flight between LAX and JFK is about $400, while first-class is about $1,400. Unless you’re a Wall Street speculator, drug dealer, pro athlete or politician, who can afford it?

Is it worth the steep price just for a couple of hours of relative comfort? What are your thoughts on the tight-seat situation?

Our cruise log: RCL's Radiance of the Seas PDF Print E-mail

NCL's Radiance of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas approaches Ensenada harbor

We recently returned from a five-day Royal Caribben Line Mexican Riviera cruise out of San Diego, including port stops at Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas. In the days before the cruise, we considered cancellation because of a big tropical storm with 120+ mph winds heading straight for Cabo, and due to hit on our arrival day.

When we called our travel agent, we were assured that the ship’s captain would never sail within 100 miles of any storm, and the route would be changed if there were any possibility of danger. With some misgivings, we boarded the ship in San Diego. We could have left our worries at home. The storm suddenly veered far south of Cabo, and the cruise was absolutely smooth and a total pleasure.

Airport security: nightmare or blessing? PDF Print E-mail

Security eyes

Actually, airport security is both. What you need to know about the all-pervasive watchfulness and cameras is one simple fact. No matter where you are and what you're doing in most air terminals, you can assume at least one camera and/or human eyeball is observing you.

On a recent arrival to check in for a flight, we stopped just inside the terminal to get our bearings. As we were assembling the necessary documents, we noticed a stack of three or four suitcases just a few feet away. At that instant, two airport cops and a big German Shepherd dog came rushing over. At first we thought they were after us, but instead they swooped up the unattended bags, and dashed up the nearby escalator.

For airline and hotel prices, what you see ain't what you get PDF Print E-mail

As if passengers don’t have enough troubles, airlines are trying to pad their fares with even more obnoxious charges. True, they’re struggling as thieving U.S. oil companies and their Middle East partners-in-crime once again are hiking prices. However, some of the add-ons are just ridiculous.
The travel industry is already overloaded with charges that take air fares and hotel fees far higher than advertised prices. For instance, we booked a recent flight with our favorite, always-on-time, low-priced Southwest Airline. The big promotion quoted bargain prices of $99 each way. Good deal? Not really.

Dreamy vacations from my secret daydreams PDF Print E-mail

Just suppose I had to choose the best vacation destination for this year, and were allowed to go back in time to enjoy it absolutely free while someone else foots the bill. Sorry, but I couldn't settle on just one. Therefore, here are my five choices, and not necessarily in rank order:

1. I'd take my golf clubs to Pebble Beach, California, and participate in a 72-hole golf tournament against Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam.

I'd win by ten strokes, and with TV cameras rolling, Tiger would hand me a check for a million bucks, and Annika would plant a big kiss on my cheek and present me with a huge silver trophy full of California champagne. We'd then find a shady tree, sit down and drink the champagne together.


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