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Old September 30th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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Old September 30th, 2011, 02:49 PM
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GEEEEEZZZEEE! I HATE when that happens!

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Old September 30th, 2011, 02:56 PM
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Lord, I saw that.....!!! Once on a flight home frrm Fll, we dropped, and I mean alot. Crying, shouting, and holding strangers hands prevailed. I can just imagine what those poor passengers were going through.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 05:25 PM
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No thanks. Talk about butterflies!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 12:26 PM
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Strange.

For some time after 9/11 (and until now for all I know), the game at US airlines was that when a pilot went potty, a flight attendant would go into the cockpit and lock the door behind. Couldn't figure this out when I first saw it, so I asked the family expert, Cap'n Matt.

"It's to prevent the doomsday scenario," he said. Since 9/11, flight attendants no longer carry cockpit keys, and pilots aren't supposed to take their keys out of the cockpit during flight. The doomsday scenario would be when pilot A goes to the john and pilot B "ate the fish" (which is cliche movie talk for "becomes incapacitated in one way or another"). If pilot B is down for the count and can't open the door for pilot A, well, that ain't good. So while a flight attendant is useless as far as flying is concerned, he/she can certainly open the door from the inside.

I'm not sure whether our guys still do it that way--haven't paid any attention lately--but apparently some foreign flag carriers don't do it. If a flight attendant had been there to open the door it wouldn't have been as likely that pilot B would have turned off the autopilot (or whatever he did).
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Old October 1st, 2011, 01:28 PM
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Errrmmmm I think I'll stick to cruising, and from my local port too.

Thank goodness it all turned out ok in the end.

Alan.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 01:40 PM
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Errrmmmm I think I'll stick to cruising, and from my local port too.

Thank goodness it all turned out ok in the end.

Alan.
Good living where we do isn't it Alan!
We have had some 'orrible flights.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 02:02 PM
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In the old days if the pilot got locked out you could have used a Swiss army knife to get him back in
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Old October 1st, 2011, 02:12 PM
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For those of us fortunate enough to sit near the front they never used to shut the door, during daylight anyway.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 05:18 PM
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In the old days if the pilot got locked out you could have used a Swiss army knife to get him back in
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For those of us fortunate enough to sit near the front they never used to shut the door, during daylight anyway.
HA! In the "good old days", we didn't even have a door to the cockpit! WOW,,,there I go, showing my age again.

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Old October 1st, 2011, 06:03 PM
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1. To say the least you can no longer open the door with a credit card (a Swiss Army Knife would have been overkill with the old doors). Matt believes that the new doors are by far the single most effective thing that was done for airline security since 9/11.

2. Of course, back in kinder, gentler times the doors were left unlocked (if not open) a good deal of the time. Kids (including a young Cap'n Matt) were routinely invited up to the cockpit for a visit. In fact, he remembers those visits so fondly that he's genuinely sorry that he can't reciprocate for the youngsters he flies now.

I'm really sorry that so many have a fear of flying. I'm not going to try to talk you out of it. But the fact is that a fair hunk of the interesting things in this world are nowhere near cruise ports. . .not to mention that most of them are worth far more than a day. As somebody who loves to travel, I know I would be very frustrated if my wanderings were limited to what you can see on cruises, even though I enjoy cruising very much.
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Old October 1st, 2011, 09:56 PM
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Talking about airliners, here is a little trivia for you.

Throughout the latter fifties and into the mid to late sixties it seemed that an overwhelming number of airline pilots had southern accents. In those days, most airline pilots were ex-military and a tradition was started during the Korean War. Seems the accent the southern flyboys had was thought pretty cool and was easier to understand over the radios of the period so all the other guys started picking it up. Didn't matter if they were from Trenton or Boston. They just retained the accent when they went commercial.

I have a good friend who retired as the senior pilot for Piedmont Airlines long ago just before it was swallowed up by US Air. Himself a former fighter jock, he used to brag he got his naturally. He was from Charlotte!
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Old October 1st, 2011, 11:52 PM
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Southern accents or no, we're on the cusp of a worldwide pilot shortage, and it's going to be really something. Without going into a lot of details, some of the factors are. . .

Vietnam era guys will begin hitting the new age 65 mandatory retirement ceiling beginning in December of 2012.

Far fewer military pilots are going into airline flying after retiring.

New flight time/duty time rules will require airlines to have more pilots (each of them getting more sensible rest periods).

Because of the way airline pensions are structured, pilots tend to bail early when the stock market tanks. That's happening now.

Ever since 9/11, when many pilots were furloughed, many young people have considered flying a crummy career where employment is unreliable. Flight school enrollments are way down; FAA issuance of commercial pilot certificates is in the dumper (along with the ultimate certification--the Air Transport Pilot ratings required of all captains and sometimes of first officers as well). This trend is only now starting to turn around, because everybody now knows that jobs will be plentiful at least for the intermediate term, and the pipeline is at a trickle.

So if you know any young people who want to fly, this is an ideal time to get their private, instrument, commercial and multi-engine licenses and apply. Of course, getting all those certificates can in itself be a big impediment to some, but having them is still a prerequisite to getting an interview at an airline. Plus, of course, they must be of unimpeachable character; those background checks the airlines do are no joke. They go back about 15 years.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 02:54 AM
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I'll add this as well. There are no "stupid" commercial airline pilots, especially the "big boys." While I think the days of your having to possess something such as a degree in engineering may be passed, it still requires an extremely high intellect, tremendous math skills, excellent health, etc. Airline pilots who succeed with major airlines are still the creme de la creme and as such, are highly remunerated.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 12:57 PM
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You don't need an engineering degree, but a bachelors degree of some kind is a very strong preference factor. I remember laughing when Matt was first applying and he found out at his interview that his degree was important to them, along with his flying qualifications, which even then were impressive (the flight school he attended hired him back as a flight instructor and soon promoted him to check airman. He still retains his instructor ratings). He was surprised and said he didn't think his degree would be a "preference item."

I stopped laughing long enough to say, "Of course, why would they care that you've demonstrated that you've learned how to learn, that you've seen a major "project" through to completion, that your transcript from college is excellent?"

He thought about it and nodded. Never said another word about it.
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Old October 2nd, 2011, 02:25 PM
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We aren't particularly scared of flying, but we dislike it intensely, hate the journey to the airport, the airport itself (I rather like the airport but...) struggling to get the seats we want, it's SO UNCOMFORTABLE, if you are going to be delayed by any form of travel it is pretty likely to be air travel & if you are you are usually not treated well (we always have though), it's boring.....
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 01:09 PM
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We aren't particularly scared of flying, but we dislike it intensely, hate the journey to the airport, the airport itself (I rather like the airport but...) struggling to get the seats we want, it's SO UNCOMFORTABLE, if you are going to be delayed by any form of travel it is pretty likely to be air travel & if you are you are usually not treated well (we always have though), it's boring.....
I understand. So it just boils down to the convenience factor vs. the desire to see the places in the world that are landlocked. Everybody comes down at a different place on that equation.

Both Terry and I flew so much for business before we retired that getting on planes was as natural as breathing. True, the legroom used to be better, there used to be more empty middle seats, and the overall experience used to be more gentle. Back when I was in college, and for years afterward, no male would think of getting on a plane without a jacket and tie. Now we're lucky if some of them are wearing shirts. I still tend to wear a sport coat (although I don't always). Aside from it being a throwback to the days of flying that I remember fondly, I have found that when you stand out in a crowd in a positive way you tend to be treated better. Although I must admit that it is rare--very rare--that either of us have been treated shabbily over the course of a half century of reasonably heavy flying.

Plus, we've always had airports close by. We're 15 minutes from National, 30 from Dulles and about 45 from Baltimore-Washington. So we have a tremendous amount of global air service conveniently available. And, way back in the 1970s a good friend was the passenger service manager for United at Dulles. She called one night and told us that they were having a sale on lifetime memberships to the Red Carpet Club. The price was about $250 and included a free spouse card--also for life. She said that even though it might sound like a lot ($250 then was about $800 in today's dollars), "we shall not pass this way again." We were already members and paying our $25 a year, so we thought long and hard and finally decided to go for it. Given our ages then, it made good sense. Today, a membership, including a spouse card, is $750. . .a year. For more than three decades we've paid about $25 a year. . .in today's dollars. The bet paid off handsomely. Lifetime memberships are no longer available at any price. Having hideaways readily available with free booze and food at so many airports around the world makes a big difference when you get stuck.

So, all in all, we're in a situation where flying is about as convenient as it can be in this day and age. But I certainly understand the plight of those for whom it is not.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 03:03 PM
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AR,

I got a chuckle when I read in your post about being dressed in a coat and tie when flying.

Back in the late seventies, we hadn't flow in a couple of years and were flying down to Miami from Newark to visit a now deceased Aunt who lived in a high rise condominium on the Gables Waterway in Coral Gables. I, of course, was in a sport coat and tie. Boy what a difference a couple of years make! The place reminded me of a Trailways bus station in the early sixties! There was a flight waiting area adjoining ours that was getting ready to board and I swear I was half expecting to see some caged chickens! Since we were early ours had yet to really begin to fill. When everyone was there it was the same. I thing the "de regeur" dress was blue jeans and either football jerseys or T-Shirts advertising everything from Budweiser to Tatoos!
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 03:57 PM
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Our last long haul flight, we went to Gatwick (hour & half) & stayed overnight so it was less traumatic. For a Barbados flight from UK they leave AM, maybe 9am, you have to be there at least 3 hours before, earlier if you want decent seats so say 5am, to that there is journey time of say 2 hours so we are leaving home about 3am, we would not sleep properly & would get up about 2am so added to a 10 hour flight & a 5 hour time difference it does get a bit of a strain. We love the islands but my wife just won't do it anymore.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 04:19 PM
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Living in Scotland - I often have to transit via one of the European Hubs (incl England) - but my local airport is less than a 5 min drive from home - and we are not under the flight path.

I try to select seats at time of booking and check in on-line.

I am nearly always the last to drop off baggage.

Cruising from Scotland is not viable - so if you want to vacation long distance, you just get on with it.

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Old October 3rd, 2011, 04:33 PM
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AR,

Back in the late seventies,
Yep, that was pretty much when everything went down the dumper.

It's funny, busses have recently been tarted up and have made a big comeback in several markets, including Washington-New York. It's now child's play to get a perfectly decent, comfortable bus for $20 one way. Amtrak charges over $100 and the airlines generally over $200 for the same run. In fact, while the airline shuttles used to be THE way to go on that route, almost nobody flies from Washington to New York any more unless they're connecting to other flights there or their business is very near the airport. Whereas the airlines used to routinely fly fairly heavy metal on that run, today it's pretty much exclusively regional jets.

Now, there's a least one bus line (Vamoose) that runs "Gold Service" busses from Arlington to Penn Station New York for $50. They give you much more legroom, plus wider seats (3 across), full WiFi service including power ports, newspapers, bottled water, and clean johns. Can't go wrong. Almost as comfy as the train at less than half the cost and (for us) a much more convenient departure point than Union Station. It's now our preferred way to run up there. Amtrak is taking a big hit from the bus competition, and the Washington-New York-Boston service is the only thing that's kept Amtrak alive (except subsidies, of course) for a long time. Could be even more trouble ahead for them, which is sad, but the rail infrastructure overall is sooooo bad. . .
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 04:51 PM
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Interesting.

Earlier this year I travelled from Boston-Washington. I flew direct with US Airways which had Amtrak well beat on price, journey time etc. I could not fault them and I have heard all the jokes about what US stands for.

My preference would have been Amtrak but the fare was by UK standards very expensive.

I know it was a special but the previous month I travelled o/w Gla-London (400 miles) for 12 ($20) on our rail network. If I was a senior citizen, the price would have been less.

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Old October 3rd, 2011, 04:57 PM
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Our last long haul flight, we went to Gatwick (hour & half) & stayed overnight so it was less traumatic. For a Barbados flight from UK they leave AM, maybe 9am, you have to be there at least 3 hours before, earlier if you want decent seats so say 5am, to that there is journey time of say 2 hours so we are leaving home about 3am, we would not sleep properly & would get up about 2am so added to a 10 hour flight & a 5 hour time difference it does get a bit of a strain. We love the islands but my wife just won't do it anymore.
An overnight one of the on site hotels with parking is a good deal, no point in paying for breakfast on that run check in as soon as they open then a full English n Garfunkel's the other side of security
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 05:19 PM
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We stayed at the Sofitel literally a 2 minute walk to check in. We had a great night, dinner in a pub in the airport, midnight snack (early) watching TV on the bed, early night & were rested ready for the flight. It is actually "the law" that we have breakfast in "Garfunkels" I eat, the wife watches.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Annie--

Despite all its twists and turns politically--and the incessant strikes--I've always really appreciated the British rail system overall. Just this past spring we took the Great Western train from London Paddington to Truro for pretty cheap money, and on the return journey we had an overnight sleeper compartment that was quite comfortable.

The big expense came after we arrived back at Paddington and discovered that the Heathrow Connect trains were on strike and we were forced to take the Heathrow Express at more than double the cost. Very annoying.

But across many years, British trains have taken us to a lot of nice places very conveniently and pretty reliably and comfortably.
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 05:53 PM
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Strikes? try the French!! I think our trains are abysmal, my son commutes daily costs thousands, doesn't always even get a seat, he was recently diverted & he asked if his ticket was valid....fined 60 on the spot(refunded on appeal). The latest trick is in order to keep on time they miss out stations...yep, you read that right, if they are late they just don't stop!!
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Old October 3rd, 2011, 06:08 PM
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Annie--

Despite all its twists and turns politically--and the incessant strikes--I've always really appreciated the British rail system overall. Just this past spring we took the Great Western train from London Paddington to Truro for pretty cheap money, and on the return journey we had an overnight sleeper compartment that was quite comfortable.

The big expense came after we arrived back at Paddington and discovered that the Heathrow Connect trains were on strike and we were forced to take the Heathrow Express at more than double the cost. Very annoying.

But across many years, British trains have taken us to a lot of nice places very conveniently and pretty reliably and comfortably.
Don't start me on that I have the horror story of all horror stories - still negotiating compensation. I am trying to put it behind me

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Old October 3rd, 2011, 10:12 PM
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Annie,

The bane of Great Britain has always beern strikes. But I did learn from my Niece who has traveled all over the world and who knows I want to see the WWII museum in London plus some other sites, that once you get to Europe, flying is (when compared to this country), peanuts.

I could spend time with my other Niece Francesca ('Cesca) in Hempstead, London for nothing. My biggest expense would be flying to the Isle of Man where I have family by marriage but I'd take the Ferry (I'd trade four hours any day for the cost of flying from the island to England which is probably comparable to flying from New York to London even though the flight is only about a half hour!).. Once I get to the continent the places I want to visit would cost me a fraction of the cost in this country but the greatest thing, I could stay with family and/or friends for nothing (of course it wouldn't be "nothing" as I would ensure that my stay would cost them nothing whatsoever) but it would fit into my budget.

Travel in Europe is so much more inexpensive than in the U.S. (or so I am reliably informed).
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Old October 4th, 2011, 11:38 AM
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Todd--

I think intra-European travel is something about which it is difficult to generalize--especially when you look at it on an "all-in" basis.

Staying with relatives or friends is a big plus, as long as they're located where you really want to be. And Hampstead (you said Hempstead but I assume you mean Hampstead which is just north of central London) is a terrific address, because it's close-in and well-served by public transport. Buy an Oyster Card and you're in business. You talk about the WWII museum in London, by which I assume you mean Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms deep below Whitehall. That's an adventure not to be missed.

Flying cheap? Yes, of course Easyjet and Ryanair are notorious for cheap flights, but if you think US airlines nickel-and-dime you, wait 'till you see these fellas. Remember that it's the head of Ryanair who has proposed 1) charging to use the johns 2) getting rid of first officers and 3) charging an even cheaper fare for those who will stand up for the entire flight strapped to a vertical board in the back of the plane. Public outcry put a stop to #1, and the aviation authorities in Britain took an extremely dim view of #2 and #3. But that's the kind of mindset that's running these airlines, so be aware of that.

If you can't make one of those airlines work for you, you'll probably find that the "regular" airlines in Europe are not all that cheap, and in fact are often quite a bit more expensive than what we pay over here. No matter what airline and what airport you use, remember to factor in the cost of getting to and from the airport. Depending on how and when you go, this is not always a trivial line item.

Point is, I think you have to be very specific with your travel and lodging plans and then work out the numbers for your particular trip.
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Old October 4th, 2011, 11:40 AM
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At the bottom of the picture, to the right of the captain's plastic container, are 2 white knobs. The big one is rudder trim. That's the one the guy mistakenly twisted. The little one below it is the cockpit door access control.
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