Friday, September 23, 2016

An alternative to getting home from the airport vs Uber/Lyft with surge pricing

Quick summary: look into 1 way car rentals vs high priced Lyft/Uber/Taxi at peak times, it might be cheaper

Recently I landed in SFO at 11PM on Labor Day Monday and I didn't want to inconvenience anyone at that late hour. (how considerate of me)

I had planned on taking a Lyft or an Uber and thought it might cost about $60 or so.  But boy, was I wrong.  When I first opened Lyft and saw that the price for a Lyft Line (shared ride like Uberpool) to San Jose was $110, I thought I put in the wrong address but nope, the price for a shared ride was $110.  The price for a regular Lyft was around $140 and UberX was similar.

I had never taken a taxi from SFO to San Jose but upon my quick search, it seemed like it would be around $120-130+.

At this moment, I had this idea of booking a 1 way car rental instead.  And lo and behold, I was able to make a booking for a 1 way rental at around $63 including all taxes/fees using my corporate code.  I suppose it might be higher without a good corporate/discount code but it's definitely worth a look.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A good way to get a taste of local life

While I was in Panama over this past weekend (along with spending the day in NYC and a long layover in Miami), I had a chance to go to a few grocery stores, ranging from a tiny corner store to a big, air conditioned, modern supermarket and while a lot of what's in the big market is already Westernized (and particularly Americanized in the case of Panama), it's still an interesting look into how the locals really live.

Then I remembered I also enjoyed going to grocery stores in other countries.

One note is that at the supermarket, there was a security guard who was totally eyeballing us and following us (me and my girlfriend) around the store.  The thing is it was like he was almost trying to be as conspicuous about it as possible.  But again, that is part of the cultural difference that makes things interesting.  I have to say their bathroom was spotlessly clean.

But in summary, visiting a grocery store is a good way to get a look into the local culture.  And a good way to pick up local snacks to bring back as souvenirs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Why no flat beds in airport lounges?

So we've had flat beds on planes for a while now.  So why don't we have beds or loungers where people can nap while they wait for their flights?  When I have a long layover in between flights, the thing I'd like to do most is (aside from getting a massage) sleep.

Some lounges have sleeping areas, such as the Qatar 1st class lounge in Doha, where they have individual small rooms which resemble a small hotel room with a bed, bathroom, desk, TV but even in regular lounges, it would require just buying some day beds and setting aside a section of the lounge, pretty easy to implement.  This is something I'd like to see airlines implement.

As an aside, the best perk (aside from the room at in Doha) in a lounge for me was the free masseuse at the Phuket Priority Pass lounge.  You should tip the masseuse a bit but even ) with the small tip (I guess equivalent to a $1 for a 15 minute massage, it was great.  Now the Centurion Lounge in Miami has 15 minute free massages.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Visiting Panama for 42 minutes: Quick Note on doing the same plane turnaround in PTY

TL;DR - 42 minute connection in PTY perfectly doable as long as AA allows you to book it but you'll go thru gate security

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On 9/3/16, as part of a vacation/EQM run, I had a 42 minute connection in PTY.  The incoming flight would land at 2:59PM and the outbound would leave at 3:41PM.

Both my flights had the same flight number and they were both the same plane type (Embraer ERJ-175) so I was pretty sure it would be the same plane and therefore zero chance of me not making the connection.  I even had the same seat on both flights and wished I could have just sat on the plane but of course, they don't allow you to do that (I actually did ask the FA for confirmation).

I actually met the 2 bloggers from www.nomascoach.com after they noticed my Flyertalk luggage tag.  This was the first time someone talked to me about it.  I've only had the tag for a couple of months though.

So once we landed, I got off the plane but I couldn't go directly into the waiting area.  It's roped off. So I went directly to the gate security check area and went thru the security.

Every time I've gone thorough, they're really annoyingly thorough/picky and this time was no different.

So no need to go thru customs or immigration, just the gate security. And 42 minutes is way more than enough but not enough time for me to consider going to a lounge.

Then when I got on board again, (they announced business class first), the FA was surprised when I said 'nice to see you again' and she asked what I'm doing.  She hadn't heard of mileage running so I was explaining it to her when another Flyertalker boarded and overheard what I was saying, turns out we had exchanged messages on Flyertalk previously about being on the same flight, we had a nice chat.

On both the flights, it was nice to meet who understand you and what you're doing, rather than tell you you're crazy.