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Coming off one of my most amazing flights ever, in Malaysia Airlines’ First Class, I did not expect much on my Delta Air Lines (866-715-2170,
Delta.com) domestic flight to
Florida. But I must say, I was quite impressed. It did help that I managed to fly at least 25,000 actual air miles with Delta
(and their SkyTeam Alliance partners) last year, so I earned Silver Medallion
status (their lowest level). When I went online 24 hours before my flight to print out my boarding card, I noticed I was upgraded to first class. I immediately called a reservation agent to find out how that happened. I had not requested an upgrade, nor did I want to spend any extra miles for one (it was too short a flight). The agent said that as a Silver Medallion member I’m entitled to free space-available upgrades. How great is that? I arrived at the airport exactly one hour before departure and went straight to security (I had already checked in online, and was not checking a bag). The security line was long, but the agent checking IDs guided me to the cherished premium line where just three people were waiting. This was because of my Silver Medallion status. How awesome is that? Be sure to get miles every time you fly; if the price difference is not great, stick to one airline or alliance to get these perks. Note: Only Delta gives free upgrades to its loyal customers, and not all airports offer separate security lines.
3-1-1 LIQUIDS RULE
I spent just two minutes going through security. A big reason is because I and the two travelers in front of me were up to date on the TSA’s new 3-1-1 liquids rule
for carry-on luggage (3-ounce bottle or less; 1 quart-sized clear plastic zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger that needs to be placed in a screening bin). They also knew to take their shoes and jackets off, laptop and video cameras out, to have no metals in their pockets, and to keep their boarding cards in their hands.
LOS ANGELES TO FORT LAUDERDALE
to Fort Lauderdale was 4 hours and 51 minutes. But it went quickly, because I had plenty of space (no one sat next to me), and we were on a former Song Airlines plane (Song, Delta’s low-fare carrier, went defunct almost a year ago). I love these 757s, because they have free live satellite TV with 25 channels, and 2 recent movies (a $5 fee; free in First Class). The flight attendants were extremely nice, and very attentive. For a second, I thought I was back in Asia. They constantly came around with drinks and fattening snacks: Sun Chips (140 calories), Quaker Granola Bars (120 calories), Biscoff cookies (146 calories), cry-roasted peanuts (30 nuts = 170 calories), and Lance Honey Peanut Butter Crackers (190 calories). I just read those statistics on DietDetective.com. Of course, I felt fat after devouring each of those snacks. And that was after a large meal
of cheese cannelloni with chicken breast. Note: Delta does not serve food in economy class, so be sure to bring food on board if you’re not upgraded.
Beginning January 23, 2007, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will be required to present a valid passport, Air NEXUS card, or U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, or an Alien Registration Card, Form I-551, if applicable.
As early as January 1, 2008, ALL persons, including U.S. citizens, traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. While recent legislative changes permit a later deadline, the Departments of State and Homeland Security are working to meet all requirements as soon as possible. Ample advance notice will be provided to enable the public to obtain passports or passport cards for land/sea entries.
The passport requirement does NOT apply to U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory. U.S. citizens returning directly from a U.S. territory are not considered to have left the United States and do not need to present a passport. U.S. territories include the following: Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
South Florida. Stay tuned!
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SOME OF LAST WEEK'S READER AIR-eMAIL
Thanks for continuing to do such a wonderful job sharing the world with us, your readers. Your down-to-earth style of presenting the finer things in life is appreciated and respected. It's evident you have a great time seeing new places and doing new things. What I appreciate most is how respectful, introspective and humble you are with your worldly experiences. Keep up the great work and thanks for allowing us on your journeys! A Long Time Fan, Dan Sakaue - Renton, WA
I enjoy reading about your travels. When you flew to Taipei, you arrived at and departed from Terminal 1 which was built in the late 70's. Also the appearance hasn't changed much beyond some expansions and reshapings (as of 2000, the last time I was in Terminal 1).
Terminal 2 is much nicer. It was opened in 2000 and has a much more modern look than Terminal 1. I think it could compare with Tokyo-Narita or Nagoya Central Japan. Fred C. - Massachusetts
As a fervent reader of your newsletters for some years now, I'm beginning to think that it might be time for you to consider what damage your endless first-class life in the fast lane is doing to the planet. Have you ever calculated how much CO2 you are creating via the jet engines and how many resources are needed to keep you in luxury each day? Are you doing any "offsetting", like Al Gore, to counteract all the carbon you are pumping into the atmosphere? Like planting trees or other eco-friendly investments? There is no doubt that Global Warming has arrived and you jet-setters are the worst culprits, I'm afraid. I hate to rain on your jet-parade, but it's time to think about these things. Thanks, Brian B – Fort Lauderdale, FL
I loved this story...Although I love being a pediatrician (for over 25 years), you are acting out my fantasy. I have enough Delta FF miles to do a first-class or business class RT for my wife and me and I hope that I will be able to do this in 2008, assuming Delta's SkyMiles are still valid. I fall asleep many nights dreaming of itineraries and your story made my dream even more real! Thanks. Daniel K, M.D. - Loxahatchee , FL
Always enjoy your stories and your photos --- I always take photos of food & from the airplane so I can show friends what to expect. The shot of LA (the 405 & UCLA) was good. The car service guy to LAX is very reasonable compared to taxis!! Anita - Redondo Beach
It sounds like you had a great trip. I echo your sentiments about Taipei Airport – it was pretty awful – even for aviation buffs like ourselves, I found it to be quite unwelcoming and bland. I had a very good trip a couple of years ago on Malaysian as well – loved the satays and my 4 crews (LAX/TPE/KUL and return) were all very attentive. In fact in some cases, I thought they were better than SQ [Singapore Airlines] because they seemed to be trying harder. I was in Business, and didn’t at that time have the flat bed, but the service was very good. I think the lounge in KL is fantastic – especially since you can enjoy the showers and a full meal in the lounge! I just got back from Greece in December (Lufthansa/United combination in First Class) – Lufthansa was excellent in the Airbus with the flat beds, the PJs and the great food. My return on UA 747 was okay – the video system seemed archaic and the screen a little small. Aircraft seemed a little worn and the IAD Lounge personnel couldn’t be bothered. (And too bad there are no showers in the UA Lounges at all). Ken P – San Diego, CA
Something screwy has happened when you click on where's Johnny Jet. I usually get the entire article at once, but this time it was set up into pages, thereby making it hard to print out.....
Steve Rooney - Montclair, NJ. REPLY: You noticed our new format for the longer newsletters! This helps load times but thanks to your feedback we will put a printable version on the last page.
What great columns for the past few weeks. KL is always a great place to visit. Did you visit the monkey temple where they came down from the rocks, or the great memorial garden from WWII with the sculpture at the end of a reflecting pool? I thought the story where you slid off the massage table was a hoot. Ah, the old days of Pan Am first class NY-Narita the best service possible. Or their around the world flights LA-Sydney-Hong Kong-Delhi-London. Too bad we really have no first class on American carriers but have to rely on Singapore or Cathay Pacific or ANA (or Malaysia). Keep the great columns coming and I wish you luck in the new year! P.S. When is Johnny going to lead a few tours himself? Jon-Henri Bonnard (Sudsysez) - East Hampton, NY
Thanks for all your great reports. I really do enjoy them. And a special thanks for telling about Mileport. Vicki N - Australia
For some time now I have been receiving your weekly newsletter. I wanted to complement you on your great site and the wealth of information that you pass on to us travelers. Thank you! Ursula N – Germany
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