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April 30, 2008

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 L.A. to New Orleans

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The emails are in and surprisingly, a large number of readers want to go on a weeklong trip avec moi. I never would have imagined that there'd be such a positive response! The winning destination is ... Australia! I will have our travel agent run the numbers and work out the logistics for a weeklong tour next February. Once we have all the details, we'll start promoting it and then, it's first come, first served.

One of our editors here at created a Wikipedia entry in order to promote Are any of you regular Wiki contributors or do any of you have the knowledge and patience to make this entry stick? If so, could you please spend a few minutes contributing to it? I would greatly appreciate it! Here's the direct URL:

Greetings from The Big Easy! That's right ... I'm in New Orleans to see how things are since Katrina. I am ashamed that it has taken me this long to make the trip and since I was recently in Phuket, I realized how important it was to visit one of our own natural disaster zones. I'm here with, an organization dedicated to showing (as its name suggests) that the tourism industry cares and with me, are close to 350 white-collar workers from various North American travel companies. We've all come down and volunteered our time to do some good old-fashioned blue-collar work as we help restore one of New Orleans' landmarks. Even these days though, no trip to New Orleans is really all work so of course, I paid a visit to the French Quarter and visited some of New Orleans' famous eateries. Can you say Po' Boy? If you're looking for something altogether different and decidedly more exotic, then join either or both of this week's featured writers. Georgie-Jet and Chuck Taylor both visit Fiji this week.

I flew to New Orleans on Delta and I have to tell you, it really couldn't have been any easier. If I could be guaranteed this same experience every time I fly, I wouldn't want to fly any other airline. I'm a lowly Silver Elite member on Delta (I only flew between 25,000 and 49,999 miles with them last year). But my status pays big dividends. First of all, they offer a separate check-in and boarding lines. I don't check bags and I check in online 24 hours in advance, so that's not really any help to me. But what does help is the separate line for security. It took me just one minute to go from the curb to the gate. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for non-elite members. They might actually still be waiting in line. Elite membership also allows members to snag the coveted exit row seats and board early so that there's space in the overhead bins. But guess what? I received an automated email from Delta 48 hours in advance of my flight, informing me that I'd been upgraded. I didn't even request an upgrade but they're given out to elite members if space is available on domestic flights (no miles deducted, no coupons or cash needed). If there's still space left over, they sell the last-minute upgrades to the general public at the gate for $150. A great deal, compared to the advance purchase price.

Okay, so Delta doesn't have the plushest first class seats I've ever seen. There's no leg stand and the seats don't go very far back. But on flights that are only a few hours, who really cares? All I want is enough space to work. And they have power ports and live satellite TV with movies, HBO specials, video games, music ... Heck, I was watching the New Orleans Hornets play the Dallas Mavericks on ESPN while I was flying over the sports arena. Now how cool is that? There was also plenty of bottled water available and the food was awesome ... Okay, the salad needed some help but the pasta dish I had on the way down was delicious! The flight attendants on both flights were as friendly and attentive as on any airline I have ever flown. Granted, flight time was a super fast two hours and 59 minutes (how do you like them tailwinds?) and we arrived 19 minutes early! Why can't that happen when I'm sitting in coach?

On top of all of that, when I logged on to my Delta account not even an hour after touching down, I saw that my mileage for the flight had already been posted. Isn't that amazing? I know, I'm a frequent flier nerd. Anyways, with other airlines, it usually takes days, sometimes even weeks for them to post newly accrued mileage. NOTE: Delta did not give me a free ticket, either. Actually, they've never given me a darned thing! But that's okay -- with an experience like the one I just had, it's impossible not to love 'em anyways.

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Pictures From

The Trip






Seat 1A






Welcome to New Orleans

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