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August 20, 2008

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 LAX TO JFK

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Greetings from America's east coast! This week we fly from Los Angeles to New York on Delta Airlines (can you believe they just raised their fees for mileage awards to a ridiculous amount?) and then on to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in one of jetBlue's new ERJ-190s. If you're interested in seeing what this plane has to offer, plus take a backstage tour of Broadway's hottest show then what are you waiting for? Let's go! Also this week, Margot Black tours us around Santa Barbara, California. Pretty as a picture postcard, there's lots to see in Santa Barbara and Margot shares a list of activities that should be on every visitor's to-do list.

I don't know about you but I'm having a difficult time watching professional sports now that the Olympics are on. Normally, I love to watch my beloved Yankees play but these days, I couldn't care less about those overpaid sports stars. I'm completely caught up in watching the Olympic competition. My favorites, other than watching Michael Phelps, of course, are beach volleyball, basketball and trampoline. But even the marathon was exciting. Boy, I wish I were in Beijing right now!

Last week, we left off in Los Angeles after taking a spin up the California coast on Emirates' new A380. What a plane! The following day, I flew back to New York to spend time with my brother who is doing really well with his daily radiation blasts and series of chemo drips -- all as a prophylactic treatment for tongue cancer. The flight to JFK on Delta didn't begin as painlessly as usual. You see, the premium/first class security checkpoint line was closed, which meant I had to wait over 20 minutes to clear the regular security line. I know what you're thinking -- what a tragedy! Well, it wouldn't have been such a big deal if I had factored in the wait time but I hadn't. I had never seen the first class security lane closed before so my normal three minutes to go from curb to gate was out the door.

The moment I reached the gate (huffing and puffing, I might add), I could see that passengers were boarding and I heard my name being called repeatedly over the P.A. Uh oh! I thought I'd gotten the axe for being a no-show but fortunately, it was to inform me of a free upgrade. YES! I hoped that would be the case because I kept looking up the first class flight loads every few days (including three hours before departure) to check on my chances. NOTE: You can do this by going to and pricing out a one-way first class seat for your flight. This allows you to see how many seats are open in the front of the plane, without actually having to purchase the ticket. It turned out there were 10 out of the 16 seats available and given this fact, you would think I'd have been cleared for an upgrade 24 hours in advance. But I suppose they were waiting to see if any of their previous flights were going to cancel. My ticket cost just $164 one-way; the six passengers who had paid for first class shelled out $1,114.50. See that?! Being an elite member of Delta's frequent flier program really does have its perks. There are three levels of elite status and for the lowest one, you need to fly a minimum of 25,000 actual paid air miles on Delta or one of its partner airlines. That upgrade made the flight to JFK a breeze since there was more space, a power port, free food (pasta or chicken), plenty of bottled water and this killer chocolate ice cream treat. Oh, by the way, we can't forget that Delta also offers free live TV in every class on this route.

OK, that was the good news about flying with Delta. The bad news is that they just raised their mileage fees to match American Airlines'. So, if you're planning on using your miles for a free ticket on Delta or American (and I'm sure the other airlines will follow suit soon), don't do what I did and wait until the last minute. If you do, it'll cost a ridiculous amount of cash. For Award Tickets that are issued 21 days or more before departure date, there is no fee. Hallelujah! However, for Award Tickets issued between eight and 20 days before departure date, there's a $75 fee. For Award Tickets issued between four and seven days before departure date, you're looking at a $100 fee. Now here's the kicker: For Award Tickets issued three days or fewer prior to departure date, there's a $150 fee. Keep in mind that you still have to pay taxes on all tickets and if you're flying international, it can be well over $100.

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Pictures From

The Trip


Delta To NY


Over L.A.


Check Out That Storm


1st Class Dinner




Frank Getting Radiation


NYC Rain



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