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October 25, 2006

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 LAX to NY, Amtrak to Newark

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  • Porto Guide


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    Olá from Portugal! Last week we left off from beautiful Santa Barbara, California (here’s the link to the archives). With the weather so nice, and enjoying all the comforts of home, it was very difficult getting back on a plane. I honestly did not want to pack and go to LAX. What was I thinking?! If you knew my itinerary, you’d be asking the same question. Over the next several weeks we’ll travel to some spectacular destinations. Our first international stop is Porto. If you want to come for the journey, grab your passport and sense of adventure – on this trip you’ll need it. If you’re in a hurry or have ADD, don’t worry; there’s a 2-minute Johnny Jet video at the end of this week’s story.

    Once I made it through airport security and boarded the plane, my brain hit travel mode again. It was like someone flipped a switch. Sitting in seat 21C on a Continental 737 bound for Newark, I realized the new security rules have changed air travel once more. For one thing, they make boarding much quicker because people are carrying on less baggage. That in turn opens up plenty of overhead bin space. On the flip side, checked baggage seems to take much longer to appear. But the biggest negative of all is that I don’t think passengers drink as much water as they used to. That’s certainly the case with me. Now that "no liquid over 3 ounces" is allowed to pass through security, how is a person supposed to properly hydrate themself when sitting in economy class? The flight attendants are definitely not eager to offer more water. I can’t blame them – they’re overworked and underpaid -- but something has to be done before there’s a rise in health issues aboard planes. I think airlines should stock up on bottled water, and sell it at a reasonable price ($1) at the gate and on board. On my 4-hour, 32-minute flight to Newark there definitely wasn’t enough water on the plane. The flight attendants might even have passed out tap water. Which brings up this question: What’s worse: Becoming dehydrated, or drinking plane tap water? To be certain what I was drinking, I opted for apple juice. To my dismay I learned that Continental is one of the few airlines not to give a whole can of juice or soda. Instead, they just pour a small glass and keep the can. But what’s weird is that Continental is also one of the few (if not only) major U.S. carriers to serve free meals in economy. What’s up with that? If you can spend money to serve food, then provide passengers with plenty of drinks!

    From New York I traveled 50 miles to visit my family for the weekend in Connecticut. Two days later I had to be back at Newark. Instead of making a friend or relative drive in nasty I-95 traffic, or taking an expensive car service ($150), I tried something new (well, at least to me and all my Connecticut friends). Did you know that Amtrak travels from major Connecticut train stations (New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford…) to Newark Liberty International Airport? A one-way coach class ticket from Stamford costs $37. I decided to spend an extra $12 to sit in Business class, so I could have a bit more space -- and more importantly, an electrical outlet so I could get some work done on my Toshiba laptop (it’s now down to a mere 30 minutes of battery time). The 1 hour, 46-minute ride turned out to be awesome! I worked the entire time. Amtrak does not offer assigned seating, wireless internet, free newspapers or even drinks. But what they do have are friendly conductors, plenty of overhead storage space, punctuality -- and I could bring as much bottled water as I wanted (believe me, I did). Getting my ticket was easy too. I purchased it quickly online, and if I had had my confirmation number handy I would not even have had to go to the ticket counter to print out my boarding card. I could have used one of the self-service kiosks, similar to airports. The train made brief stops in Penn Station and Newark before Newark International. From there it was a 50-yard walk, and because I had an Amtrak ticket the transfer to AirTrain was free (normally $5). The ride to the terminals takes 5-10 minutes, depending on which stop you get off.

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    Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Pictures From

    The Trip


    Amtrak To Newark


    Plenty of Space


    Newark Airport Stop


    Transfer To AirTrain




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