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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?
Didn't have a chance to read last week's newsletter? Click here!
What a week! I had two birthdays to celebrate, one on each coast.
I left you last week in Connecticut after I went to Virgin Atlantic's North American headquarters for a meeting. They're based in my hometown of Norwalk. I went home, sent out our weekly newsletter, and headed into NYC. (BTW: I apologize for sending two copies of the newsletter, we had some technical problems.) I took the hour train ride into the city with my Dad. We parted in Grand Central, as I had another meeting, this time at Travel Leisure's headquarters. I met with the managing editor, Mark Orwoll (you can read his Q&A), who took me down to the Royalton Hotel on West 44th Street for drinks in the lobby. (It's part of Ian Schrager's collection. His other hotels include: The Hudson, The Paramount, Morgan's, Delano in South Beach, Mondrian in LA...). It was very cool and chic.
It was a beautiful spring day in NY until the temp dropped about 20 degrees to about 45. It started to rain as I began my 20 block journey to my first birthday party of the week. My nephew, Johnny, was celebrating his 3rd b-day and my sister threw a fun party. My Dad, my brother, sisters, cousin AJ, and my brother-in-law's family were all there.
I do have a funny story about this party. Too make a long story short, I was starving (what else is new) and I didn't eat all day and walking through the streets of NYC didn't help. You know my favorite food on earth is NYC Pizza and almost every corner has pizza joint. My sister's voice kept coming into my head everytime I went to buy a slice, "Don't stop for pizza because we are having lots of great catered food."
Well, I get there an hour early and she didn't tell me the caterers were descendants of the Nazi's, so they acted. They were cooking up some great spread, laying it out in nice bowls, and covering it with plastic. I was so hungry that I couldn't wait and I just wanted a nibble one of those juicy chicken strips. Well, everytime I went to pick a piece from the bowl the caterer quickly rushed over and covered it up and said, "NO! It's not ready to be eaten." NO? Are you kidding me? My stomach doesn't know NO when I'm hungry, but I didn't want to cause any problems so I obliged for about 5 minutes. When a man is hungry, he's hungry and I wasn't going to let this dude tell me NO. It turned into a game: I would stand about 10 feet away from the table pretending I wasn't doing anything or paying attention, when in reality I was watching the enforcers every move. Everytime they went to the fridge (which has a oversized door that blocked their view) I would make a B-line to the food. I would quickly uncover the bowl, grab some chicken, stick it in my mouth, re-cover the bowl, and walk away without chewing. As I walked into the bedroom, pretending to be playing with my nephew, I would shut the door and chew like there was no tomorrow. This went on for about an hour, but believe me when it was time for dinner, I wasn't hungry anymore. :-)
The next day, I headed for HPN- White Plains Airport (Know your airport
codes!). I was late, as usual, arriving about 30 minutes before departure,
but since it's so small I made it to the gate with time to spare (10 minutes).
The 2 hour flight to ORD- Chicago's O'Hare ( I hope you know that code.)
was uneventful, except they didn't have a snack.
We arrived late and I had 15 minutes to catch my connecting flight to LAX (I'm not telling you that one.) We arrived into gate C1 and my connecting flight was departing from B17 which as many of you know is on the total opposite side. I cruised through O'Hare without stopping for Chili's chicken strips or the bathroom and made it with time to spare. I asked the gate agent if there was a whole empty row and she said there is, and for some stupid reason she said, "If you weren't using miles, we would've upgraded you to Business." I said to her, "Damn girl, why don't you just dangle a juicy steak sandwich in front of my nose and say sorry you can't eat it?" We both laughed and I gave her a box of chocolates but still sat in coach. I didn't care because it was one of my favorite aircrafts, the 777. The only problem was this plane didn't have a premier zone (which means there's extra leg room). I don't care what United says, they forgot to take out some rows on this plane.
I was still hungry even after the lame snack (chips and a ham sandwich), luckily I had some Easter candy that I didn't give away.
I made it home to LA for Amber's
Birthday. We (myself and her sister) arranged for her sister
Mom to fly out and surprise Amber for the weekend. Guess
where we went? DISNEYLAND
& their new park CALIFORNIA
ADVENTURES theme park. We had a great
time and a marathon of a day, would you believe we spent 12 hours
there? TWELVE HOURS! We rode almost every ride, including Space
Mountain, the new hairy California Screamer
rollercoaster, the swings,
and we hung out with our good friend Mickey.
We even saw the Electrical
Parade, that's how late we were there.
TIP: Instead of waiting 45 minutes for each ride, go to the Fast Pass Machine, stick your entrance ticket in and get your Fast Pass ticket. You will be able to come back later at a designated time and only wait about ten minutes. You can only use the Fast Pass once every 60 minutes, so choose wisely.
I would use it first for the best ride there which ALL of you will absolutely love. It's at the California Adventures park and it's called "Soaring through California." It's amazing! You really feel like you are gliding over CA. I was holding on to my seat like everyone else, with my mouth open saying, "This is soooooo cooooool!" You sit in a row of seats with ten people, put on a lap belt, and then you get lifted off the ground in front of an Imax screen in the pitch black. They pump in sounds, temperatures, and even smells. (When you fly over the orange grove, you can smell the oranges.) If you're ever in Southern California, you have to go!
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JET CAPTAINS QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
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Travel Celebrity Q&A:
With Travel + Leisure's Mark Orwoll
Be sure to leave a copy of your travel itinerary with family or friends so they can reach you in case of an emergency.
Leave a copy of your ID/passport in your luggage and at home in case of loss or theft during your trip.
HOW TO LAND A PLANE YOURSELF From CoolTravelMail
In the post-9/11 travel world, many air travelers spend at least a minute or two checking out their fellow passengers
for potential hijackers who may need to be wrestled to the floor before they can get to the cockpit. And sometimes
those travelers wonder, what happens if the bad guys get to the cockpit first?
Hereís how you land a plane yourself if the passenger mutiny is
too late to save the pilot. The handbook only deals with
small passenger planes and jets so landing instructions for major commercial airbuses will have to wait for another
* Push, pull or drag the incapacitated pilot out of his seat and
take it yourself. Actually, before you do that, you
might want to shout out to the other passengers, "Hey, does anybody here know how to fly a plane?" If anyone says yes,
give up the seat. The flight attendant is still likely to give you a set of those cool little pin-on wings, just for
* Put on the radio headset, if there is one, and find the radio
control button. It should either be on the steering
wheel or look like a CB-type microphone on the instrument panel. Press the button to speak and say "Mayday! Mayday!"
Quickly bark out what the situation is, what your destination is, and what the planeís call numbers are. Those
numbers should be posted on top of the instrument panel. Release the button to listen for a response.
* If, after two tries, thereís no response, try the radioís emergency
channel. You can tune it in at 121.5. If someone
answers, they will try to talk you through a landing. If your pleas are met with silence, move quickly to the next step.
* Get your bearings. Look around, is the plane level? Unless you were
landing or taking off when the problem occurred,
the nose of the plane should be about three inches below the horizon. If itís lower than that, pull back on the steering
wheel SLOWLY. This control is VERY sensitive, and quick, panicked movements can cause the plane to react violently.
To lower the planeís nose, push gently down on the steering column.
* Find the key instruments. The first one you need to identify
is the altimeter; the one that tells you if your
cruising at a safe altitude or gradually dropping toward the mountains on the horizon. Generally, itís a prominent red
dial in the middle of the instrument panel. Itís kind of like a clock: the small hand measures feet above sea level
in thousand-foot increments and the larger hand measures it in hundred foot increments.
The only instrument on the panel with a small image of a plane
in the center is your compass. The nose of the little
plane will point in the direction youíre headed.
The planeís equivalent of a car speedometer is usually on the
upper left side of the instrument panel. A small plane
usually cruises at about 120 knots (about 150 mph). Anything under 70 knots is flirting with stall speed. You control the
planeís speed with the throttle, the thing that looks like a stick shift. Pull it back to slow things down, push it
forward to speed them up.
* To begin a descent, pull back on the throttle. The nose will dip as
the plane slows down. You want the nose about
four inches below the horizon as you start to come in for a landing. Look near the throttle for a handle shaped like a
tire. That controls the landing gear, which you want to put down. If you canít find this control, cross your fingers and
keep going. Chances are the aircraft has fixed landing gear thatís down already.
* Start looking for potential landing sites. Hopefully, youíre
above the Midwest and have a smorgasbord of mile-long
cornfields to choose from.
* Youíre best bet, obviously, is an existing airport. Short of
that, look for what appears to be the biggest stretch of
empty land you can find. Touching down on uneven ground might not kill you. Not landing and crashing the plane when
it runs out of fuel probably will.
* Line up your makeshift landing strip so that itís off the right wing tip when the altimeter reads about 1,000 feet.
* As you approach, pull back on the throttle. Donít let the nose
of the plane drop more than about six inches below the
* You should be about 100 feet off the ground when you reach the
landing site. You want to keep the plane descending, but
you also want to keep the nose up a bit because you want the rear wheels to touch down first. At this point, you want to
be just above stall speed.
* Pull back on the steering wheel as the plane touches the ground.
Once the plane is on the ground, start using the
pedals on the floor. The upper pedals are the brakes, the lower pedals control which direction you want the plane to
move in. Concentrate on reducing your speed - your chances of survival improve dramatically.
* Upon stopping, say a silent prayer to whatever God you worship
and make a joke about any body fluids that may have
escaped during the excitement.
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