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    Looking for a car service or limo to take you to or from the airport? How about just a night on the town? You may feel uncomfortable flipping through the Yellow Pages, not knowing if a company is reputable or not. Now, thanks to an easy-to-remember website -- Limos.com -- your worries are over.

    Limos.com lists only legitimate companies, and it's easy to use. A drop-down menu on the home page describes different kinds of service (for example, a ride to the airport), and asks the city and state you're starting from or going to, along with the date, size of car, and number of passengers. The next screen requests more detailed info, such as the exact address you're leaving from and going to, and the time. The next page shows all the reputable companies serving your area. What's especially useful is that Limos.com includes all kinds of information on those companies, such as phone number, website, years in service and user reviews.

    You then go through the companies and uncheck any you do not want a quote from. Some companies send instant quotes; others take up to 24 hours. Quotes are emailed to you by Limos.com, so you don't need to give the limo companies your contact info.

    The companies email their quotes for several different reasons. One is that most limousine services are small mom-and-pop services that don't want their rates publicly available for all to see (including competitors). Also, delivering rate estimates by email fosters an environment that encourages consumers to "pick the best service" versus "pick the best price." A third reason is that limousine rates constantly change, depending upon the length of the trip, the, time of day or week, the number of passengers, and they type of vehicle requested. Detailed information must be gathered before a price can be estimated.

    Now you know how and where to book a limo -- so have a great ride!
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Greetings! I am finally back in the good ol’ US of A. It felt so great when the customs agent stamped my passport and said "Welcome home." However, I did not stay home for long. I was in L.A. for less than 48 hours, just enough time to check my mail and pack some new clothes. Speaking of clothes, when I flew to Fiji I intended to be gone for only 11 days. When we threw Australia into the mix I spent another 14 days walking around in aloha shirts and shorts. Good thing it was still warm down there.

My brother Frank and our buddy Donny wanted me to stay another week with them, but I was homesick. Plus, I promised my father a while back that I would attend his 50th anniversary celebration of his graduation from Fordham Law School. I had to keep my word.

I took a morning flight from Los Angeles to New York. I scored an upgrade to first class, which made the flight seem short. The phat seat, was nice – and so was the fact that I sat across the aisle from Carmen Electra. That was definitely good for my eyes.

After we landed, instead of taking a taxi or bumming a ride from Carmen (haha), I called an inexpensive car service. There are a bunch in NY, but the only ones I use are Tel Aviv and Carmel. The reason is that their numbers are the easiest to remember: Tel Aviv is 212-777-7777, and Carmel is 212-666-6666. I usually call Tel Aviv because I don’t like dialing three sixes in a row, let alone seven of them. These car services are just a couple of dollars more expensive than a cab. But the benefits are huge: You don’t have to wait in long cabbie lines, and you can pay by credit card. Note: Sometimes you pay for what you get with these guys. They aren’t 100 percent reliable. If money is no object, or you absolutely positively can’t be late, try other services. You can call Carey Limo, or do a search on Limos.com for a reputable company (see our Website of the Week).

I dropped my bags at my family’s seldom-used small apartment, then took the subway downtown to a party at Eugene’s on West 24th Street. It was hosted by FHM magazine in honor of my cousin-in-law Jamie, to celebrate her being on FHM’s March cover. But the party was lame, all because of Eugene’s. The layout, acoustics, bouncers and manager were all bad. First of all, it was jam-packed with people we didn’t know. Second, the line to the "VIP room" (which is a joke itself) was ridiculously long. Third, it was way too loud. It wasn’t even like they were playing music; it was all background noise. But it was impossible to talk to my dad, who is hard of hearing.

My Dad was the real reason I was there. I hadn’t seen him in months. (Don’t get me wrong: I was also there for Jamie. But she had plenty of other supporters.) When I arrived my pops was sitting at a table with his companion Nancy. He and I hugged a long time. The other highlight for me – besides seeing my dad -- came when I was at the bar rapping with my cousin AJ. James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) walked in and had a drink with us. I didn’t realize that AJ knows him well. It was the first time I met the big guy. I definitely felt intimidated -- like he really was a mob boss. At first I didn’t say much. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and end up in the Hudson River. Of course, he’s not really like that in person -- it turned out he was really cool and down-to-earth guy -- but he does have that presence.

The next day was my dad’s reunion. It was held at one of the most famous hotels in the city (actually, the world): the Waldorf-Astoria. Did you know it’s owned by Hilton? (Go collect your bonus points.) My sister Georgette, Aunt Kay and Nancy came to honor my father as well. Fordham Law alumni have this reunion every year. Supposedly, it’s the largest law reunion in the country. I believe it, because the swanky ballroom was packed with thousands of graduates.

The highlight of the day was going to the special breakfast ceremony for the proud members of the semi-centennial class. There were just a couple dozen of graduates from 1954 (and family members) in attendance. It was a nice, informal breakfast. The highlight was my dad’s speech. The lowlight was when my dad ate my dessert while I was in the bathroom. He thought it was hilarious, but I didn’t think it was funny. What hurts is that I was a few seconds too late in catching him. The Waldorf Astoria: 100 East 50th St., New York, NY; tel.: 212-355-3100.

After the reunion luncheon we took the train to Connecticut. I hung out there for few days. I spent most of my time with my dad, Nancy, Georgette, brother-in-law Cam and my buddy Mike. Of course we went to Stew Leonard’s, one of my favorite grocery stores in the world. Ripley’s Believe it or Not calls it the World’s Largest Dairy Store. But it also sells produce, pizza, videotapes and cashmere sweaters, so I’m not sure how it can still call itself a dairy store.

This trip marked my longest absence from my home state ever. It was almost six months. That’s unbelievable, especially because when my mom was sick I used to fly back every 10 days. The hardest part this time was visiting my mom’s grave. I don’t even like writing that, because it’s still tough for me to comprehend. One thing I’ve learned is it’s definitely easier for me to be away from Connecticut for that reason.

After a few days my dad kindly dropped me off at JFK (as he usually does) for my flight home. While waiting to board I found a great place to log on to the internet for free. It’s between the United and British Airways gates in Terminal 7.

Amber Airplane and her mother, Mrs. Airplane, picked me up at LAX. Amber’s mom was the first of our never-ending house guests. It was unbelievable -- I don’t think anyone has had as many houseguests as we have. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to host everyone -- but after a while it got to be a comedy. All the visits were perfectly timed, and they weren’t even planned that way. One guest would leave in the morning; the next one came that afternoon or the following day. It was crazy!

It got to be a bit much for Amber Airplane. Because she is a neat freak, she had to make sure everything was perfect. The house had to be cleaned, and the beds specially made Amber Airplane’s way. She put on all kinds of sheets, pillows and comforters to make it cozy. (I would have just said, "Here are the pillows, blankets and sheets – enjoy!"). She also laid towels, mini-shampoo, soap and chocolates on top of the bed. Can you tell she’s spent way too many nights in hotels?

One of the funniest moments occurred when Amber Airplane asked her mom to cone her ear. Coning is a way to clean the guck (buildup) out of your ears. You stick a hollow wax candle in your ear and light the top. This causes suction, and about 20 minutes later, voila: The tube is filled with wax, bugs or whatever else was stuck in there for years. It was the first time Amber Airplane ever did it (it was my first time too). You don’t even want to know what was in there. Out popped a baby snake — just kidding. I did have wax, though.

What was especially funny about that experience was that my cousin Arty came over while Amber was lying down with her mom holding the candle in her ear. (Someone has to hold it so the person doesn’t get burned.) When I answered the door I said, "Arty, perfect timing! We’re just about to sing Happy Birthday to Amber’s mom." All Arty could see from the distance was Amber’s mom sitting on the couch with a candle lit in front of her, and a white paper plate that looked like a cake. I started singing "Happy Birthday," and so did he. Maybe you had to be there, but Arty’s perplexed expression when he saw Amber lying down on the couch and what appeared to be her head as the cake was classic.

Our other house guests included my cousin Dennis, who made several trips out to California for work, and spent the longest time with us. As many of you know, Dennis is a great guy -- but after a while he can be a real pain. Luckily on his last stay he brought his children, Bea and Willem, which made it much more fun. My brother Frank and his girlfriend Cricket came out too. It was Cricket’s first time in Southern California, so we enjoyed showing her the sights. We drove and rode bikes all around: Beverly Hills, Melrose, The Grove, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, Palos Verdes, Hollywood….

My buddy Mike and his girlfriend capped it off, as the last of our visitors. As you can imagine, with all these guests we ate like kings. We went out for almost every meal. Here are a couple of new restaurants worth mentioning:

Taverna Tony in Malibu. They serve Greek food in a great atmosphere. I am not a big fan of Greek food, but I do like the outside deck. It has a Mediterranean feel (and who doesn’t love belly dancers?). Taverna Tony, is located at the Malibu Country Mart, 23410 Civic Center Way (Cross Creek Rd.); tel.: 310-317-9667.

We took every visitor to the Grove, an incredible outdoor shopping center off Fairfax next to the original Farmers Market. Every time I walk around the Grove I feel like I’m on the set of the movie "Back to the Future." One afternoon we ate at The Farm for lunch. It was really good. The Farm of Beverly Hills (at the Grove): 189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles; tel.: 323.525.1699.

If you’re wondering why we had so many visitors, blame it on American Airlines. Almost everyone who came was trying to take advantage of American’s "fly-two NY to either Florida or California and get one ticket free anywhere in the world promotion. They read about it in this newsletter a while back (the promotion ended just a few days ago). They all qualified. Now let’s see how easy it is to use them (snicker). I’m sure American will treat the rewards like frequent flier miles, which means it will be tough finding tickets to hot destinations during peak times. We’ll see!

Happy Travels,

Johnny Jet

P.S. Do me a favor and browse our sponsors and book all your online travel through JohnnyJet.com. It will help keep this newsletter free of charge. Thanks
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  • I love your website and I did book a hotel through your link last year. Hey, I'm doing my best to support you. :-) We're big Aussie fans and this past January we made our 4th trip there. Next time, you must check out the Adelaide area (Barossa Wine Valley and Kangaroo Island). But I have to disagree with all your enthusiasm for Virgin Blue. Don't misunderstand me, they're not bad, but they're not the cheapest and they're not better than Qantas, IMO. You just got lucky on a last minute flight being less money. When booking all out inter-Australia flights for this past trip, we compared and Qantas was less expensive on all four flights AND they give you a meal, even on a 1.5 hour flight! We did take Virgin Blue for one flight simply because the timing was better than the Qantas flight. The Virgin flight was about $10. more than Qantas and they don't even offer a complimentary soft drink. Also, because they're looking to capitalize on their name, the FA's were in the aisle for practically the whole flight selling food, tee-shirts, Branson's book, etc. Going to the bathroom meant being in their way, since there's only one center aisle. As for the cute FA's. Well, I can't disagree with you, however, for us girls, some of the Qantas male FA's are a bit of eye-candy too! :-) For NY - London, however, nothing beats the original Virgin Airlines! I see you're going to be in NYC. Well I'm a 3rd generation "native" NYer. I'm sure you and Amber get thousands of invites around the world....and here's another one. I'd love to meet you and say hello. We're avid travelers - Jan- Australia, last week Paris, June - the Baltic's/Scandinavia, Sept - Prague/London and next February, South America (2nd visit). Candice S - NYC
  • Here's a few other Europe budget airlines: www.flybaboo.com, based in Geneva... www.duo.com, based in Edinburgh & Birmingham www.now-airlines.com, soon to come... Thanks for your site!! Sue-Ann Chandler, AZ
  • Q: Your site is great but cant find the flying times (that is, flight duration) between cities around the world-do you have/know a site that gives/calculates this? REPLY: As far as we know there is not a website out there that calculates that info. This link will take you to our MAPS category and we have 3 links (DISTANCES: Mile Marker, Indo, Circle Map) that show the distances. Usually every 500 miles is about an hour of flying time. Hope this helps!
  • I've been a subscriber of your newsletter for the past year or so and look forward to reading of your adventures every time it arrives in my mail box.....what a great "job" you've created..... I was deeply touched by your tribute to your mom.....she sounds as if she was quite the woman and mom.....thank you for sharing her with me.... Continued happy travels. Robin U -
  • Thank you on all the info on Australia, I will be landing in Sydney in June for a months stay in Australia and New Zealand. Keep up the GREAT info. I'm on your e-mail. Thanks Again. Bob V - Scarsdale, N.Y.

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Las Vegas Airport Security line shortcut: Walk past the Southwest Airlines’ skycaps down the road adjacent to the monorail. You’ll come to an underused security checkpoint that leads right into the C terminal.

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It's not too late to use miles for summer trave
You can still find free flights for your summer vacation, but you'll need a few tricks to fly free as award seats are going fast. We tested seven routes on three airlines. The good news is that award travel for Memorial Day weekend is still available. The bad news is that certain destinations for summer travel are as good as gone. But if you follow our advice and heed the opinion of Randy Peterson, editor of Inside Flyer magazine, you'll spend frequent flier miles, not money, on your next getaway. Click Here To Read Article

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