THIS WEEK'S JOHNNY JET 7/3/2002
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DID MANY FLIGHT ATTENDANT'S QUIT AFTER 9/11?
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Since I had so much to write about Alaska I needed to put it into
two parts. That's what's going on if you are one of the 1,000+
people who signed up this past week to Johnny Jet's Travel News. We
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I promised last week I would tell you about our sea plane... I mean float plane adventure. They call them float planes in Alaska, I know it's funny but the best one of them all is.... What do you think a snow machine is? If you guessed snow maker like me, you're wrong! It's what Alaskans call a snowmobile. Okay, back to the story: As I told you, Amber Airplane really wanted to go on a float plane but I didn't. I have been on one before and I'm not afraid to admit that my stomach gets queasy on small planes, besides that, it was really windy out too. Well, if I didn't fork over the money and accompany<now speaking in baby talk> Amber Airplane on one of these little planes she was going to have her little heart broken.<end baby talk>
I should've known from the start it was going to be an unpleasant ride. First of all, we had to circle about 10 times around on the lake before we took off . Gary, our Captain, explained the reason why we had to circle was because the airport is so busy we needed to get cleared for takeoff and the plane doesn't have brakes. (He chuckled, I rolled my eyes and shook my head like, "What the heck am I doing?") I don't think too many people in this world can claim they got sea sick and air sick all within 5 minutes. Unfortunately, I can. Take-off was the best part of the ride, no... actually landing was. We took-off from Lake Spenard/Hood which is right next to the ANC airport and is the largest and busiest float plane airport in the world.
Gary explained that there are about 3,000 private
float planes in Anchorage and they are as common
to people as boats are in the lower 48. We flew about
30 miles outside of Anchorage where there are no roads
but plenty of lakes where people can land their planes
and go to their cabins so they can hunt and fish. The
only other way to get there is by snowmobile, I mean snow machine,
and that only happens when the snow falls and the lakes freeze.
It didn't help my stomach or my nerves when I looked down and saw an old plane crash . Gary confirmed it was a military plane that they never salvaged and now is just a landmark for uneasy fliers in small planes like me. It started getting bumpy, and after spotting some moose I started getting green since I was looking down. As I have said in past newsletters, if you're queasy look out at the horizon not down. With that said, all I wanted to do was look straight out, so when Gary pointed down to see some more moose, I was thinking, "Gary, screw the moose, just take me home." But that didn't come out, I just pretended I saw it and said look at the little moose, oops, it looks like he's doing what he does best. What's that number 10? Looking back at these pictures, I realize how amazing the scenery really was, and if it wasn't so windy it would've been awesome. In fact, Gary said it was his top 3 bumpiest flights of the year, just my luck. Oh... BTW, I wasn't the only one sick, Amber Airplane, who's a flight attendant got green too. To say the least we were very HAPPY to be back on solid ground.
If you want to go with our tour guide, you can email Gary Moore from Beaver Air Taxi at email@example.com and set up a time. Or just stop by his office which is right next to the Millennium Hotel. The cheapest ride you can go on is the one we took: $60/pp for a 35 minute tour (2 person minimum). Here are some more pictures from our flight: This is a shot of a mountain that the locals call Sleeping Lady and a beach near the airport.
We went right from the airport to downtown Anchorage. There's
a lot of tourist shops and the best one we found was
Grizzly's Unique Alaskan Gifts
. One of the top gifts you can bring home, according to The
Travel Channel, from Alaska are these
Grizzies Bear Claws
salad/pasta servers. They're about $20 and are a nice reminder
of our trip.
After we did most of our shopping, Kevin, (I think he's secretly working for the Alaskan Visitor Bureau), tells us there's an even better place to get Alaskan goods so we drove to Alaska Wild Berry Products located at 5225 Juneau Street. This place was amazing, not to mention it's the home of the "world's largest Chocolate Waterfall ." The fall contains 3,400 pounds of melted chocolate and cascades 20 feet. Just what I needed, more chocolate and a new place to spend more money.
The next stop on our 5-day tour of Anchorage was the
Alaska Native Heritage Center
(Phone: 800-315-6608). The cost is pretty steep
at $19.95 a person, but there are all kinds of discounts
available, so if your a senior, military personal,
travel agent, a AAA member, or an airline employee bring
your ID. You can save a lot.
Here we learned how the natives killed polar bears. (They would take baleen from a whale, carve jagged edges in it, roll it up, freeze it, and put food or blubber around it and throw it to the polar bear. The polar bear would eat it, and the natives with their dogs would follow him. After a few days, the baleen would expand and tear his insides and he would die from internal bleeding. I'm glad I'm not a polar bear because that's definitely not the way I want to go.
The Heritage Center is also a great place to explore the fascinating Native cultures, crafts, and lifestyle traditions without leaving Anchorage. You can see Native storytellers, dancers , and craftspeople. You can even purchase what they make by hand. Make sure you follow the trail that leads you through five village exhibits around a lake, in the middle you will see this, jaw bones from a whale .
We finished our trip at Kevin's parents house, where they had a going away BBQ. We also played volley ball near their creek, what Kevin uses for a cooler . I heard how bad the mosquito's in Alaska can be, they were everything and more what people warned me about. These suckers have an aggression problem and if you're in the woods or near a creek, bring a lot of bug spray.
We took the last, well really the first flight out of Anchorage . Most major carriers, including Delta, have flights that leave just after midnight, so if you are trying to fly standby for a later flight make sure you have the right day, because even though it might be only 10-30 minutes after midnight, it counts as another day. It was weird and breath-taking to depart just before 1am and being able to see the sunset over the snow-capped mountains .
What to wear? They say to dress in layers. For summer, bring a jacket or sweater plus a windbreaker. Also, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Alaska is very casual, no need to bring fancy clothes. I wore sneakers the whole trip.The temperature, while we were there, ranged from 68-48 and it didn't rain. :-)
I’m new to your website. I LOVE it. However...why the conspicuous lack of anything related to AA? Especially since that’s about all I fly. I found their phone number link, but that’s it. Liz
Thanks for the comments. The reason why we exclude American Airlines is because they set up their webpage so visitors can only enter from their home page. Unlike, the other airlines who will allow linking directly to a certain page like "Traveling with pets", Frequent Flier miles", "Seating Charts"........ AA doesn't. Their website prevents capturing the link. Hopefully, American will realize that they are only hurting themselves, because they are losing out on a lot of business.
I don't know if you actually read these or not, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Your timing on this Anchorage Guide could not have been better. I'll be planning my
first summer vacation there and was looking for a spot for my girlfriend and I to kayak, so I will probably go with your choice.
I know you want a COOL T-Shirt or Hat. Click Here for more Details .
WHAT'S NEW IN
JET CAPTAINS QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
How do you know when you have to fly (i.e. how do you get your roster to fly out of the country?)
SKYGIRLS QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Did many flight attendants quit after 9/11?
SKYGUY QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
Did many flight attendants quit after 9/11?
Travel Celebrity Q&A:
With The Cruise Diva: Linda Coffman
TIP OF THE WEEK:
>From United Airlines
As you head for the airport, here's what you can expect at security checkpoints and some tips to speed your trip through the terminal:
--At security checkpoints, have ready your e-ticket confirmation or boarding pass as well as photo ID.
--Pack sharp objects in your checked baggage. Sharp objects are not allowed in carry-on.
--Before entering the walk-through metal detector, remove all items from your person that could cause an alarm. Keys,
coins, cell phones, pagers, and other metal objects are best placed in carry-on baggage.
--Limit carry-on baggage to one standard-size bag and one personal item such as a purse, briefcase, or laptop computer
case. The carry-on limit does not apply to passengers with disabilities' medical supplies, equipment, mobility aids, or assistive devices.
--Place carry-on items flat on the x-ray conveyor belt and remove laptop computers from their cases.
GOOD TO KNOW!
Travel Tips For The July 4th Holiday (From Bestfares.com)
The Fourth of July travel period has already seen two of its peak travel days, with last weekend's Saturday and Sunday transporting people who planned a week's vacation around Independence Day. Wednesday, July 3 will be another peak date. The majority of travelers will return home on Sunday, July 7.
Check the Web site of the airline you're traveling for recommended check-in times at specific airports and use, when possible, expedited check-in by Internet or airport kiosk.
If you're not up on the latest guidelines for carry-on items, access www.tsa.dot.gov for the complete rundown. Carry as little as possible in your pockets and take your laptop out of its case for passages through the x-ray machine.
Be ready for metal detectors set at super-high sensitivity by limiting the amount of metal on your person. Items that can set off metal detectors include foil gum wrappers, cigarette packs, belt buckles, credit cards, brass buttons, underwired bras, sequins, rivets on jeans, hair accessories and shoes. If you set off an alarm you will be subjected to a search likely to include checking by hand wand and a body pat-down.
Keep in mind that fireworks -- of every type -- are not allowed in checked or carry-on baggage.
Remember that if you are not at your departure gate by 20 minutes before departure, your bags may be removed from the plane.
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