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    New York City has one of, if not the best public transportation in the world.  However, every New Yorker knows that the city is missing two key rail routes-- from the city airports: LaGuardia (LGA) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) to Manhattan.  Before this week arriving JFK passengers didn't have many options getting to the city from the airport.  But after a long delayed, 1.9 billion dollar project, a major void was filled when the JFK airport in Queens finally received a rail system called AirTrain.
    AirTrain has 8.1 miles of track that connects the Jamaica Station and  Howard Beach Station to all eight JFK airline terminals, rental car lots, and long term/employee parking 24 hours a day.  The cost of a one-way fare is $5 and monthly passes are available for $40.  Unfortunately, AirTrain will not take passengers directly from JFK to Manhattan, but it will make the commute a lot quicker, easier and cheaper-- especially during rush hour.  From  Jamaica Station passengers can transfer to either three New York City subway lines   E, J, and Z),  the Long Island Rail Road(LIRR), and a dozen city buses.  From Howard Beach passengers can connect to the A line.
    Passengers headed to Manhattan have two options.  They can pay $11.75 to take the AirTrain to the Jamaica Station and transfer to the LIRR which stops at Penn Station in midtown Manhattan. Total commute time around 35 minutes.  Or they can take the AirTrain to the Howard Beach Station and take the A train to 125th Street station in Manhattan.  Total cost $7 and the commute time is around 85 minutes.  To put in perspective how inexpensive this is, the cost of a one-way cab fare from JFK to Manhattan is about $40 (depends on how much you tip).  You can pay by using the MTA MetroCard.
    The new trains are fast, smooth, quiet and are heated and/or air conditioned.  The Port Authority expects more than 34,000 people a day to use the Air Train.   To make travel smooth for passengers there are wide escalators and large glass enclosed elevators, and moving walkways to airline terminals.  The Port Authority which runs the AirTrain is examining the potential of baggage check-in and airline ticketing at Jamaica Station.  

  • NoradSanta: Santa Tracking Radar
  • Santa Television

  • Santa, ID
  • Santa Claus, IN
  • Donner, LA
  • Noel, MO
  • Christmas, FL
  • North Pole, AK
  • UNITED AIRLINES: Earn triple miles: Fly 10,000 paid, qualifying miles between January 1 and January 31, 2004. You’ll then earn triple miles on future, paid, qualifying flights through March 31, 2004*. (Triple miles equal flight miles times three.)  Or earn double miles: Fly 10,000 paid, qualifying miles between January 1 and February 29, 2004. You’ll then earn double miles on future, paid, qualifying flights through March 31, 2004*. (Double miles equal flight miles times two.)  Or earn 5,000 bonus miles: Fly 10,000 paid, qualifying miles between January 1 and March 31, 2004, and you’ll receive 5,000 bonus miles**.   To register .
  • Bonus for Charging AA Tickets to a MasterCard
  • America West's (Mostly Bad) News
  • Loews Metro Man Package
  • NWA bonus miles for new MSP-Little Rock service: Beginning March 29, Northwest Airlines will start new service between its Minneapolis/St. Paul hub and Little Rock with two daily round-trip flights. Northwest frequent-flier members can earn up to 1,000 bonus miles when they fly the new non-stop service through May 29. Registration must be done prior to travel, and can be completed by visiting or calling 1-888-955-7878, ext. 8487. In addition to the new service, Northwest's already offers two daily flights between Little Rock and Detroit and four daily flights between Little Rock and Memphis.
  • 2,000 Bonus Miles Plus Special Prices With United's Hawaii Vacations
  • Earn bonus miles for travel December 20 through January 31 on new seasonal service between Charlotte or Philadelphia and Vail/Eagle. Earn triple miles in First or Coach Class in F, A, Y and B class and earn double miles in Coach Class in M, H, K, Q, V or L class. Register Here .  
  • Earn double miles on new nonstop service between Charlotte and La Romana, Dominican Republic for travel through March 31. Register Here .  
  • Earn double miles between Charlotte or Philadelphia and San Jose, Costa Rica for travel through February 8. The offer is valid for travel on Saturday nonstop service. Register Here .  
  • Earn bonus miles for paid flights to Glasgow via Philadelphia from May 10 through July 31. Earn triple miles in Business Class in C, D, Z and J class and double miles in Coach Class in Y, B, M, H, K, Q, V and W class. Register Here .
  • Up to 60,000 miles for worldwide flights
  • New deals let you transfer miles between frequent flier accounts
  • United flights earn up to double miles
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HOUSE KEEPING: Remember when you click on the pictures in "Where's Johnny Jet," they will open up in another window. Just click the “x”(close) in each picture to get back to the newsletter. This should alleviate complaints about closing Johnny Jet. Thanks again for your support, and remember: If you book trips on the web, please go through (we get a commission and it doesn't cost you any more money). "If you want JJ to continue I need your support and the support of your fellow travellers". Final note: "This week's maps are provided by Free demo.

Merry Christmas everyone!. (Those links are Christmas cards. Make sure your speaker is on and turned up.)

Thursday is the big day -- and I’m here in Chicago freezing my tail off. If you are in the Chicago area and watching the tube tonight (December 23), tune to Channel 11. I will be doing a show called "Chicago Tonight" at 7:00 PM.

Last week I left off in Erie, PA.  From there, I took the Anderson Shuttle (they finally answered the phone) to the Cleveland airport.  I thought this picture was pretty funny.  As I looked out the window I noticed our bus passing the Greyhound bus, which was also bound for Cleveland.  The difference is that Anderson Shuttle not only goes directly to the airport, but is cleaner and much less crowded (no one is ever on it). It leaves twenty minutes later, yet it still arrives ahead of Greyhound (because Greyhound makes additional stops).
I was headed to Vega$ via Chicago, and guess what?  Chicago was having bad weather (again) and my flight was delayed by an hour. That meant I missed the last flight to Las Vegas by thirty minutes.  Don't feel bad; it was my own fault. The airline agent when I booked the ticket warned me I was taking a chance by having only a 30-minute connection.  I didn't care too much though, because my cousin Dennis, who I was with the day before in Erie, was back home on the North Shore of Chicago. He was kind enough to pick me up right away at O'Hare.  
This could not have worked out better, because it turned out that Dennis was also headed to Vegas the following morning.  He was going for the Luxury Travel Expo which I didn't even know was taking place (until he told me).  Even though Dennis and I were on different airlines, I rescheduled my flight within ten minutes of his.  That night I ate a tasty pizza that his wife Sheridan made, and played "Monster" with their kids. (I turn out all the upstairs lights and hide somewhere.  The kids have to find me, and every time I scare them so bad, they almost faint).
The following morning Dennis and I drove to ORD and parked in long-term parking. (It cost $13 a day including tax). Finding a parking spot was a real nightmare, but luckily we were in a small car and squeezed in between two SUVs that were parked over the divider lines. Don't you hate that?  It was so tight I had to climb out the window.  Then we hopped on the train that takes passengers from the parking lot to the terminals.  It's easy and relatively quick.
The four-hour flight to Vegas went by fast.  I watched the movie “Seabiscuit” and worked on my laptop.  I love arriving at the Vegas airport, especially the new Terminal D --it's really nice.  It's so clean and modern that it just makes you feel good.  Combined with the sounds of winning slot machines and of course you can feel excitement in the air.  I often wonder if the airport pumps in those sounds of winning slot machines just to get more people to gamble.   
When Dennis and I met each other at the LAS airport he said, "You know, this is the third day in a row I’ve seen you -- and in three different cities.”  That’s pretty cool, eh?  Then we parted ways. He was staying at the Venetian, and I was at the MGM (because that's where Amber Airplane was).  She came in the night before to hang out with friends. 

Amber Airplane and I were in Vegas to attend SpikeTV's video game awards.  I know video game awards sound pretty pathetic, but they weren't too bad. The great seats and all-access pass that got us backstage and into the after-party really helped.  We were invited by our good ol' Southern friend, Joe Lewis.  Joe’s mother was in town from the other "L-A" (Lower Alabama, as he calls it), and we sat next to her. She was really funny, just like her son.
If you saw the show, you’ll know they had a bunch of Star Wars characters running around. Amber Airplane and I were fortunate to get our picture taken with some of the storm troopers.  One of the funniest moments happened when Amber Airplane went to the ladies room. Big time troublemaker cousin Dennis tapped one of the D.O.A. girls (Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball for the Xbox video game) on the shoulder (she was one of the award presenters) and said, "Would you mind taking a picture with my cousin Johnny Jet?"  I was standing there thinking, “You got me -- I can't back out now, and I think Amber Airplane will probably not be very happy about this.” We also met the nicest guy in television: Matt from the “Joe Schmo Show.”  He truly is a nice guy who is from Pittsburgh, and when he found out my sister Carol lives in Erie, he thought that was cool.

Next we went to the after-party at Studio 54, a night club in the MGM that is modeled after the famous ‘70s club in New York. The food they served was awesome and the drinks were served in Spike TV glow-in-the dark blue cups.The place was rockin' and all I can tell you is  Studio 54 was a lot of fun.  They had some very attractive girls dancing in cages, and even some swinging from the ceiling. Of course, being Vegas; Elvis was spotted on the dance floor. He wasn't hired, the dude just goes out like that--funny huh?
The next morning, instead of going home to L.A., cousin Dennis talked us into staying another night at his hotel and attend the Luxury Travel Expo.  He didn't have to talk too long because we knew he had a big suite in the new  Venezia tower at the fabulous Venetian Hotel. Did you spot the new Treasure Island sign in the background of the picture. Is that the ugliest sign you’ve ever seen?  Well, the Venetian is an amazing hotel. You need to go just to see the lobby.  Dennis' suite was sweet but finding the room was like going through a huge maze.  Even the elevators were hard to spot.  I also didn't like the lack of a fitted bottom sheet for the mattress.  Whenever hotels do that I wake up on some nasty mattress.
Like a lot of people I sometimes get the itch to gamble, but I never risk more than a few bucks.  Fortunately I usually leave Las Vegas with more money than I come with, but not this time.  I lost my $100 cash allowance pretty quickly. As you may know, most casino ATM machines charge a $3 surcharge (my bank charges an extra $1.50).   I didn't want to spend $4.50 just to get more cash. It’s the principle of the thing -- not because I’m cheap. Well, okay, maybe I am cheap. Needless to say, I was done gambling for this trip.

The worst part was that I had a feeling my number (31) was about to come out on the roulette wheel, and I didn't have any money to put down. Usually when I get that feeling, it's right. So instead of heading straight to the ATM I thought I would be slick, and go into the gift shop to buy the cheapest, most practical thing I could find. I grabbed a small bottle of water, held it up to the cashier and pointed.  He said it was $2.50. I thought, “Damn, that's not cheap!” But at least I would get something for my money if they gave me cash back. I asked if I could pay for the water with my ATM check card and get cash back. The cashier said “We don't do ‘cash back’” with attitude. So I replied -- with attitude - “Then I don't do $2.50 small bottles of water.”  I put the overpriced water back in the fridge and walked out.  The really worst part? Yep: I walked by the roulette table, and guess what number was on the screen?  That's right: 31.  I felt sick to my stomach for the rest of the night (actually, it was just an hour, but after writing this my pains have returned).
Speaking of gambling, I thought you’d get a kick out this slot machine.  BTW: Amber Airplane loves to play the slots, especially the nickel machines.  I thought the nickel machines were kind of cool, until I found out that you can lose more money playing the nickel machines than the $1 machines.  Did you know that if you played the max bet on some of those multi-line slot machines you could (“would” is more likely) lose $20 on one spin?  Is that crazy or what?  
The Venetian was packed with trade show people.  So Amber Airplane and I followed the crowd to the registration booth and got a press pass for each of us. The first stop on the exhibition floor was to see my buddies  John Dekker and Jean-Louis at  On the way over, we were stopped by some choir boys who serenaded Amber Airplane as she strolled by their Celebrity Cruises booth. It was pretty funny as this was the last thing she expected. Somehow, I think cousin Dennis had something to do with it?

I learned a lot from the show -- especially that luxury travel is going strong like I thought, but it was nice to speak to some of the top people in luxury travel industry and get that affirmation. I also saw plenty of old friends, and met some new ones.  I even ran into my good friend Peter Greenberg from the Today Show as well as other NBC network programs. He is the superstar in the travel biz. I am pleased to tell you that I now write a web site of the week for Peter's web site. Be sure to check it out,  The best booth had to be Singapore Airlines'. They brought in an eighteen-wheeler truck with seats from their Business and First Class cabins. I can't wait to try those bad boys out!
Going through the Singapore Airlines booth put us all in the mood for some Asian cuisine.  We were seated at a big round table and the Cantonese food at the Royal Star Restaurant, one of the Venetian’s fine dining eateries was pretty tasty. I love those Lazy Susan spinning tables that let all of us share and provide a few laughs, too.  When it came time for the bill, we played a nerve-racking game. We put the bill on the table, and asked the waiter to spin it.  Thank God it didn't stop in front of me... or Amber Airplane!  So I guess after all we did come out a winner!.
Happy travels, 

Johnny Jet

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  • *If you heard about us somewhere else or have the link to the story please email Johnny Jet media and let us know where!
  • As much as Cleveland and Pittsburgh hate each other, they do share one thing in common - the cruddy winter weather!  Glad you had a nice visit.  Merry Christmas to you and yours. Bob - Pittsburgh
  • Great newsletter.  I know it’s hard during the holidays not having your mom – she will always be with you.  The fact that sights, smells, etc. remind you of her is a good thing.  You were obviously very close to her.  Enjoy all those memories – she would want you too.  Happy Holidays to you and Amber.  Geof O’Connor - San Diego
  • I see that you and Amber seem to get more than your fair share of upgrades. Is it your charm or Amber's smile?? A dynamite duo!  Nice cams of Christmas trees around the world, but why not the most famous tree in the world? Of course, I'm talking about the tree in Rockefeller Center - New York City! Again, the best holiday wishes to you and Amber, and to your extended following all over. Hopefully, peace will settle onto the world and we can live and travel with a lesser fear of the unknown.  Burt
  • Checking the referers to our site, I noticed that you placed a link and short blurb about us on your page . I just wanted to say thank you. Really appreciate that!!  -Marty H www.AnySoldier.US
  • If I ever meet amber it's going to feel like Im meeting a celebrity because all I ever seen of her is in pix. it looks like everyones well on the DiScala side judging from the pix on you site. I gotta tell u  the pix you post up are awesome, there are lot's of people here who say the same thing, anyway I hope all is well with AJ and his new wife as well, every time I see them in a mag thier cheesing big time, they look really happy. Don - Norwalk, CT
  • I enjoyed visiting your site and found it useful.  Regards, John C
  • Cool web site. Loved your eulogy page. Such a kind thing to do for your mother. Julia-  Wichita
  • I discovered your site while listening to local New Orleans radio (12/21/03).  I was hoping to find some info on dealing with airline tickets retrieved through the Internet.  I bought tickets to NY from Orbitz and they gave me my ticket number. No tickets will be mailed to me, I am informed. Now what?  Do I merely print this out and bring this to the ticket agent when I line up to have my bags checked in?  This stuff, they don't mention...please help.  As you can see, I am a novice traveler and haven't flown since 1978!  PS---My mom passed last year and she was also my best friend.  She was also an artist and all my talents come from her influence.  Because of her, I am who I am.  Sincerely, Alan  REPLY:  Alan,  Thanks for the email. I am sorry to hear about your mom.  About your ticket: Just to make sure I would call the airline you booked the ticket with and get a seat assingment.  You can find your airline phone number on this page .  Also, print out your receipt from Orbitz and take it with you to the counter when you check-in. You also will need a photo ID and you might need the credit card you purchased the ticket with. Don't worry, it's a piece of cake.  Happy New Year.  REPLY FROM ALAN: Thanks Johnny, I appreciate your immediate response and the site you emailed me is most useful.  Actually, US Airways told me the same thing you did!  You are great and your website is fantastic--It will be my 'travel bible' from now on. Happy Holidays to you and your family. --Alan
  • Hi... Love your newsletter.  I would appreciate your letting me know how I might pull up the Amber Airplane visit to Puerto Vallarta as highlighted last month.   I somehow deleted it from my mail.  Thank you.  Kathy Ruegger  REPLY: Thanks for the compliment. Here is Johnny Jet's archive with his story of Puerto Vallarta. You will need to sign up for Amber Airplane's newsletter at . She hasn't written about it yet, but will be shortly. Thanks

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This picture I took is on the legendary "Road to Hana". If you haven't been there, it is the must lush, beautiful and winding road I've ever seen. The best way I can describe it is, its as if nature threw up, with long vines, bamboo trees, large and unique trees, small brush and the some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. This picture, in particular, is just off of the road. A steep and slippery trail lead down the side of a cliff, just across from a beautiful waterfall, that dropped 200 feet or more. The road snaked just above the waterfall, out of the picture. Almost all of the drivers on the road zipped passed this hidden gem, unaware of its existence, looking for smaller and more crowded waterfalls, but my wife and I knew better. We got the Ultimate Maui Guidebook. An invaluable resource for a Maui vacation. Stephen Bennett - Boston

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  • Mesa ends hostile takeover bid for Atlantic Coast Air
  • Poof! AA's fuel surcharge vanishes
  • From JFK to the sun
  • Nation's threat level rising to orange
  • Last Wednesday saw the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight.  It is interesting to see how this is confused with also being the 100th anniversary of the first manned powered flight - that is absolutely not so.  The credit for that achievement belongs to New Zealander, Richard Pearse.  He flew on 31 March, 1903, almost nine months before Kitty Hawk.  ( TravelInsider )
  • Several attempts to re-enact the Wright Brothers' flight all failed, both on 17 December and earlier as well.  But, while we might not be able to master 'old' technology, we're developing exciting new technologies, and a flight that definitely succeeded was also conducted on Wednesday.  This was the first test flight of the world's first private rocket, launched in the Mojave desert and reaching supersonic speeds on its way up to 68,000 ft before safely returning to ground.  Details here.
  •  (TravelInsider)
  •  US Airways announces that it will offer signature menu items from Wolfgang Puck on In-flight Cafe-designated flights beginning January 1, becoming the first airline to offer the celebrated chef's high-quality fare onboard.
  • Heartwarming news from American Airlines.  AA has thrown open its Admirals Club facilities, everywhere in the world, to US military members returning from active duty in Iraq for R&R periods in the US.  If there is no USO facility at an airport, servicemen can enter the AA clubs free of charge, enjoy free food and soft drinks, watch tv, use the internet, and generally relax.  This offer runs through the entire period of the R&R program.   ( TravelInsider)
  • Delta Air Lines is welcoming active U.S. military personnel on leave during the holidays into its Crown Room Clubs worldwide. Delta's clubs will be opened to uniformed servicemen and women today through January 6.
  • American ups fuel surcharge
  • Adopt A Plane From The California Science Center
  • More turmoil at US Airways
  • Song, JetBlue ready for high-tech slugfest
  • Delta tries food at Dallas
  • Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort SHOWCASES CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR 2004
  • Frontier Airlines will begin new service from Los Angeles
  • US Airways 'fighting for survival'
  • United hits another snag
  • Logan gives contraband a new lease on life: If you bring forbidden items to Boston's Logan Airport, it isn't necessarily lost. For $8, a firm will send it home for you via UPS. The Boston Globe says Logan is the 12th U.S. airport to use the CheckPoint Mailers service. Passengers drop items into secure mailbox-like terminals, then pay the fee to have them sent home; for overseas addresses, it's $12.
  • NEW BOOK: "The Kindness of Strangers" is a collection of travelers' tales that celebrate acts of kindness on the road and the connections that kindness creates. The anthology features a preface written expressly for this book by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, an introduction by editor Don George, and twenty-six true stories written by a mix of world-renowned writers and never-before-published talents. These tales portray a wide range of adventures -- some poignant and others funny, some life-threatening and others mundane -- set in locations around the globe. In each of the tales a stranger comes to the aid of a traveller in need of help. These tales illustrate one of travel's richest and most hopeful lessons: that the world is fundamentally a friendly place, and that at heart, people around the planet care for each other and want to be good to each other. In this time of global divisiveness and distrust, this is an especially urgent and powerful message. Contributors include Simon Winchester, Jan Morris, Dave Eggers, Alice Waters, Pico Iyer and Tim Cahill. A wonderful book for the holidays! "The Kindness of Strangers" is available at bookstores everywhere, at and at all online book-sellers. The book cover is beautifully designed so that it makes a special gift, and the cost is just $14.99!
The twelve deals of Christmas
While the twelve days of Christmas don't "officially" start until December 25, we couldn't resist starting early. We decided to have a little fun and took some liberties with the famous song to bring you our own version, "The twelve deals of Christmas." Click Here To Read Article

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Dennis P. Kamoen