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santa_planeWhen you fly on a buddy pass you travel standby. Using a pass during the holiday season is a total crapshoot – or, in airline parlance, “not recommended.”

But I when I decided to visit my daughter for the holidays, I believed the traditional wisdom about flying on Dec. 24.

“Folks will already be where they want to be,” I kept hearing. “Plenty of room on the planes on Christmas Eve.”

Apparently a whole lot of people missed that memo.

 


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thI’m heading to Phoenix for the holidays. Wanna have coffee?

Usually I try to organize a meet-up whenever I visit my daughter. This time around I plan two such get-togethers:

Wednesday, Dec. 28, from 9:30 a.m. to noon

Saturday, Dec. 31, from noon to 3 p.m.

(Note: Originally I’d said “9 a.m. to noon.” But that was before I realized/remembered that the restaurant doesn’t open until half an hour after that. D’oh!)

Yep, both times can be awkward: the Wednesday one because working folk may not be able to make it, and the Saturday one because New Year’s Eve. Still, I can offer two good reasons to be there.

 


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thPlanning to visit family and/or friends later this month? An app-based “shipping community” called Roadie could help you make the trip more profitable, or at least help pay for gas and tolls.

This app-based “shipping community” currently has more than 25,000 drivers in all 50 states. The premise is pretty simple: You sign up as a driver and wait to see if anybody wants you to deliver something to where you’re going.

Kind of like Uber or Lyft, except that drivers are transporting cargo rather than people.

How much can you earn? A surprising amount, actually.

 


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Phoenix: Still hot.

th-2My trip to Phoenix went as smoothly as a red-eye can, for which I am grateful. Both flights were completely full but no one was a pig about overhead bin space and thus the planes left on time.

No crying babies, either, although several of them were nearby. I even slept for the entire flight – thanks, generic Benadryl* caplet!

The winds were with us from Anchorage to Seattle, and we made it in about three hours. As I walked into the terminal I checked a monitor and realized my next flight was leaving from the same gate. Easy enough.

I ate the breakfast I’d packed** (buttered roll, apple), walked around for a while to get my legs working, and then got back on the plane and went back to sleep. About two and a half hours later I was on the ground in Phoenix.

The captain announced the temperature at 79 degrees. Manageable, I thought. But by mid-afternoon, when my daughter and I went out in search of FinCon16 clothing, it had got a lot hotter.

Hot enough that I thought, “This is definitely warmer than 79.” But since desert heat is a tricky animal, I had no way of knowing it was 102 degrees. That is, until my daughter checked the weather.

Just as northerners chuckle at those who find 30 degrees so cold, no doubt Phoenix residents would snicker at my discomfort. “Oh, this isn’t hot. Wait until it hits 112!”

 


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The unfriendly skies.

th-1Dreading being seated next to or near a baby on your next flight? You should probably be just as concerned about the adult passengers. Recently I’ve read two accounts of teen-aged girls (one of them an unaccompanied minor) being molested by adult men at 35,000 feet.

As we used to write from the city desk, “Police said alcohol was a factor.” Then again, plenty of people drink on planes and don’t grope strangers. Liquor may break the chain and free the beast, but only if the beast was already there.

The family of one girl (just 13 years old!) is suing American Airlines. The other, aged 16, kept pushing the guy away until another passenger intervened.

The moral of the story: Save the stinkeye for creepy drunken dudes and give parents of small children the benefit of the doubt.

 


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