April 2017 Posts

They Don’t Mix Well: Ginger Ale and iPad Pro (12.9″)

While we’re on the topic of travel, I’ve had some friends ask me how I’m liking the gargantuan 12.9″ iPad Pro — or if I even still have it.

Short answer: I don’t. 1

Long[er] answer:

Last July while flying to/from Europe for vacation, anytime the stewardess came by with ginger ale, I had to put the iPad away. I could not fit both the 12.9 inch iPad and my ginger ale on the airplane seat tray tables at the same time.

That is literally what pushed me over the edge: I couldn’t use the iPad and drink ginger ale on a flight at the same time.

As soon as a I got home from vacation, I put that thing up for sale.2 While I do miss it on the occasional weekend for sheet music,3 I’m now using the 9.7″, which does the better job all-around for me.

Bottom line: Don’t mess with my ginger ale~

  1. Which is the answer to both questions: How I like it, and whether I still have it.↩︎
  2. I use Swappa, incidentally.↩︎
  3. and it was GREAT for sheet music, but I don’t play enough to justify it solely for that↩︎

Thanks, United.

A couple of weeks ago I booked a flight with Delta Airlines to an international destination that I’ve been wanting to visit for a while now. For the sake of this narrative, let’s just refer to this place as “Aceland”. 1

The flight had one stop in Minneapolis – St. Paul before my international transfer.

Well… three days after I plunked my credit card down for my plane ticket, I get an email stating that my first flight to Minneapolis was rescheduled/changed/delayed, leaving me with a paltry 41 minute layover to rush across the airport for my flight to “Aceland”. 2

41 minutes for a transfer to an international flight.3

This airline only does one flight a day to this particular destination, so missing the connecting flight would force me to waste away for 24 hours in Minneapolis.4

So I called customer service and kindly asked if they could possibly put me on a different flight.5

The conversation went something like this:

Me: I’m concerned that the 41 minutes is… well… not enough time for me to make the transfer, especially since it’s an international flight.
Agent: Well, the airline policy is that 40 minutes is the minimum necessary time to make an international transfer.
Me: … uh… what
Agent: Yes. Since your transfer is 41 minutes, you should be able to make it. 6
Me: Well, I happened to check, and there is another flight that goes through JFK with a 3 hour layover, and that flight has the exact same cost as mine. Is there anyway to switch me over to that flight?
Agent: Unfortunately, since your current layover is above the 40 minute minimum, that would cost you a fee for a flight change.
Me: … How much is that fee?
Agent: [clicking of keys on keyboard]7 Three hundred forty-nine dollars, sir.
Me: What the… so basically I’m going to lose a day in “Aceland” because there’s no way in heck I’m going to be able to make that transfer in 41 minutes. And the only way to fix that is if I let you guys extort me for another $350?
Agent: …yes that is the bottom line. I am sorry but that is the airline’s policy.
Me: What?!?! This is… ($*&%*#$) Unbelievable.

And that put me in a pretty foul mood for this entire past week. Do I seriously fork up another $350 to preserve day 1 of my long-planned vacation? Or do I start hitting up the gym to practice for my cross-terminal dash in a couple of months? 8

Well the very next day after the above phone convo, there was an incident with United Airlines involving a bloodied-up overbooked passenger.

Mind you, I wasn’t flying with United, but the airlines tend to be very sensitive in competing with one another for PR.9

Four days later, I decided to give Delta customer service another call to give it another shot. Who knows, right?

This time the call basically went like this:

Me: I have a 41 minute layover to make an international flight, which I’m concerned about.
Agent: Hmm. We have a flight that goes through JFK with a 3 hour layover, would you like us to put you on that flight instead?
Me: Would there be a charge for changing my flight?
Agent: Absolutely not.
Me: That would be fantastic.
Agent: Great! I’m emailing you your new itinerary now…

Thanks, United.

  1. Of course it’s not actually named “Aceland”… but don’t worry about it.↩︎
  2. Don’t try to guess. It’s not worth the chase.↩︎
  3. If you’ve never flown internationally… 60 minutes would be more interesting than you’d like.↩︎
  4. Emphasis on the words: “waste away” and “Minneapolis”↩︎
  5. One that was basically not guaranteed to screw me out of a full day of my trip↩︎
  6. Again: horse manure↩︎
  7. or perhaps fake sounds of keys clicking on a fake keyboard…?↩︎
  8. And would my baggage successfully even make the transfer in that short a time? I wonder…↩︎
  9. This bit on using game theory to deal with overbooked flights was an interesting read, I thought.↩︎