Sunday, April 19, 2009


I will have 7 dayss off of work by the time I go back to work on Wednesday. The plan was to go on a vacation...but our cruise ate up the vacation budget for April. Instead I had to make my own fun.

Friday I flew up to New York for the New York Auto Show. This would be my third auto show this year. I already went to the Detroit and Dallas auto shows.

After studying the flight times and load factors, (how full each plane is) I decided to fly into Newark on the 6:30AM flight out of DFW. Thanks to some tips from readers of my aviation blog, I found I would be able to easily get from Newark to the auto show to JFK. The flight was pretty full and my backup plan was to fly on Continental. When I fly alone I can fly on any airline for free.

I got on the 6:30AM flight just fine, even got First Class. The flight was fine and on time. There were quite a few bumps, but nothing major.

After landing I made my way through the terminal to find a train to Penn Station. The fare was $15! I thought it would be cheaper. This ticket was more than I paid for the flight to get there. Bleh. The train was very nice. I figured it would be some old musty train. This was my first time on a "real" train. A conductor came through and grabbed my ticket. Interesting. I figured I would just swipe my ticket like I did in the NY subway. Nope. New Jersey has always had this dirty image in my head....stereotypes I guess.

After arriving in Penn station I whipped out my T-Mobile G1 and used the built in Google Map function with the built in GPS (I think the paper map making companies will soon go out of business) to navigate to the Auto Show. As I made my way I realized that Penn station is very close to Madison Square Garden. I was just here a few months ago...damn almost a year ago...for my brother in laws graduation from the NYPD.

nearpennstation_0.jpgI kept an eye out from my brother in law...but I know he works in the Bronx so I was pretty sure I wouldn't see him.

The Auto Show was WAY better than Detroit. I was a kid in a candy store. Unlike the previous 2 auto shows, this one had both the 2010 Toyota Prius and 2010 Honda Insight on the ground available for me to touch and sit in. The previous auto shows  had both vehicles up on stands. The 2010 Prius has a nicer interior...but it's smaller than the current Prius interior. The backseat in Kelli's 2004 Prius is huge. I can have the front seat moved all the way back and still sit in the backseat without my knees rubbing the front seat. In the 2010 Prius that's not true. The front seats in the 2010 Prius are a little more comfortable though.

The 2010 Honda Insight looks like a Prius, but is quite a bit smaller. The interior is no where near as nice in appearance or feel. The Insight has a much cheaper and smaller interior all the way around. The Insight will be about $2500-4000 cheaper (Pricing for the 2010 Prius hasn't been announced). I could see myself owning a Insight....but not Kelli.

The rest of the auto show was awesome. I loved every minute of it.


As I walked around I checked in for my return flight and then made my way to JFK. I arrived back at Penn Station and got lost. I had no idea what to do or where to go. I asked an agent how to get to JFK. They said I had to buy a ticket on the Long Island Railroad to Jamaica and, once there, buy another ticket to JFK. Ok. I bought the first ticket and asked where to go. He said walk to the right and watch this HUGE board for the track for the 2:39 train. Hmm ok. Well the board had 2:39 and next to it several names...stops along the way. None of them were Jamaica. Track 18 flashed next to 2:39....literally hundreds of people started walking through the track 18 doorway. I stood in another line and asked which track I needed to go to....track 18.

I made my way to track 18. The trains were pretty full. I found a seat toward the front. The ride way fine. Another conductor came through and collected my ticket. She made a comment about me only going to Jamaica. Whatever. I guess most people go further.

Once I got to Jamaica I bought a ticket on the Airtrain to JFK. The train was prompt. The ride was kinda long.leavingfojfk

Leaving Jamaica for JFK

After arriving in JFK I was shocked at how long the security lines were. American Airlines has special sections for "First class/Business class" passengers and even that line was long. I whipped out my employee badge and found the employee line. No line...nice.

The flight was showing on time...but later showed delayed. New York requires resturants to post calorie information on the menu. This sucks! I felt guilty eating anything. Instead I had a beer which, according to the lack of data on the menu, has no calories!

Turns out I picked the day that the main runway at JFK was being shutdown! The weather outside was beautiful....but with the runway shutdown delays were rampant.


Delays on a beautiful day with no bad weather! No more JFK for me!

I eventually got on the plane...First Class again (I am way spoiled). We taxied out to a taxiway....and shutdown both engines. The Captain stated it would be at least 45 minutes. I ordered a Bloody Mary. We eventually took off. I had a decent Cheese Ravioli dinner along with another Bloody Mary. They served ice cream sundaes for dessert. I have flown First Class on American 30+ times and only had ice cream once before...which happened to be on a flight from the NY area.

I have never been air sick before. I think some combination of the ravioli, ice cream and bloody mary's made me ill. About 30 minutes from DFW I "relieved" myself of everything I took in on the flight. Thankfully I made it to the restroom in time and didn't have to use an air sickness bag.

By 11:45PM I was laying down in bed (supposed to have landed at 9PM versus 11:20PM!).

At 5:30AM Saturday morning, I was awake again getting ready for a day trip to Minneapolis with Kelli.

The flight was short and empty so we flew coach. The flight arrived 25 minutes early. We made our way down to the light rail system. We bought tickets for $1.75 each to ride the short hop to the Mall of America. There were signs posted that the tickets would be checked. There were no ticket scanners or personnel to make sure we had tickets. We just walked on board. I figured a conductor or employee would come around to check tickets. We walked off the train without being checked.

The Mall of America is very nice...and yes very big. We walked around each of the three main levels. Quite a few stores....even a Best Buy. We had a good time.




Found in a magnet store at the Mall of America

Tired from all the walking...we bought tickets BACK to the airport. We are pretty sure only visitors to the city are paying for rides on the Light Rail system.

The flight back was very empty. The plane was supposed to be a 737...but instead was an MD80. No big deal normally. but it was a former TWA MD80. The TWA MD80's that American flies have different seats in coach than native American MD80s. The TWA coach seats are very uncomfortable. They sit lower to the ground and make it harder for tall people to stretch their legs out in front of them. I used the seat map on to see which seats were open. After boarding I moved up to an exit row...much better.


Kelli has read 2 books in 4 days! Good lord woman.

I'm done flying for now. Today we are going to a baseball game at the Ballpark in Arlington. Tomorrow I am getting my laptop fixed. Nothing major, the battery is only holding 1/2 a charge. My warranty ends the end of the month.

Tuesday the dryer is getting fixed.

Wednesday back to work. Such a hard life. ;-)

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