France: I Bid You Adieu!

Woke at 2 a.m. though the alarm was set for 3. Unable to check in on line for my flight the hotel clerk told me to get to the airport early for seat confirmation. Besides check in concerns transport to Charles De Gaulle, (CDG), was another problem. I was told several hotel patrons leaving at 4 a.m were facing challenges getting to the airport.

While the bed beckoned I took a final stretch got up, dressed, and AP’d Uber. As I walked into the lobby the Uber driver was notifying me of pick up a quarter mile away.

Though I wanted the ride I had no idea of the location, had 1 bag, 2 carry-ons, and the darkness loomed. I texted back I had no idea of the location and within 3 minutes he was at the hotel. This was a good sign.

Upon checking out I donated the 10 euro subway card to the desk clerk as a token of appreciation for his guidance and walked out to the waiting Uber. The Uber driver assisted with bags and spoke minimal English.

The ride to CDG held no Paris lights and we passed through an intersection where police were beating a felon 10 feet from the car and more were running from a panel van to assist. Grateful the light turned I asked the driver about this and he stated, “unsafe area,” elaborating no further.

When we arrived at CDG the driver placed me at the exact terminal, assisted with my bags, and stayed an extra moment to ensure the old lady got into the terminal. While he was richly tipped, it was a nice touch. It is eight hours till departure. Sufficient time for an airport review. 🙂

Finding a bank of computers I quickly accessed my flight information and checked in. Whew!

Next, find a cart.


And the visit to the loo.

It is now 7 hours 15 minutes to take off, so I checked for a spot to rest. Several places were already taken.

Looks like an entire family on a camping trip here.

And somewhere under that blanket is a solo traveler.

Then there is this interesting place to doze between calls.

And while in my search I was unable to find the perfect spot to rest my head I did locate the perfect way to end this blog.

Orly Airport to Lourdes

Left for the Orly Airport flight at 0530 which was 4 hours pre-flight in the hopes it would provide ample time to get to my destination. The first step on this journey was an Uber and he arrived 3 minutes post email. The driver spoke no English so it was a quiet ride through a glowing Paris with Christmas decorations and lights.

Arrived at the Le Bus Direct location at 0550. It was scary dark in an area with homeless sleeping about but a friendly man in a business suit approached and gave me instructions on the process. I smiled and thanked him grateful he departed after informing me of what to do.

The 0605 bus arrived and I was allowed on though booked for a 0645 passage. There were 4 passengers on the bus and one with a dog who gave much love.

The 30 minute trip went quickly on a sparsely commuted highway. Once in the airport I snagged a man with supervisor on his name tag and received all details needed to locate my airline.

Since I arrived early my next step was to investigate the airport. Perhaps there is a job with this work as I certainly fit the qualifications. Here are my findings..

There was some Christmas cheer..

Clean bathrooms with a bit of an odor, but nice touch with the female personal care items machine. This is a new find.

Pricey stores..

A classy restaurant….

And last, but not least, an interesting mobile….

Since Orly Airport passed inspection it was time to move on to TSA. Here I found the staff pleasant but unaware if Lourdes water could be brought back on the plane. This concerned me as I had brought an entire suitcase to fill with bottles of Lourdes water. Mary will find a way.

Once on the plane I met a man of 22 also going to Lourdes. He sat on one side and a man of 25 sat on the other going to an annual reunion of college friends where they drink heavily for 24 hours then return home. Odd combination of seat mates, however both charming.

Pao Airport

As we neared the airport the pilot informed us that Lourdes Airport was closed due to the strike and we would land 30 minutes away in Pao Airport. From Pao we would be bused to Lourdes Airport. Departure went quickly and the ride through the French countryside a delight with scenes of the Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees

Once reaching the Lourdes Airport a rental car seemed the best route as I was unsure of the reliability of cabs in the area.

Lourdes Airport

My 22 year old seatmate came for the ride and upon reaching Lourdes we made plans to meet which never came to fruition and I began the visit happily alone.

Next Blog: Why I am at Lourdes and for those of little faith you will probably will remain that way and never read my blog again…….

Frankfurt Airport

After a good movie, tasty dinner, and nice sleep on Lufthansa Airlines I arrived in Frankfurt Airport at12:45 pm. This is a new airport clean and sleek with many windows and interesting upgrades. I always like to see what other folks are doing and found some keen stuff.

This airport had the usual expensive shops with George Clooney selling watches but also had some other fun things.

Items such as leisure rooms, automated coffee service, water machines and …

signs that told you how far to your gate.

But the best was the name of the coffee shop.

So have a perfect day, until tomorrow.

I’m Annoyed..

Anyone who has ever read my blog knows what a fan I am of Expedia. I should make commercials for them I love them so much. They have gotten me out of more travel scrapes than one can imagine. And those India folks who handle the calls are so patient. They listen and call you back when disconnected. Now, please don’t jinx me. My only wish is that I could afford their stock because at $127. a share it is out of my price range.

Lourdes, France

Recently, I was lured to one of the competitors. When finding me an airfare from Paris to Lourdes they also inquired if I’d be interested in their credit card. This one had no fees so I went for it as this would give $100 off my purchase making the Paris to Lourdes flight dirt cheap. Well, after applying for the card I was told they needed to investigate further. This of course made me loose the $100. off on the flight, however the next day I was accepted for the card.

I also received an email from them the following day giving me 10% off my next booking. I decided to explore Christmas season flights. They said they had $244. flights to Austin but every time I applied a screen came up saying the fare was changed. The flight ended up $130 more with an airline that charges fees for every bag.

Jeanie’s dog Mo, a likeness

What did I do next? Checked Expedia and got a flight on an airline I like leaving from an airport I love. It was $20 more than the competitor but I’m pretty sure the 10% off would never have worked.

Moral of the story: William Shatner is not always right.

What is Airplane Mode?

Often I ask those sitting next to me on the plane, “What is Airplane Mode?” Then, since they never know, I follow up with, “Why do you think we have to do this on the plane?” Besides being an icebreaker this always get a laugh. And why? Because NO ONE KNOWS WHY WE DO AIRPLANE MODE.

For years I have pondered this, and been remiss in not checking further. It somehow escapes my To Do List, however, today is the day. So where does one go for information such as this?

Of course, the ultimate guru, Auntie Google, and here’s what she says.

What is Airplane Mode?

Airplane mode turns off cellular devices, (those being cell phones and personal computers), disabling all data connection on your device. This means you can do just about nothing on the phone or computer but look at pictures as it cuts off access to the outside world.

To access Airplane Mode on the cellular phone select the settings button, (which on my phone is the gray flower shaped icon for females, or the cog wheel shaped icon for men). In my u- tube review it was stated that some phones have this on a screen you pull down when pressing the top middle part of the screen. Oh, look, I do too! It was simply further down the screen.

Airplane mode has several different names:

  • Aeroplane Mode
  • Flight Mode
  • Off line Mode
  • Stand Alone Mode

Next Question: Why do we have to put our devices on Airplane Mode?

Phone noise annoys some pilots and air traffic controllers. Out of safety and respect the device should be placed on this mode.

Also, regulations in many countries prohibit the use of devices that transmit signals on commercial aircraft. Why? This type of communication could interfere with plane sensors and navigation equipment.

What happens if we don’t put our cell phones on Airplane Mode?

Here I breathed a sigh of relief as I never put my phone on Airplane Mode. Why? I never knew where to find this and since I rarely receive phone calls thought it not an issue. However, I will now be faithful as I don’t want to annoy the pilot or air traffic controllers.

But the best thing I learned in my quest is:

The plane won’t fall out of the sky if you aren’t on Airplane Mode.

LaGuardia Airport Rebuild

Built in 1939, La Guardia Airport is the 21st busiest airport in the country, and while once a showplace, she needed a face lift.

A Happy Moment

This face lift boost came in a speech by then Vice President Joe Biden. In his speech on America’s crumbling infrastructure he stated, “I must be in some third world country,” referring to LaGuardia Airport. This put New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in overdrive and by 2016, plans for the largest combined private and public venture ever were unveiled and began.

Cost: $8 billion with the private sector picking up 75% of the tab. Quite a feat, hats off to Andrew!

Much has been accomplished since this unveil, and now in the final 2 years things are becoming more challenging. This was one of those days. As I sadly left the City with 3 hours till takeoff I found myself taking a different bus number and a new route. While I enjoyed the scenery I was unsure I was on course, but, as the bus turned the directions proved correct.


With the new garages and most concourses completed major terminal construction is underway. Traffic is challenging as how do you reconstruct an operation that still continues to operate? It’s tricky to say the least.

Not Purple

As I departed my NYC bus I was unfamiliar with the new arrangements. Seeing a uniformed Delta employee I asked for assistance. She said stay with me and that I did as we mounted the Purple Bus, (which was not purple), and made our way to the terminal. Doing all these new maneuvers was time consuming, however, I arrived at my gate with 30 minutes to spare.

Suggestion: Add an extra hour if you are using LaGuardia Airport and once she’s back in her glory send the Governor an email of thanks..

One of the new terminals

Traveling to the Big Apple Summer 2019

My Traveling Companion

Left at 2:30 am on Thursday, the 13th, for my 6 am Delta flight from Daytona Beach Airport to my favorite City in the world, New York. Florida had been having heavy rains so I was not surprised when sheriffs detoured me off I-95 onto an unfamiliar exit ramp. My main concern now was, “Where the h-ll am I?” With my loyal GPS, Waze, frantically attempting to place me back on the road I had just left I felt helpless. It was pitch black and due to the flooding I was unsure where the shoulder of the road began and ended.

Friendly Sheriff Car

As I snaked my way down the road I noticed a sheriff car appear in my view. I quickly u-turned, rolled down my window, and asked for directions. Noting my concern the sheriff told to me to follow him then turn left at the end of the road. I gratefully complied.

After our departure I found myself following a caravan of trucks. At this time I also noticed my gas gauge at 1/8 of a tank. Florida has few 24 hour gas stations and I was concerned. When signs for I-95 appeared I breathed a sigh of relief.

Low Fuel

Hoping for smooth sailing once on I-95, I found further disappointment as I missed the ramp in the darkness. With Waze redirecting me at a cost of an additional 20 miles I quickly glanced at the white gas gauge pump which had now turned yellow. I was beside myself considering the gas situation and plane departure in 1 hour 45 minutes.

With the new directions my pace quickened and soon I was within 5 miles of destination. As the airport exit neared I slowed to ensure appropriate egress and a 24 hour gas station appeared at the end of the ramp. I topped the tank to the brim and looked to the sky. In the horizon were airport lights which I followed. I arrived. Whew!

Upon locating long term parking I removed my bag, locked the car and made the short walk to the terminal. Daytona Beach Airport is a delightful small, older airport similar in size and friendliness to that of Bangor, Maine. Once inside I obtained my ticket from the computer and breezed through TSA. As I refastened my spanking new fanny pack I realized the strap had frayed off. Believing things happen in 3’s this was Incident #2 , with #1 being the drive to the airport.

In checking the airport gift shop I found the cost of a sewing kit mirrored the cost of the bag. Therefore, I chucked the bag putting the contents in my back pack. Hating to toss the fanny pack I placed the empty satchel under my seat and went to the loo. Upon return it was gone and I had gifted someone.

Upon sitting I heard an announcement, “A sweatshirt has been left at TSA. If this is yours please report to the TSA Supervisor.” As I checked my waist I realized my sweatshirt wasn’t there. I rushed to the TSA area to retrieve it. The third incident had occurred.

203 Blogs

I just checked my Word Press statistics and was impressed to see I’ve written 203 blogs. This is a bit of an anniversary for me! Yippee! In my senior years I have found something to do. BLOG. Wish it was a more catchy phrase, but I’ll take it for what it’s worth.

Wouldn’t you know it last night at the Motel 6 in Katy, Texas, I found a Wall Street Journal newspaper. It had an amazing article on how Florida is tackling their crumbling interstate around Orlando. I was impressed by the article and grateful to learn of their actions.

Let me paraphrase – urban density makes rebuilding highways a challenge. I understand that and simply wish they’d post signs when they close I-4 and I have to find the airport for a 6 a.m. flight.

203 Blogs – What an accomplishment. I am on my way. Something for me to do. I am a Blogger and have a new career. Austin here I come!

Catch-up: Insurance

Fixing it all..

Home today recouping from a root canal. This was a perfect time to take on travel claims as the 800 mg. of Motrin every 6 hours certainly dulled the two pains – one in the mouth and the other in the a–. 🙂

I started with the travel insurance company and found their process a simple, on-line approach. One customer support call was all that was needed as the gal stayed on the line while I traversed their web site.

The next call was to my favorite travel company of which I am a gold member. When I placed my rental car order for my Arizona trip the pick up address was an Air Force Base. Never thinking the office was on base I completed the order. Well, the office was on base and since I lacked military clearance I could not enter the base.

Incurring $38 in Uber fees traveling back and forth from airport to base and back again, I wanted reimbursement for their error. But more than this I asked they amend the site to reflect this information. Others should not have to go through this angst, however, I had forgotten – no good deed goes unpunished.

On this, the fifth call, I totally lost my cool and was an ugly American. By the end of our conversation I had received a $200 credit, a migraine headache and was thankful it was time for more Motrin.

Moral of the story: Get the rental car at the airport.

Phoenix, the Friendliest Airport?…

Rather than route through Texas today American Airlines took me from Tucson to Phoenix. From here in 3 plus hours I will be catching a flight to Orlando. As I traversed Phoenix Airport I was surprised at it’s size.

Throughout the airport there are signs exclaiming they are the friendliest airport. Nice to know, however, I always questions these claims. How do you establish this? What is the criteria for the best or the tastiest or the most comfortable?

When I visit places I do research to test these assertions. For my research on friendliness I smile at folks, say hello and make small talk when in retail, grocery, or airport lines. As I was in the City of Phoenix 6 months ago and Tucson this past week my research is complete for these 2 cities.

SCORE: 50%

Let’s hope theses scores improve.

It’s Kathleen and if you don’t like what I say it’s still Kathleen.