To take you to his mansion in Nome

Fine, challenge, anyone that can work out what the video is tonight, before you look, I’m seriously impressed, because this is about as cryptic as they get. There will be a possible clue before we get there, which might help, but even so…

Last year, I achieved something that I never thought I would, as I’m not one of those workers who flies everywhere (Yes, Kate, I’m only teasing you x), I always thought that gaining any real status on the couple of airlines I’m a frequent flyer on, would be way beyond my abilities. Then of course, I flew to LA twice, in the same year, with the same pair of airlines, and lo and behold, I hit silver status with Delta Airlines (video clue, here), until the end of 2016, with of course, the possibility for more. Except for the fact, that as things stand, getting to fly anywhere this year, seems to be becoming an impossible dream! Yes, so frustrating. Even more so, given that I so want to make a flight in my new name, but anyway…

Oh, for the curious, the other I have membership of, American Airlines. I used to have both them, and US Airways, before they amalgamated, but I’m not even close to any form of status there, all the same. But yes, Delta is the one I want to fly with this year, given the chance!

And this weekend at least, where would I love to fly to? Why, Anchorage. An extension to Nome would be even more heavenly, but being in Anchorage would do me just fine. Why? Because as I write this, the ceremonial start, through the city, of the Iditarod is taking place. The race proper, starts tomorrow, a little way out of town in Willow. Then 85 incredibly brave teams, will set off, for just under 1000 miles of Alaskan wilderness, until they reach Nome. No, are you kidding, I wouldnt do that for a million dollars, even now! But would I love to see them set off, or even better, finish, you bet I would!

Maybe one day I will finally get to Alaska, its my dream. Being practical, at my age, and with my health issues (joints), I’d have to do overnight stops en route, both ways, if I did. So fine, even if the financial situation ever improves, its not likely to happen until post retirement, simply because of time issues, in my life. So I suspect it will be one of my dreams, to my dying days, somehow, getting to Alaska. No, not in March, too cold in all probability, but at any point in the year, would be good.

Oh fine, the video. If you managed to get the cryptic clues worked out, and come up with this song from 1973, I’m impressed. Somehow, I doubt anyone did!

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The first flight of Harlean Carpenter

I might actually be wrong, though I havent seen any evidence that Jean ever took to the air to go anywhere, all her longer journeys seem to have been by train, to be honest. But if I’m wrong, apologies. It is also possible that she took to the air while filming ‘Hells Angels’, but given those planes were generally single seater, I very much doubt it!

Yes, thats right, the new passport, in my new name, finally arrived today! I certainly plan that it will be the last name that I use in a passport, and it might even be my last passport, given that I will be nearly 68 when it expires, its argumentative if I will get another one after that. Health permitting, possibly one more, but dont quote me on that! Its a fact of life, that once you hit 70, travel insurance prices rocket, so…?

I know, I could get married, but forgive me if I laugh a lot at the thought of that happening. Besides, nowadays, the woman doesnt always change her name on marriage, and lets face it, being called Harlean Carpenter isnt anything I want to change in a hurry!

Yes, if I could, I’d love to just get up, and fly somewhere tomorrow, just to hand over the passport, in my lovely new name. But yes, you’re right, I cant afford it at present. So, if any generous benefactor, or wealthy person, wants to get a flight ticket for me, as short, or long a distance, I dont care. I just want to be able to check in, hand over that passport, and hear the person behind the desk say, “Thank you, Miss Carpenter” or whatever they say, it will just be so special.

Yes, in a dream world, it would be a journey to Kansas City, or Los Angeles, but to be honest, if it was a flight from Manchester, or Leeds, to anywhere, I just dont care! I know, its not going to happen, until I can afford it, I’m sure, but you never know! Please!

Well, for something like this, it comes down to one of 2 songs. I chose the one you’re less likely to know, because I’m that type of woman!

Flying, then and now

One of the endearing images we have of early passenger flights is the luxury of the planes involved. Of course, back then, only the wealthy could afford to fly, which may well have something to do with it. Its really only since the 70’s, and 80’s that we even started to have what could be called flight prices that the general masses could afford to pay.

So for those who complain about the lack of comfort nowadays, just remember, 50 years ago, you wouldnt have been able to afford long distance flights, in all honesty. If you consider that flights now between popular cities are no more expensive than they were in the 30’s, and 40’s…you get my drift? Of course, you were treated to a whole different level of treatment back then.

The thing is, despite the comfort, those early flights were a pretty dangerous experience. Navigation was extremely basic, especially at night, and many lost their lives in incidents, and accidents. And to even cross America, let alone the Atlantic, took 4 or 5 stops. Whereas nowadays, flights go from coast to coast, non stop, without any problems. As for crossing the Atlantic, by passenger plane, this wasnt even seriously tackled until the 1950’s!

Mind, I remember a story my late mother told me, of flying home from Bermuda (my father was in the navy) in the early 50’s, and the plane had an upstairs luxury bar, and the works! Now, they prefer you to stay in your seat, whenever possible.

My first flight would have been in the late 70’s, a short hop from Gatwick, to Jersey, and back. My first Transatlantic flight was in 1987, when I flew out from Heathrow, to Boston, and back from New York. After that, I began to fly more regularly, but always in economy.

And since then, apart from the Toronto trip, when I supposedly flew First Class with Air Trans (I would say it equated more to premium economy, than first), I’ve always flown economy class, until now. Yes, this week, and next week, when I return from LA, I will be flying premium economy (Virgin), and economy comfort (Delta) for pretty much the first time.

No, it wont truly be luxury, but a step up for me. If I’d had a job to come back to, post redundancy, I might have flown business class, but for now, better safe than sorry. Maybe if I’ve got one, in September, I might treat myself again, and maybe more?

I’ve been told by Kate, that maybe, just maybe, by flying on a Wednesday, I might get a reasonably priced upgrade on Delta to first class, and that would be a real Jean Harlow type landing into LA. But I wont hold my breath. Mind, I say that, all evidence I’ve seen, Jean stuck with the trains, rather than trusting the planes, but…

So, if anyone from Delta sees this, the 4.20 pm Atlanta to LA flight on Wednesday, look for Ms Nicholls if you start offering upgrades to first class, pretty please!

OK, so this is all about flying, so lets have some Gerry Rafferty. Not a live performance (cant find one, despite single release), so I’ve gone for something involving the brave boys of the military, and Alaska.

My possible treat to myself

They say these things go round in circles, and maybe its true? Anyway, when I was made redundant 6 years ago, from my previous job, I made a promise to myself, that if I found a new job quickly, that I would treat myself from the money, and get the ‘old body’ worked on a little, just to improve things for me a bit, if nothing more.

And lo and behold, it happened, within a couple of weeks, I had found a new job (my current workplace), so the face got a bit of extra special TLC.

Well, this time around, you could say the face has already had that treatment, so what can I use as that special incentive, given that I have an interview on Monday, for a job I’d love to get! Today, I decided.

As some will know, I suffer ‘a bit’ with my joints, and general health, which is my main concern about the long flights, to and from Los Angeles. So what better incentive, than to make those flights so much easier!

Apart from one occasion, a return flight to Toronto, with Air Transat, I’ve never flown anything other than economy class. The only reason I did it then, was that it was only £99 extra each way, a snip compared to the normal price for such an upgrade. Yes, I loved it.

So, given that I know that my pay off package will be just over £5K, if I take it (there are internal options for jobs, if I so desire), I have promised myself that if I get this job (or another involving getting the redundancy package) that I will fly business class to Los Angeles, and enjoy that extra comfort, and more importantly, especially on the flight back, the extra personal space. Talk about flying like Harlow…

(The irony with that comment, is that Jean seemed to prefer to travel by train. Not that I blame her, planes were a lot less safe back then, than now, but…)

So yes, thats my planned present to myself, if I get this job. The extra cost, about £1800. I know, but while I can still enjoy it…

Wish me luck, it would be wonderful, just once, to fly in luxury.

Oh, the video. Very 60’s, and some would say not a good thing. Still, I will be going up, up and away…

Gold flight status (almost)

To be honest, apart from my twice yearly flights to the US, I really dont fly all that much. Certainly not for work, call centre operators arent generally required to fly the world for their company! I do the odd domestic flight to Ireland, or as earlier this year, to Jersey, for breaks, but thats about it.

But despite that, I tend to join the airline, and hotel reward schemes, because lets face it, it always puts you at an advantage in their eyes, should the need arise. But lets face it, because I share my love between 4 airlines, depending on where I’m flying to, and who has the best fares, I never thought I’d do enough to hit gold status on any of them.

But then, US Airways, and American Airlines decided not just to be friends, but to become one company. And in time, sometime early next year in fact, their 2 mile schemes will be combined. And then, combined with the trip next week to Albany…Yes, you’ve guessed it, I will have enough miles for gold status! Now, as they are saying that this will happen in the 2nd quarter of next year, I have no idea whether I will get these privileges in time for the Hollywood trip. If not, it might be September when I enjoy them, if I head to Idaho, or it might be next year, if my body suggests a trip to New England is the wiser option, as I would then fly with Aer Lingus.

Of course, if Delta/Virgin offer me a cheaper option to LA, it might be delayed anyway!

But little me, a gold status passenger, wow!

The video, just thought this was a fun choice

Price of confusion

I always assumed that the cheapest place to get an airfare, would be at the airline company’s website. Sound reasonable to you? Well, I was wrong, and you probably would be too.

Today, for my trip to Kansas in September, I paid £770 return for the airfare, with Expedia, flying with Delta. So you would assume that Delta, given that they would presumably need to pay Expedia commission and the like, would be cheaper? Wrong, Delta wanted £812 for the exact same trip, if I booked through their website! Oh, and when I checked yesterday, Delta was £762! So I assume its a seat availability thing, at least I hope it is!

Now, to be fair, I dont know, maybe Expedia are given so many at a special fare, and until they are used up, the cheaper fare doesnt get adjusted, but…? Or maybe, because all these airlines are in alliances with various other airlines nowadays, I got a deal price through one of them, though all my flights are on planes run by Delta!

To be honest, another thing that amuses me, is the wide variance in price, between relatively similar standards of airlines. The reason I went for Delta, is that American, who would normally be my preferred airline wanted about £100 more for exactly the same trip! Maybe Chicago charges more for landing there than Atlanta, but seriously, that much more…?

Oh, and this girl is getting dangerously modern in her style, I transferred money via internet banking today, for the first time! Dont worry folks, I’m still a 30’s girl at heart though.

So, in tribute to Delta, and their confusing price system, a bit of Genesis