Tag Archives: travel

You Were Wrong, Yes, YOU

Yes, you. You were  wrong yesterday. No, not the whole day. Just a tiny part of it. What part? The part where you voted on my Friday poll. If you didn’t, go ahead, scroll back, look at the poll, and feel free to vote or just think about what your answer would be. I’ll wait.

OK, done? Yes, you were wrong too. Yes, I said I would write about whichever subject got the most votes, but what I didn’t tell you was that you’re not the boss of me, and it’s my blog and I’ll write about whatever I want. I didn’t tell you that because I never imagined that so many would be so wrong. If I listened to all of you I’d have to write about the ridiculous, cartoonish, buffoonish, wanna be dictator who is currently employed at the White House.

In my poll results he was far and away the winner of who is having the worst year as far as public relations go. But that was just a poll, and you were wrong. Did I mention that? Your wrongness was astoundingly bad. As bad as Donald Trumps wrongness on nearly a daily basis. You were ‘navigator on the Titanic’ wrong. So, if you were wrong, as I’ve so eloquently established here, that begs the question, who is the right answer, Phil, or United Airlines? (And yes, I said Phil. It’s my blog and I’ll speak of myself in the third person if I want to. Phil doesn’t care what you think!)

Look, I’m sorry that you were wrong. Don’t worry, we all are sometimes. It’s just that most of the time some jackass with a blog doesn’t point it out to you in front of millions of readers. Just sip your coffee or tea and relax. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. Rest secure in the knowledge that the next time that you’re this wrong, I probably won’t be there to point it out to you. Life will punish you.

Although one intrepid voter did give me credit for having the worst 2017 so far, I contend that United Airlines has had a worse year than Donald Trump or I. Why, you ask? I know that we’re all familiar with the scene depicted in the picture above of a passenger being forcefully dragged off of a plane because United wanted to fly their own employees somewhere. But, were you aware of all the other stupid things United Airlines has done this year? You’re not? Let me count the ways!

Another Scorpion reported on United Flight: This one came in just yesterday. Look, it’s ok if it happens once. Occasionally the stray, venomous, killer creature will slip onto a flight, (Donald Trump gets on Air Force One almost every day!) but notice the title says Another Scorpion! It’s happened already this year. United Airlines has a scorpion problem like Florida has an alligator problem.

United Airlines Forced Woman To Pee In a CupApparently on a flight earlier this week a woman had to pee really bad. We can all empathize with this, right? Whether it’s on a flight, in a work meeting, or in your car on a road trip, we’ve all had to go to the point where we worry we’re going to ruin a good pair of pants if we don’t find relief soon. Apparently this woman wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom because the United flight attendants had the cart in the aisle to serve drinks . So, because they refused to let her go, she peed in a cup, then was reprimanded by the same flight attendants.

United Airlines Stopped Girls In Yoga Pants From Boarding FlightYes United Airlines, I know it’s your policy that anyone flying with a free ticket provided to them by a United Airlines employee has to adhere to the United Airlines dress code, but that is just stupid. Not allowing women on flights in yoga pants eliminates roughly half of all travelers. Also, 100% of men are in support of women in yoga pants. You’ve now made women and men mad and I’m pretty sure that most of your passengers are women or men. Also, yoga pants can be gender neutral and anyone can wear them. They make my ass look amazing.

So to summarize, United Airlines has scorpions, is opposed to yoga pants, but wants their passengers to pee their pants, and will occasionally brutalize passengers when their employees need a seat. That’s been their year. If I’m a competing airline, I’d be busy creating ads with people in yoga pants getting up and going to the bathroom on scorpion-free flights. Ok, this is enough words for one day. Yes, you were wrong, but now you’re an informed, and smarter reader. Oh, and please hit the Facebook share button below so that this eventually gets back to United Airlines. I’d love to write about them suing me. Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

My Emotional Support Animal Is A Gummy Bear

From the cinematic masterpiece Snakes on a Plane

From the cinematic masterpiece Snakes on a Plane

This post is going to make some people mad, but I’m going to write it anyway. Last week I had to travel by plane for work. As I sat in the terminal waiting for my plane to board I heard a meow. I look over and the woman sitting next to me had a cat in a small carrier. That’s fine. I like cats and it was in a carrier. But you know what, if that cat was going to be in the seat next to me meowing for the entire flight I might not be OK with that. Or how about this scenario:

According to an article from USA Today, Dr. Romie Mushtaq, who grew up amid farms in Danville, Ill., had already seen her share of pigs before one ambled into the Delta Air Lines gate area at Boston’s Logan airport. She recorded the scene like others who enjoyed seeing the pig snuffling oats off the floor — until the flight of business travelers headed to New York began boarding.

“All of a sudden, it wasn’t entertainment anymore,” she said. “Every other passenger on the flight, you could see jaws tensing up, people straightening their backs, especially people with an empty seat, thinking, ‘Oh, my goodness, am I going to be sitting next to this pig on a leash for the entire flight?’”

Mushtaq, a doctor based in Orlando, has prescribed dogs with training to anticipate seizures for epileptic patients. But after the pig encounter, she found no justification in peer-reviewed medical publications to justify other animals for emotional support.

wcvb.com

wcvb.com

Here is an actual list of animals that have been allowed on planes: dogs, cats, pigs, turkey, a miniature horse, a kangaroo, a boa constrictor, turtle and monkey. A turtle? Seriously? Who derives emotional comfort from a turtle?!!? It’s basically a painted rock. Look, I’m all in support of people being comforted by their pets, but a plane isn’t fecking Noah’s Ark. When I’m on a plane, I can barely tolerate the other people who act and smell badly enough already. Now you’re telling me that I have to tolerate the sounds and smells of a barnyard? I don’t think so.

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If I’m in the cabin of a plane and any kind of animal poops on the floor, I want my money back. I’m not opposed to people having trained support animals, but an enclosed aluminum tube 30,000 feet in the air isn’t the place for them. And what if a fellow flier has an allergy to certain animals or kinds of fur? Does anyone ask that?

Most of these people are anxious flyers and petting their soft cuddly animal comforts them. Aww, that’s sweet. Your anxiety is relieved. What about your freaking animal who has no idea what the hell is going on? You think they’re anxious? That’s just what we need, a monkey having it’s own anxiety attack on a plane. You know what my emotional support animal is? An Ambien and a glass of wine! Go see your doctor like a normal person and get a sleeping pill or a Valium, knock yourself out for the flight and your anxiety will go way down.

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Fortunately, this week the Federal Aviation Administration met to revise rules about service animals on flights. The results aren’t in, but here’s hoping that the new rule allows only stuffed animals on flights.

Have a great Saturday, and feel free to attack me in the comments section here! ~Phil

Skinheads of The Caribbean!

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Since I’m still on my Disney World trip, I found this post from my 2005 trip to Disney World. It may be an ancient post, but if you haven’t read it, it’s new to you. Hopefully I’ll have more good stories from the trip for next week.

(May, 22, 2005) For the most part I enjoyed all the rides at Disney World and most of the people who rode them with me and my family were well behaved and considerate. I was a little disturbed by the 40-ish woman who went on Splash Mountain alone, sat next to me, and seemed to chuckle at every thing the robotic cartoon characters did.

In 1976 when my parents took me to Disney World they, for some unknown reason, elected not to take me on Pirates of The Caribbean. Maybe they were fearful I’d run off to join the merry hooligans as they wreaked havoc upon the seven seas. Or maybe they, like most parents, didn’t give a rats ass what their kids want towards the end of 10 hours walking around Disney and just wanted to get back to the hotel bar for a beer. Either way, I’ve spent the last 25 years feeling cheated that I missed out on that ride.

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I felt that finally justice would be served as I proudly marched my kids into line for Pirates of The Caribbean. Then I noticed 4 young adults in line in front of me. They were “skinheads.” I say this not just because the three young men had shaved heads. It wasn’t the knee high leather boots they were all wearing that gave away their political leanings. Using my brilliant powers of deductive reasoning I concluded that they were “skinheads” because one of them had a tattoo on the back of his neck. It said, “skinhead.” I’m thinking that you’d better be pretty damn sure about your political affiliation to have it tattooed on your neck. What if in ten years he decides to be a Republican? Nevermind, bad example.

I just never imagined that skinheads would choose Disney World for vacation. Don’t you think they would want to visit Alcatraz or perhaps the jail cell that Mr. Howell locked the Brady’s in when their Grand Canyon trip went awry? Although I don’t agree with the skinheads’ political and social beliefs I do have to say that this group was polite and well behaved, unlike my friend from Pittsburgh.

Have a great Saturday! ~Phil

Throwback Thursday! The Drunk That Saved Pittsburgh

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I pulled this post out of the archives to celebrate the fact that me and Mrs. Phil are heading to Disney World without the kids today. Tomorrow we will be eating and drinking our way through every country in the Epcot section of Disney World. This post is a classic from my first trip to Disney with my kids eleven years ago.

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(May 22, 2005) The first and most enduring memory of my trip to Disney World is of the shuttle bus ride from the Orlando airport to the hotel. Prior to my trip I had thought that the entertainment wouldn’t start until we actually arrived at Walt Disney World (aka The Costliest Place on Earth). Thanks to the gratuitous disbursement of alcoholic beverages by the airline, the early entertainment was provided by a representative of a Pittsburgh chemical company who flew to Orlando on “business.”

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It’s a good thing he took a shuttle bus because I’m sure that after the flight Mr. Pittsburgh had no business being behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. He barely had any business being allowed in a motor vehicle. The fumes he was giving off could have been lethal if we couldn’t have opened the windows. His partner was a bit more inhibited, but seemed to be, to the endless amusement of Mr. Pittsburgh, a cell phone person (for an explanation, go back two posts). Mr. Pittsburgh’s partner was either trying to call his wife, or trying to sell his motorcycle, (which incidentally is listed on cyclevantage.com).

Each time the more sober of the two was cut off from his wife on the cell phone, Mr. Pittsburgh would repeatedly shout, “Oooo…Ooooo  Call her back! Oooo…Ooooo Call her back!” (he was trying to reference the Gwen Stefani ‘Holla Back Girl’ song). At one point he became so agitated in his Rainman-like chanting that he literally began banging his head on the window of the van. Our driver, Jose, was very alarmed by this. Sensing Jose’s concern, Mr. Pittsburgh would occasionally shout, “Hey Jose! How much longer?” He must have asked this at least 3 or 4 times in a 30 minute span. After I suggested that my kids watch the ponds and rivers by the road for alligators, Mr. Pittsburgh shouted, “Hey Jose! Are there alligators or crocodiles here?” The one other apparently sober passenger, who wasn’t part of my family, quietly pointed to Mr. Pittsburgh and whispered, “I wish there were alligators here.”

Have a great Thursday! ~Phil

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Things Airlines Should Change

I’m traveling for work this week and will be spending too much time inside airplanes. This post is actually a re-run because I’m too busy to put the time in to craft a new coherent Top Ten list. Also, the time change is screwing me up. I’m 6 hours behind my home time and for the people in the U.K., they’re 12 hours ahead of me. I’ll be surprised if anyone reads this. The first time through, this was very popular and elicited a lot of suggestions from comments about what the readers would like to see airlines change. Feel free to chip in with your two cents.

Airphil Express Banner

It’s hard not to notice how some airlines have stripped down the comforts of flying to save money. On some airlines it’s so bad  that I’m surprised the seats aren’t just lawn furniture duct taped to the floor. Obviously when I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going pass laws mandating minimum standards of comfort on flights. Here are The Top Ten Things Airlines Should Change:

1. Heated massage seats: Seriously, how great would this be?

2. When boarding the passengers, fill the plane from back to front: This would prevent people from walking down the aisle hitting all the other passengers with their ridiculously oversized “carry on” and from preventing you from getting to your seat while they clog the aisle like a piece of human cholesterol (the bad kind) trying to jam their bag in the overhead compartment. And you first class people can stop your whining now. Whether you get on first or last the plane still leaves at the same time.

3. Have the pilot mix in a loop de loop now and then: Flights are boring. This would spice things up a bit. Hello passengers, please fasten your seat belts and put your hand on top of your drinks.. My co-pilot Bucky just bet me ten dollars that I can’t get this thing to do a barrel roll. 

4. Just let us roll down the window a little bit: There’s nothing worse than sitting next to the farty passenger in the stale, stagnant, recycled air. Sometimes I want to pull down the oxygen mask just to get a fresh breath. We’d only need to roll down the windows a little. They could put a lock on them so we can’t put them down far enough to get our heads out. (who just pictured being in a plane with your head out the window like a dog?)

5. Themed Flights: Just like themed cruises. Costumes, music, Disney characters, whatever. Hooters flights, why not?

6. A USB charging port at every seat: This is the biggest no-brainer ever.

7. A Shoes on policy: I don’t care what you’re reason is, no one should take their shoes off on a flight. It’s not a beach and I don’t need to see or smell your feet.

8. McDonald’s food on board: Or any decent baseline food that most people can recognize or accept. Airline food is not acceptable and under the Geneva Convention of 1949 qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.

9. The flight attendants should have sedatives: Not for anxious passengers, but for obnoxious ones. The flight attendants could release it remotely through those little blowers above each seat and the annoying passenger would doze off for the rest of the flight not even knowing why.

10. What’s Your Seat Wheel! All seats, including first class, will be determined by a spin of the wheel at the gate. How fun would that be? There will also be a mystery celebrity on board every flight and the seat next to them is also on the wheel. Congratulations! You didn’t get first class, but you do get to sit next to Dustin Diamond!

abcnews.go.com

abcnews.go.com

If you enjoyed what you read at #ThePhilFactor today please share by hitting the Facebook, Twitter or reblog buttons below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

An Interview With An Actual Norwegian!

My guest this week is, as the title implies, someone from Norway. Maja Asgautsen is a blogger from Norway. I became curious about Norway after getting regular views from Norway over the last several months and they weren’t all Maja. My curiosity about Norway first lead me to make fun of it and while doing that I realized how little I really knew about the country. Maja, who has a really great blog which you should go visit, was kind enough to agree to my “interview” about Norway.

maja

1. What is the one thing you’d like people from other countries to know about Norway? That we are actually a country and not the capitol of Sweden, or a city in Scandinavia.

2. When people from other countries visit Norway what are they most surprised by? Many of the tourists, especially from countries outside of Europe seem to be very surprised by the fact that we don’t have polar bears walking up and down the streets (there are no polar bears on the mainland in Norway just on Svalbard, an island that belongs to Norway). Some also seem to be surprised by the winter darkness and midnight sun up north or they are equally surprised to find out that this only occurs in the North of Norway.

Northern lights

Northern lights

3. What differences do you see between Norwegian culture and those of other countries? Norway is a country where equality is very prominent, both in how our welfare state works and in the fact that we have come quite a long way in gender equality. Norway is a very democratic country and even if there are quite a few political parties they fundamentally don’t disagree on things as they do in many other countries, in an international scale they would be quite similar. This doesn’t stop them from arguing very passionately for their view points.

We generally are not that big on hierarchy here in Norway, at work we don’t tend to dress formally and most places we address our colleagues by their first name regardless of their position in the company or their title.

The “typical” Norwegian is quite taciturn. And we tend to like to keep to ourselves. You hardly ever see a Norwegian person sitting next to a stranger on the bus as long as there is a possibility of sitting alone.

newsinenglish.no

newsinenglish.no

We take great pride in winter sports and in the winter Olympics we tend to win a lot of medals especially if you consider that we are a notion of 5 million people. But most of our athletes are quite modest, the Norwegian way of thinking is that a person should never think he or she is better than anyone else. From time to time there are people that differ from this, but these are normally viewed as a bit un-Norwegian.

4. What is the best thing about living in Norway? For me the best thing about living in Norway must be the closeness to nature. You never seem to be far from a beautiful scenery with mountains, fjords and the like. I also don’t think we always fully appreciate how well our benefit system works and we have a lot of freedom that we often take for granted.

5. As evidenced by your blog, you obviously are very well versed in English. Are most Norwegians bi-lingual? Which language do you use the most? Thank you, you flatter me. Most Norwegians can speak English in varying degrees as it is taught as a subject in school, but it’s not like a second language to us. We can also choose to learn a bit of German, French or Spanish in school, should we wish. In fact in Norway we have three written languages and two spoken. Two of the written ones are a bit similar and is called bokmål (book language) this was heavily influenced by the Danish language from when they ruled us and so they made a new one called New Norwegian that is based on a collecting dialects around the country. The other language is not written or spoken by many, but it’s the language of the Sami people and it’s been given the status as an official language in Norway.

I own this tie and wore it today to support this post. I'm not kidding.

I own this tie and wore it today to support this post. I’m not kidding.

6. Besides Edvard Munch and you, who are some other famous Norwegians that people from other countries would know? The composer Edvard Grieg’s music is quite well known around the world. The band A-ha used to be quite popular. We have quite a few famous explorers some might have heard of Nansen, Amundsen and Thor Heyerdahl.  Jens Stoltenberg is currently the Secretary General of NATO. Magnus Carlsen is good at chess, Alexander Kristoff is good at cycling, Mats Zuccarello Aasen is good at ice hockey.  There are quite a few others you might have heard of depending of what your interests are. If you are curious a list can he found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Norwegians

Maja, thank you so much for taking the time to educate me and the rest of the world about your beautiful home country of Norway. Everybody go follow Maja’s blog for regular posts on life in Norway. Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

Phil and ?’s Excellent Adventure

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There won’t be a Phil Factor tomorrow, or there might be. I don’t know. You see I’m going on a trip today but I don’t know where. My wonderful wife has planned a trip for me for my upcoming birthday but I insisted she not tell me anything about it. In a little while I’ll open an envelope with plane tickets.

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Then I’ll know where I’m going but not who I’m meeting there or what I’m doing there. I’ll pack a bag, go to the airport and see where this takes me. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll post my adventures as they happen. Have a great weekend! I know I will. ~ Phil