Flying with carry on only? Here are five tips the airline doesn’t tell you…

8 Apr

Carry on bags are great until you get on that smaller regional jet where it needs to get placed in the back of the plane.  Sure you usually get it back once you land but when that plane side tag comes off, or was never placed on the bag, this is where the trouble starts.

TSA rules state that a bag without a tag cannot go back to the passenger and must either get sent to the final destination or picked up at that connecting airport’s baggage claim.  If it accidentally does go up, we are told that the employee could be subject to a $1,000 fine.

Needless to say, the bag will not get sent up and if you have the time and want to go through security again, you can get your bag at that airport’s baggage claim.  Most people though choose to send it to the final destination.

Luggage 2

But flying in today’s age with airlines jumping on the bag fee wagon, carry on luggage is the way to go.  But the question remains, what can you do to not have the above scenario happen to you?

Lesson 1:

Put your name on your bag.  It may sound like something simple but you have no idea how many bags I see with no name.  Imagine how many “black roller about this big” descriptions are at an airport at any given moment?  While that won’t help get your bag, it does reduce the chance of it getting lost.

Lesson 2:

If possible, place the tag on the bag yourself.  Put it on in a way that reduces the chance of the tag being torn off by the baggage handler out on the tarmac.  If you have a pull up handle, place it on one of the stanchions where it will close down on it.  Myself, I have four on my bag (a backpack).  One as described above, another on the side of the handle, one in the mesh pocket of the bottle holder and one more slipped in my name tag slot.

The baggage handlers working don’t care how many are on a bag, just so that there is one.  It’s easier sending a bag up (and away) then dealing with a frustrated passenger and filling out paperwork to go on the bag and then calling for a bag runner to have it delivered to where the passenger wants it to go (baggage claim or next flight).

Lesson 3:

If your bag needs to come off the plane, make sure the flight attendant puts a tag on it.  Ask for the receipt.  All major airlines usually have a receipt component of the tag that gets put on your bag.  The number on the receipt matches the number on the plane side ticket that is on your bag.

Lesson 4:

Take out your important things like your medicine, cell phone, plane tickets, wallet, whatever you think you would need in case you didn’t have a bag.  While we can always call a supervisor so that you can get your medicine, everything else is off limits.  Trust me.  It is a frustrating rule on our end too.  

Lesson 5:

If you switch airlines, make sure you have their tag too.  If you don’t have the right tag, it tells us that your bag hasn’t been screened by the TSA and we (the baggage handler) could be subject to a fine. 

So consider this as one of those lessons people never tell you.  This last picture is an example from an airline employee who also doesn’t take chances with the plane side ticket, no matter which airline.



Paris Part Deux – the rest of the story

20 Dec

Sometimes my writing can be like my exploring, sudden stops, changes in direction, and the next thing you know, what I wanted to write has suddenly been lost by all sorts of distractions.

I found that happening with my previous post about finding part of the old wall of the city of Paris.  Because of that, I decided to create another post of my adventures and share them here.  As you read, feel free to go back and forth to this corresponding map of the locations I talk about.  Be sure to click on the Google Street View if you are looking for a visual.

First of all, our stay was at Hotel Delavigne.  Located in a quiet section of the the Latin Quarter, a few blocks north of Luxembourg Palace and south of the Seine; walking distance to most everything.  This gem of a hotel was a pleasant surprise as our street side facing room was quiet, comfortable, and we had our own large bathroom.  My wife and I agree that the bed was probably one of the most comfortable we’ve slept upon in our travels.  Sure the room itself was small (the bathroom was almost as large as the room), but it was clean and comfortable.

Nearby we had a Starbucks for our morning coffee fix and a supermarket on Boulevard Saint Michel where I could get some wine and snacks for the room.

What more did we need?  We were in Paris to explore and sleep in between adventures. We were set.

Location:  As I previously stated, we were in the middle of it all but one of the main reasons for choosing this hotel was that it was just a few blocks off the subway line that would take us directly from and to the airport.  This being our first trip to Paris and not knowing much French, I wanted to make it easy for us.

Notre Dame: While we waited for the room to get ready, we made our way out for a snack and see what was close by.  Knowing that we were near the Seine River and Cathedral Notre Dame, that was where we headed.  Large and imposing, this impressive cathedral adorned with gargoyles is a worth a visit.  There is something about old European churches that always impress as they’ve been a destination for so many for hundreds and hundreds of years.

The Louvre:  We made our way past this impressive installation at dusk as we were making our way to dinner.  I showed a friend who was my Paris inspiration, a picture I had taken of the large square and pyramid and he commented that he was surprised at the lack of tourists at that time of day.  When he had gone a couple of weeks earlier (our trip was in early March), people were everywhere, but for us it was empty. A silent oasis of lighted architecture.

Sacre Ceour: Once a village off in the distance, this monastery now surrounded by the city is on the northern side of the metropolis.  Situated on a hill overlooking Paris, it provides a great spot to get a commanding view of the city.  Before you make the walk up the steps (or take the tram), get a small bottle of wine to sit and enjoy and take in all the activity(music, singing, people hanging out, the view).  When done, make your way back down and wander through the Moulin Rouge area that is nearby.

The Catacombs: If you can put yourself back a couple hundred years to when the bones were first transported and tours started (think middle of the night, priests and torches) it all seems a bit macabre.  Now with a city bustling above, it is actually quite fascinating.

Located below the subway lines, Les Catacombes tour is highly recommended for those not suspect to claustrophobia.  While I could have whiled away a good couple of hours, I think my wife and I completed this 45 minute tour in approximately 20 minutes.

Meandering: This is a walking city. The Champs-Élysées, Eiffel Tower, the French Presidential Palace, museums and countless other historical and notable locations are steps away from wherever you are.  This is why this city is a favorite destination for so many people.  No car is needed.  Most people speak English and if you are respectful, you too will be respected.

It is the unexpected though that I look for.  My photo for this blog is of  a sewer cover we came across, location long forgotten but interesting none-the-less.  The Eiffel Tower in the day stands tall and iconic but at night is adorned in a shimmering lighted brilliance.  Brasserie’s with side walk seating where people are huddled next to each other enjoying life and discussing their day.

We ate at two places that were recommended, one by a travel show (awful, can’t find the link) and a friend (meh, overpriced).  However, when we walked the neighborhoods and took risks, we were rewarded with the best omelette I’ve ever had and enjoyed a final dinner from a restaurant we passed a half dozen times that consisted of a simple yet amazing dish of sausage and mashed potatoes.

Final Thoughts: Now after reading my post, it may seem like we bounced our way through without any purpose.  In reality it was mostly planned with spur of the moment detours walking down a less traveled side street (still busy though, trust me, it’s Paris) that ran along the main avenue we were “being told” by our GPS to be on.  We always felt safe and people were friendly and helpful.  We also utilized the Metro when we became tired or needed to travel far (nothing is really that far though).  But for the most part, we walked and walked.  It’s a great city to feel it’s energy through your feet.

I can’t wait to get back.

The old Walled City of Paris

25 Nov

You have to admit, life is quite amazing.  For the most part, you never really know what is going to happen, until it happens.

This story goes back a few years.  My wife and I had just lost our lab Bodo due to old age.  The house was definitely empty without him but we had already made plans to get another dog to fill that void.

One morning as I was getting ready for work, I was in the basement of our home ironing a shirt while watching a show on the History Channel about an old Franconian named King Clovis.  I love history and was so enthralled with the program, that when I went upstairs to finish getting ready, I asked my wife if I could change the channel from what she was watching.  So I watched and she listened from around the corner and all she heard was “Clovis this, Clovis that.”  The name “Clovis” being repeated over and over again when suddenly she popped her head out the door and announced, “we should call him Clovis.”

“Clovis?”  It did have a nice ring to it.  It was uncommon.  It sounded a bit like Cletus and if anyone has ever had a lab, they are a bit goofy so there was that fit.  But Clovis was a great king and labs are undeniably fantastic and if things worked out for us, our new pup’s name would at least give us something to talk about.

So now jump ahead a few years; we now have Clovis the lab, there is no need to iron shirts as I’ve become a full-time student and work part-time for the airlines which means awesome flying benefits, sometimes.  It’s spring break and my wife and I decide to take a 4 day trip to Paris and see what the City of Light is all about.

Needless to say, the city is wonderful and like all places where one visits, one needs to approach it with an open mind.

Our trip consisted of walking, walking some more, and then more walking.  We were in the heart of the St. Germaine district and could go everywhere. (See my post Paris Part Deux for more detail)

But it is on our last day where on a whim, I enter Clovis into our GPS to see what was there and lo and behold, Rue Clovis (Clovis Road) pops up and it says it is only about a 1/2 mile away.  Needless to say, my wife and I were off, walking through the side streets of Paris, passing small shops, brasseries, and coming across the magnificent Le Pantheon (which provides an amazing view of the city from the top of its steps).

Rue Clovis or also known as Clovis Road

But behind the Pantheon was our destination.  Rue Clovis.  Immortalized in signage.  Our  bouncy black lab with brown eyes was here with us.  I snapped a picture of the blue and white sign, and we kept walking (of course) and came across another sign that was of the plaque variety that the city attaches to the side of buildings.  I clicked another picture and then turned and looked across the street.

“BETH!” I suddenly said.  “Check that out.  I wonder if that’s part of the old wall!”  I was VERY excited about this.  Like I said earlier, I’m a history buff and this medieval slice of treasure was tucked in between buildings of the 20th century, a looming and crumbling bulk retreating into a different time.   We looked both ways and quickly went across the street and sure enough, it was part of the old city wall.

“That’s awesome.” I said.  “Imagine, 500 years ago, people were walking all around this area and on the outside in the distance was wilderness.”  I clicked a couple of more photo’s and we decided to make our way back as it was getting close to dinner time and my excitement was in no way enough to energize my wife and have her continue.  It was also our last night in the city and we both were getting hungry from the adventures of that day.

Even though I never did follow that wall(trust me, I wanted to), looking back, it doesn’t matter.  I found something I never expected to see and when I look back, that discovery really started that same morning I was in my basement ironing my shirt.

That is what makes life so amazing.


So this is why I’m here

11 Nov

My profile speaks of one thing, but my eventual blog is going to cover a lot of things as that is who I am, a person who finds much enjoyment in life.

I came upon the title “crunching acorns” as accidentally as the timing of the seasons. It very well could’ve been “crunching snow” if it had been 15 below zero in January.

The inspiration may be considered quite dull.  The truth?  It was a walk with my dog through Highland Park in St. Paul near my home.  The sensation?  Awesome. As awesome as crunching the hollowed melting snow and ice edges on sidewalks in the winter and spring. It’s a one-of-a-kind feeling you have to experience.

But honestly, the real reason I want to blog is that I miss my everyday writing.  That’s right, I miss everyday writing.  I miss my homework.  I miss sitting in a classroom.  I miss getting critiqued by a group of my peers.  I miss the joy it gave me of trying to come up with different ways to eloquently and engagingly share my thoughts.  I miss listening to other stories and providing feedback to classmates.  I miss how my writing was a tool to share ideas and inspiration.

So before this quickly becomes a self-help forum for ideas of where I could physically go to for this, please stop.  I want this to be my one and only arena for now. I have other passions and pursuits which I will probably cover here and while I want the feedback, this is going to be about me. My experiences.  How others have influenced me.  How everyday interactions get me to do what I do.

I hope you enjoy reading this and while I hope it gives you ideas in how to pursue life, I want your comments to help me become a better writer.

So in the spirit of enjoying life, here is a link to one of my favorite songs from Manu Chao.

Me Gusta Compartir(sharing),