Derrie Air – Very Funny and not PC

According to latest statistics – these guys will not be flying to Mississippi, West Virginia or Alabama anytime soon.

If you didn’t go to their site – its a joke.

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What to do when Jet Blue cancels your flight

Jet Blue is a great option for continuing from NY. They fly to most of the country from JFK and have good fares. BUT, if your flight gets cancelled – you are on your own. This happened to over a thousand people yesterday, because of bad weather (in some undefined location – certainly not in sunny NY).

Here is what you need to know:

1. Jet Blue does not have the “let me book you on a different airline” policy. That is bad. They need to find you the next Jet Blue flight to where you are going. You and the army of people similarly affected. That translates to a day or two in NY (Theme Parks or Sea Kayaking, anyone?) and missing the big meeting with Mike Moritz at Sequoia.

2. Jet Blue does have a no nonsense refund policy. No questions asked, no creative reduction of the refund. You get the full amount of that flight segment refunded and you get to keep the return flight. That is good.

So, when you get to the airport and discover that your Jet Blue flight is canceled do the following –

a. See if there is another flight still scheduled that is good. IFF there is not a mad rush for the agents, try to get on that flight. Thats pretty obvious, but probably won’t happen. What is most likely to happen is a madhouse scene at the airport with the word “Canceled” burned into the Plasma displays. Then do step (b)

b. Follow this link for info on canceling flights due to the “current travel disruption”. Most likely you will find out (without the pushing and shoving on the line) that you will not be flying JetBlue. On to step (c)

c. Get online and find yourself a flight with another airline. Don’t waste any time – others will be doing the same and getting the best fares. Be creative. Use Kayak and see what getting there with one stop can do for you. Book the flight and get out of JetBlue terminal. Be flexible – you may even need to get to LGA (shuttle) or EWR (shlep – 2 trains + 2 trams ).

d. Call JetBlue and get your refund. Expect to be on hold a long time so get in the mood for Frank Sinatra on Muzak. You can enjoy all that as you make your way to your new flight.

Good idea to have to have you cell charged up if you are flying Jet Blue.

And look at Yapta for price drops.
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Delayed and Canceled Flights – Baasaah!

I don’t know if the facts back me up – but it seems that there are more flight delays and cancellations since the airline industry has entered the latest hard times. What I do know is that two very cautious family members missed their international connections because of delayed/canceled flights from DC and Detroit. If I am right – this may happen more and more as the industry sinks. SO, allow more time than usual and prepare alternatives, if you really must make an international connection.

Last night – the 5pm Jet Blue flight from Dulles finally made it to NY after midnight.

Last week, my sister-in-law had her Detroit-NY flight just canceled and missed the connection to Israel. She packs a week before, leave the house 5 hours before, gets to the airport 4 hours before and to the gate 2 hours before. She definitely does not deserve to miss a flight.

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$1 = 10 NIS at Toys R Us

The weak dollar is hurting us all. All of us except importers from the US, that is. So, on your next trip to the states – buy that nice box of lego or the Jansport back to school bags. They are priced in Israel according to:

$1 = 10 NIS or shekel = dime. Approximately.

I looked at a basic $35 Duplo starter set (319 NIS) and a basic $25 Lego box (269 NIS). At Toy R Us.

And, the neighboring bookstore would be glad to sell me a $29 Jansport pack for 250 NIS.

I hate to promote shopping in New York, Orlando or Los Angeles over Shfayim, but Hey Mr. Import Man, play the dollar for me.
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Passport Renewal Fun in Tel Aviv – NOT!

Passport Renewal Fun in Tel Aviv – NOT!

If you can avoid a trip to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to renew your passport – avoid it! Most adults can renew by mail. The problem is the under 21 crowd. You can get all the relevant details on the US Embassy Website, except for this one:

Nothing is allowed into the embassy. Cellphone, food, reading material – absolutely nothing. Just the passport and related documents. It has become their business model – food is sold at 3x prices and checking cellphone, etc. is a pain.

SO, leave everything in the car and have a good meal before. Bring your spouse, not only because you must, but because with no book to read – you may find the quality time valuable.

If you can postpone the trip until after Jan 20, 2009 you will not have to look at George Bush’s picture.
And don’t forget – check your passport expiration date well before the trip.  There are different rules for each destination country. Continue reading

Guess how much to fill up a Boeing 777?

Inspired by a leading VC’s blog post about the insane cost of Gas in Israel ($120 to fill up his car) I decided to do a “back of the napkin” calculation on the price of filling up ElAl’s flight to New York. Boeing 777-200 Flight uses up about 40,000 gal to NY. Fuel costs about $6/gal (probably higher in Israel). Round trip costs A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!

So, that should make our readers a little sympathetic to ElAl’s annoucement that they are raising fares by 5% (more). Our more pro-active readers will pay for their tickets fast. Tickets purchased before July 14th get the old price.

See other posts about ElAl prices going up and down – finding hidden bargains on ElAl’s website, the airfare increase due to $146 oil,  special business class deals, the increased “price” for EL AL free tickets,  some general tips for finding cheap airfare and more. This post even has some hope that the American Airlines and ELAL codeshare willl change pricing.

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US Air cancels in-flight movies

US Air has tossed the movies from the plane in an effort to save their company. It turns out that the in-flight entertainment system weighs 500 pounds (or about the same as 4,000 ipod Nano MP4 players). So, to save fuel – no movies on US Air domestic flights. More suggestions:

– make the food out of LDPE (low density polyethylene). That would be plastic instead of rubber and stone. Or just serve popcorn only.

– Take the medals and military-style ranks off pilots uniforms

– Stop selling duty free

– Pay people to do what all travelers know – pack light and go to the bathroom before the trip
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