Tag: airport

We stopped at our daughters for dinner and one last moment with our little grandson but as we tried to start our car…. the optimum word, tried, it would not. We found a tow company and car shop as our son-in-law whisked us away to the airport. We took a deep breath and realized we had made it in time.

We have been so busy making sure we have everything we needed for our extended stay in Australia that we didn’t really sit to relax until we were at the airport and couldn’t do anything but wait for our plane. It actually was refreshing…. Yep! The airport was refreshing and relaxing. 

Delta actually handed out treats and water while we waited as a thank you for flying the “Friendly Skies”.

The first leg of our trip… L.A. here we come!
We just got the bad news in L.A. that the inflight entertainment system was not going to be working for our flight to Australia… no problem, it’s only a 15+ hr. flight. Yikes! I know, what great adventurers we would have been.
While boarding the plane one of the attendants said that it looked like they got it fixed. Do we look a little excited?
That was until the captain came on and reported that there was MORE bad news, not only would the inflight entertainment not work, it also included the reading lights, charging stations, etc….  Now we really needed to think deep for entertainment!

We safely arrived in Sydney…. that is the most important part, right?  Just in time to board our 3rd and last flight to Melbourne. We love the service on Virgin Australia (and they have entertainment, if you download their APP beforehand, which Dale had). 


The ride to Melbourne was smooth flying …. until we reached the ground and found that we were the only passengers standing there wondering where our luggage was and everyone else was gone. Oops, somehow they didn’t make it on our flight. It was about this time that Marissa started wondering about our ‘blessed’ day of flying when the wonderful people at Virgin Australia felt our pain and offered us food vouchers while we waited. This wasn’t all bad as we checked in for our rental car, got a bite to eat and PUFF the luggage was there – that was rather quick. Now off to our new ‘pad’ for the first month of our Australian stay.

We put a lot of thought and searching into finding the apartments (and areas) that we would be staying in. It was great to have Marissa so excited about the art deco decor! 
Here is the outside of our back veranda. So hiply fun!
The first night in Melbourne we took a Tram to the city to enjoy some street performances after all that sitting on the plane and most importantly…. we needed to stay awake, we had to keep walking! 
Where was this guy when we needed entertainment on the flight?
On the way home from our Valentine’s Dinner we found a secret little walkway to our new house. What a way to end a ‘romantic’ dinner and walk……with Marissa:) 
Actually we are really thrilled to have this time with Marissa before she spreads her wings (as she is turning 18 in a few weeks). This is a last for us and we want to cherish all the time we have together. We feel blessed!
Travel Saving Tips:
We talk a lot about using frequent flyer programs to help with the cost of airline tickets. Last year Delta announced their new and improved for 2015 frequent flyer program. Here is a side by side comparison for the same flight last year and this year:
2014 – SLC to LAX – Base Miles ; 590 MQD (now needed for medallion) $75
LAX to SYD – Base Miles – 7487; MQD – $946
2015 – SLC to LAX – Base Miles 200 MQD – $40
LAX to SYD, Base Miles – 2535 MQM – $507
They have not only made it more difficult to become a Medallion member by adding MQD and then only counting less than half the dollars spent, but they also give you less than half the miles flown. Right now we would say that Delta has the worst Frequent Flyer program in the industry.
AAdvantage seems to be leading the pack right now with the most customer friendly program. ‪#‎delta‬ ‪#‎skymiles‬ ‪#‎americanairlines‬‪#‎aadvantage‬




As with all of our destinations we were quite sad to leave Vienna, mainly because there was so much more to see. This however only gives us more reason to return. We drove back to Prague stopping at the Bone Church in Kutna Hora and the Karlstejn Castle. The bone church was very interesting. It is decorated with the bones of the people who died during the Plague. There are tens of thousands of bones creating chandeliers, wall creations and more. Probably the best part was meeting a young couple that has spent 10 months traveling through Asia and Europe and just talking about travel.


Note to self… The Karlstejn Castle is closed on Mondays. This castle is just 15 minutes from the Prague airport by car. The castle is magnificently set on a hill overlooking the very small town of Karlstejn. Because the castle was closed most everything else was too, so we walked around and took beautiful pictures. The drive there and back was also beautiful as we drove through the countryside and small villages into the mountains. 




We then returned to the Marriott Courtyard where we had two free rooms waiting for us. Prague airport is very interesting. It isn’t a big airport but had great facilities and even a grocery store, which we used to buy items for breakfast. We then relaxed for the evening and got ready for our flight out the next day to Milan, Italy. 




We really have jumped around more on this trip than we usually do, trying new things as far as accommodations and such. Probably the best tip we could give you for both Czech and Austria is to get a place where you can fix your own meals. Restaurants weren’t too bad, but with six people it still adds up. Groceries were very reasonable and in the Czech, we believe they were even less than in the US. 


See you in Italy!
*Originally posted 6/2011
After what seemed like eternity, we arrived last night in Prague. We continued to have our challenges as all of our luggage arrived except for one. However, Air France had already sent word to the Prague airport that they would be sending it o the next flight and we should have it by morning. 


Right before our flight from Salt Lake we were notified by the people renting us the apartment, that the Mozart apartment we booked had water issues and they would need to move us to a different apartment down the street. Although this new apartment didn’t have the reputation of having Mozart staying there, it is a beautiful apartment and is much closer to Old Town Prague than the Mozart. The building was built in the 15th Century and has room for seven. The kids all slept in the main room where they combined beds to make a giant bed, while Dale and I had the bedroom. It has a full bath and a large kitchen, which will come in handy and will save us on our food budget. If you are planning to stay in Prague we highly recommend www.pragueresidences.com. As we walked to the bridge last night we stopped at a Hostel just to compare prices. The cheapest, dorm style rooms with no privacy  $17/night/person compared to our $20/night/person/apartment.
Jet lagging sleep time. They pulled all the beds together into one ginormous bed!
Our cute apartment from the outside
A few blocks to the left is St. Charles Bridge where you can get the most incredible view of the Prague Castle. A few blocks to the right is Old Town Square where we will begin our exploration of the city tomorrow.  Tonight we took a short walk to the bridge and to get acquainted with the streets around the apartment. Prague is lively, streets full of people, small shops tucked away in every corner. We can’t wait to discover some hidden treasures. 
*Originally posted 6/2011
When you travel, especially during the peak travel season you should always expect hiccups, changes, delays and even frustrations. We arrived at the airport two hours before our flight, which for us is incredible. You can imagine that with four kids we typically arrive at the last minute, running through the security and sitting down just as they closed the doors.  So this time we were pretty proud of ourselves. That is until we handed our passports and itinerary to the ticketing agent and he gave me that look. Dale has flown enough to know that look, either something was wrong or we were in for an adventure. Actually, no matter what the best thing to do is remain calm and just let them explore the options, which is just what we did. 


IMG_3429We soon found that our flight to Atlanta was delayed by over two hours. This definitely put a kink into our one-hour layover in Atlanta connection to Prague. While Curt, our agent was trying to figure out a better solution, Delta emailed Dale twice and called him three times letting him know something we were now well aware of. They had automatically re-routed us from Salt Lake to Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Paris and finally to Prague. Not the best solution in our minds. So we waited while Curt typed away like a teenager texting after drinking three cans of Cola and he came up with a much better solution, a non-stop flight to Paris and then a short flight to Prague. However, because this flight was so full, he couldn’t provide us with seat assignments. Hummmmmmm, new problem, new adventure. In addition, the new flight wasn’t until later in the afternoon, but to our surprise Curt provided us with $60 in food vouchers, which took care of our lunch and was a wonderful surprise. 




We finally got to our gate only to find out that coach was totally full. The only seats were the new Economy Comfort seats Delta sells for an additional $60.00 each, but they do have more legroom and recline twice as far as typical coach seating. To our delight, and because those were the only seats available we were all upgraded at no charge. 




In the end, the lesson learned was; Relax, count on a few delays. Also remember that the frustrations often turn out to be blessings. First, we were wondering what to do about lunch as there was no meal service on our original flight from Salt Lake to Atlanta and we had such a short layover. In this case we had a complementary lunch on Delta. Second, we were upgraded to better seating and a much more palatable itinerary. Yes we have had to spend a few unexpected hours in the airport but we received over $400 in compensation and had fun playing card games with the kids. 




Keep this in mind the next time you run into either a hiccup, change or delay on a future flight. Your outcome will largely be dictated by how you react to the adventure ahead of you. Tomorrow we will be in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and our adventure will not begin, it will just continue.
*Originally posted on 6/2011
We didn’t rent a car while in NYC. Why would you? The cost for parking would probably exceed the cost of having the car and who wants to drive in the city anyway? We did however decide to take a side trip to New Hampshire and stay a night with some friends and visit with our publisher of, ‘day trips from salt lake city’, Available now at Barns & Noble, Amazon, etc….. 
We had taken a shuttle from the airport to our hotel when we landed, which wasn’t the fastest because the evening rush had just began. The cost after tip was about $40.00 for both of us and we figured it wasn’t too bad. We did hear however that once you take the subway and airport train, you’ll never use anything else. 


Our story begins with us believing this is true. Now don’t get us wrong, We love the ease of the Subway in New York, but when your not as familiar as you need to be and it is crowded and you have your luggage, I’m just not sure if the savings are worth the cost. Here is the cost… The station was right across the street from our hotel, big bonus. However we soon learned there are two blue trains that go towards the airport. One has a stop for the Airtrain and one forks off and heads in a different direction. We, of course, were on the fork train. 


We realized this and decided to get off at a mutual stop and catch the correct one to the Airtrain. The train stopped, We got up and headed out the door, I had a little delay from my luggage and when Dale got outside, and turned around he saw the doors shutting with me still on the train. I thought I could stop the doors and stuck my foot between them and as the train proceeded to take off Dale watched me lose my balance and fall back into the train (much to the entertainment of the train passengers). So Dale grabbed his cell phone… no service. He then proceeded to the person at the ticket booth, no help at all. He walked out of the subway to get cell reception with the hope that he would get off at the next stop and do the same. After only a few minutes we connected on the phone. I stayed at that next stop to wait and Dale got on the next train heading in my direction. 


4470_1161829890955_2406006_nWe met back up, got off at the Airtrain and made it to the car rental place no worse for the adventure- just a lot to laugh about! Total cost for both of us to take the train, $4.00 for the subway and $10.00 for the Airtrain, a $25.00 savings but we’re not sure it was worth the gray hairs. When we returned for our last night in the city we took a taxi and then a hired car to head home. The shuttle, taxi and hired car are all about the same cost and we haven’t decided which I thought was better. 

*Update: Did we keep it under our est. $600? Just under….. we had’ buy one get one free airfare’, free hotel credits (which included a buffet breakfast), discount Broadway tickets, and local small food eateries that are inexpensive with great diversity.  We showed up at the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ box office one hour before the performance and asked “What is the best deal you can do?” (Thanks to Richard Paul Evans…. we always use this phrase and have saved thousands)……the guy looked at us, held his finger to his lips and whispered, “The show is about to start so we will sell you 1/2 price tickets close to the front”. SWEET!

Wonderful Weekend for two!



*Originally posted 3/2011