JetBlueing as much as I can

During my childhood our travels took place by car and camping wagon, car and tent and sometimes trains and hotels & hostels. It was easy as I grew up in Denmark, and we traveled all over Europe. I don’t know the number of times I’ve been to Sweden, Germany and France. I think I went to Italy 7 times. It’s easy to travel by car in Europe.

me and my opel kadett
Me and my Opel Kadett somewhere in Europe.

So it wasn’t until I was 21 years old that I took my first flight. Which was transatlantic. Directly CPH-EWR with SAS. I’ll talk about my experiences with New York the first time in a later post. I flew back and forth thirteen times and once to LA. I flew many different airlines. My favorite was Icelandair with the stop-over in Keflavik in Iceland. Anyways …

When I finally had to start flying domestically I didn’t have a preference. I was going from JFK to LAX and of course I wanted an affordable ticket, but I also wanted a great miles system and not have to add a bunch of extra expenses. I like to chose my seat when I book the flight without seeing the total go up, you feel me?

After asking around and comparing prices for the desired dates I went with JetBlue. Some in my network advised me not to go with JetBlue… told me horrible experiences they had had with them.
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Well the price was right so August 2014 I took my first flight with JetBlue. I thought it was GREAT! From the people at the gate, the flight attendants and the amble space surrounding me on a regular seat (not a More Space seat), the free snacks and drinks to the Wi-Fi. Oh dear, I was really pleased!
You gotta understand, when you’re used to flying international the idea of domestic flying makes you feel like a second-class citizen.

The flight back from LAX was just as great and before I knew it – JetBlue.com was the only place I looked for tickets. From august 2014 to November of 2016 I have gathered enough TrueBlue Miles to get at least 3x r/t tickets JFK-LAX. I combined my several trips with the American Express card to get bonus miles (now the Barclay card), and I was able to also earn the ‘Lucky Seven’ and ‘Take 3’ in 2015 which all added a nice portion of miles.

I like their Fare calendar and the fact that I was able to get a one-way ticket to LAX on Oct 31 for $31 last year. I also like their social media group who answers my tweets. See below.

But, newyawkerr, is there something you don’t like about JetBlue?
Well! I did have one horrible experience with them flying from Chicago last December. The flight attendants were beyond rude and lacking total clue. It was a completely full flight and I unfortunately only had an option of a middle seat. I usually prefer window seats but it is what it is. This time my middle seat was between two very tall and also heavy-set men. I’m not a small woman myself so obviously this was a little awkward but I joked about it as I was squeezing down between the two. Well, how can that be the flight attendants faults? It was … This was not the men’s seats. They had both purchased ‘More Space’ seats but the flight attendants refused to honor that for whatever reason. To make matters worse, one of the men had an injury to his leg so he was in pain sitting in a cramped space. He had tried to explain that to the flight attendant but yada yada we were still stuck all three of us together. The flight attendant gave us an attitude when the men were trying to explain that for legitimate reasons they needed those ‘More Space’ seats.
Anyways…I tweeted about it and the fact that they replied right away and that the flight attendants finally understood the situation and gave the guy with the injured leg an aisle seat made it almost forgivable. I mean we’re not all on our best behavior every single day on the job. Are we?

Jetblue tweets dec 2015
I also like that JetBlue is New York based. Because I love everything NY. And for no other reason that that … here’s a picture I took flying from LAX to JFK with JetBlue last November.

JetBlue NYC
All in all, JetBlue has satisfied my flying needs and I’m excited to finally use some of my TrueBlue miles when my baby son and I are traveling to Palm Springs later this month. It’s going to be interesting to see if JetBlue is also measuring up when it comes to accommodating me flying with an infant.

Stay tuned … the blog is soon to turn into everything regarding #TravelingWithMarkus

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Disclaimer: I was not gifted a free flight, More Space or extra free snacks for this review. This review is solely based on my own personal experience and though I’m easily persuaded I was not. However, JetBlue, if you happen to read this review please consider giving me an empty seat next to me and my infant baby on flight 149 on November 14, 2016, going JFK-PSP and/or flight 150 PSP-JFK on December 2, 2016. Thank you!

Silver Star – Amtrak

After flying east coast to west coast, and then north to south I had had enough of flying. And since the return ticket by air from Orlando to NY was expensive, I figured – why not pay that extra few dollars ($20) and experience the Amtrak ride that I had been daydreaming about for a long time.
So I booked a ticket with a private roomette in a sleeper car from Orlando to New York City, on the Silver Star – December 13, 2015. Total price was $375, $239 being the extra for the roomette.

LINXI took the LINX bus from Orlando (MCO) airport, to Downtown Orlando and walked the 10 minutes from the bus stop to the Amtrak Station. I arrived early, hoping I could find a restaurant or deli close by and stuck up on foods since the Silver Star for the time being doesn’t have a dining card in function. However, no such luck!

20151213_17054320151213_172010I sat at the waiting terminal for over an hour – was very fascinated with the old look and feel to it. The wooden benches and the old phone booths. It was really nice! A couple of hours of waiting while eaves dropped to the other people’s conversations. Nothing interesting, but it made time fly by fast.

20151213_17214520151213_17213820151213_190903Just 10-15 minutes before the arrival of the train we were asked to go outside an wait in line. I was first in line – super excited – and when the train rolled in at the station I felt like a kid in a candy store.

20151213_19112620151213_192417The attendant in my car, Doug, was very friendly and understood my excitement. After introducing me to the roomette and the amenities I was asked when I wanted the bed made. I told him in about half an hour. I enjoyed leaving the Orlando train station and off we went …. There wasn’t much to see out the windows as it was already dark, so I decided to call it an early night. 20151213_19261020151213_192621

It was hard to fall asleep. But eventually I did and sleep was relatively pleasant. I woke up a couple of times during the night to look out the windows but not seeing much. Early next morning I was up – ready to take in the sights! And also get some coffee – which was free!

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20151214_091346It was a nice way of traveling especially after flying so much for days! It was relaxing and the many beautiful sights that flew by gave me great incentive to travel more by train… Though it was December, and therefore relatively grey weather I still got a peek at some of the wonderful nature and small towns occupying the east coast.

20151214_084457 20151214_083051 20151214_072933 20151214_103052 20151214_090515 20151214_130945 20151214_135509We were able to get out of the train a couple of times to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Not that I felt like I really needed it but I did get out at Staples Mill Road station in Virginia, and again in Washington, DC.

20151214_084608 20151214_130704I ate a lot of the different “snacks” from the dining car which was a little costly and not very exciting but some well-known staples such as microwaveable cheeseburger and some cheese danishes, as well as a veggie tray with carrots and hummus.

Over all … I’d say that it was worth the price getting the roomette, it was a little dream come true and I can’t wait to ride the Southwest Chief one day …

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Flying United Airlines

As you may know I decided to be a loyal JetBlue customer. I’ve had several trips cross-country with them – all of which have been pleasant! But this past week I had to make a quick, last-minute flight and JetBlue was simply too expensive. A R/T from JFK to LAX would have been close to $700.

So instead I got into search-mode and after several hours of trying to mix one-ways with Amtrak I finally came upon ebookers.ie and scored myself a $270 R/T with United Airlines. Which is a relatively unheard of price – especially the day after Thanksgiving!

Only but! Going there, I’d only have 32 minutes layover to change plans in Houston, Texas (IAH) which also included a change of terminal. Going back, I have approx. 8 hours layover in Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Oh … and I’d arrive in Newark, NJ (EWR) instead of New York, NY (JFK) which is my favorite airport in the City. Anyways … Ticket was good, and I didn’t want to spend more money than neccesary this time around.

Now – I’ve never flown United Airlines before but figured it couldn’t be that much of a difference from JetBlue. But it was! The level of service was much lower than what I get at JetBlue, and the seats are more narrow with lesser legroom. They don’t have complimentary WiFi, and the flight from Houston to Los Angeles did not have entertainment screens. Instead they were advertising their “Personal Device Entertainment” which didn’t work. They had complimentary soft drinks, but no complimentary snacks. And they only went through the plane with the cart once on both flights (LGA-IAH, and IAH-LAX).

Granted – we did have quite a bit of turbulence on the last leg of the trip, but I found it odd that there could be so many difference between two airlines. Especially since the latter could be perceived as a “better quality” airline.

(Looking forward to add my experiences flying LAX-LAS, and LAS-EWR tomorrow… Stay tuned)

Big Bus Tours Las Vegas

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I gotta say that when it comes to sightseeing I’m a little biased. Being a NYC Licensed tour guide and everything. Even more so when I went on the double decker bus with Big Bus Tours Las Vegas!

I went to Vegas for the second time in March 2015. At the time, I was working as a tour guide with Big Bus New York and had gotten the “friends & family discount” (read: free tickets) so I was excited to see the Strip and Downtown Freemont Street from the bus rather than walking or trying to attempt to drive around. 2015-03-13 19.59.05

I’ve been in Las Vegas about 4-5 months earlier but didn’t do much sightseeing that time.

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This is my review (taken directly from my TripAdvisor):

“We first did The Strip tour which was really fun; easy way to see the many sights the strip has to offer without the hassle of walking or driving around. Our tour guide was really cool, informative and had a great personality. And when she told me she just started working for the company; I was amazed! Big applause for Jillian!

Later, we took The Downtown tour which is very different from The Strip tour – however, it offered an insight to the “real” Las Vegas plus many nice sights such as the pawn shop from Pawn Stars as well as a multitude of wedding chapels. Our tour guide, Brian aka Marc was F-U-N-N-Y! Perfect engagement with customers, great knowledge and still super professional. Jose was the driver on that tour, and he did a great job! Always good to appreciate the professional driver’s capabilities to take us around town in a safe and smooth ride. Thumps up!

The buses were a little on the older side, but they were surprisingly clean. It’s live tour guide, with speakers and it was not a problem hearing them at all.”

2015-03-13 19.16.29 I had the pleasure to speak with both Jillian and Brian after the tour, comparing notes between Big Bus LV and Big Bus NY. After the conversations I felt a little jealous and even to this day (1.5 years later) the possibility of relocating to Las Vegas for a while and applying for a position with Big Bus Tours is still very much growing.
For now though, we’re staying put here in NY.

If you ever travel to Las Vegas and are considering utilizing Big Bus Tours then I’d say go for it. As with any hop on/hop off sightseeing company – if your guide is less than brilliant – jump off and get back on the next bus. We were blessed with two funny, intelligent guides and if they ever were to read this blog – say hi!

Of course I took a bunch of photos – because when do I not? You can click in below if you want to:

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Through my professional line of work as the founder of NYC & Tours I can actually now sell you tickets to Big Bus Tours in New York – so if you ever come to NY, email me: [email protected] and mention ‘newyawkerr’ for 10% off. The above review have nothing to do with that … it was written long before I became a vendor 😉