Posts Tagged ‘air travel’

Ferie i USA, del 2 av 2

13.09.2010 17:02

This article is intended for Norwegians who’d like to repeat my vacation last year, either in whole or in part. It contains information on travel, booking and other travel tips when going on vacation to either Las Vegas (Nevada), Orlando (Florida), or both.

Min ferie i fjor sommer (2009) gikk til for første gang utenfor Europa, destinasjon USA, og jeg reiste helt alene. Nå i etterkant tenkte jeg å dele noen tips basert på mine egne erfaringer både i planleggingen og under selve reisen. Jeg føler at disse kan være til nytte for andre som kan tenke seg å reise til USA, og kanskje alene.

Dette er del 2 av 2 i artikkelserien rundt dette temaet. For planleggingsprosessen og innkjøp før avreise, sjekk del 1 i denne serien. Denne delen vil ta for seg selve reisen. (more…)

Earth Hour? What a concept!

02.03.2010 19:53

I recently caught on that my hometown is going to participate in the Earth Hour event, which this year lands on March 27.

Now, I’m all for changing the global climate and protecting the environment and all that. I just don’t think that shutting down non-essential lights and appliances for an hour a year (on a Saturday evening, no less) will do the trick.

We have come to a point in our technological advancement where electricity is a requirement. When we lost power in Ålesund and the surrounding area for an hour last week (mid-day on a Tuesday), our society more or less halted. You need electricity to register bar codes, fry/heat/cook food in cafes/restaurants/fast-food joints, pay with a debit or credit card, pay with cash where things like CashGuard are used, cool things down in fridges and freezers, work at an office (where computers are essential), etc. Basically, while not intended, we’ve already had our Earth Hour.

I see less of a point of the focus on an event like Earth Hour in Norway, where the vast majority of our power production comes from renewable energy. Living in a country full of mountains and subsequent waterfalls does have its benefits.

Also, we export more power than we import, so I don’t really see the point in the power companies’ major need to export power as much as they do.

Basically, with the amount of renewable energy produced in Norway, I simply don’t see the big need to “celebrate” an event like this.

So why do we do it? “Raise awareness?” What good will that actually do? It seems to me that the only countries participating are either already fully aware of the world’s energy and climate problems, or not big enough to make a significant impact in either direction.

We don’t need to cut back on energy consumption, we just need to find more efficient methods of both producing and consuming the energy, and that should be more up to the companies who make the energy production and energy consuming products. Although it’s more or less up to us consumers to select the right products, the companies making the products should be forward enough to do the necessary changes without having to wait on consumers and/or local regulations. And in particular when it comes to energy production, we also need the methods to be environmentally friendly.

To sum up just a couple of the not-so-environmentally-friendly energy production methods:

Fossil fuels: Coal, oil, the burning of wood, stuff like that. Sure, they produce the energy needed, but they icky stuff behind, both in the air and where they actually burn. That dark smoke is not a good thing, you know. Forests are replanted all the time, but unless you can dispose of both the ash and smoke somewhere other than Mother Nature, just skip it. Burning of wood in a fireplace should be saved for the rare occasions.

Fission: Or, in three words: Nuclear power plants. Sure, there’s a high yield compared to any other energy production, but there are also higher risks. Last I heard, nuclear waste still can’t be broken down easily; all they can do is store it in a safe place for a few thousand years in containers built especially for that purpose. Also, if the careful balance of keeping a nuclear reactor online is askew just enough, there are serious consequences, much like dropping a nuclear bomb in the area. Worst case scenario: think Chernobyl.

When it comes to the awareness bit, most of us are already well aware. What we need is for manufacturers to keep up, and preferrably in a quicker speed than now.

After all, if awareness with the consumer is so important to the environment, why aren’t the airlines pushing the manufacturers for more energy efficient airplanes? Instead, they choose to only focus on “reducing your carbon footprint” and buying carbon offsets.

And there’s another less-thought-out plan. Buying carbon offsets is really just marketspeak for paying a country to use some of their carbon emission quota which they weren’t going to use in the first place, and seems to be merely a the modern form of indulgence.

I’m just saying.


18.02.2010 02:28

Believe it or not, I actually got a reply from SAS Norway (airlines) via Twitter, as well as replies to my blog post about my airplane woes earlier this month. Apology was accepted, and I actually learned something new about air travel.

The few of you who actualy read my blog might notice that the comments to my blog post didn’t appear at once. That’s because I’ve set up the blog system to let me approve the first comments from someone (by which time their comments will be auto-approved). This is more to avoid comment spam, something which is (thankfully) due to a secondary system of the new blog system. I always approve comments that are not spam and not direct attacks on my person, just give me time.

Also,  the more perceptive of you might’ve noticed that I also just turned 30. I’m already done ranting about my life achievements, but the big day more or less came and went. I had an aunt and uncle over for coffee and cake (not originally planned), and I’ll have another aunt and uncle over tomorrow (Thursday). I’m having a larger family gathering on Friday (with dinner), and I might go clubbing on Saturday (I haven’t decided just yet). The clubbing run might include finding a special someone, but to avoid being disappointed, I’m not going to make that the primary goal.

I’m a man of very few friends (and many acquaintances), so the clubbing run will also be an alone run, as usual.

I don’t go out clubbing much, really, I go out rougly two or three times a year (not counting when I’m on vacations). I like going where people are (as long as it’s not overcrowded), but since I’m a shy guy, I have difficulty hooking up with anyone, even as basic as “just friends” (my list of actual close friends proves that).

My shyness seems to be my biggest hinder, both with gaining friends and finding a life partner, and I have no idea how to overcome that hinder. Just jumping in to the ocean of relationships is not an option, my shyness sees to that (in case any of you were going to suggest that).

Then again, a compliment I got from a pair of girls at the aforementioned singles party (after the matching cards had been given out) does suggest that I’m boyfriend material. They didn’t seem interested in me in particular, but they were trying to push me to go seek out my matches, as I seemed like a very nice guy who deserved it.

So apparently, I seem like a nice guy, and a safe bet, it’s just that there’s this wall of shyness (and appearance) blocking the view. I just never seem to catch a break, at least not good enough for someone to see the person inside the body fat.

Okay, I’m done now. I promised not to rant too much about my life goals, and yet I did. I guess I just don’t seem to get over it. Ah, the sad life of a loner.

Too fat for airplanes?

15.02.2010 18:58

Over the recent year, I’ve had more than a fair share of airplane travel. My trip to the US last summer encompassed 10 flights alone (to and from), and my trip to Oslo last weekend counts as two additional flights (including the return flight).

Some of you might’ve caught film director Kevin Smith‘s recent trouble with Southwest Airlines, where he was, in essence, kicked off the flight because he was too fat – after being seated. He had paid for two seats (which is already a bullshit premise), but arrived so early at the airport, so he decided to jump on standby for an earlier flight. That earlier flight only had a single seat available, which mr. Smith didn’t mind – in his words; “I didn’t buy an extra seat because I’m fat (which I am), but because I’m anti-social and didn’t want to sit next to someone & possibly have to make convo (in person, I’m very shy)”. According to his story on Twitter, he was seated between to ladies, and he fit the seat perfectly without an extender, yet, the captain didn’t want him on the flight because he was a security risk.

When I returned from the singles party in Oslo last Sunday, I had a similar problem. I had checked in to my flight with SAS the night before using their mobile website, just to make sure I actually would be on the flight, considering it was the last flight of the evening (SK 1334 from Oslo to Ålesund at 9:45 PM on Feb 7, to be exact).

Knowing that seat rows with the emergency exits have slightly more leg room, and considering that I had no problem sitting next to an emergency exit on of the US flights last year, I checked in to seat 11A, which on this flight is the window seat smack dab next to the emergency exit. This was even indicated clearly on the seat chart during check-in (which is why I selected that seat).

As I said, sitting next to an emergency exit is not a problem for me, even if there should be problems during the flight. I have enough arm strength to rip the door handle right off if/when needed, I can remain calm in an emergency, and I can be more than helpful guiding my fellow passengers out the emergency exit if the plane should be damaged enough to make for a hasty exit. I sat next to an emergency exit at one of the flights in the US (I don’t remember which flight at the moment), and I even sat next to an emergency exit on my flight down to Oslo earlier that same weekend. As on all flights in recent years, I was wearing a seat belt extender, and on both previous occasions, I was only asked if I was able to handle the emergency exit if an emergency should arise, in addition to being asked about language barriers and my understanding of the additional instructions when seated next to an emergency exit.

However, on this last flight, I was told that since I was wearing a seat belt extender, I had to move to a different seat, due to being considered a security risk. I was even compared to a woman with child (pregnant or with a new born), and was told that anyone requiring a seat belt extender could not be seated next to an emergency exit. Not one to cause a scene, I reluctantly moved to the seat row behind my original seat, as that flight had about 20, maybe 30 passengers in total (and both seat rows in front and behind my original seat were empty). I was kinda grumpy the rest of the flight, to say the least.

In recent times, I always ask for a seat belt extender the second I board the flight. Sometimes they give it to me there and then, and sometimes they bring it to my seat after the boarding queue has died down. When I flew to Oslo that weekend (SK 1331 the Friday before), the attendant brought it to my seat – knowing full well that I was sitting in a seat next to the emergency exit. I was only asked the usual questions regarding emergency instructions etc.

For some reason, the flight attendant on that particular Sunday flight had a beef with me.

I mean, if there’s such a security problem regarding seating next to emergency exits, why even allow passengers to check in without problems to these seats? Also, it’s the first time I’ve even heard of such a regulation.

I fit snugly into airplane seats with the arm rests down, no problem, it’s just that the seat belt itself doesn’t reach all the way around. If I stand on my knees on the seat, people can pass by me without any problems, so frankly, I don’t see why I couldn’t sit there.

I originally was going to let this one slide by silently, but with the issues Kevin Smith had today,  I just couldn’t shut my mouth much longer.

Between Ålesund and Oslo, there are only two airlines available; SAS and Norwegian. Norwegian (Air Shuttle) is the cheapest choice of the two, but you do get to bare minimum. A friend of mine used Norwegian Air Shuttle on a trip to London a few months ago, and had trouble with flight delays due to weather (where SAS re-routed the flights to the neighboring city (Molde), Norwegian instead let the airplanes return to Oslo), in addition to not getting any service or information during these delays (something which she noticed the passengers with SAS got – SAS, to their credit, even set up bus trips to Molde so people would get to their destinations). This little story made me select SAS for my flights out of Ålesund. Yes, they are a little bit more expensive (anywhere from 100 to 300 NOK extra), but you (usually) get a whole lot more customer service out of those extra money.

Then again, that single flight attendant did kinda ruin my flight that day. I know how Kevin Smith must feel.