For women going places

10 minutes through security


It took 10 minutes to get through security at LaGuardia Airport, New York, this afternoon. The TSA agents were restrictive regarding the sizes and number of carry-on bags (adhering to 2 bag limits). There are more agents than in the recent past and bomb-sniffing dogs roaming the terminal.

My husband's bags were flagged because of a containder of talc powder in his carry-on. The talc powder was purchased to get rid of a grease stain on his pants -- he never travels with such an item. Boarding passes are needed to continue through security.

All in all not too painful -- the passengers are being diligent, respectful and on alert. Now for the fun part - will our flight be on time?

See you on the road.

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Life's Luggage


I recently saw the movie 'Up in the Air', and being a road warrior was struck by how well the story relates the turbulence and benefits of life as a Road Warrior - from the sub-culture of business travel to the frequent flyer miles, to the ever-urgent elite status, and the focus on the connections (people, places and flights).

In addition to his day job, Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) is a motivational speaker and his talk is titled "What's in your Backpack". His philosophy is that the lighter your backpack the better - aka don't carry around too much baggage - yours or anyone else's. His lifestyle epitomizes keeping his baggage light although in the end he violates his own rule and starts carrying people around with him (first the cardboard people - his sister and fiancee), then the trainee (Natalie) and then Alex (the love interest).

I was struck by the luggage metaphor and thought I'd pass on how to keep your luggage/baggage light and the travel experience positive.

Don't try to do it alone. As Ryan says "everybody needs a co-pilot" - or as I like to say "who's your guy"? Trying to manage a busy work schedule, family (single or married) and travel takes finesse. Rely on your assistant, get yourself a driver, be on a first name basis with the hotel concierge and befriend the customer service or travel agent. Yes, we are all great at multi-tasking, but, offload the mundane and personally take on only the tasks that add the most value.

Loyalty Leads to Royalty - Hotels, Airlines, and Car Rental agencies reward returning customers. So aptly demonstrated in the film. The perks can range from upgrades to first class, to complimentary meals, to concierge treatment and a BMW when you've only rented a Subaru. These upgrades can translate into an entirely unique and more enjoyable travel experience. I encourage you to sign-up for the loyalty programs and get into the fast lane.

A Time Traveler's Life - Cut out the wasted check-in time and waiting in lines throughout your trip. At each step in the travel timeline, you lose valuable time waiting. Ryan Bingham uses a system supported by his own stereotypes and it's so true that I've scoped out who's in line ahead of me and gone through my own set of calculations. Although I must say, Bingham's TSA two-step was quite elegant - what about yours?

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Mileage Points - Using, Getting and Keeping


Given the cost of air travel, frequent flyer miles can be a preferred solution to getting "home for the holidays". But redeeming miles for air travel requires planning or suffering the consequences of unexpected costs.

Fees and fine print to watch for:

  • Speaking directly with an airline representative to book your travel comes with a fee of $20-$25 dollars. Book your reservation directly on the airlines website and save money.
  • Certain airlines impose a fee if travel is not booked within 21 days of departure. American Airlines assess travelers $50 for travel booked 21-6 days prior to travel and $100 for travel 6 days to 2 hours prior to departure. Delta has a similar process for travel plans made within 21 days of departure. Fees for award travel booked with United Airlines are assessed within 24 hours of departure. The earlier the better when redeeming miles.
  • Change fees apply for award travel. Airlines will now assess a fee for changing the origin or destination of travel, route changes or canceling and for re-crediting miles back to your account. Fees begin at $150.
  • Beware of blackout dates. Although the airlines have reduced the dates that are restricted for award travel there are still some dates that are prohibited.

Airlines have the right to change their award programs' terms and conditions at their discretion and they do. Unused miles have an expiration date. Be aware so you don't lose them.

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