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Monthly Archives: June 2014

In the event of a water landing: Mom cleaning up seat after ‘todler accident’ causes JetBlue flight to return to gate

"Manneken Pis in Brussels" licence :  CreativeCommons.org Myrabella.

“Manneken Pis in Brussels” licence : CreativeCommons.org Myrabella.

Trajan was initially a bit perplexed on the story hitting the interweb about JetBlue and how a Flight attendent treated a mother whose 3 year old daughter needed to go potty while it was queued up on the Tarmac before taking off.

The story was that a Mom was refused permission to take her 3 year old daughter to the restroom and ordered to stay put in their seat. The tot ended up wetting herself and when mother stood up the clean it up, the FA called into the pilot who turned the plane around to return to the gate, announcing over the intercom that there was a “non-compliant” passenger on board and they were bringing her to security.

The good news is that she was not arrested and allowed to stay on the flight. It turned out that a fellow passenger was an off duty Pilot and stood up for the mother. The other piece of the information to put some context to the story is that the plane had already waited 30 minutes on the Tarmac and the airport was JFK, a busy airport.

We see both sides:

  1. The FA whose responsibility is to keep passengers seated as anytime the flight could be taxing for takeoff. In fact on a recent International flight, we saw one Idjiot stand up while taxing down the runway to open the overhead to get something out of his bag. The FA screamed down the Tannoy “SIR SIT DOWN NOW” to which he turned around with a “who me?” look. He quickly sat down as plane started climbing.
  2. The other side is that as a mother, she wanted to not to want to have her daughter sit in pee while in public.

Continue reading..

A job for the Ubermensch

While walking his 2 Roam’n war dogs, Trajan listened into the local NPR station where Marketplace was playing. Generally we consider Marketplace to be rather lightweight when it comes to economic news but there was an section on there about “Uber”. It apparently has been valued at $18 Billion.

The latest venture-capital investment in Uber, a mobile app that allows users to hail a ride in a town car or taxi, pegs the company’s value at more than $18 billion. That’s more than United Airlines or Sony, just shy of what car-rental Avis and Hertz are worth together. That may seem high for a company with direct competition like LyftSidecar and the entire taxi industry.

For Uber to be worth what investors are betting, the company might need to capture half of the worldwide market for taxis, says Andy Brennan, author of a recent report on that industry from IBIS World Research.  “I can’t see that ever happening,” he says. “Generally taxi customers are quite price-conscious.”

A ride in one of Uber’s town cars costs more than a cab. “The average person who gets a taxi is not necessarily going to use Uber on a regular basis,” Brennan says.

However, competing with taxis isn’t Uber’s goal. The company’s CEO has identified a much bigger competitor: The personal automobile.

$18B for an app that allows you to book a car at a higher price than a Taxi ? If the Venture capitalists are telling you this, then it is likely an example of “the Greater fool” theory. They need to stoke up the hype to get you to buy it from them during the yet to be determined IPO.

Not only that but the Uber model itself faces an uphill struggle for acceptance. In San Antonio, the police chief is threatening users of Uber’s sister app – Lyft  – with jail on the grounds that they do not conform to Taxi restrictions. Afterall, police have the protection of the cities revenue stream public safety  to consider. Continue reading..

Met your match

Night at Opera Poster: Source IMdb

Night at Opera Poster: Source IMdb

BBC news most shared article is “Metropolitan Opera could go bankrupt in ‘in two years’

The boss of New York’s Metropolitan Opera says it will “face a bankruptcy situation in two or three years” if it does not cut its wages bill.

General Manager Peter Gelb was speaking to BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters programme about the Met’s current funding issues.

He proposed cutting 16% of its $200m (£119m) labour costs by changing work rules for the orchestra and chorus.

Gelb also defended spending $169,000 (£100,000) on a poppy field stage set for the opera Prince Igor.

Unions have already threatened strike action over the proposed pay cuts, which are up for debate before the players’ current contracts expire at the end of July.

What’s this got to do with travel ? Roads-2-Roam recently wrote about attractions of New York City and under the the Lincoln Center, we said the “Met” was home to the Metropolitan Opera Company we said. Well, perhaps it will not be in a few years so we’ll need to note that for future revisions. Continue reading..

Stanz-el Deliver : Strange museum in little town Texas

Sign coming into Schulenberg, Texas from I10 East

Signs coming into Schulenberg, Texas from I10 East

I have driven past this during my many journeys to Houston from San Antonio.

It must have had a continuous drip effect on my curiosity as I eventually stopped to check out the Stanzel museum with my kids. The museum is about the two Brothers who manufactured wooden model airplanes starting in 1930’s. The museum has a small workshop, a small house with old furniture and an exhibition of the models. You can see it all in 15 minutes.

How quaint you may say but it it was one of the strangest museums that I have ever visited.

It was strange not because of it’s content, but it’s reason for existence. You see, the business ceased trading around 1950’s/1960’s. I came away questioning (and still question) the point of this museum. If this was a successful modern business, then I would expect they kept it for PR purposes.

Since the Stanzel company no longer trades and nobody wants to license the brand, my presumption it is that the museum is a foundation that was left money by the Stanzel brothers to tell their story: It will exist until the money runs out.

Today I drove past it again. I was reminded of a certain song by some English musicians, Mr McCartney and Mr Lennon:

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

 

Taking you for a (park and) ride: Devil in the details in Central Parking signs

“Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.” Thomas Wilder.

20140603-084046.jpgExcept that we didn’t have such a positive impression of Providence aiming high or good. This is story number two on Sneaky bastards of Rhode Island. By co-incidence, it is story number two about a $11 rate.

We were driving in downtown Providence and looking for somewhere to park. Having driven past a few managed parking lots that said $11, we came across a multi-level parking garage with a sign outside. $11 seemed to be going rate and even if if we had to park on the roof, so be it.

Less that three hours later, we go to pay in the automatic machine: $14.80. Since there was no human around, we thought, Chiselers.

This bugged us so much we took the picture to complain and still we couldn’t see how we had gone wrong: We were out by easily by 6:00pm, we parked on the roof.

It wasn’t until 2 days later looking at the picture again, did we notice it in the small print: you must be in by 8am. Grr, You sneaky sneaky bastards. Who on earth can spot that from a car as you are driving past?

F’ you Central Parking

Ripov Andropov : When is a cab not a cab?

So we ask our hotel to book us a cab from our Middleton RI Hotel. The front desk says the taxis are busy and it will be about 20 minutes.

15 minutes later we walk to the foyer and there is someone there looking for his passengers. Turns out the cab is a small SUV / jeep that looks like a regular private car. I note that the driver has an iphone only to track the journey. No meter or license.

About 2.5 miles later, we are dropped off at a hotel just of Newport Beach. The cost $15. I include a good tip.

Later friends arrive by Taxi who happened to be staying at the same hotel. Still wondering about our cab and the iphone, I ask what their fare was for same distance: $11.

20140603-083429.jpgAfter our party had finished, we caught a taxi cab back this time with our friends. This is one had a meter: even with 5 in the cab, the cost was still only $11.

That sneaky bastard.

Since he gave us a card expecting further rip off business, we are returning the favor. The number NOT to call if you are in the Newport or Middleton RI and need a taxi is 401-855-2666.