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Author Topic: Headed out!
sbalax
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We will be onboard #14 tomorrow (4 Sep) headed from SBA to TAC. I have the duct tape. Any other last minute suggestions? Oh, we also have two 3 liter boxes of wine from Trader Joe's.

Frank in hot and humid SBA

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Vincent206
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Rain gear! We've had a beautiful spring and summer in the Pacific Northwest, but the next few days don't look so good. Sorry.
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yukon11
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How much time will you have in the Tacoma area, Frank?

There are a number of things in and around Tacoma which might be of interest.

The old NP Union Station in Tacoma. My sister took the tour and said it was interesting.

The town of Steilacoom, the oldest town in Washington. It's right on Puget Sound just southwest of Tacoma. Probably the thing to see is the old Blair Drug and Hardware store, which is now a restaurant.

Mt. Railner Scenic RR at Elbe.

Richard

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sbalax
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Vincent--

Yep, umbrella packed but it looks as if it won't be too cold.

Richard--

We're only there until Sunday Afternoon but the reunion committee has several things planned including the Museum of Flight and the Glass and Car museums.

We'll be in the Santa Rosa area on one of our port days in San Francisco. We've rented a van and are going to the Kendall-Jackson winery for tasting.

Thanks, guys, for the suggestions.

Frank in way too hot SBA

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yukon11
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OK, Frank. Let us know how you liked the Flight Museum & glass/car museum.

My favorite Kendall-Jackson wine is their private reserve chardonnay.

Richard

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DonNadeau
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Know it's super practical for traveling but can't get used to the word "box" in connection with wine!

If it doesn't interfere with your Tacoma plans, hope the Starlight is late so you can enjoy the scenery north of Redding. Not too late though.

--------------------
@DonNadeau

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sbalax
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There are some very nice wines that come in boxes now. The Aussies started it. They also were pioneers in plastic corks and screw tops. We did a wine tasting on our last cruise and the Cellar Master said that he feels cork corkage will be a thing of the past in ten years if not sooner.

We've had the pleasure of being late enough to see the loop around Shasta but this time we'd rather be closer to on-time.

Interestingly today's (9/3) #14 is running late but they show it quite early into Seattle tomorrow. Padding in the schedule?

Frank in still unusually warm SBA

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sbalax
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Richard--

We drink a lot of Kendall-Jackson on ships but the winery of choice on this "America's Cup and Wine Cruise" is Chateau Ste. Michelle. They will be doing tastings and demos or pairings, etc.

We've been to the Museum of Flight before but there is always something new.

Frank in still way too warm SBA

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smitty195
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Have a great trip! My buddy just got off #14 today in Portland. He started in Sacramento yesterday (missed you guys by two days!), and now he is on #28 heading to MSP. The Starlight was on-time the whole way, and he had PPC # 39975. He said it was a great crew as well. Oh I can't wait to take a trip!
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palmland
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Have a good trip, Frank. When we drink white wine, Chateau Ste. Michele is our favorite. We think the Riesling is great (but not the sweet version).
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Mike Smith
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Chateau Ste. Michelle has an excellent merlot.

The box wine I like, right now, is Black Box merlot. At $17, it is a little pricey for box wine, but well worth it, while I wait on Red Diamond to come out with a boxed merlot wine.

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Vincent206
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The things that degrade the quality of wine once it leaves the vineyard are temperature fluctuations, exposure to light or oxygen and breakage. Cardboard boxes might not insulate as well as glass, but they are equal or better on the other tests. Glass bottles also add tremendously to the transportation cost with extra weight and inefficient use of space. Of course, a cardboard box isn't as romantic as a glass bottle; but for casual dining, a box is fine (if the original product was fine).

One Santa Monica restaurant has decided to ditch the wine bottle and pour its wines from stainless steel casks. The consumer still gets a quality product without having to pay for the extra shipping cost.

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sbalax
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We are in Portland and have made up the hour+ that we were behind. Good trip with a good crew. There were some provisioning issues but nothing major. I'll do a more complete report after we return home on Sunday night.

Frank in cool and overcast PDX.

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Vincent206
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Thunderstorms and heavy rain are predicted for Frank's arrival tonight in Tacoma, but the weekend should be dry and fairly nice.
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smitty195
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Any wine drinkers here ever try this?:

http://www.copadivino.com

I saw it on Shark Tank.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Well volks, here was my Wine List for last year's Block Party; still working on this year's:

Neighbors--

This year I would like to share a Viognier varietal and a Blend from Santa Barbara County CA and where the movie “Sideways” dear to us oenophiles was filmed.. This Viognier grape was first grown in the Rhone Region of France (Southeast; near Avignon) and is the base of many white wines produced there. While it has been grown over here for some time, it had only been used as a “blending” grape with the quite familiar Chardonnay. :

Viognier, 2009 Zaca Mesa. No flavor overpowers another, yet the fruits honeysuckle and modest oak flavoring result in a wine, from my taste test, result in a memorable wine experience.

Blend - 53% Viognier, 33% Grenache Blanc, 14% Roussanne. 2009 Nadia. The dominant Viognier grape need no further introduction. The Grenache Blanc varietal also traces its origin to the Rhone Valley and is highlighted with its citrus and herbaceous flavors. The Roussanne grape is also from the Rhone Valley and is used primarily as a blending grape for wines produced is several regions worldwide.

For those who would prefer a “Red” (BLG15 et al):

Shiraz, 2009 Peter Lehman; First, let it be noted that there is no affiliation whatever with this Australian winemaker and the Estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings. The Shiraz grape is known as Syrah in its region of origin - the Rhone Valley of France, but has adopted its name Shiraz when grown in Australia among other localities. I have now taste tested the varietal and I find it is moderate in body, yet with bouquet and taste of dark fruits and spices. Shiraz/Syrah wines are produced in many regions worldwide.

Also, if I may suggest, if at all reasonably possible, how about going home and get some glass wineware (no; not the Baccarat wedding set, just glass). Your enjoyment will surely be enhanced.

Finally, I should note that this year the wines were purchased at All Wined Up - Downtown Clarendon Hills’ own wine retailer and were made possible in part by a generous grant from The Murphy Foundation.

With neighborly friendship to all; Gil - #22

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RRRICH
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Gil -- sounds good! Are we all invited to your block party?

[Smile] [Smile] [Smile]

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Railroad Bob
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Gilbert, you are the "Lucius Beebe" of our Board in many ways. Nothing wrong with looking at the finer things in life, but hold off on the top hat, tails and morning coat if you go to the Coffee House with a View, maybe. (Comparison intended only as the highest compliment GB!)

Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge fan of Beebe and his lifestyle. Had his own private railcar and was the consummate rail aficionado/photographer and razor sharp wordsmith.
Society didn't know what to make of him, as he confounded his fans and critics alike with pure, effortless style. He also knew his way around a cocktail or wine glass.

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Henry Kisor
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Beebe (and his sidekick Charles Clegg) were gay men at a time when expressing that could land one in prison. Their flamboyance may have been a way to divert attention from their core sexuality by paradoxically calling attention to stereotype. Or something. Their fellow journalists of the time were fond of them, partly because they sparked so many funny stories in the saloons.

Beebe is somewhat unreliable as a railroad historian because of his tendency to embellish. But he sure is readable.

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smitty195
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Have any of you guys been aboard their car, the "Virginia City"? I've been on-board twice, and it's definitely not my type of PV. It's like a rolling museum, and I'm not a big museum type of guy. The owner said that there is millions of dollars worth of artwork on-board, but I dunno....I'm not an art appraiser or anything, but I just saw a lot of old, dusty, "gaudy" junk. The master bedroom still has the original name plate on the door of, "Lucious Beebe". One thing that this particular PV needs is an "extreme makeover". Especially the kitchen. Just picture a 1960's mini apartment with a tiny kitchen and very old, run down appliances where only half the stuff works. That's pretty much what the Virginia City has.

Now MY type of PV would be like what Cincinnati Railcar offers. "The Observatory" is gorgeous and modern, the Birch Grove is a neat sleeper, and a few other cars in their fleet are very nice. The lounge in The Observatory is so comfortable----rich, wood paneling everywhere, a big flat screen TV (with the type of satellite TV you can watch "on the move"), a modern kitchen with regular commercial fridge, nice couches and chairs, and a beautiful dome. If I could afford it, that's what I would charter.

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smitty195
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I should mention there is one car that I think is worse than Virginia City, decoration-wise: Patron Tequila Express. OMG!!!!! Has anyone seen the interior of that car? I know they spent millions, but WOW, it's a hot mess. I am not sure exactly what they were going for in the look, but it's all over the place. Whew!
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Railroad Bob
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Henry, great short synopsis above of Beebe and his era. Looking beyond his true personal details, I think he transcended all that in his more outward presentations, writings, incredible photography and sheer "raconteur-ism." He never was "sloppy" in dress or behavior. He did work hard at that, in order to make it look so effortless. You're right, if he came into your saloon some evening, everyone there knew they were in for a swell evening! I believe the New Yorker called him "Luscious Lucius."

I just wish I had 1/10th of his "style!"

Smitty, you're right about the Virginia City. Maybe a few too many gilded wooden angels in the architecture, for sure. But the car did represent the guys who rode in it (L. and C.)

Now back to Frank's thread-sorry for the Beebe derail!

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yukon11
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Lucius Beebe's "The Trains We Rode" is a great reference book on the US passenger train glory years. I see it is priced at $45.00 at Amazon. Kind of expensive but woth it, in my opionion. I wish it would come out in a cheaper, large paperback format.

Richard

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Gilbert B Norman
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Here's the Wine List for this year's Block Party which is tonight:

Neighbors--

This year I would like to share a favorite from last year - a Blend from Santa Barbara County CA and where the movie “Sideways” dear to us oenophiles was filmed.. I’d also like to share a new wine experience from which I learned of from The Wall Street Journal. All selections this year have been ‘taste tested’ by me under professional conditions.

Apremont Pierre Boniface Savoie 2011. I only discovered wines from this Alpine region of France this past year after reviewing a Wall Street Journal article reviewing them. I first served this Savoie during the ‘adult hour’ at a graduation party this past June (some of you know Meg). Without having previously taste tested, I had no idea to expect, but from those who to share, this wine got rave reviews - and over a considerably higher priced French Sauvignon Blanc I also brought for the occasion. This wine is predominately the Jacquere grape and results in a light fruity taste highlighted with spices. I truly consider it to be my ‘find’ of 2013.

Blend - 53% Viognier, 33% Grenache Blanc, 14% Roussanne. 2009 Nadia.
The dominant Viognier grape need no further introduction. The Grenache Blanc varietal also traces its origin to the Rhone Valley and is highlighted with its citrus and herbaceous flavors. The Roussanne grape is also from the Rhone Valley and is used primarily as a blending grape for wines produced is several regions worldwide.

For those who would prefer a “Red” :

Zinfandel 2007 Rocking Z; Dry Creek, Sonoma CA. Although Zinfandel receives a ‘bad rap’ from the semi-sweet White Zinfandel that is vintnered to meet a ‘low end price point’, the Red grape produces wines that are filled with bright fruit, balanced acidity, and notes of blackberries and pepper. It is light bodied yet strong enough that a drinker will consider the Zinfandel varietal to be a serious wine.

Also, may I suggest, if at all reasonably possible, how about going home and get some glass wineware (no; not the Baccarat wedding set, just glass). Your enjoyment will surely be enhanced.

Finally, I’d like to give a ‘shout out’ to our own wine retailer - All Wined Up located in Downtown Clarendon Hills, and, again, the wines we share this evening were made possible in part by a generous grant from The Murphy Foundation.

With neighborly friendship to all; Gil - #22

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Mike Smith
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When I win the Lotto, Warren and Evelyn Henry and my family are going to get real familiar with each other, as we tour the US and Canada.

http://phcp.com/warren.htm

I bet I dump a quarter million dollars on that ride!

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sbalax
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We ended up only about ten minutes late into Tacoma which has a very nice, modern station.

We are having a great time at the Reunion and have found Tacoma to be a fascinating city to visit. It has great museums and eateries without some of the crowding and hustle of Seattle. Yesterday we spent at the Museum of Flight and today the morning was spent at the Museum of Glass and the Le May car museum

Smittly's comment about the galley on Virginia City. The Air Force One (technically Air Force Two because it is on display as it was configured for LBJ as Veep) galley has two electric Hotpoint burners complete with '60's pushbutton controls and what looked to be a Fridgidare "Flair" electric oven. Also of note is the "doggie door" cut into the entry to LBJ's office for the beagles and a "fake temperature control knob" on his desk that the Air Force installed to give the control freak that he was "control" of the cabin temperature. According to the docent we spoke with it did nothing but turn -- sort of like the temp control in my bedroom!

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smitty195
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Glad to hear the reunion is going well. And that's great that you were able to hit up the Museum of Glass. The title itself doesn't make me think, "excitement", however, it's a pretty darn cool place to visit! I really enjoyed it.

That's funny about the temp control knob---I had never heard that story before.

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sbalax
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We're in the United Club at PDX after a short but scenic flight from SEA. We had great views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood.

Next stop is SFO and then home to SBA for a while.

Frank in sunny and warm PDX

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HopefulRailUser
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You appear to be demonstrating the true meaning of "puddle jumper" flying.

It's cooled down here since you left.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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smitty195
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Did you see the huge Mt. Diablo fire on your approach into SFO?
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Gilbert B Norman
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Miss Vickie; we should note that from a review of the United site, Sky West (United's 'partner') flies Embraer 120's on their KSEA-KPDX route.

Oh well, kinda like my first flight in this life - a DC-3.

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Vincent206
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SEA-PDX-SFO-SBA...I know getting out of Seattle on Sunday is difficult during tourist season, but wouldn't Amtrak have been faster!
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Ocala Mike
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:


Oh well, kinda like my first flight in this life - a DC-3.


I hated those things; flew on one from LGA to Albany on Mohawk Airlines, early 60's, and I thought the engines were gonna fall off. Later, flew on C-47's free of charge courtesy of USAF.

My first flight was on an Eastern Airlines Constellation plying the shuttle route between LGA and Washington during an intense snowstorm which forced us to land at Baltimore's Friendship Airport with a "bustitution" the rest of the way, also early 60's.

--------------------
Ocala Mike

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sbalax
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Vincent--

We were using miles this time and that was the only routing available. It was actually sort of fun -- two types of aircraft and two relatively new Clubs. (We didn't have time at SFO -- they are still running United Express out of Terminal One so a bus trip is involved.

Smitty--

I was on the aisle and it well could have been visible. The takeoff from SFO was beautiful although I was in 3A for that one so on the wrong side.

My only DC3 flight was from Boston to Provincetown. It was operated by a charter plane -- the Captain was the owner and the Flight Attendant was his wife.

Frank in cool and overcast SBA

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Gilbert B Norman
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Frank, even though I am in Mileage Plus - my security information is all 'embedded', I could care less about the points. When I get 5000 or so of them, I just give 'em away.

However, I have a friend who never pays for airline tickets (shopaholic) said she ditched United in favor of American when after she and her husband had to endure on points an ORD-RNO itinerary routed ORD-MSN-SUX-DEN (change) DEN-RNO. Needless to say, ORD-DEN was on somebody's puddle jumper. Now with American, she gets nonstops; also nonstops for the other daughter in ATL.

Regarding your UA CO merger, I learned from The Wall Street Journal, that the Officers (pilots) have agreed on a merger of their seniority lists. At last Saturday's Block Party, I asked Maureen (neighbor, 28 years UA FA) how are the Attendants doing? 'We're not even close'. I guess so far as you Attendants are concerned, it's still two different airlines.

During my railroad career, I had some experience with merged seniority lists. While there always have and always will be petty disputes, the usual way is to 'top and bottom' the lists being merged and the intent of retiring one list. New hires go on only the surviving list. That always seemed the fairest to me, so long as you can identify 'what was this guy's work and what belonged to that guy?'. I can see that being much harder on an airline than on a railroad, so maybe there the 'dovetail' is best, i.e. placing everyone on one list by their dates.

However the absolute 'over the top' merging of a seniority list is described in this book Skygods regarding merger of the Pan Am National pilots list. They were not able to come together on the property so under the Railway Labor Act, it went to an outside arbitrator. The Award is described in detail in that book, but in one sentence or less, the list was dovetailed by date when a Pilot on either property could expect to be promoted to Captain.

I loaned that book to Maureen; she said to the effect of 'I needed smelling salts'.

So finally, all this one time railroad Labor Relations Officer can say is 'Frank and Maureen (I've said it to her face), you guys work it out on the property; don't let an arbitrator near it.'

Posts: 9391 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sbalax
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Gilbert--

The good news is that the "return" leg of this Mileage Plus trip is SBA-SFO-SEA. We use the miles when we have to be in a place for a cruise or event like the reunion. Otherwise -- especially internationally -- we use passes. 43 years of seniority usually works out pretty well.

As for the FA's, Maureen is right. Not even close. The company, for whatever reason, is really dragging their feet. Remember, there are three entities trying to merge here -- United, Continental and Continental Micronesia. For the time being -- and probably into the future for quite sometime -- s-CO (Subsidiary Continental) FA's will only fly in s-CO "metal" and s-UA FA's will only fly on s-UA metal. That means the 787 flying all goes to ex-Cons. The United side won't take delivery of their first aircraft until sometime in 2014.

More on our Amtrak adventure later.

Frank in sunny and warm SBA

P.S. Also remember, I'm not the employee. Just the beneficiary of flight benefits!

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Geoff Mayo
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quote:
Originally posted by sbalax:
That means the 787 flying all goes to ex-Cons. The United side won't take delivery of their first aircraft until sometime in 2014.

That's interesting. We did HOU-LAX back in July this year on the B787 - even my wife is interested in trying different aircraft (we've been on the A380 too). It was an evening flight and we had the intention that our 21-month old would sleep. She did: approximately 2 hours and 56 minutes into a 3 hour flight - yes, wheels were already down - and might as well have been on a sugar rush for the awake portion. Fortunately we deliberately chose the very rear where disruption to others would be minimal, and the seat back AVOD IFE on United's (CO's?) B787 is excellent with probably the biggest screens I've seen in economy.

--------------------
Geoff M.

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smitty195
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You flew on the 787?? I'm jealous!!!
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Gilbert B Norman
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When I was entertaining my earlier 'almost' joyride on Pullman Rail (remember how he CXLD the trip right while I was booking it?) I was considering a KORD-KIAH/KIAH-KMSY itinerary that would have included a 787 KORD-KIAH.

Now regarding the matter on the United/Continental properties of Seniority lists within the FA craft, I'm not certain to what extent the two Committees (Lodges; whatever you call 'em in the airline industry) have come together. So far as carrier is concerned, you are all union right now, and will be so after your two lists are merged. This is not a Northwest/Delta situation where I really think there was some intentional 'union busting' (remember, under the RLA, you don't 'de-cert a union, you simply choose not to have that union, or any union, be your collective bargaining agent (CBA)) going on there with the FA's and the various ground crafts.

Delta was of course the larger carrier, and even though world wide in scope, still must have some of its 'good ol boy crop dusting' culture around its Atlanta HQ. That of course also includes the non-union sentiments expressed in the various so-called 'right to work' laws prevalent through the Southeastern states.

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notelvis
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All this airliner talk -

I remember my first flight being at about age 7 in late 1969.

We're talking a Piedmont Airlines Twin-Prop job that in the pre-hub & spoke days operated much like an airbound Greyhound.

Seriously - we took off from Asheville, NC and made stops at Tri-Cities, TN, London, KY, & Lexington, KY before reaching our final destination in Louisville, KY. The whole affair lasted 5 or 6 hours which was still a huge improvement over a 10-12 hour drive over mostly two-lane mountainous roads.

45 years later this drive is 97% super-highway and can be made in 6 hours..... just a tad longer than that flight way-back when.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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