In-flight post #1 – LAX to ATL

I wrote this run-on paragraph while sitting at LAX waiting to board my flight to Atlanta. Then I edited it after takeoff and now I’m publishing it en route to ATL. Yes, I paid for in-flight internet access today and I’m going to get the most out of it!

Terminal 6 at LAX is under construction and it’s very unpleasant in its current state. If being at the airport at 6 AM isn’t bad enough, add some circular saw noises to that. I’m not looking forward to my flight to Atlanta because I don’t have frequent flyer status on Delta anymore and I was too cheap to pay for a seat with more legroom. I was also too cheap to pay for a checked bag so here I am sitting at the gate with my little carry-on suitcase. It doesn’t weigh very much, but it’s infinitely more annoying to deal with when boarding a plane than a backpack. It remains to be seen if I’ll be too cheap to pay for in-flight internet access on the way to Atlanta. I probably don’t need to be connected to the internet, but it would allow me to get a few things done I wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Like make a grocery list for all of the cooking and baking my mom and I are planning to do this weekend, and update my webpage so that I don’t have to worry about it after I arrive in Tallahassee tonight. I’ll have to decide if it’s worth the cost. It’s been about seven years since I last flew Delta – probably since I was in grad school. Delta seems to be the cheapest airline to fly from LA to Tallahassee, but I just haven’t flown back to my hometown that many times since 2004. And I’m so spoiled being a United Premier member that I expect to check bags and get seats with extra legroom for free. I’m afraid today’s flight is going to be a rude awakening. In general, coach travel (domestic and international) is awful. The only good thing about taking my carry-on suitcase on this trip is that I won’t have my usual bag under the seat in front of me, occupying some of the space for my feet. Hopefully I’ll be able to entertain myself with my laptop, movies on my phone, and potentially the in-flight entertainment system. From what I read online Delta has a complimentary satellite TV option like Virgin America and Jet Blue now. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s on this flight. Not that there’s a whole lot to watch on TV this early in the morning, but anything to distract me from how miserable air travel is these days will be welcome. After abstaining from air travel for more than seven months (not by choice) this will be my third round-trip flight since the beginning of November. (On three different airlines, no less.) I’m no big fan of business travel, but I definitely missed it after we stopped traveling to DC in March. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have any trips planned in 2012 because I’m going to lose my United Premier and Hilton Honors status at the beginning of the year. Dan and I are hoping to go to New Zealand in February, but that will only be possible because we’ve been hoarding American Airlines frequent flyer for quite a while. We were hoping to fly first class, but getting those tickets to New Zealand using miles is difficult so the best we might be able to do is business class on Air Pacific. Air Pacific is kind of a second-class international airline, but I can’t dispute that it gets you to New Zealand for a good price. When we went on our last trip in December 2008 our tickets were only about $750 apiece. So while we would like to be on Qantas instead because they have much nicer facilities, Dan and I might have to resort to Air Pacific f we want to go to New Zealand in the spring. As long ¬as we don’t have to fly coach again I won’t complain. But back to the trip at hand. My flight to Atlanta should be boarding in about half an hour. I hate taking a wheelie suitcase as a carry-on because someone always ends up having to drag their bag back to the front of the plane to gate check it when the overheard bins fill up. Luckily I haven’t been that person yet, but maybe today is the day. And I’m positive that my suitcase won’t fit in the overhead bin on the tiny plane that’s taking me from Atlanta to Tallahassee. As long as I don’t have to pay to check my bag at any point I’ll be happy. These days every penny is precious. I just paid my credit card bill that had about half of our Hawaii trip expenses on it. Yikes. As always, I’m extremely grateful that Dan and I are still employed in these tough economic times. And our minimal Christmas is going to help too. Speaking of Christmas, Dan came home from work early last night so we could get our tree! We always buy our Christmas tree from the Hermosa Beach Kiwanis lot on PCH because I feel better giving money to a charity organization than a tree farm. Since we were there early in the season this year we had a pretty good selection of trees. We ended up buying a noble fir in the 7-8 ft category that looks great in our living room. While we were coveting the 8-9 ft trees it’s a good thing we didn’t get one because the shorter tree we actually bought is only about six inches from touching the ceiling! Dan and I knew that we wouldn’t have time to trim the tree until I get back from Florida on Monday, but we got the difficult part of getting it home and setting it up yesterday so that’s a relief. I can’t wait until I get home and we can decorate that thing within an inch of its life! One of my main goals for this trip to Tallahassee is to help my parents get ready to host some of our family for Christmas. They haven’t put up a Christmas tree since the last time I spent the holidays there (2005, just before Dan and I got engaged) so they’re a little out of practice. I guess we’ll see how their artificial tree has fared after being boxed up in the garage for the last six years. If it’s not presentable we’ll either pick out a live tree or buy a new fake one. I wonder if my dad still has those Christmas CDs I bought him back in 2001 when we drove from California to Florida in December? What better to listen to while trimming the tree? I’ve got a pretty good train of thought going right now, but I’d probably better get up and go to the restroom before my flight starts boarding. I kind of hate to get up, though, because this terminal is so hard to navigate with a rolling suitcase and all the construction. Maybe I’ll just stay here. I should have looked for new cooking magazines on my way to the gate because there’s no way I’m going all the way back to the shops now. Plus, I can avoid spending money that way. I already know that next month’s credit card bill is going to be huge because it includes the second half of our Hawaii trip expenses. Very painful. I’m going to have to be frugal in 2012. That brings New Year’s resolutions to mind. I don’t think I was very successful with the ones I made for 2011. I have however, completed my goal of trying fifty-two new recipes this year! I haven’t posted them all yet, but I’ve been very productive in the kitchen since Thanksgiving so the grand total for the year is going to be more than fifty-two. It probably would have been better if more of those new recipes this year had been dinner fare rather than all the desserts I made, but my resolution didn’t specify that!