Tag Archives: traveling

Education from Traveling as an American

In the Unites States, it feels like we are the center of the world. There is no second language and everyone knows or should know (in American opinion) English. We know we are a powerful country and certain unconscious thoughts feed into your mind because of that. And these thoughts will bleed out when traveling internationally, too, and sometimes it’s not pretty for either party. I’ve been traveling since I was a baby (a mother from New Zealand will do that), but I never started to realize my own American spoiled nature until recent travel experiences. Even though I consider myself an open-minded and culturally-sensitive person, some American travel habits can be just plain dumb. You can learn a lot from traveling as an American–about yourself, your habits, and other cultures. 

Chris'  favorite burger place in NZ

Chris’ favorite burger place in NZ

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Our Vacation in Pictures (LA)

Sorry for the big lapse in posts! Here are our excuses…

Excited to see my parents!

Excited to see my parents!

Omusubi (Sunny Blue)

Omusubi (Sunny Blue)

Freshest of fruits

Freshest of fruits

LA Street Art

LA Street Art

Family timez

Family timez

In n Out

In n Out

Hungry taking creepy pics of me sleeping on the beach

Hungry taking creepy pics of me sleeping on the beach

Bad bad sunburns

Bad bad sunburns

Post beach-ness

Post beach-ness

photo 2 (83)

Ramen!

Ramen!

Promenade

Promenade

PIE

PIE

Hungry got interviewed by a Japanese reporter of course...

Hungry got interviewed by a Japanese reporter of course…

Airport food...

Airport food…

Air New Zealand Review

Wonderful, as far as I’m concerned. There are several factors to this. In my adult life, I’ve used Air New Zealand twice to New Zealand, and both times it has been fantastic. 12-hour flights aren’t easy, but Air New Zealand definitely makes it easier. I’m surprised at the fortitude and endurance the flight attendants have for the whole entirety of the flight. Let’s go over the reasons why Air New Zealand rocks.

View from inside the airplane just getting into New Zealand

View from inside the airplane just getting into New Zealand

1. 75 movie choices. Yes, seventy-five. Usually you have to pay for even one movie, but here you get 75! They range from Despicable Me 2 to Whale Rider to 2 Guns. My goal is to usually watch one or two movies before attempting a sleep and then finishing with one when I wake up. Chris unfortunately watches like four our five and doesn’t get sleep. Go team.

2. Meals of decent to good quality. I know this doesn’t exactly sound like a compliment, but it is! Usually airplane food is blargh! But Air New Zealand does it well. I never had a stomach ache and everything tasted good, especially breakfast! Oh and both are free.

3. An epic safety video. I mean epic. It was completely Lord of the Rings/Hobbit-ed out! Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits galore! Even Peter Jackson made an appearance! It was such a good surprise. We were laughing the whole time. One of the few times I actually pay attention to airplane safety features. Last time I rode Air New Zealand it was Richard Simmons, which was of course hilarious.

4. No baggage fees. Yep. I couldn’t believe this one either. We did have to pay them going from America, but not back! It was so nice! Especially refreshing after Frontier now charges for carry-on items! Can you say rip-off!

5. Wonderful attendants. How would you feel serving a bunch of annoying Americans for 12 hours stuck in a small space high up in the sky? I would definitely not be cheery and helpful as all the Kiwi attendants were. They show that they care about the service you’re getting and want to help you best they can. Like the Kiwi people, they are friendly, laid back, and good-humored.

6. Wellington AirportI know this doesn’t necessarily count, but still. Check out the post. It’s awesome.

7. Free New Zealand wine. I can’t tell you how upset I was when I realized the wine was free and I didn’t take it! I couldn’t help but laugh when they were carrying the leftover bottles in the morning, saying “Wine, anyone?” Plus, New Zealand wine is among the best I’ve had. Before I didn’t like white wine, now I do! Yeah if this isn’t a perk of an airline, I don’t know what is.

DCIM100GOPRO

Those are just a few reasons why Air New Zealand knocks it out of the park. And yet another reason to visit New Zealand. If you’re going to fly to New Zealand, choose your Kiwi airline and you won’t regret it. It’s the best way to spend those 12 hours locked in an aircraft. And as always…stay hungry and fit!

Safe and Sound in New Zealand! #travel

We made it! We finally arrived after 12 hours of flying and another of customs. We’re a little groggy (Chris is actually sleeping on the couch right now), but we’ve made it! Just in case you wondered where we’ve run off to…we are here in New Zealand for two weeks for a cousin’s wedding and to explore both islands! Some of you know I’m half-Kiwi, meaning that my mum is from New Zealand. We are very excited for this trip. My mum, dad, brother, and his girlfriend will be arriving tomorrow. My aunt picked us up and we are just getting acclimated. This post is going to be picture-heavy. Just of things we did in California and things we’ve just done in New Zealand! Here goes…

IMG_6083

In NZ at a park across the way!

Let’s start with Christmas in Santa Monica, California (my hometown). We arrived Christmas Eve and boy did it go fast. We saw lots of family and friends, ate tons of good food, and got in fun workouts. Christmas loot was incredible this year, some of the standouts were the Jawbone UP, a mixer, Star Wars CCG cards, Amazon gift cards, oh and…A GOPRO!!!!!! Yeah Chris went a little overboard this year in terms of presents, so so excited to use the GoPro in New Zealand. We actually got footage of us “surfing” (there were no waves that day), and you’ll see it once I learn how to edit it.

Just arrived in Cali

Just arrived in Cali

Star Wars cards...super rare!

Star Wars cards…super rare!

Jawbone UP...records movement, sleeping, and eating. A wrist band.

Jawbone UP…records movement, sleeping, and eating. A wrist band.

GoPro!!

GoPro!!

Joys of opening packs

Joys of opening packs

This was at a delicious Christmas Eve party with my family...Chris eating children of course

This was at a delicious Christmas Eve party with my family…Chris eating children of course

 

Gotta love Santa  Monica..

Gotta love Santa Monica..

In N Out...

In N Out…

Bay Cities!!

Bay Cities!!

Mum's homemade breakfast

Mum’s homemade breakfast

Japanese food with Sophie and Kai

Japanese food with Sophie and Kai

Epic Tekka Don

Epic Tekka Don

Time to move onto workouts...we did some improvising home workouts

Time to move onto workouts…we did some improvising home workouts

Some at the beach...

Some at the beach with friends…

IMG_6056

Rope climbing!

IMG_6040

He got all the way up

IMG_6060

And don't forget the surf!

And don’t forget the surf!

Beautiful picture from the GoPro camera

Beautiful picture from the GoPro camera

The five days in California went by incredibly fast, but I’m not surprised. Then on Sunday night, we loaded our stuff into a car, Dad dropped us off at the airport and we were on our way to New Zealand! We arrived to New Zealand Tuesday @ 5:30am. Yes, Tuesday…we skipped Monday! 18 hour time difference plus 12 hour flight will do that to you I guess. Here’s a few pictures from the journey so far…

Mum and I with travel pillows

Mum and I with travel pillows

Had to get this journal for the trip

Had to get this journal for the trip

Food at LAX

Food at LAX

Airplane food, not bad!

Airplane food, not bad!

Little itty bitty beginning of sunrise

Little itty bitty beginning of sunrise

They don't refrigerate eggs here!

They don’t refrigerate eggs here!

Chris' epic kiwi breakfast

Chris’ epic kiwi breakfast

Going for a walk

Going for a walk

New Zealand is just pretty

New Zealand is just pretty

We hope to update you as often as we can, depending on internet of course. Probably the hardest part of all of this is being away from the cats for so long, but it helps to know that they are in good hands in Boulder. We are in Auckland now but will soon be travelling south. So excited to be here with Chris and my huge kiwi family for this trip. We are going to have lots of great food and find fun creative ways to workout on the road. Happy New Years!!  As always…stay hungry and fit!

We’re Baaaack (Sorry!)

We have just arrived back from a nice 5-day vacation on the magical East Coast! We went out to visit Chris’ family (he’s from New Jersey/New York) and also see some friends. We had planned to prepare posts for each day ahead of time…but obviously that didn’t work. We have a little pathetic excuse, that there was no wifi we were able to get onto in the house…but still, sorry! I hope this post of deliciousness and friends will help you forgive us. It will be picture-heavy and text-light.

It was an early start to the Wednesday of us flying out–6:30am flight called for a 3:15am wake-up. We drove the car over to the airport and had a nice smooth ride, stopping briefly in Minneapolis before arriving at Newark. Since everyone who could pick us up were working, we decided to take it slow and just take public transportation back to Chris’ town, Midland Park, New Jersey. We got to the train station, his mum picked us up and we had an early first dinner of some good Chinese food. Two hours and a chiropractic appointment later, we had another dinner with his brother at a great thin-crust pizza. We finished that night off with some great Van Dyk’s ice cream and played video games all night with a good friend, Po.

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Po & Chris, ice cream buds

On Thursday, we wake up bright and early (not getting much more than 5 hours sleep…who sleeps on vacation, right?) and pack in the car with Chris’ mum to visit Chris’ sister in Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia. And grabbed delicious bagel sandwiches on the way! It was a great day of relaxation, visiting Chris’ niece, adorable puppy, spending quality family time, and watching movies like Hotel Transylvania and Puss in Boots. We didn’t get home until around midnight and collapsed right to sleep.

Chris and his niece on a walk

Chris and his niece on a walk

Puppppyyyyyy

Puppppyyyyyy

On Friday, it was another early-wake-up day for us because we were visiting the city–New York! We had a great day seeing lots of friends from college. We found our way to my friend Mary Kate via bus and had a great breakfast with her before she headed into her super awesome 60 Minutes work. Then we took the good old 1 train uptown to the college where we met, Manhattan College. We got to meet up with some friends who still are attending, some who drove in for the day just to see us, and our old bosses. Chris got to fit in a leg workout while I hung out with my old JustPeace (a social justice club I led) club while they held an event. I got to see Kathleen and Hilary here.

Times Square, crazy to be back

Times Square, crazy to be back

Yum

Yum

hi!

hi!

Roomates 4 lyfe

Roomates 4 lyfe

My boss (Lois), Kathleen, and I

My boss (Lois), Kathleen, and I

Quad livin'

Quad livin’

Sweaty buds

Sweaty buds

After that (still Friday), we grabbed Kathleen and kidnapped her back downtown where we forced her to see The Grandmaster (review coming soon), which was pretty epic at one of our favorite indie theatres at Lincoln Center. We walked around Central Park for a bit before walking down to the famous Halal Cart which came from humble beginnings but is now 3 carts deep. We chowed down on some platters and then met up with Allan to go to the Yankee game. It was a lot of fun and we got great seats! Pretty good game too–2 of Chris’ favorite players hit homers. We then got a ride back to New Jersey, had some ice cream, then went to sleep.

Central Park walk

Central Park walk

Chowing on Halal--thanks for the pic, Kathleen

Chowing on Halal–thanks for the pic, Kathleen

DROOL.

DROOL.

Yankee game

Yankee game

On Saturday, we actually slept in! All the way until 9am! I know–crazy. While we waited for our friend, Allan, to wake up, we went and visited Abma’s Farm for some baked goods and sheep humor. After that, and he still wasn’t up, we went to the local Wildlife Conservatory which has beautiful paths and only animals that need rehabilitation. We finally met Allan, Jane Kim (a friend of Chris’) and her boyfriend at a new place in town for “brunch” (…at 12:30pm). Although we were wary about prices and reviews, it turned out to be delicious and a great time! We walked around town afterwards, got some boba, and hung out at the Ridgewood Park. We then grabbed a Tony’s Pizza to eat the next day (because they would be closed on Sunday). Later that night, Chris’ whole family went out to hibachi and it was delicious! Then after, we of course got more ice cream and went to sleep.

This sheep had the deepest voice ever...creepy

This sheep had the deepest voice ever…creepy

Beautiful nature walk

Beautiful nature walk

 

My delicious breakfast burrito at brunch

My delicious breakfast burrito at brunch

Friends

Friends

Best pizza I've ever had

Best pizza I’ve ever had

Hibachi!

Hibachi!

We have another late morning wake-up on Sunday, this time around 8:30. I decide to go for a easy-paced run in the morning while we get started on the day. We basically spent the entire day visiting Chris’ many aunts and uncles–it was really nice to meet all of them as I hadn’t met many before. That night we met up with Pablo and Brit (Chris’ close friends) and we drove 15 miles to go to East, a restaurant with sushi on a conveyor belt. Delicious! We then watched Here Comes the Boom (surprisingly awesome movie) and, of course, got some more ice cream.

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Now it’s Monday, and we’re wondering how this vacation is already over! However…our flight wasn’t until 7pm so we had a good amount of time to spend with friends before we took off. We had a nice breakfast with Pablo and Brit that morning while we waited for Allan and Po to roll out of bed. I got way too much food…brie-stuffed french toast, eggs, home fries, and toast! We then meet up with everyone else and to everyone’s disappointment, Chris coerces us to go see the Percy Jackson movie. Okay maybe not coerced, but reactions were definitely amusing. After that movie, we all piled into cars and rushed to Mitsuwa (which will be getting its own post), which is a magical place that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into Japan. Once we gobble down some delicious foodAllan is nice enough to take us down to JFK in Labor Day traffic. We owe him a big one.

Brie-stuffed french toast. yup.

Brie-stuffed french toast. yup.

And that was our trip! We had a pleasant flight and watched Great Gatsby (review coming soon) to make the 4.5 hours go by quickly. We are still catching up on sleep, and apologize again for the lack of posts, but here we come on full throttle! I’m probably forgetting a lot in this post, but I did what I could from memory! Make sure you travel to stay hungry and fit!

Thunder storm below us

Thunder storm below us

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Kathleen and I ^.^

Kathleen and I ^.^

2-Ingredient Healthy Energy Rounds

Some of you may know that we are travelling to Iowa tonight (yes, we’re driving over night, 7pm-9am probably) for a 4th of July family reunion. Some may run screaming at the words, “family reunion,” but I always look forward to the chaos of it all…and the delicious food of course. I love family! And many of you know that I’m currently prepping for contest so I’m doing very clean eating. My meals mostly contain tuna, other fish, vegetables like spinach and peppers, almonds, oatmeal and brown rice. Sounds boring, but I’m alright with it (especially with hot sauce). OKAY GET TO THE POINT–I need healthy, clean food for the road trip there for my attempt to stay awake. Luckily I stumbled upon this blog for the idea.

Of course, we’re bringing fruit and fiber cereal to snack on, but I wanted to bake a little something so here we are. Basically, 2-ingredient rounds full of energy and electrolytes! I can’t even tell you how easy this was to make. Perfect and delicious for snacks on the go.

Simple and delicious

Simple and delicious

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Baking Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup oats
  • 2 bananas (mashed)
  • almonds (optional)
  • cinnamon (optional)

Directions

  • You’re probably saying, “That’s IT?” to the above.  Yep.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • To start off, mash up your bananas really well, get it nice and smooth.
mash mash mash

mash mash mash

  • I had some almonds I wanted to use, so I decided to add it into the mix. Again, you don’t have to do anything more than oatmeal and bananers. If you want to use almonds, cut or grind them up.
Pathetic amount of almonds (I HATE cutting them)

Pathetic amount of almonds (I HATE cutting them)

  • Now you want to mix it all together in a big bowl. Start with a base of oats and almonds and then add the mashed bananas in and stir. 
Mixed up!

Mixed up!

  • Make sure you mix it all up really well. I added cinnamon to it because I LOVE cinnamon and put it in everything. Now line up a baking sheet with wax paper or you can use a cooking spray/oil. Plop those rounds on there. Should make about 12.
Ready to bake

Ready to bake

  • Bake for about 12-15 minutes (mine took 13). Let cool and then EAT.
Ready to be EATEN

Ready to be EATEN

They are so easy and delicious, it’s the perfect energy snack for on-the-go. And it is HEALTHY. No crap in it! And I’d imagine they’d be lovely with milk. Again, this takes no time at all, I did it while packing to show that it’s easy. Enjoy this quick, delicious, nutritious recipe to stay hungry and fit!

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Simple and delicious

Simple and delicious

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah sleeps for EVERY kitty pic...sigh

Sajah sleeps for EVERY kitty pic…sigh

The Best Fast-Food Burgers: In-N-Out

Do I really need to do a review on this? I don’t think so. Most people–even East Coasters–know that this is some of the best fast food you can get.  But who doesn’t like a good drool? It’s mostly just on the West Coast right now, though it is slowly expanding. There’s even one in Texas. The In-N-Out company is picky about meat standards which is why (according to a news source), they haven’t landed in Colorado just quite yet. No, this review comes from my sunny home state, California.

Family gathering at In-N-Out (from left to right, relations of Fit): Brother, Fit, Uncle, Hungry, Father

Family gathering (from left to right, relations of Fit): Brother, Fit, Uncle, Hungry, Father

In-N-Out beats most fast food places because they do one thing right: they make it fresh. They cut the fries right in front of you and there’s no freezing of the food either. The beef is free of any fillers or preservatives and the veggies are fresh. They know quality. It may take longer, or cost more (even though it’s not expensive), but they have loyal customers all-over who can’t wait to sink their teeth into another burger. They also have incredible milkshakes. We like the black and white (aka chocolate and vanilla). It’s the perfect thickness and creamy with real ice cream.

Alana, you’re a vegetarian, how can you be talking about In-N-Out burgers! Well, now I will lead you to their not-so-secret Secret MenuSo instead of a burger with meat, I will get the “Grilled Cheese,” “animal-style” and, of course, a batch of their delicious fries. I can never finish all the fries, but Hungry and my brother are always there to help. Hungry likes to get the biggest you can get 4×4–4 patties, 4 slices of cheese. Ridiculous, right? Somehow, my brother always fails to tell us the WHOLE secret menu and we end up missing something. But it’s okay, Kai, we still love you.

My Grilled Cheese

My Grilled Cheese

If you’re in ANY state that In-N-Out resides in (CA, UT, TX, AZ, NV), you better go get some of their delicious food. And you should probably do a workout before-hand so you can rev your appetite and stay hungry and fit!

Using Other Cultures: Being Smart with Food

I’m going to draw upon two cultures to make up a smart food philosophy. They can either be put together or separately, whichever you choose. I simply think it is good to keep an open mind to other cultures to see how they deal with food and use the opportunity to look at our own food habits. The two cultures I will focus on are Spanish (as in from Spain) and Japanese (as in from…Japan). Let’s look.

Spanish

The Spanish have many different eating habits, including a tiny breakfast, but I’m going to focus on their lunch. The Spaniards have a time called a “siesta” around noon or a little later. This means lunch time. And lunch time is a big deal in Spain. Shops will close down for a few hours and many Spaniards will go out to restaurants for a few hours for up to three courses. I’m not saying–ditch your work for three hours and go get a five-course meal for lunch, no! You can pack a big lunch, I know that I sure do.

And this more so points to the focus around the middle of the day when our metabolism is in full gear, ripping and roaring through the food we give it. In America, most of us have our biggest meal at the end of the day, when our metabolism is starting to slow down and our body is beginning to tire. This is what I want to adopt from the Spaniards. Move the biggest meal of the day to LUNCH where your metabolism has plenty of time to break everything down rather than waiting until dinner to stuff your face and leave yourself overnight to try to digest it all. The Spanish may be wild party-ers, but they sure do know how to eat.

Japanese

Another polar opposite of the typical United States eating culture, however instead of time of eating it is PORTION CONTROL AND SIZE. If you don’t know, Chris and I have a big love for the Japanese culture and plan to live in Japan for a period of time pretty soon. And that means a big love for Japanese food. Now, of course, the United States has turned small Japanese portions into all-you-can-eat sushi (opposite of portion control), and we are lovers of that too. But for everyday life, everyday eating, the Japanese set a beautiful example of eating the right nutrients in the right portion size. Why do you think the Japanese obesity percentage is so much lower than the United States’?

Protein. Vegetable. Carb. Have you heard of the bento box? Click here for an excellent blog with tons of creative bento boxes. A bento box is basically a Japanese lunch box, usually packing in rice, some kind of vegetable, and some kind of  protein (usually fish or tofu). It isn’t very big, and has no high fructose corn syrup packed into it. So instead of jumping to the supersize (a beloved American meal size), let’s try the “Bento” size. It has all the nutrients we need without stuffing ourselves to the brim. And maybe we’ll just drop the obesity rate to a more reasonable number for the US.

So let’s open our minds and our mouths and try different habits from different cultures. Who knows–it could be your next favorite thing. I sure know that I’m transfixed by the bento box. I love eating, but I love eating without feeling extremely full afterwards as well. So try it out! Cheers! Salud! 万歳 !

BONUS KITTY PIC 

sajah fire

Sajah’s first fire

Boycott United

Even though our heads are still pounding, we’ve been feeling guilty every day about breaking our streak of posting so I’m dealing with the headaches to get this out, even though it’s more of a rant and less of an informative post. But these can be fun, right? Especially if, or rather when, you can relate.

 

So we recently flew back to Denver from Los Angeles, a non-stop flight from LAX to DIA. We took United Airlines, and we will never fly or let anyone we know fly with them again. Before I get into this in more detail, I’m going to throw some of my flying experiences and how I grade airlines down to establish that I do have a basis for being allowed to evaluate their performance. Alana was going to help but she feels like someone is hitting her inside the head with a hammer so she’s in bed.

 

 

We’ve been to North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania (or what some people call Australia) making a grand total of six of the seven continents in the world. Sorry Antarctica, not quite yet. We’ve been to South Korea, North Korea, New Zealand, Tanzania, Sweden, Peru, Canada, Bermuda, the United States, etc. We’ve spent a fair amount of time on planes, with my longest flight being a little over 15 hours, Alana’s about 14 hours if I’m not mistaken. We’ve flown on the monster planes with three stories and the huge engines on the top, and we’ve flown on little planes that hold less than 20 people and only know the meaning of turbulence. So we have a fair share of experience for people our age.

 

 

Here are my reviews for airlines: Anything with a positive review comes first, then anything with a mixed review will probably be neglected because I’ve only flown it once or twice and can’t even remember it, and lastly the negative reviews.

 

 

Virgin: A-
Who cares about paying a few extra dollars when you feel like you’re the most important person in the world? That’s how I feel whenever I fly Virgin. And they haven’t always had the most expensive flights, you can always find a deal. From the cool atmosphere inside the plane, to the great customer service throughout the process, the practical personal screen that allows you television, games, movies, and ordering food with just a touch, flying Virgin is my number one choice for domestic flights.

 

 

Continental: B+
Continental got me to South America and back on eight hour flights without any issues. Good customer service, reasonable rates, and smooth flights. Amenities were good on both flights and never any significant delays. Functional terminals and everything else I could ask for from an airline. Overall top choice for international service.

 

 

Delta: B
The only issue I ever had with Delta was actually United’s fault. So I still am docking points from Delta, but they don’t even deserve it. Delta got me across the Pacific Ocean, while I had food poisoning from another source, without a hitch. The flight was over 15 hours long, but it didn’t feel like it with the non-stop meal service and consistent flow of good movies and television shows. The stewardess was very nice in dealing with my stomach problems, even allowing me to use the bathroom when the seatbelt light was on. Would fly again without any hesitation. Top choice for long international service.

 

 

Jet Blue: C+
I want to give Jet Blue lower because I had the worst pilot of my life on a Jet Blue flight. He started the descent into Miami around Washington D.C. and it felt like the longest roller coaster ride ever. It was the only time I’ve ever been nauseous on a plane. It was misery. However, the flight crew on all my Jet Blue flights have been the most entertaining and personable individuals I have ever flown with in my life. Jet Blue also rivals Virgin for in-flight amenities ranging from viewing selections to functional eating. Good terminals and online booking make Jet Blue my number two choice for domestic flights. One time the televisions weren’t working on the flight so they gave everyone an eight dollar credit for their next flight for a free movie. Never used it, but it was nice of them.

 

C: A good grade because average is good in this industry nowadays thanks to certain airlines. Here we can throw in all the airlines that I totally forgot about because they were short flights or no longer exist so thank you all for providing me with good service.

 

 

American Airlines: D+
Nothing memorable except delays nearly every time for at least thirty minutes. Not the best pilots or smoothest flights. Bad or average amenities. I always try to avoid if possible. I might have slept through these flights, sorry LAN and AirTran, etc.

 

 

Frontier: D
Frontier flew us to California without any delays and plenty of leg room, but they lack in customer service and their pet policies are absurd. They were not willing to negotiate with us at all, despite contacting them weeks ahead of time to try to exchange flights so we could fly with our cats. It would have been $500 round trip for the two (three pound) kittens, non-negotiable. Customer service was not helpful or understanding in any way, so we will not be flying Frontier again.

 

United Airlines
United: F
I will never fly United again, and will do everything non-violent in my power to make sure no one I know uses United. They are very cheap, compared to some of the choices above and offer more flights than most providers but that’s like eating Hershey’s for the same reason. I will cover the cost of friend’s tickets to use other airlines because United employs some disgusting individuals, Carlos Menendez, Service Director at Denver International Airport, I am talking about you mainly. United has no sense of responsibility or pride in what they do. I cannot believe the lack of communication, respect and customer service that they have. to put this into perspective, this was arguably the absolute worst service I have EVER received in ANY form of business whatsoever. It was worse than purchasing products at the mall or online, staying at hotels or eating at restaurants, and any other service… and I am talking about ALL OVER THE WORLD. When I couldn’t speak Korean, I had servers in restaurants in Seoul that took me into the kitchen to show them what I wanted because we had trouble communicating. This was the opposite effect. Here’s the general narrative:

 

Friday, Alana and I are incredibly sick and have been for a full week, most sick I’ve ever been, and we have a 5:47 p.m. flight PST from LAX. Being responsible and knowing that it’s a busy travel time of year, we decide to go to the airport nice and early, leaving Santa Monica at 3:00 p.m. There isn’t too much traffic and we’re at the airport checking baggage at 3:50 p.m. We check two bags for the regular rate with a nice LA lady working for United, then head through a very easy security process and we’re actually at our gate waiting at 4:00 p.m.

 

Boarding is around 5:20 p.m. so Alana goes to get something to eat so she can take her medicine to feel a little better because flying with congestion and head pressure is the worst. When she gets back I find it a little funny that the plane hasn’t shown up, the service crew isn’t at the desk, and the digital board isn’t displaying anything about our flight. I take a walk to the departure board a few gates down and it says that our flight, is “awaiting aircraft” and is “departing at 8:20 p.m.” But that can’t be right because that’s almost three hours after its departure on our newly printed boarding passes from checking in our baggage. Alana checks her mail, and at 3:47 p.m. she received an email simply stating that our flight was delayed but we should still show up in time for our 5:20 boarding. Weird, no? We checked baggage after that and the boarding pass didn’t say the time had changed, none of the employees throughout baggage check said anything, our gate didn’t have a service member appear to say anything. Do they assume everyone has a smartphone and checks it every five minutes? But they still said show up on time in that awful email.

 

Ridiculousness

 

Now it’s about 5:00 p.m. or a little later and the flight has arrived, so our plane is here, fueled and ready to go. A United member who was not part of our flight crew out of her own kindness and she was very nice decided to call in to see what was going on since United didn’t feel they were obligated to tell a hundred people with connecting flight and ground transportation plans about their mistake. Apparently, the plane was here and ready but there wasn’t a crew for the plane. Specifically, there wasn’t a pilot, but we could see that no crew was here. I check the departures board and see that there is another Denver bound flight that leaves at 7:29 p.m. but when we check it only has standby seats so they’re not willing to help us there since people with connecting flights get the first standby seats.

 

So we wait for an hour and still no United employees show up to tell us what is going on, no surprise at this point. Hours later, two United people show up to work the desk and they get a flood of people who will be missing connecting flights, etc. At this point, we realize that we are totally screwed (forgive my language) for ground transportation. Our ride we had set up shouldn’t have to stay up all night for us with dangerous driving conditions and the Skyride only runs until a certain time. So our two affordable means of getting home are now gone. We were supposed to land around 9:00 p.m. There are Skyrides at 9:20, 10:20 and 11:20 p.m. Now, after another delay because United can’t find us a flight crew, we are departing at 8:50 p.m. and we land around midnight. The flight itself was quiet, empty because so many people left the airport. A few families re-booked flights for the next day because they didn’t want their whole day ruined. United ruined our whole day. So now, it’s past midnight in Denver and we need to get back to Boulder because we’re sick and the kittens are at home and we need to rest so we can work.

 

 

While in LAX we asked the United employee, a man whose name Alana doesn’t remember, how we should get home because their mistake turned into no ground transportation. We felt they should pay for it and we let him know that. He said to go to the United Customer Service desk in Denver and that they would get us home, we wouldn’t need to worry about the cost. I wish we recorded that because United is full of lies. When we land we ask the United members what to do and they say go to the people at baggage and they’ll help you get home. We get our baggage, no serious damage, and Alana who has a better temper goes to the two ladies at the desk while I sit. The nice ladies tell Alana that we don’t usually do that but we’ll check for you on your ticket and reservation and then they call over Carlos Menendez who says no we don’t do that our contract got you to Denver. Alana gets mad claiming that they screwed up and he just walks away, the ladies say sorry he is the boss and Alana comes back to me. May I add that this guy was checking baggage (scanning barcodes on bags that are just lying around) twenty feet from the desk and when they page him he shouts angrily let me finish this first before he comes over. Alana tells me that they said they fulfilled their contract and we can get no compensation. Now I enter, here comes the rant.

 

 

I come stomping over, face half paralyzed, eye dripping water from the Bell’s, head pounding, voice thick with phlegm, and aggravated as all hell that this guy treated Alana so poorly. I walk past him like he’s nothing because he truly is nothing, muttering under my breath, “you didn’t fulfill your contract, I’ll get my compensation and then some.” He tries to bump me (good thing he missed) with some cocky look on his face and in his tone, says “what you say?” I stare over him in the eyes and repeat exactly what I say and he says we got you to Denver as our contact states, you get nothing else….

 

Chris: You didn’t fulfill your contract actually as you can see, and now we have no way to get back to Boulder. Can you tell me how to get back?

 

Carlos: No, United does air transportation not ground.

 

Chris: Well you work in an airport, you must know something or somewhere I can go to get information.

 

Carlos: We don’t do ground transportation.

 

Chris: I need a way back to Boulder and compensation because United screwed up. Now.

 

Carlos: I can’t help you. File a complaint online.

 

Chris: Do you have a manager or someone that has knowledge or authority?

 

Carlos: No.

 

Chris: So you have the most authority of any United employee in this airport and that authority is nothing?

 

Carlos: Yes.

 

Chris: Well you don’t know anything at all, so I’ll ask your employees where I can find a way home.

 

Carlos: Do not talk to them.

 

Chris: I NEED TO GET HOME.

 

Carlos: If you give them a hard time I will call the police. (Goes for the phone)

 

Chris: I’ll give them whatever time I need to find us a way home. Our phones are dead because your airline did such a poor job.

 

Carlos: Then I’m calling the police to have you removed from this airport and arrested.

 

Chris: NO. (FULL ANGER) I’m calling the police right now because you’re harassing me, maybe they will know how I can get home. (Starts dialing)

 

At this point, Carlos knowing he’s a useless little man who should have never been given a position in customer service let alone as a supervisor or director walks/runs away never to be seen again, leaving his employees there. I never even talked to the two women because I knew it would do nothing since United put a  man in charge who should not even have a job in customer service. Customer service meaning he deals with customers. He should be loading baggage onto the airplanes, if anything, never to be seen by people. He had no tact, no diplomatic skill, no patience, no information, he had nothing. He was the worst employee I have ever seen and if he wasn’t there or if he handled the situation in any other way, we wouldn’t have this problem.

 

I don’t know the airport well but I saw signs for ground transportation. It was right next to the United desk, so Carlos was truly useless or the biggest prick ever. The guys working there were nice and gave us our options. All very expensive. We ended up splitting an independent shuttle with a random guy that flew in form Atlanta to Boulder for the first time. It was about $100 for the trip to Boulder. It would have been free, or $26 if United hadn’t screwed up so in my book they owe us at least $70 in compensation just for that, let alone ruining our day, making us sicker, and putting us through that hell and web of lies. You have some employees telling us it will be covered just go to the next desk and the end of the road is Carlos, who offers no help.

 

On a side note, the man who drove us to Boulder did a phenomenal job. If you want to know the best shuttle service from Denver, please email me or leave a comment for information.

 

I just will never get over how poorly Carlos dealt with the situation. He could have simply told me to go to the ground transportation desk and then ask for compensation after because he doesn’t have the means to pay for it at the time. That would have been enough. But he didn’t, he was aggressive and cocky and did the worst possible thing, threaten me.

 

I’ll be filing complaints with United about the situation, trying to get compensation because of their mistake, and trying to remove Carlos from his position. He should not work in customer service, since he isn’t able to do his duty.

 

Anyways, never sacrifice your morals or values for a few bucks. Pay the extra money for the better flight, for the money to go to the right people! Do the right thing, as we will never fly United again, no matter what.