Notes from our Rbg-FRA-DFW-PVR marathon

We were scheduled to leave Regensburg on EuroNight 420 at 00:14. We actually left 40 minutes later than scheduled. Still arrived at Frankfurt/Main Hbf 35 minutes early. This was our first experience with EuroNight. We had Sitzwagen tickets — nice and cheap, but rather cramped in our compartment with 3 other travelers and all their stuff. Would it be possible to buy a few seats per person in order to stretch out? We saw other compartments with some passengers all sprawled out by themselves or sharing a 6er compartment. How’d they manage that? Maybe just lucky that all their fellow compartment passengers got off the train early? And if they wanted to lay down, why not buy Liegewagen tickets? I think we’ll do that next time.

The post-Fruit-of-the-Boom-era extra security screening at the ticket counter upon checking in was the same old questions, just no longer phrased as yes/no questions, with a few new questions, like “how long have you owned that piece of luggage you’re checking?” But they made us split up for separate questioning even though we told them we’re married because we didn’t share a last name (or presumably part of one, like in a hyphenation situation) and didn’t have our marriage certificate on us (should we schlep a copy of that with us everywhere we go again? We used to have to do that in the early phase of our move here for bureaucratic purposes), even though our one piece of baggage to be checked had both our names and common address on it.

For the FRA to DFW flight, we were sitting in a row marked “DC ELECTRONIC POWER OUTLET AVAILABLE UNDER SEAT.” Never used one of those before. Is there some kind of adapter I can buy to plug in my laptop? I didn’t get a close look at the receptable, but it looks like it would accept a round plug. What voltage is it?

Time to get on our flight to PVR pretty soon. Greetings from DFW (nice airport, Texans!).

Travel deals 04.02.2009

Ok, I’m finally back from the states, my Guitar Hero blisters are healed and I’m somewhat up to date with the recent travel deals. Wanna see what’s been lurking in my ever-so-spammy inbox? Sure you do!

10€ Ryanair fares
If you are near one of the airports served by Ryanair, don’t mind wading through tons of restrictions and want to book something today, you might want to click here. This deal ends at midnight tonight and doesn’t include charges for checked luggage and the like.

Etihad Airways specials
Want to go to a far-flung destination? Etihad is having specials for departures from Munich and Frankfurt available for purchase until February 15. It looks like there are different sets of fares for different time periods (most frequently Jan 14 – Mar 31, then Apr 11 – to Jun 20), so pay close attention to the terms and conditions. Luckily, you’ve got a little time to research before this one expires.

Opodo sale
This one is an across-the-board sale on airfare, hotel, car rental, etc. Opodo has all sorts of specials for getting to the U.S. from Germany (mostly New York), to Germany from the U.S., plus accommodation and transportation in different areas. Again, read the terms carefully – Opodo is just a broker, so the ins and outs can vary greatly.

Lufthansa bargains
I think Lufthansa is hurting. They are constantly having specials and extending sales that were supposed to expire. Help them out and put your butts in their seats. Wanna go visit the U.S.? They want to help you do so if you book by March 2 and depart before May 31. Considering something a little more adventurous? There are deals to destinations in Asia, Africa and South America.

That looks like the best of what I’ve received. As per usual, if you have a hot tip that I’ve missed, please leave it in the comments. And hopefully now that the traveling is on hiatus and the move is complete, I can resume the regular travel posts. Happy trails!

Travel Deals 18.12.2008

Again, not much general travel goodness available, although there are a fair number of destination-specific hotel/resort packages (curious about those? Check Travelzoo top 20). And I appreciate that the travel sites seem to be attempting innovations with their booking functions. Unfortunately, not all the innovations are good ones. You mileage may vary.

Europe from Germanwings

Germanwings is offering flights from Germany to European metropolises for as little as 19,99€, taxes and fees included. Looks like the deals are only leaving from Köln-Bonn, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Berlin. München does not appear to be included, but they have expanded their routes from there, so yay. You can purchase until January 1 and fly between December 27 and March 31. Be warned: the calendar function is supposed to show you when the best prices are available, but mostly it just made me want to yank my hair out. Or else what they’re calling a ‘sale’ is actually just an anomaly, since my sample search yielded only two flights within a three-month period that looked related to the promotion.

Orbitz – American Airlines Sale

AA is a having a small winter sale on U.S.-Europe routes through Orbitz. Choose your origin and see where the fares are the best bargain; maybe get some family or friends to come over! Last chance to purchase is on December 31, flight period is exquisitely complicated, so scroll down on the page linked above and read it before you get all excited and stuff. Orbitz has added a cool feature – even when pricing out flights specific to an airline deal, it gives you the option of searching only the airline attached to the promotion or all airlines. Interestingly enough, when I did a sample search, the AA sale fare was still more than the USAir fare for the same route/time period. So, good going, Orbitz! That one’s a keeper.

Those are the big ones for this week. If you see any goodies out there that you feel I have overlooked, please leave them in the comments. KLM/Air France always seems to be late to the party, so if I see anything from them, I’ll drop it in the comments.

headache prevention

I’m pretty sure at least part of the reason people feel so crappy after long flights is the drone of the engines and air rushing past and internal cabin systems. So when I saw a pair of noise-cancellation headphones before our most recent trip over at woot.com — purveyor of geeky stuff at can’t-bear-to-pass-it-up prices — I knew I had to try it. Especially because it was not a several hundred dollar pair of the big-name headphones. In fact, even amazon.de wants 170 € for the same set.

Nope, these cost a mere 60 bones that day on woot.com. I’d say they were worth it, because we could watch the in-flight movies without having to blast our ears with volume to overcome the ambience, and just generally talk to each other without having to yell. These were great: carrying case, adaptor kits for various jack formats, and they were even pretty comfortable for a couple hours at a time.

I should have bought two of them.