21 things you never say to a flight attendant

You know how miserable it is to fly? The crying babies, the perpetual delays, the fistfights breaking out over reclined seats. Now imagine you did that every… single… day. And you didn’t get paid much for it either.

Welcome to the life of a flight attendant, where you may get to travel the world, but you have to do it with all the people who make the world such a miserable place.

Since we’ve already learned what we’re doing to piss off the flight attendant, this time we thought it’d be fun to find out what we’re saying to make them equally as irate. We talked to an army of air hosts and uncovered the 21 passenger questions that will absolutely send them off the rails.

1. “Am I going to make my connection?”

Well, let’s see… we just collected your empty cup, it’s 1:15 p.m., and your connecting flight leaves at 1:20 p.m. Let’s shake the old Magic 8 Ball here aaaaaaand … signs point to “No.”

2. “Why can’t I use the first-class bathroom?”

Because if we let anyone just use it, it wouldn’t be the first-class bathroom.

3. “Why do I have to check my bag?”

Simple. This entire plane if full of jerks who stuffed the overhead bins with winter coats and pet rock collections. Maybe they’ll all chip in for your bag fee.

4. “Do you know if this meal is gluten free?”

The answer to this question is always “yes.” That “sensitivity” to gluten, it’s in your head.

5. “Why isn’t there a movie, Wi-Fi, or entertainment?”

Because there’s not. If you take a look at our inflight magazine, however, you’ll find a lovely list of America’s best steakhouses and a flattering profile of Wichita. We hear Kansas is beautiful this time of year.

6. “Why are we delayed?”

Look out the window. See how the tarmac resembles Lambeau Field in January? MAYBE that’s why. Maybe.

7. “So, are you in the mile-high club?”

Right now, I’m strangely jealous of the women at the bar who you use such stupid lines on. At least they can smack you.

8. “What are we flying over?”

Brown stuff. Or blue stuff. Or black stuff with yellow dots. One of those.

9. “Will you help me lift my bag?”

Because of workers comp rules we’re not allowed to, but a word of advice to help you avoid this problem in the future: CHECK YOUR LARGE BAGS! It only costs $25, and from the smell of your breath, it’s clear you just dropped at least that much at the airport bar.

10. “Do you have anything for my child to eat?”

When you booked the flight, did you somehow forgot that your small child needs to dine around this time? Stellar parenting, well done. Have some cheddar stick snack mix.

11. Where is my seat?

You’re in 21A, so we’d say right under the placard that says “14” on the side marked “DEF”. It’s a fun little game we like to play with passengers.

12. Will they hold the plane?

We’re gonna almost always say yes, mostly so that you calm down and don’t ask our other favorite question: “Can we get off the plane first?”. But the truth is, unless there’s a large group of you connecting to the same flight (or it’s crazy expensive to rebook you), they’re not inconveniencing 200 other people just for you.

13. “Will my bag make it?”

That would be a great question if we were large dudes dressed in coveralls and fluorescent yellow vests, and working on the tarmac.

14. “When will the weather improve?”

We’ll take it as a compliment that you think we could pass for the weather women on your local FOX affiliate, but as it stands, we possess neither meteorological training nor extra silicone.

15. “Is there something more appropriate for my child to watch?”

Yes. The back of his eyelids.

16. “Why isn’t there a meal on this flight?”

We’re sorry, have you not been on a plane since 2002? The last time we served meals in coach, Justin Bieber was seven. Now, can we interest you in a cold $10 sandwich?

17. “Can you check to see if I got an upgrade?”

That app, which I can clearly see open on your phone, says you’re number 45 on the upgrade list for a flight with 20 first-class seats. It isn’t lying to you. But I might.

18. “Do you have any blankets?”

If you’re that hellbent on getting Chlamydia, there are much funner ways.

19. “Do the pilots know how to land this thing?”

No, we actually just took a couple of Hare Krishnas from baggage claim, dressed them up like Captain Stubing, and prayed for the best. That’s cool, right?

20. “Do you have any empty seats in business class/first class/exit row i can sit in?”

Do you have a debit card with at least $89 on it? Then yes.

21. “Are we going to be safe flying over Cuba?”

The last thing a country that can’t afford road construction wants to do is shoot down an American passenger jet. Please: sit back, relax, and enjoy some totally gluten-free pretzels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is a child ready to travel solo? Maturity levels and street smarts are key!

TORONTO _ “Free range” parents who believe in raising self-reliant kids have made headlines and generated debate for allowing their children to commute on their own.

Lenore Skenazy – who spearheaded the Free-Range Kids movement _ was dubbed “America’s Worst Mom” after writing a column about letting her then-nine-year-old son, Izzy, ride the New York subway alone.

Maryland parents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv are being investigated for neglect after allowing their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to walk home alone from a neighbourhood park, about two kilometres away.

Permitting kids to travel without adult supervision may help foster independence, but how can parents determine if they’re ready for the responsibility?

“Age is one factor, but it’s actually a small factor when you compare what else you need to take into account. Really, it’s more about the individual child,” said Sara Dimerman, a Thornhill-Ont.,-based psychologist, author and parenting expert.

Parents should know whether their child has a good sense of their surroundings, as well as the maturity and street smarts needed to travel solo, she noted.

“You can find some 10-year-olds who are like walking GPS’s and they’re like: ‘Oh, yes, is the direction to my house and you turn left here and you turn right here.’ And other kids may not have a clue where you are – even if they’re teenagers.”

Parents should be talking to kids as toddlers about road safety, and gradually teach them more as grow up, said Pamela Fuselli, vice-president of Parachute Canada, a charitable organization dedicated to injury prevention and saving lives.

“You can engage them in discussion as you walk and as you cross the street about what they can be doing or what kind of hazards (they) may see as they’re walking,” Fuselli said.

It’s also important that parents adhere to the same practices they want their kids to follow, Fuselli noted.

“By being a good role model, crossing the street at a light, not talking on your cellphone when you’re walking _ those kinds of things will communicate the correct behaviour to your children.”

Rebecca Cuneo Keenan grew up in Toronto in the 1980s and didn’t go anywhere on her own until she was at least nine. The mother of three said her eldest child – an eight-year-old son – “really isn’t chomping at the bit for independence.”

“I do try to push him a little bit, but most of the places he would want to walk to would involve crossing a busy street in Toronto,” said Cuneo Keenan, 36, a freelance writer and mom blogger at playgroundconfidential.com

“I think that is (the fear) for me, more than any kind of stranger-danger, or abductions, or fears of that nature, is just (concern about) traffic…. and kids getting hit by a car, which does happen.”

Cuneo Keenan – who also has two daughters, aged six and three – started teaching her kids about road safety early on, and will sometimes have her son lead the way as the family commutes home. There’s a little parkette at the end of their lane, and she will allow her kids to ride ahead as she follows. She’ll also hang back and observe their interactions with store employees as they make a purchase.

“To have those independent experiences is worthwhile, absolutely _ but you do ease them into it,” she said.

Dimerman and Fuselli agree the transition from supervised trips to solo commutes must be gradual.

“You want to wean your child off of you and monitor, watch, observe how he or she handles themselves in certain situations before you gradually let go of that umbilical cord,” said Dimerman.

Parents should also ask questions and pose scenarios to determine how kids may handle unexpected situations.

“Kids’ brains are not often ready or developed enough to think these things through, and it’s not because they’re unintelligent or they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Dimerman, “it’s just because they don’t have ability to reason things out as we do as adults. They don’t have the ability or the life experience.”

 

BC Travellers warned after measles outbreak at Disney Land

CTV Vancouver

Unhappy news at the “Happiest Place on Earth” has sparked warnings for B.C. travellers.

Vancouver father-of-two Graham Barron planned to take his family to Disneyland in February, but a measles outbreak traced to the popular family destination has forced them to abandon their plans.

“Our daughter’s just too young to get vaccinated – you have to be a year old,” Barron said. “We just felt that it wasn’t worth the risk to go, so we cancelled our trip.”

Dozens of recent measles cases have been linked to Disneyland, and health officials in the U.S. and Canada warn anyone who’s not vaccinated to avoid the theme park, at least for now.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said the disease, which until recently was all but eradicated thanks to vaccines, is very contagious, and people can be infectious for days before symptoms appear.

“The measles still seems to be spreading,” Kendall said.

“We really want anybody who’s thinking about going to [Disneyland] with their children to be sure that their immunizations are up to date.”

Flight Centre said travellers who do decide to go need to understand that the situation could affect their ability to get insurance.

“Now that people know that there’s this measles outbreak, you’re not able to get insurance to cover you for that,” spokeswoman Allison Wallace said.

Barron was able to get a credit for their vacation package, and said his family will plan another Disneyland trip once the outbreak is over.

 

Canadians plan to spend more money on their vacations this holiday season

TORONTO | CNW

Fewer Canadians will be travelling for the holidays this year, with those who are taking vacations planning on spending more money, finds a new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll.

Just over one in five (22 per cent) Canadians are planning to travel on vacation during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, down slightly from 25 per cent last year. Those who are traveling – primarily to visit family or friends or bask in warmer temperatures – plan to spend an average of $1,509 on their trip, up 3 per cent from last year. As many as 40 per cent of vacationers will be travelling outside of Canada.

“Whether you’re travelling within Canada for the holidays or heading south for a vacation, it’s helpful to make a checklist of everything you need to do or take with you before you go,” says Steve Webster, Vice President, Travel Cards, CIBC. “There are some easy things that you can do before you travel to help make sure your vacation is worry free – like letting your credit card provider know you’ll be on vacation or making sure your credit card provides the travel medical coverage that’s appropriate for you.”

Key findings of the poll include:

22 per cent of Canadians are planning a holiday vacation in December, down from 25 per cent last yr.

Within this group:

  • They plan to spend on average of $1,509 on their trip, including transportation, accommodation, meals, and other activities, up from $1,462 last year
  • Half (53 per cent) of travellers this holiday season plan to stay within Canada; 34 per cent will say closer to home in their own province, 19 per cent will travel outside their province
  • Four in 10 (40 per cent) will vacation outside of Canada, including 20 per cent travelling to the US and 20 per cent heading to travel spots beyond Canada or the US
  • Visiting family or friends was the top reason for travelling for half (50 per cent) of the group; another 21 per cent indicated their primary reason to travel is to get warm

Top travel concerns

The top concerns cited by Canadians who plan to travel this holiday season include:

  • Getting sick or injured on their vacation (33 per cent)
  • Losing their money or credit cards (10 per cent)
  • Losing their luggage (8 per cent)

“Peace of mind while on vacation is important,” says Mr. Webster. “It’s always important for you to review the protection offered by your credit card before you leave for your vacation, in the event you need medical assistance while travelling, or if your card is lost or stolen while you are away.”

Vacation checklist to ensure peace of mind:

  • Make sure you understand and update your travel protection. Many credit cards offer insurance to protect you and your family, such as travel medical, trip cancellation or interruption, flight delay, lost baggage, or car rental collision/damage.
  • Keep your passport, cash and cards secure, and have a back up form of payment. Carrying a back up payment card or cash can help if you lose your primary method of payment. Be sure to keep them separate and in secure locations, and have important phone numbers written down separately in the event you lose a credit or debit card.
  • Provide Vacation Alerts to your credit card company before you go. Advance notice to your credit card company on your travel plans can help ensure your credit card charges go through and you have use of your credit card for your vacation.
  • Access benefits and rewards from your credit cards to stretch your vacation budget further. For example, your credit card may have features such as reward points to pay for flights, hotels and other travel-related expenses, and discounts on travel-related items such as car rentals.
  • Utilize free budgeting and tracking tools. For example, the CIBC Mobile Banking App lets you track purchases in real time and with the CIBC CreditSmart tool on most credit cards you can set and track your spending, and set up Alerts that remind you when you get close to your limits.

KEY POLL FINDINGS

Among Canadians surveyed, plans to travel on vacation during the December holiday season, by region:

National Average 22%
BC 26%
Alberta 25%
Man/Sask 21%
Ontario 21%
Quebec 21%
Atlantic Canada 17%

Among Canadians surveyed who are planning to take a vacation this December holiday season, average amount they plan to spend, by region:

National Average $1509
BC $1767
Alberta $1487
Man/Sask $1654
Ontario $1599
Quebec $1416
Atlantic Canada $490

Among Canadians surveyed who are planning to take a vacation this December holiday season, primary reason for travelling:

To visit family or friends 50%
To get warm 21%
To get away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays 11%
Timing works for my schedule – the kids are off school / I’m off work 9%
Other 9%

The results were gathered through a Web survey conducted by Leger from November 24 to 26, 2014 among a representative sample of 1,572 English- or French-speaking Canadians, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.47%, 19 times out of 20.  Using data from Statistics Canada, the results were weighted according to gender, age, region, language spoken at home, education and whether or not children are present in the household to ensure a sample representative of the entire population under review.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

Top 10 Winter Driving Tips To Share

Top 10 Winter Driving Tips To Share

Snow is in the forecast across the country, from a chance of snow in Vancouver, to snow on top of more snow in Alberta and the Maritimes. Winter driving is an important skill in our country, and with the holidays coming up the roads will be busier than ever. Share these winter driving tips with your insurance clients and help keep everyone safe on the road.

1. Avoid the winter slip ‘n’ slide: To ensure your vehicle is ready for Canada’s changing winter weather, switch your all-season tires to winter ones before the temperature drops below 7°C. Winter tires optimize the performance and safety of winter driving. Not convinced you need them? Consider that the braking distance of a winter tire could be up to two vehicle lengths shorter than the braking distance of an all-season tire rolling at 24 km/h.

2. Defrost your windows well: Neglecting to defrost your windows might get you to your destination faster, but it’s a dangerous habit. Plan for a few extra minutes to clean all your car’s windows well. And don’t forget to clear off the top of your vehicle—snow could slide down the windshield and obstruct your view while the vehicle is in motion.

3. Winterize your trunk: Keeping a roadside safety kit in your trunk year-round is a good idea, but winter driving conditions require extra safety equipment. Make sure you’re carrying a scraper for the windshield, a small shovel, a sandbag, candles, and warm clothing like gloves and a hat.

4. Replace worn tires:  It’s important to check your tires each winter season because worn or bald tires can be dangerous. Tires have tread wear indicator bars molded into them. A solid bar of rubber across the width of the tread means it’s time to replace the tire.

5. Don’t mix and match:  Mixing tires with different tread patterns, different internal constructions and/or different sizes compromises the stability of the vehicle. Ensure your vehicle is equipped with four identical winter tires.

6. Top up your fluids: Always keep your gas tank at least half full. On very cold days, the condensation in the tank can freeze and cause problems. Also, don’t forget about your windshield-washer fluid – this is also extremely important on those sunny day!

7. Pump up your tires: For every 5°C drop in temperature, tires lose one pound of air pressure. To ensure optimum fuel efficiency and prevent irregular or premature wear, tire inflation should be checked monthly.

8. See and be seen: It is critical for drivers to see and be seen in low light conditions, and when blowing snow impairs visibility. Always drive with your headlights on.

9. Take a cellphone: For long trips, don’t forget to take a cellphone in case you need to call for help. Pull over to the side of the road and stop your vehicle before making the call.

10. 
Drop your speed to match road conditions: The posted speed is the maximum speed under ideal conditions. In winter, it is safer to drive below the posted speed. No matter how much experience you have, the way your car will move on snow or ice always has an element of unpredictability.

Stay safe over the holiday season! Are you an insurance agent looking for a greater understanding of vehicle insurance in your province? ILScorp has online courses for ICBC Autoplan Agents in BC and an Ontario Auto Expert continuing education course. Visit ILScorp.com to learn more about our online continuing education courses for insurance agents.

10 Holiday Travel Tips to Keep Your Vacation Jolly!

Planning to visit Grandma’s or spending Christmas in Paris? Traveling over the holidays can be notoriously busy, expensive and stressful, but the news isn’t all bad. Check out these 10 holiday travel tips and find some joy this season.

10 Holiday Travel Tips to Keep Your Vacation Jolly!

1. Avoid peak travel dates.
Travel off-peak whenever possible. Fortunately, Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Wednesdays this year, so travel will likely be more spread out than normal, with no obvious peak days.

2. Book early.
Fares are only rising, so those who hold out in hopes of a late-breaking sale are likely to get left out in the cold or pay a very steep price for their procrastination. Be prepared to be flexible with dates and flight times.

3. Shop around.
Comparison shopping has never been easier. During peak travel season, casting the net as wide as possible will help you understand all of your options. For many travellers, price isn’t the only or even the most important factor, especially during the holidays. Thoughtful, deliberate use of the “search adjacent days or airports” features found on many websites may also surrender greatly improved fares and travel times.

4. Know your airports.
Checking alternate airports is a pretty standard tactic, but at this time of year it can really make a difference. You can score on almost every front – parking, rental cars, traffic to and from, nearby hotels – and save both time and money. Smaller airports see fewer flights and therefore, typically, fewer delays.

5. Plot connections carefully.
When booking flights, check your search results carefully for sufficient time during layovers, and build in some time for flight delays and weather woes. Avoiding really tight connections may save you a sprint through the terminal or a missed flight.

6. Leave early.
During peak travel times, many of the delays you’ll face lie on this side of security, from traffic jams and full parking lots to absent shuttles and long lines. Rather than striving to “arrive at the airport early,” you may want to try to “leave for the airport early” to anticipate the peripheral delays you may encounter.

7. Pack wisely.
In the past, you may have been able to fit everything into your carry-on without having to check any baggage – a strategy we still recommend. However, the TSA rules about liquids and gels make this a trickier proposition. When packing, keep in mind that most airlines are now charging travellers a fee for checking any bags on domestic flights (and even some international ones).

8. Use the Web for more than just booking.
The latest self-service developments in online travel can be tremendous time-savers during peak travel times. Whenever possible, print your boarding passes at home, use check-in kiosks or even pull up your boarding pass on your smartphone. Consider doing your holiday shopping online and having your gifts shipped to your destination.

9. Travel early or late in the day.
As a rule, airports are least congested at times when most people would rather be at home or asleep. Delays are far less likely for morning flights, and airports usually unclog as the afternoon and evening peak passes. Caveat: Staffing can be spotty for really early flights, so although your flight is highly likely to be ready to leave on time, check-in may take a while, along with other personnel-dependent steps like riding shuttle buses.

10. Consider package deals.
Peak travel periods can be the best time to buy package deals, even for folks who would never buy one, as the bundled pricing offered by packages can be very competitive, even (or especially) at times of high demand.

A Few Bonus Tips:

  • Be prepared for more than the usual slowdowns at security. Even though the TSA’s liquid and gel rules have been around for many years now, folks who fly very rarely may not be familiar with all the ins and outs, and the newer full body scanners could catch even frequent travellers off guard.
  • Gas up the night before you travel; no one leaves enough time for buying gas on the way to the airport.
  • Investigate your frequent flier options to get better (and better guaranteed) seats.
  • Keep your cool. Airline employees have considerable power over your well-being. Unfortunately, many enjoy wielding it against you, and few respond well to anger.
  • Have phone numbers for everything: your hotel, your car rental agency, your airline, friends at your destination.
  • Choose non-stop flights. The worst, most brutal delays occur in connecting airports, where you have no home, friends or family to retreat to.
  • With airlines continuing to cut back on service, it’s more important than ever to confirm your flight several days before you leave – that way you’ll have a little leeway to make alternate plans if necessary.
  • Don’t overpack even checked luggage; overstuffed bags that must be opened for a security check are much harder to repack.
  • Do not wrap gifts, especially if you intend to carry them on the plane. Even in checked baggage, there is a strong chance they will be unwrapped for inspection by security personnel. Consider gift bags instead of wrapping paper this holiday season – you can easily remove the items from their bags if required and you don’t have to do a last-minute wrapping job at your destination.
  • Give your cell phone a full charge, and write down or program the phone number of your airline so you can call easily as your flight time approaches.

Excerpted from the Independent Traveler 

Want to ensure that your clients are properly protected over the holidays? Review their vehicle coverages as well as travel medical insurance policies with them before they head off on their trip. Not sure what they’ll need? ILScorp has hundreds of hours of online, accredited continuing education classes for insurance agents, to get you up to speed.

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