Hannah and Je together

Friday, 26 February 2016

Delta Airline

I had a church related conference at Atlanta, GA this week, and I flew there from Chicago last Sunday.  I had one bag which I did not check it because I had to pay $25.  Delta has no free check-in baggage.  While boarding, a Delta employee told me “You have to check in the baggage.”  It was because they did not enough room in the cabin.  Her word hurt my feeling.  Can’t she say it nicer?  Such as “Sir, we are suffering from lack of storage room in the cabin.  Could you please check your baggage in?  We’ll do that free for you.”  She said it like ordering and used “HAVE TO.”  Flight itself was OK.  The flight attendants were not mean and not kind, just normal.

I was supposed to fly back on Wednesday afternoon, and I’ve got a message that my flight to Midway was cancelled.  It was because of the Chicago weather which is NOT their responsibility.

But I went to the airport two hours earlier than my original flight (which is normal) and asked the ticketing desk to get me another flight.  At the very moment I told the lady that my flight was cancelled, her countenance and face changed badly as if she stepped on a shit.  She was very rude.  Even though I understand that she had hundreds of customers asking the same thing, she should not be like that.  She is paid to deal with the unhappy customers, so she must be professional.

She told me there is nothing she can do, so I just have to go.  I explained to her why I should go back to Chicago that same day.  While I was speaking, she cut me and said that she would call the police if I continue saying it.  I was stunned because I was NOT yelling or anything like that.  I was just asking and explaining (well, I was not smiling nor happy).  Eventually I’ve got another ticket to Chicago O’Hare because all the flight to Chicago Midway were cancelled.

As the response to her threat to me of calling the police and her extreme rudeness and unkindness, I sarcastically said to her that Delta’s customer service was awesome.  And she said the last word at the back of my head, “Don’t fly with Delta then.”

I could not even believe my ears and what I just heard.  Maybe she just thinks I am nothing but one of many customers having no power.  She is right.  I am just one of many customers.  She may feel that Delta is so great and powerful.  She might have felt that way working at Atlanta airport, the home of Delta.  There is nothing I can do but to complaining on my blog.

After the security check, I wanted to complain about my experience being so angry.  I asked some of the Delta employees how to complain.  They were all directing me, “I don’t know.  You may go that place and ask there.”  I was directed like five times.  And finally I went to a huge booth with a lot of phones, maybe customer service place.  I asked a gentleman standing in front of that place how I could complain.  He answered me I cannot.  I asked him again if I could complain over one of the phones there.  He said those phones are directly connected to reservation and booking department and said, “We do not take complaints.”  I thought again that Delta is so amazing.

The replaced flight was also significantly delayed, and I was just told that there is nothing I can do but to wait.  I was also told that even that delayed flight had 50% chance to be cancelled and they suggested me to go to hotel and rest the day, and fly the next day.  I asked them if they would pay the hotel, and they said no.  According to the schedule of the delayed flight, I would arrive at Chicago O’Hare after midnight when the public transportation is not available, which means taxi would be the only option for me.  I asked them if Delta would pay for the taxi because it is the extra cost caused by delay of the flight, and they said no.

So I waited nine hours and forty minutes.  Eventually the plane came at 11:40pm.  Before the boarding, Delta provided us some snacks, which was actually nice and that eased my anger a bit.  The flight attendants were very kind this time.  A lady told me that they were off that day but came to work because of us, “I feel so sorry for y’all.”  Actually that is the way should be.  The other Delta employees at Atlanta airport should have even pretend that they are sorry even though they were not actually and were just sick and tired of damn customers.

One of the Delta employee told me not to fly with Delta, so I will take her advice.  It was my first Delta experience and was so bad.  I usually fly with United.  United is not bad and not good, they are just average, but at least I do not have any horrible experience with them (yet).

The best air lines which I ever experienced was West Jet.  Even once when I was feeling shitty, I felt much better after flying with West Jet.

So, all my friends, which air lines should you avoid?  Delta, it is.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

2nd Holy Land Trip – First and half of Second Day – Flight

It is my second time to travel to Israel/Palestine.  There are two major differences: I was in a group, and now I am alone.  I flew Lufthansa, and now SWISS (I will say Swiss Air).  And consequently the comparison of Swiss Air and Lufthansa is inevitable.

Swiss Air

Swiss Air

Before I begin the comparison, I ate lunch at Chicago O’Hare. The restaurant named Big Bowl was expensive, untasty, and little amount.  I would not eat again.

Many people in my last travel group said that we were so spoiled by Lufthansa, and I totally agree, but Swiss Air also runs AirBus and the planes are equally good, or slightly better in a few ways.

Hanger Sign

Hanger Sign

In Lufthansa, I had hard time to figure out what the small button was, which was actually just a hanger.  But Swiss Air has bigger hanger and also has hanger sign on it so that I can know it easily without any hard guess.

Hat on hanger

Hat on hanger

And as the picture above, I hung my big hat on it.  The thing was, people walking in the narrow airplane aisle touched and dropped my hat almost forty times.

Hat in the pocket

Hat in the pocket

And finally, I began to put my hat in the wall pocket. Problem solved.

Swiss Air’s entertainment system was equally good as Lufthansa, but its control was better.  Lufthansa has touch screen which did not function as it should be while Swiss Air has wired remote which is easier to control.

Baby Bassinet

Baby Bassinet

And I think Lufthansa also has this, but I’ve never seen airplane wall hanging baby bassinet before.  In my second flight from Zürich to Tel Aviv, I sat next to twin babies.  They were so cute and adorable, and amazingly they never cried, but pleasantly playing and laughing the whole time!

Enough Legroom

Enough Legroom

The best of the Swiss Air was that I could choose my seat when I booked the flight, and I got the emergency exit seat which comes with more spacious legroom than business seat.  Having enough legroom is so great and amazing, I understood why people pay a lot to buy upper-class flight.  But still, I would not pay the first or business class.

But the flight was not that pleasant, especially the one from Chicago to Zürich.  I checked the option of Automatic Check-in when I booked, and the night before I got an  email from them notifying that the automatic check-in failed.  So I went to the airport a little bit earlier than that I planned.  And I asked the person behind the counter when I checked-in:

Je: I got an email saying such and such.  What does “Automatic Check-in failed” email means.
He: Automatic Check-in failed means that automatic Check-in failed.
Je: Why?
He: We don’t know.
Je: Is there any problem with me?
He: We don’t know.
Je: Is there any problem with your system?
He: We don’t know.
Je: Will this happen again on my flying back?
He: We don’t know.

Wow. Very kind, eh? And our conversation continued:

He: Sir, you can upgrade your seat.
Je: Oh, really!?
He: Yes, with just $500.

I think he should learn how to make them one sentence.  Then a few hours later, I was at the gate, and when people began to form a line, I was actually the first in boarding line.  I know that all airlines let the families with babies and/or people need help board first (mentioning the business or first class is needless).  And then the lines usually moves in, so I tried to go through the gate, and the lady said, “Go back! We will call your seat number.”  And they really called the passengers by the seat numbers in small range such as “seat from 45 to 49.”  And they called my number the very last!  I understand that they are extremely well organised (more than the Germans), but I was very unpleasant.  Well, being well organised is not wrong, and this is not their fault.  Did Jesus once said, “the first shall be the last?”

But that was just the beginning.  I loved my seat with enough legroom, but I was surrounded by some not that normal people.  Right next to me, a huge lady sat, invading my space the whole time.  The other side, a couple (middle-aged man and quite young girl) kissing and touching the whole time.  Their kissings were so loud and watery.  If you have heard them kissing without know what they are doing, you would have thought they were eating Ramen or something.  And behind me, two good friends talking so loud for more than ten hours (I guess).  And the other side of the huge lady, a middle-aged man was drinking wine whole time (which I guess more than thirty or forty cups), and finally he got drunk and could not even hold his cup right and spilt the wine.  The worst is yet to come.  There were several infants and babies crying and screaming hours and hours.  I felt sorry for the babies but it is fact that their crying and screaming is nerve-touching, especially when they are not your babies.  All these spoiled my plan to adopt the local time and minimise the Jetlag, because I was not able to sleep at night on Israel time.

And another thing I found is the flight crews are prettier than those of Lufthansa, but they do not really smile.  I prefer smiling normal face to unsmiling pretty face.

Donation Globe

Donation Globe

The painful flight was over and I landed on Zürich for the first time.  The airport was very impressive.

Design!

Design!

Switzerland is famous for the unique design.  And I could feel it even in the airport.

Even Payphone is cuter!

Even Payphone is cuter!

The Zürich airport is much smaller but cuter than Frankfurt airport.

Kids' Playground in the airport

Kids’ Playground in the airport

The playground was impressive.  There was only one kid in the picture because it was 6am local time, but I saw more kids playing later.

Charging Station

Charging Station

Free cellphine charging stations are easily found here and there, and was impressive because many people have hard time with their cellphone battery in Chicago airport.

Buy Buy Buy our watch!

Buy Buy Buy our watch!

Switzerland is very famous for the watch and clock industry.  Even I am wearing one.  And there are so many watch commercial and advertisements.

Standing Tram

Standing Tram

I had to use the tram to go to another gate (not terminal), and there was no bench in the tram (actually there were small ones at the both ends of the car).

Sky? Really?

Sky? Really?

You can see the tram’s name in the above picture.  And I don’t quite get that name.  The tram runs underground the whole time (it has only two stations), and the name is SKY-Metro.  Is it some joke that I don’t get?

Carmel Smoking Lounge

Camel Smoking Lounge

I saw Camel Smoking Lounge in Frankfurt, and now I saw the same thing again in Zürich.  Is this brand common across Europe?

The international travellers these days are desperate for the WiFi since we do not have network connection out of country or continent.  Chicago O’Hare airport has 20 minutes free internet which I also used for my laptop.  Frankfurt has one (I don’t remember any time restrict), and Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport also has unlimited free WiFi.  And guess what, I found 60 minutes free WiFi in Zürich airport!  But you cannot use it, well, least I could not.  To gain the free WiFi access, you need personal code which they send you through cellphone text (SMS).  And my phone is not working being out of the country.  I looked around and saw so many faces changing from “Yay!” to confusion and finally to anger.  What the heck is this?  If I have cellphone connection, why do I need WiFi so desperately?

Because there are so many people having this problem even that one morning, thousands of people would have the same problem, and I guess, in that case, there must be some solution for this.  So I decided to ask for help.  I walked to the information desk and asked.  As soon as the guide in the desk figured out that my question was about the free WiFi, he cut me while I was still speaking and said with so cold voice, “There is nothing I can do for you about that.”

I was so shocked.  Wow, people in this country have so awesome attitudes, even the people working in the service industry.  So disappointing, and I guess this airline, this city and this country will never be in my favourite list.

The WiFi is so stupid.  The first sixty minutes is free, and you need to buy to use more.  But because you cannot get the first free connection, you cannot purchase it.  Because they send you the code through cellphone text message or email.  But how can you check your email without connection?  They are so dumb.  I do not care that John Calvin was working in this country.  I judge by my own experience, and I had very bad experience even from Chicago, and in the air, and in the city.  Swiss Air is like a Air Canada, and Lufthansa is like a WestJet.  Canadians would understand what I am talking about.

In Frankfurt, a gate was assigned only for the flights to Israel, and the security check was literally extreme.  But in Zürich, there was no specific gate.  Actually the gate was not assigned until one hour before the flight departure which I think stupid because I had no idea where to wait.  But the security check was just normal.  But after the gate for the Tel Aviv flight was assigned, two Swiss policepersons came to the gate with machine guns!  And I thought, “now it looks normal to me.”

Frankfurt airport has two languages for signs.  I understand because it’s Germany speaking German, and English is international language.  Zürich airport also has two languages – German and English, which I do not understand because Switzerland has four official languages, then they must have five languages for signs.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Israel Trip Seventeenth and Last Day: Flight Back

We couldn’t even stay one night at the very good hotel because we got up at 12:30am, ate 1am and left there 1:30am for Ben Gurion airport at Tel Aviv.

Beginning of annoying and paranoid Israeli security

Beginning of annoying and paranoid Israeli security

When we were entering to the airport area, we passed the initial security. The guy on the picture has a machine gun. It was just the beginning of very annoying Israeli security. They are paranoid because they know what they’ve been doing.

Not like other airport security, we had to go through the security with our check-in baggage. They scanned everything, and many of us, including me, had to go through another manual check by opening the baggage. They found four mud packs from my bag, and asked me:

“WHY DO YOU HAVE MUD PACKS?” – “Because I bought them.”

“WHERE DID YOU BUY THEM?” – “Qumran gift shop.”

“WHY DID YOU BUY THEM?” – “For my wife.”

“WHY DO YOU GO TO AMERICA?” – “Because I live there!”

What stupid questions, and why do they care? Because I did not have US passport, I was checked my green card three times. Once they took my green card and went somewhere and came back in ten minutes.

The security opened a bag of a girl in our group and checked all the books and literatures and read to see what was written.

Many people go to Israel once and no more. I see why. Basically the Israel government is saying to all the tourists, “Don’t you dare come back again!”

Airport Synagogue

Airport Synagogue

There is a synagogue in the airport. I thought it is interesting. Are the religious Jews supposed to be in the airport on Sabbath? Why do they need a synagogue in the airport? Secular Jews don’t care, and religious Jews don’t come to the airport on Sabbath day.

BAYER

BAYER

This is of course Germany that we can see huge BAYER sign. Frankfurt airport is so huge, ridiculously huge. We rode an airport bus, and walked thousand miles after that. I do not mind walking a lot, but I do mind the timing. I walked fast and I reached the gate first in our group, and already people were boarding into the plane! Even a flight attendant in the first plane advised us that we may make it to the connecting air plane but we need to move fast.

Smoking Zone

Smoking Zone

This looks quite interesting to me. There are many smoking zones in Frankfurt airport, I could not take photos because there were always many people inside the box.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa

If I remember right, Frankfurt is the home airport of Lufthansa. I don’t like long flight, but I am quite satisfied with Lufthansa.

Not like on the way to Israel in Frankfurt, there was no security check this time on the way to Chicago. In Chicago, there were three different immigration gates: one for US Citizen, one for Green card holders, and the other was for everyone else.

After long flight, I landed on Chicago O’Hare airport. While the plane was landing, at the right moment that the landing gear began to touch the runway pavement, my wife Hannah called me that she is waiting at the airport terminal 5. She was not supposed to come and pick me up, but she skipped her work.

I’ve always driven to Chicago, never landed on Chicago. Chicago. This is what home feels like. During this trip, I saw many things, I felt many things, I learned many things, and I realised many things. But the biggest thing is this: I realised that I truly love my wife, Hannah.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Israel Trip First and Second Day: Flight

As part of school course, I took Israel Trip in this J-term. Its departure was from O’Hare Airport at Chicago Wednesday 8th of January, 2014.

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Lufthansa – German Engineering

It was my first time using Lufthansa. It was good overall and I noticed that the flight attendants are healthier than other airlines, and they smile less.

Waiting for the flight. I was lively at that moment.

Waiting for the flight. I was lively at that moment.

After the two painful flights, I realised that the flight is the worst part of the good trip. But if I think about how much time I can save and how safe it is than in older days when people travelled by ships, I am so thankful about the painful flights.

The plane from Chicago, USA to Frankfurt, Germany was so big with ten seats on a row and it is even double-decker. Ten seats on one row means only two can have window view while other 80% of the passengers cannot see outside. And Lufthansa did something for the poor 80% passengers.

Window view for everyone

Window view for everyone

On the personal screen, you can see the window view as if you are on the window seat. The only thing not right was that it showed daytime view when we flew during the night. And by the screen there was a button.

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And it even comes out like the shown picture above. I had no idea what that is for. I discussed with my classmates sitting next to me. I spent hours in vain to figure it out. Finally I asked a flight attendant, and she said it is for coat hanger! We were all shocked and said that it is true German Engineering which Americans can never understand.

Meal on the way to Frankfurt

Meal on the way to Frankfurt

The flight is painful, mostly because of the insufficient leg room. But what makes it better is of course food. The meals were very good overall. They asked me if I wanted vegetarian meal and I answered that I wanted predator’s meal, and I’ve got chicken.

Frankfurt Tram

Frankfurt Tram

We landed on Frankfurt on time. And we walked a lot to gate C13. We walked, walked, and walked. Then we got on the tram to another terminal. And after the tram, again we walked, walked and walked.

What was impressive to me was smoking zones – glass boxes. And I went into a rest room and found the manager’s picture for that rest room.

The one in charge of the rest room

The one in charge of the rest room

The gate C13 is dedicated to the planes whose destination is Israel. I always thought the American Airport security check is the worst in the world, but Frankfurt gate C13 security check is even worse than any American airport. Professor Ted said that it is because the planes are going to Israel. Other gates whose planes are going another places, the security checks are not like that. This one reminded me the special (in good and bad aspect) situations of Israel.

Frankfurt gate C13 after the security check

Frankfurt gate C13 after the security check

The plane to Israel was delayed about an hour. So we waited a bit. I think it was kind of nothing. On January 1st, my niece waited six more hours at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

Walking on the cloud

Walking on the cloud

In the plane, I was sitting next to a Jewish guy. He is very kind and nice even though he was wearing all black and hats. A big hat, and another small one inside, called Kipa (כיפה). He explained that kipa has many different colours and patterns and that means something, like dark black is orthodox Jewish.We talked a lot during the flight. He strongly suggested me to visit Masada. He also taught me Toda Adonai (תודה אדון) which means Thank (you) Lord. One interesting thing was that he distinguished strictly between the religious Jewish and secular Jewish.

Finally ארץ ישראל (Land of Israel)

Finally ארץ ישראל (Land of Israel)

Finally I saw the Land of Israel with the Mediterranean sea. I was goose bumped and thrilled just to see it down from the sky.

Cute Village near Tel Aviv

Cute Village near Tel Aviv

And finally we landed on Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. It was very nice airport, probably better than most Airports in America.

Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel

Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel

Before the trip I was told, the immigration may stamp on separated paper in case I ask for. It was necessary for those who want to travel to other surrounding countries after Israel because those countries will not let you in when they find the Israeli stamp on your passport. So I asked for it just in case, and they replied that they do not stamp any more, instead, they gave me a bar code.

With Ted Hiebert

With Ted Hiebert next to the bus

Ted Hiebert is the leading professor for this trip with his wife Paula. He is the OT professor at McCormick Theological Seminary, and one of the greatest OT scholar of our times, and the translator of Genesis for Common English Bible. He recently promoted to the position of Vice President at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

The Bus was very good. It even provides free Wi-Fi.

This Bus is so good.

This Bus is so good.

We went from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by this nice bus, and checked in White Sisters Guesthouse in Palestinian area of Jerusalem. After check-in, some of us walked outside along the Wall of Old City where the Gate to Damascus is. This gate is very probably St. Paul stepped out when he began his journey to arrest Christians. Not the same exact gate, but the gate at the same place.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

After we saw the Notre Dame Cathedral, we went back to the Guesthouse and had dinner.

Dinner at Guesthouse

Dinner at Guesthouse

This was just the humble beginning of the glorious meal.

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