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Seattle-Tel Aviv in BusinessFirst with Midflight Adventures and Many Delays

Seattle-Tel Aviv in BusinessFirst with Midflight Adventures and Many Delays

Old Jul 12, 13, 1:14 am
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,301
Seattle-Tel Aviv in BusinessFirst with Midflight Adventures and Many Delays

Introduction
Israel time. I usually go every year, typically around the first week in July.
My last trip was on Air Canada, which I rather liked. But United had an unbeatable "Z" fare, so I couldn't turn it down.

Working long hours, endless varieties of stress and then… at that last moment… when I bid farewell to my dog and head to the airport, I smile and look forward to seeing the Israeli shoreline from the airplane window.

SEA-TAC
Having left my iPad, car keys, and Bose headphones on a recent flight, I thought it would be wise to use valet parking. This would at least ensure that I wouldn't lose my car keys.

My ticket was actually on two PNRs: one from Seattle to Newark; the other from Newark to Tel Aviv. This was for the sake of saving a few hundred bucks with the small risk that something might go awry. I had read on FlyerTalk that checking bags through on two PNRs was tricky. No kidding.

The agent had to get permission to overbook the Seattle-Newark flight, make a fake reservation, print a tag, then remove the overbooking. It took perhaps 15 minutes. The agent was cheerful, kind, and apologetic. I gave her a kiss on the cheek in exchange for promising to tell her about Israel when I got back. She was great.

Aware of the potential bag check issue, I had arrived at the airport with lots of time to spare.

Thanks to PreCheck, security took less than 30 seconds.

Even though the new United Club is an improvement, I went to the Alaska Airlines Board Room instead. It's calmer, quieter, and has better coffee.

29 June 2013
UA 577 SEA-EWR
757-200
Seat 1B

I had been watching this flight like a hawk for delays. It seems like United changes the flight number every day. It's probably a way to avoid being fined for a chronically-delayed flight . Today would be no exception: one-hour delay. Fortunately, I had a long enough layover in Newark to avoid a problem.

The flight was actually fairly pleasant despite the ageing 757. Lunch was the usual chicken and rice, but I was impressed that the flight attendant made a full-force sundae cart. It was a lot nicer than preparing the sundaes in the galley.

Passengers were panic-stricken about making connections. Although there were strict instructions to let them off first, I was in the first row and we disembarked from 1L. The guy sitting next to me and I decided that we really weren't going to get in anyone's way if we just got off the plane. Good call.

Newark
I said hello to Anthony at the C3 United Club, had a quick shower, and caught up on a few phone calls and emails. I left the club reeking of United "pomegranate" soap.

Aware that the line can be long at C138, I headed down to the gate close to one hour prior to departure. Indeed, they were boarding at almost 55 minutes prior to closing the door.

The additional "security" check was strictly theatre. There was a 10-second wanding and brief glance at my carry-on. They contract security crew had beaming smiles and just tried to complete the "dog and pony show" with a warm attitude. I admire their will to smile despite "going through the motions."

There was also a mandatory stop at the counter for an additional ticket and passport inspection. The agent wrote "/110" in huge letters on my ticket and said thank you. I can't imagine what purpose was served.

There were also two TSA "smurfs" gossiping by the counter. I kept thinking that this would be a plum of an assignment: just stand there, do nothing, and collect federal employee benefits.

29 June 2013
UA 90 EWR-TLV
777-200
Seat 8B

I was greeted by a kind "speaker," and settled into 8B. I like that seat. Although there is sometimes light from the galley, it is amenable to expedient boarding and exit, and I prefer not to have anyone in front of me… even in business class. This seat has only one window, but I find that to be a minor inconvenience.

There was an enormous amount of seat shuffling, but we still managed to push back on time. There was originally a non-rev sitting next to me, but she got booted… I'm not sure if she was booted to economy, off the plane, or elsewhere in business.

Although I posted it elsewhere, the "ISM" or purser was a showcase of Cluster B Personality Disorders. The new DSM-V does not include histrionic personality disorder but this guy has HPD for sure. DSM-V be damned, he met all of the criteria: wildly colorful glasses, flair on the uniform, endless "self-made" announcements, and dramatic discussions of how he was stressed out.

I kept imagining if the plane was crashing. He would be yelling, "Heads down, stay down. No wait. Look at me. Everyone look at me! How do I look?"

Dinner was served promptly. The purser ate dinner in front of the forward cabin while the rest of the crew served dinner. How classy… and how Cluster B.

Dinner was the usual:
TO BEGIN
Chilled Appetizer
Jumbo shrimp with seafood cocktail sauce

Fresh Seasonal Greens
Tomatoes, Kalamata olives, bell pepper, baby mozzarella and croutons with your choice of creamy garlic dressing or balsamic vinaigrette.

[i]Not much has changed. The salad was delicious. I've had that salad so many times in my life, and it's almost always good.[/]

MAIN COURSE
Tenderloin of Beef
Asiago broth, brown butter gnocchi and green asparagus

Spice-Rubbed Breast of Chicken
Mustard barbecue sauce, steamed rice, mixed vegetables and pickled cabbage
Grilled Fillet of Amazon Cod

Plum jus sauce, sweet plantains, and green beans
Tri-Color Ravioli

Cherry tomato sauce and herbed butternut squash with Parmesan cheese

Menus do not contain pork

I had the chicken, another old favorite. It used to come with "Korean barbecue sauce," but this was just as good.

TO FINISH
International Cheese Selection
Grapes and crackers with Portal Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2008

Dessert
Ice cream with your choice of toppings

MID-FLIGHT SNACK
Fruit and light snacks are available at any time following the meal service. Please help yourself or ask a flight attendant for today's selection.

PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
An appetizer of smoked peppered salmon and salmon-cream cheese roulade with your choice of

Cheddar Cheese Omelet
Broccoli-potato gratin and asparagus

or

Cereal and Banana
Served with milk
Fresh fruit appetizer, yogurt, and breakfast breads

I had cereal, but the guy sitting next to me had the omelet. It actually looked and smelled pretty good.

It's such a shame that they fill fancy "silver" coffee pots with such disgusting coffee (I think it's made of pencil shavings). Maybe one day United will contract with a different coffee manufacturer. That stuff is astonishingly gross.

The flight attendant serving my section was experienced, polished, and unerringly polite. He was reserved—not a chatty type, but clearly professional. His backup was a similarly pleasant woman: reserved but kind and quiet. I got the impression that they had been flying for many years, and knew exactly what to do. I recognized one of the "speakers" from previous flights, but he was serving in the back.

After a less-than-ten hour flight, we prepared for landing. Although there were announcements about the "30 minute rule" for arrivals into Israel, this really didn't amount to much. There were no threats about diversions or getting Tasered if you used the bathroom. And I think it's really just in "Israeli airspace," so the rule wasn't in force for any longer than a regular flight during descent.

When we landed, the "Cluster B" purser attempted to speak in Hebrew, mistaking the phrase, "?מה נשמע" ("How is it going?") for "hello." He then welcomed us to "The Promised Land." This has certain political undertones that would be best avoided. Perhaps he can discuss his views on Middle Eastern politics while he dominates a group therapy session.

Ben Gurion
Aware of the often lengthy lines at immigration, I rushed off the plane to the rotunda. Fortunately, there was only one person ahead of me in line. The immigration lady was as unfriendly as always, but she didn't have any questions. Her friend had just brought her coffee, which demanded her attention.

Bags were swift, priority tags were recognized, and I was out the door within 30 minutes of arrival.

Hotel Arthur, Jerusalem
I had previously stayed at the Harmony Hotel, a partner property. The Arthur is quite new and owned by the same company. Say what you will about the value of MileagePlus for hotels, but I liked not having to pay anything for my hotel room.

The Arthur is a pleasant, quiet hotel. It's reasonably well-appointed with much nicer rooms than the nearby Harmony.

The staff were bubbly and friendly (a la the Harmony) and I liked having a big, quiet room.

Like the Harmony, the Arthur has complimentary WiFi, wine and hors d'oeuvres, and complimentary breakfast, including a pleasant patio. They also had great taste in both Hebrew and English music for their lobby.

I used to stay at the erstwhile Hyatt, which is now owned by Dan. Although I think it's a nicer hotel, it's wildly expensive and one cannot walk to anything.
The Arthur has the advantage of being walking distance to all of the sites in the Old City, and the light rail is a few feet away. It's just off of Ben Yehuda Street, so drinking and dining options are abundant.

Jerusalem
I love it every time. I met up with two friends from the US and spent some time on my own. It was unseasonably cool, which made for many pleasant, long walks.

As usual, everyone asks me for directions, including a lot of Israelis I'm short, typically kind of smiley, wear a red kipah, and I wear glasses. I think these are all signals that I am non-threatening. (Perhaps it's also why everyone assumes I'm a pediatrician.) Since Jerusalem isn't that big, I can usually be of assistance.

On the flip side, Nobody tried to sell me anything. Perhaps my "Ask me for directions" signals also suggest that I'm bankrupt.

I spent plenty of time at "Aroma" coffee, enjoyed the sunshine, and indulged in the religious soul-searching that is inevitable in the City of Gold.

City Transfer
There is no great way to get between certain points in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. I had planned to take a "Sherut" (minibus), but the receptionist at the Arthur explained that there had been some sort of Sherut mishap, and I would have to take the Egged Bus. Ick. The other option would be a $100 taxi, which seemed unwise.

The bus station was the usual zoo, but I managed to get on a bus without too much difficulty. I think this might be tricky if one did not speak some Hebrew. It's ridiculously cheap, the busses are clean but cramped, and the trip is fast. The Palestinian guy next to me recommended a prostitute service in Tel Aviv, then he fell asleep on my shoulder.

The Tel Aviv bus station was even nastier than I had remembered. It's really filthy. I found a cab, and watched the meter like a hawk. The driver did not shortchange me, but the cost of getting from the bus station to the hotel was significantly more than the bus ticket from Jerusalem.

Sheraton Tel Aviv and Towers
I've stayed at the Sheraton a few times, and I adore it. The location is spectacular, the staff are warm and courteous, and the rooms are well-appointed. Although the hallways are a bit tired and worn, they are still spotless.

The Sheraton always makes a fuss out of "VIP check in" for certain guests. I think this is a pain, and would rather just check in like a normal person. The "VIP" lady was unavailable, so this caused some drama at the front desk. I think they were afraid that I'd somehow be disappointed.

The kind French woman at the desk started to have a panic attack when she realized that I was a Starwood Gold and she had somehow failed to acknowledge this. I would have never known or cared.

My room came equipped with a complimentary bottle of wine and some chocolates. WiFi was complimentary with the room (I had paid for it in the past). I was told that this was not a "Gold" amenity but rather a service provided to anyone on a club floor.

My room was on the tenth floor, a large corner room overlooking Gordon Beach with a view of Yafo in the distance.

I slept like a baby in the quiet, comfortable room.

Breakfast was the usual extravagance. They had some of the most delicious potatoes I've ever eaten. And they have an endless supply of "Milky," a sort of pudding that is obviously made of crack cocaine and pudding. It's highly addictive. I may be 38 years old and not the "target market" for Milky, but I love that stuff. My Israeli friends have reassured me that Milky addiction is entirely sane and normal.

Tel Aviv
My favorite city. I spent hours swimming and wading in the Mediterranean, walking along the promenade, enjoying Hayarkon Park, and—well—living the good life.

I went to shul on Erev Shabbat, and then took a long walk along the Marina, watching the families and little kids play at sunset.

I also met up with another friend… I think both of us dream of being more than friends, but there happens to be an unfortunate 7,000 miles distance between us. Bittersweet.

I can't write any more about that... I'll get too choked up. It will make me long to be back in Tel Aviv, and asking too many questions about an impossible relationship.

Delays
On my last morning in Israel, I had an email from United about a three-hour delay. I was unsurprised. They advised going to the airport at the scheduled time. I had mixed feeling about this: I didn't want to mess with Ben Gurion Airport security, but I also knew that the incoming aircraft hadn't even arrived yet.

I figured that there would be a chance that I'd be put on another airline, so it would be best to just go to the airport.

I called the 1K line about my connection back to Seattle. Despite the fact that I was on a separate PNR, the agent ignored the change fee, confirmed me in first class for the a nonstop the following day, and apologized for the inconvenience. I was kind of surprised that they were so accommodating.

Although I though of asking United for a hotel, I decided that I'd rather have some control over this. I have "status" with Hyatt and SPG, but neither have an option close to the Newark Airport. I'd already had enough unpleasant nights at the Hilton, so that left me with the Marriott or the Renaissance. Given that one can walk from the terminal to the Marriott, I picked it.

Back to Ben Gurion
The French woman at the reception desk was again overly apologetic, but I reassured her that I'd had a very pleasant three nights, and that I would certainly be back.

The taxi driver and I had an animated conversation about Israeli versus American healthcare, and he seemed sad when we got to the airport. He wanted to keep chatting. I thought it was endearing, and I actually would have liked to have continued the conversation.

Nobody stopped me as I entered the terminal, and there was no wait for security. The charming security woman had almost no questions, and apologized for the delay (even though she doesn't work for United.) "Come back soon," she said. As always, I got a "number 1" sticker on my passport, indicating that I would not be subject to much in the way of security.

Check in took forever. Since everyone needed to be re-accommodated in one way or another, there was a lot of drama.

As expected, the complaining was endless.
"I'm never flying United Again."
"I wish I could fly on jetBlue."
"This airline is the WORST."
"Ever since the merger, it's been HORRIBLE."
Oh shut up. I was annoyed too, but lots of flights were delayed. It's part of travelling, and I had already orchestrated how I would handle the overnight delay in Newark.

The people handling check-in mostly work for "OAS," not United, so there really is no value in giving them a hard time. What can they do? Charter a non-existent Gulfstream to fly you somewhere?

Maybe I was just feeling inner peace from a short vacation in Israel and a bit of rather innocent romance.

I went to the Dan Lounge for a while, wandered through the shops, and time passed quickly.

6 July 2013
UA 85 TLV-EWR
777-200
Seat 8B

In addition to the liquid inspection, the "OAS" agents now ask the "Did you buy anything from somewhere other than the shops?" questions like they do in Europe or South America. It seems especially goofy to ask such a question in Ben Gurion Airport. It's such a tightly-controlled terminal; I can't fathom a black market for anything there. The agent asked me in Hebrew in a tone of voice that suggested, "this is completely inane."

The captain apologized for the delay, but took a moment to berate his employer. "United failed to communicate with the crew here in Tel Aviv, so we were delayed far longer than necessary." What's that Mr. Smisek? Operational reliability? How is that working out? How is employee morale, Mr. Smisek?

The cabin crew on this flight were great. The ISM or purser was definitely not a Cluster B, and the entire attitude was friendly and professional. The woman serving my section was a fairly new hire, and she was delighted to get a little beach holiday in Israel. She was a gem, and I enjoyed flying with her.

Once we were seated, the crew passed out travel vouchers as an apology for the delay. I got $300—I'm not sure what others got. I was in revenue business, and I'm a 1K. I don't know how that affected my compensation level.

The menu was as follows:
TO BEGIN
Chilled Appetizer
Marinated prawns with seafood cocktail sauce

As many have mentioned, it's odd that United will not serve pork, but they frequently serve shellfish on flights to and from Israel. Pretty much everyone ate it.

Fresh Seasonal Greens
Tomato, cucumber, onion and olives with your choice creamy horseradish dressing or cilantro-lime vinaigrette

MAIN COURSE
Tenderloin of Beef
truffle sauce, mashed potatoes, snow peas, and roasted pumpkin

Saffron-braised Breast of Chicken
Almond-cherry sauce, rice with lentils and carrots

Sea Bass with Pickled Lemons and Spinach
Vegetable sauce, herbed couscous with chickpeas and braised fennel

Mushroom-filled Tortellini
Chive and lemon cream sauce and sautéed mushrooms with Parmesan cheese

TO FINISH
International Cheese Selection
Served with Portal Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2008

The crew did the whole cheese cart, complete with dates and grapes.
Dessert

Ice cream with your choice of toppings

MID-FLIGHT SNACK
Assorted Sandwiches
Beef salami
Cheese
Apple Lattice Tart

The apple lattice tart is my second favorite food on United Airlines. (The best is the sweet chili soup). I was delighted to have a piece of that tart.
Fruit and light snacks are available at any time following the meal service. Please help yourself or ask a flight attendant for today's selections.

PRIOR TO ARRIVAL
An appetizer of smoked salmon, labneh cheese and garnishes with your choice of

Parmesan Cheese Omelet
Rosemary potatoes, bell pepper, and scallion

or

Cereal and Banana
Served with milk

Fresh fruit appetizer, yogurt, and breakfast breads

Warm wheat bread with labneh and fresh fruit! Yes please! Domestic catering may be grim in first class, but this was fantastic. It's one of the simplest and most delicious meals I've ever eaten on Continental/United, and I've eaten a lot of their food in my life.
Mid-flight Adventures
I was awakened by a tap on my shoulder from the purser. Another passenger had possibly suffered a stroke.

I made my way calmly to his seat, and another passenger was already assisting… a neurologist. Given that neurology is not my specialty, I deferred to him. But we were both in agreement that this was a transient ischemic attack, and we both under-reacted. The unfortunate passenger was doing okay; he was just frightened and perhaps a bit embarrassed.

The rest was of Woody Allen proportions. Given that this was a flight from Tel Aviv to Newark, about 95 percent of the passengers were doctors. It was chaotic and ridiculous. People were pulling pills out of their bags to give to this poor man. Who knows what they were trying to give him. Sudafed?

"Land in London!" one woman exclaimed. "What if his blood pressure is too high?" another asked. I had a slightly snarky but accurate response: "It probably is high."

I said to a group of them, peering through the curtain—in English and then in Hebrew—"he's fine; he's in good hands."

The crew, especially the purser, were rock stars. They redirected the mob of passengers without creating a scene. "Can I get you anything… something to drink or a snack?" It was beautiful. These flight attendants had it down to a science. Offer the surging sea of doctors some food and drinks, and they'll cool off. It worked like a charm, and the "patient" made it home safely.
After touchdown, I checked my email to find that United have given me 10,000 miles as another apology for the delay.

Newark
I once again had a fight with the Global Entry kiosk. I always have to wipe down the fingerprint reader first. It eventually worked. An odd, troll-like man at customs wanted to feel around the outside of my bags with his blue gloves. I'm not entirely sure if he was a person or some type of middle earth creature. Oh well; it didn't really stop me.

Marriott Newark Airport
Ick. Yes, I know I had just come from Hayarkon Street. The Marriott isn't a fleabag, but it isn't nice either. The staff were cheerful, I swam in the small pool, and had two $11 glasses of some of the worst Cabernet I've ever had. (And I've had Mad Dog 20/20 and Sutter Home White Zinfandel.) This raises the question, Why did I order the second glass? I have no good answer.

Breakfast was actually quite good, and it was included in the room rate. It's kind of a good deal, considering how hotel breakfasts can be extortionate. The only downside was the loud music in the background. The coffee was great.

New York City
Since my flight back to Seattle wasn't until 5:00, I headed into the City. I haven't lived in New York since 1999. This little excursion wasn't really going to lure me back. It was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can imagine the stank on the subway, the mess that is Penn Station, etc.

I walked around by my old apartment, my old office, bought some new clothes, browsed in the bookstore, and eventually felt kind of smelly and dehydrated.
I had never used the "AirTrain" before. It's confusing, because I almost bought a $40 Amtrak ticket. I eventually found the NJ Transit train, and headed back.

Moron that I am, I lost the ticket somewhere on the train. I therefore couldn't get through the exit barriers at the airport train station, and had to shell out an extra $5. I had my receipt, but this merely resulted in a condescending lecture from another middle earth troll representing NJ Transit.

I eventually picked up my bags from the Marriott, where I ran into a friend-of-a-friend from college. We made our way to the United Club, and I brought him in as my guest.

I took advantage of the showers in the Club to put on new duds and get cleaned up from the sweaty Manhattan excursion.

7 July 2013
UA 1100 EWR-SEA
737-900 (Sky)
Seat 1B


Once we pushed back from the gate, the captain announced a one-hour delay, which later became a two and a half hour delay. I was starting to think that the angry people at Ben Gurion had a point.

I kept blaming myself, "You shouldn't have gone through Newark… Switch to American…" but such thoughts aren't really adaptive.

In the big picture, a 180-minute delay was nothing; I'd already been delayed more than 24 hours. But it felt like an eternity.

The crew were obnoxious. They don't get a DSM-V diagnosis, unless "hateful, backstabbing, .....y jerks" gets added as a diagnosable condition. They were complaining about each other behind their backs, complaining about the captain, and rolling their eyes at the most benign passenger requests. They couldn't have been too tired: it was the start of a four-day trip, so it's not like they just flew in from Saipan.

One flight attendant was just incensed about everything happening to her. Someone needed to shove a few "minis" of any available liquor down her throat. Hand sanitizer would have been fine.

Friendly skies? Rising? Work Hard, Fly Right? I think not.

The captain did not instill confidence. He walked out of the flight deck and snapped, "This is utter chaos!"

We finally lifted off, and I felt great relief.

Dinner was actually quite good despite the fact that the crew probably spit in everyone's food to express their discontent. It was the usual penne versus "Asian beef." I don't eat red meat, but I was sick of the @#$! dry pasta. I ate the garlicky noodles, which were actually delicious. I'll happily order that again despite wasting the meat.

The flight passed rather quickly, and—of course—there was nobody at the Jetway. Why are they always surprised and tardy? Did they figure that the delayed flight gave up and landed somewhere else?

SEA-TAC
I had hopes that United would have swifter baggage claim after moving to the "A" concourse. No. The signs indicating the carousel are still wrong, and bags still take forever. An agent did say that all bags were taking a long time due to the Asiana disaster. I'm not sure how this would affect Seattle baggage claim, but it's hard to argue with that line.

There was a seemingly endless wait for the shuttle bus to the parking lot. Then an even longer wait while people presented four and five different types of coupons to get parking discounts.

It was 12:30 am, and I knew I had to work the next morning, so I was not feeling terribly calm. I had a tremendous sense of relief when I got into my car at long last.

Concluding Remarks
Israel makes me happy. Professionally and financially, it would be a mistake to move there. So I made a choice that I would live in the US but visit at least once a year. And I've kept to that agreement. I'm still basking in my suntan, feeling the splash of the Mediterranean if I close my eyes, and knowing that I'll be back soon.

The Arthur remains a solid choice. It's not extraordinarily luxurious, but it has a great location and some nice amenities. And—of course—I ran into people I knew as I was sipping their complimentary wine.

The Sheraton Tel Aviv did not let me down. Yes, it could use some remodeling, but that property had many nice attributes. It's not snooty like the Dan, and it's more "walkable" than the Inter-Continental. I've never stayed at the Hilton or Renaissance, but the latter looked kind of tired from the outside.

United was… well… United. Good and bad. I've been flying with them since I was a little boy (first United, then Continental, and now the combined version.) I witnessed some of the "most professional men and women in the industry," had some great food, and appreciated the comfort of the flat BusinessFirst seats. And I got to each destination safely with all of my belongings.

But the delays are a mess. Newark is especially difficult, but I've been stuck in so many airports in my life. I've had agonizing delays on Continental, United, Delta, British Airways, TWA, Pan Am, US Airways, Air New Zealand… the list is long. Part of me is angry with United, and part of me says, "it could have easily happened if you flew on another airline."

I think the real problem was the Cluster B purser and the miserable crew on the last leg. A couple hours of a delay can be bearable if the crew are mature, thoughtful, and sensitive. But these four jokers left me with a terrible impression. I'm well aware... these people are at other airlines too.

And I wish that United could get its act together with baggage delivery. The waits are long at SFO as well (my former home airport), but it really seems like there must be some way that they could solve this issue.

Next-up: a transcon with US Airways first class: SEA-CLT-HHH in a few weeks.
Mats is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 1:50 am
  #2  
 
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Sounds like a fun trip - shame about the delays.

Maybe less money would be better if you were in Isreal with your potential soul mate.

At the end of the day when you are on old man, counting your blessings - will the amazing career and the financial freedom be what you value, or the years of happiness with a soul mate.....

Not judging = just suggesting
adampenrith is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 3:03 am
  #3  
 
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perfect reductive narration Mats ^, thanks!
deniah is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 3:09 am
  #4  
 
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curious, how did the purser guess at your practicing medicine? did you volunteer that information for the manifest in case of situations like these?
deniah is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 5:35 am
  #5  
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Interesting TR. Thanks.
airbus320 is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 6:50 am
  #6  
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A delightful read, thanks for sharing.

As an aside, of all the trip reports here, the ones I enjoy the most happen not to have any photos.
briantoronto is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 8:11 am
  #7  
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Posts: 2,301
Adampenrith,
Indeed the same thoughts have crossed my mind. But I haven't quite figured this out.

Deniah,
I hadn't volunteered for anything! The purser said that she saw "Dr" next to my name instead of "Mr," and that I was seated close-by. But I could have had a doctorate in history or religion. She was trying to avoid making announcement.

Briantoronto,
I'm not a photo-taking sort of person. It's reader is desperate for a photo of something in particular, I'd certainly oblige. But I like reading and writing... I'm glad you do too.

Last edited by Mats; Jul 12, 13 at 10:19 pm
Mats is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 9:38 am
  #8  
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Nice report. I would have thought that TLV only had kosher kitchens, so I'm surprised that the shrimp are on the meal service (and I doubt the meals are RT catered from EWR). I did have delicious seafood in Haifa last year.
Eastbay1K is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 10:30 am
  #9  
 
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Thanks for the great report. I've flown several times from Seattle to Europe via ewr and had similar experiences. The 757 is definitely showing her age, but the crews make up for it with friendly service. It's always nice to see that sundae cart roll out that all changes when you arrive at EWR: surly, petty and shameless UA reps. I'm from nj, but never have been a fan of EWR.
I cannot wait to visit Israel again. I've only been to Haifa, but flew out of tlv. The weather wasn't great but the people were awesome. Thanks again for sharing.
CHOPCHOP767 is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 11:08 am
  #10  
 
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Interesting and intelligently written trip report. I have to second AdamPenrith about the potential soulmate... some opportunities come along only once in a lifetime. :-) Anyway, thanks for the trip report. I've wanted to go to Israel for years and everyone saying "it's too dangerous," and I respond "danger is everywhere." Still, I've not yet made the trip. Your report, however, may inspire me to just do it.
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Old Jul 12, 13, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Mats View Post
[COLOR="Purple"]
Although I posted it elsewhere, the "ISM" or purser was a showcase of Cluster B Personality Disorders. The new DSM-V does not include histrionic personality disorder but this guy has HPD for sure. DSM-V be damned, he met all of the criteria: wildly colorful glasses, flair on the uniform, endless "self-made" announcements, and dramatic discussions of how he was stressed out.
HPD? Hopefully this gentleman wasn't displaying any exhibitionist behavior... That would've taken UA J to a whole new low .

Thanks for the great TR! TLV is on my list of places to visit, and I hope to go soon. Thanks for some ideas!
brewdog11 is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 3:02 pm
  #12  
 
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....excellent diagnosis of both travel and personalities.....yes, I can imagine the Woody Allen-esque scene on a TLV flight of all the doctors on board comparing credentials by specialty, sub-specialty, board certifications, prestige of residency and fellowship, NIH and drug company grants, rent paid for office space, number of previous spouses, etc etc etc (that's why us social science PhDs don't use "Dr")

....you're so right about the soul-affirming delights of a Jerusalem/Israel yearly pilgrimage....
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Old Jul 12, 13, 7:39 pm
  #13  
 
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Entertaining.

I don't mind UA. You get what you pay for and for my self funded travels, it suites me just fine.
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Old Jul 12, 13, 9:09 pm
  #14  
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TWA4ME,
If you wait for a "good" time to go to Israel, it won't happen. There's always something afoot. But once you get there, see how amazing it is, and feel the sunshine on your face, it becomes a lot less scary. A college friend was just there, leading a tour group of high school students from Boston. Everyone in Israel expressed their condolences about the Marathon attack. It's all relative.

BrewDog11,
I don't think he was quite at the exhibitionism level, but I kept my distance. One could also argue that he meets criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder with histrionic features. One can safely argue that he's a cluster B without any formal interview or psychological testing. The thought that he could be an exhibitionist is giving me nausea. Since you're interested in healthcare, maybe you should fly with him and use him as a case study I also hope you get a chance to see Tel Aviv sometime soon.

PeerSteve,
Yep. I'll bet there was plenty of discussion of who "matched" in ophthalmology at UCLA. "Do you know Sarah Feldergoldbergsteinsilverner? We were interns together at a hospital that is better than yours." Ugh. I'm glad I was excused from any of that chit chat! I may have four degrees and went to fancy schools, but I'm sure they would have outsmarted me on every account.

Eastbay 1K,
United/Continental has always had shellfish out of Tel Aviv. It's sort of strange. Maybe it does come from Newark. As far as I know, there is no LSG or GateGourmet at Ben Gurion Airport. Hmmmm.
Mats is offline  
Old Jul 12, 13, 11:09 pm
  #15  
 
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Beautiful trip report. I am neither Israeli nor from that part of the world, but I fell in love with Israel (Tel Aviv especially) on my trip in 2012, and enjoyed my trip back earlier this year. I'm already looking forward to going back again in 2014. The land, the people, the food - everything is so wonderful. And your trip report made me smile because I could see some of the places you were talking about.

I feel like my soul mate is waiting to meet me in Tel Aviv... if I meet him, I will move there and never look back.

Safe travels.
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