Once I made the commitment to go to the SFWA Author-Editor Reception, I checked the California Auto Association website since they’ve got a travel booking service as a part of my membership. That worked reasonably well since the website rounds up all the airlines and their schedules. But I was better off going to the airlines’ own websites and making my own arrangements with them.
I checked Jet Blue, which departs out of the Oakland International Airport, but they only had one of those killer red-eye specials both going and returning. Since I was only going for two nights and a full day, and that full day included both a special dinner and the reception, I was disinclined to totally turn day and night upside down.
Next, I checked United, which is based at the San Francisco International Airport. Yes! They had ideal flights both going and returning. Done deal!
I dislike arriving at my destination after nightfall or in the early dawn. You have to think about these things going from the West coast to the East since New York is three hours ahead of California and the flight is nearly six hours. My flight east took off at 7 A.M. and landed at JFK at 4:00 P.M, which was 1 P.M. on my biological clock. Perfect. Even with the wild, excessively long SuperShuttle ride, I could make it to another special dinner that evening.
By joining United’s Frequent Flier program, you simply make your own arrangements on the airline’s website and choose your seats. At no extra charge, United qualified me for the “Pre” program at SFO and JFK. This enabled me to breeze through security via a special line without removing my jacket or shoes and providing a fingerprint. I simply slid my carry-on and handbag through the scanner, walked through the scanner wickets, and I was done.
Not all airports have the “Pre” program. You’ve got to check. Some require a fee, as well.
Within twenty-four hours before your flight departs, you should check in online, and United will email your required Boarding Pass. Simply print it out, and you’ll waste no precious time at the airport going to the airline’s kiosk to retrieve that necessary document.
Caveat: you need to check that your hotel has a computer and printer you can use to get your Boarding Pass for your return flight. Fortunately, the Wyndham Garden Chelsea did.
Flying across this great country is a spectacular event. Civilization clings to both the coasts, and then the landscape changes dramatically. Over the Great Plains, you see endless flatlands that look like an abstract painting—perfect squares of pale sage-green and buff occasionally overlaid with perfect circles of contrasting colors. I have no idea what those circles are or how people delineate them so perfectly. It’s fascinating to see the winding silver thread of a river or the sparkle of a lake. Invariably, civilization clings to these shorelines, as well. Flying over the forbidding Sierra Madre Mountains and the even more spectacular Rocky Mountains never fails to provoke my wonder at how the early pioneers ever crossed those barriers.
The seats on United are as comfortable as a jet airliner’s seats can be. With your seat, you get a private home theater in the form of a little touch-screen mounted on the back of the seat in front of you. On this splendid device, you can watch movies (there’s a selection of twenty plus earbuds), TV shows, or play games. My favorite feature of the touch-screen is a map of the USA showing where your plane is presently located and how much longer the flight will be. I was especially thrilled to watch us approach JFK and land. Very, very cool!
So there you have it, my friends. Even though SFO is farther away from my home than the Oakland Airport, the extra freeway miles are worth it if the plane departure and arrival times are right. I’ll definitely be “flying the friendly skies” again!
Next: my brief stay at Wyndham Garden, my dinner with the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction folks, and the SFWA Reception.
From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia..
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.
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