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New Years in Sri Lanka. I woke up way to and headed to the airport at 6am. My excitement was very slightly dampened when checking out the weather where I was and the weather where I was going.

 The Check in agent couldn't print me out a boarding pass for the AMM-AUH-CMB legs on EY for some reason.  25 minutes later I was in the Dan lounge, (nothing changed, the same substandard, mediocre lounge it always was.) 
More frustrating then waking up early for a flight is waking up early for a flight and then it getting delayed  :( though in this case it wasn't so bad as I had a 5 hr stopover waiting for me in AMM and I was fine missing part of that. 45 minutes after the original departure time I boarded and was in for a surprise when I saw they changed the usually scheduled train with wings to a lie-flat 787 :).

Soon after settling in I took my camera out of my carry-on to take some pics. I immediately had a stewardess come over to me and seductively whisper in my ear "are you going to be taking pictures of me"? Taken aback she then reworded it as a statement that I may not take pictures of the cabin or crew. The rest of the 1:15 that I was trapped in that tube with the 20 minutes I was actually in the air was otherwise uneventful and nonsexual. The cabin had 2-2-2 seating and felt extremely spacious and open, it just felt a little less private than lots of other configurations.  From my seat I was able to view the screen of basically every other seat which contributed to the lack of privacy feeling, other than that it was quite decent. The Doona I had purchased right before this trip was an absolute lifesaver and is one of the greatest travel inventions of all time.

Upon landing in AMM I was told by transfer desk that they also cannot provide an EY boarding pass and they would need to send an agent to the ticketing counter that was before security for me, but alas they only open 3 hrs before departure which was still an hr away. In the meanwhile I was stranded in the 20 ft wide arrivals hall with a toilet and a hard steel bench, (a little touch of NY airports :D ). Half hour later when it came out I was flying business they immediately changed tunes and an agent walked me past security and to the lounge where he then disappeared for way to long with my passport to procure my passes and check me in. The lounge was decently large and overlooked the entire terminal. Had an empty room of daybeds where I rested until time for boarding the next flight.

AMM-CMB was operated by EY A330 with lie-flats seats and had a full business class.

Good thing I boarded early as it took the flight attendant 15 minutes to connect the car seat.  The cabin had a 1-2-1 configuration which for some reason felt cramped yet more private.

There was no human meal served although they did provide Stogel cat food in case I brought my pet along. Since when are Muslims not allowed to eat Kosher? Maybe they realize that if they serve this to them the UN will jump up with claims of Zionistic mistreatment of Muslims.

 On second thought, I actually may have found something edible.

Cabin crew was very nice and extremely child friendly. There was no jet-bridge so we had that dreaded airport bus waiting for us. It was surprisingly pleasant and smooth with no waiting. Usually I absolutely hate them and would avoid airports and carriers that use them as the standing in smelly, seat less cattle cars waiting for yet another soul to be crammed in has the ability to ruin my experience.

AUH airport is immaculately spotless and well kept. I cringe every time I fly into the states and experience the subpar, pay $6 to rent a cart, $12 for WiFi, rundown infrastructure and rude CS .
There are huge 3 ft wide screens all over the airport with flight info, shop locations, and turn by turn directions to your gate or lounge.

I headed to the Etihad lounge in terminal 3. Its quite expansive and aesthetically pleasing . There are showers, spa, barber, salon.... They provide a short complimentary treatment for all passengers. There is a fully stocked kids room where people were leaving their kids with the attendants. My stopover passed quickly and I was off to my final leg.
I missed the business airport bus so was forced to endure a not brief enough reminder of why I fly premium. Aircraft was EY A320 with recliner seats in 2-2.

 Was 1:30 from boarding until takeoff. With a child this down time is by far the worst for me. As much as I hate it we lived to tell the tale.  60 seconds of grumpiness and my kid fell asleep. I tossed and turned before waking up to the same non-edible excuse of a meal. Upon landing in CMB it took a couple minutes to get through a joke of a passport control and headed into the duty free which for some reason is by arrivals. I was never under the impression that large appliances are a big seller by duty free although apparently here they are. 9 out of 10 shops were washing machines, ovens, fridges....strange.

 I found my driver waiting for me and picked up a Sim card for 1300Rs/$10 for a month with 5gb data and a bunch of minutes. There are a bunch of different kiosks in arrivals to pick up a Sim including ones that come free with some service that they hope you fill up at one of the million shops selling them around Sri Lanka ( funny thing, everyone has cars vehicles but gas stations are few and far between. No one has phones yet every other store sells sim cards and top-ups.)but at that price I just looked for the best which seemed to be Dialog. They only accept cash so go to the ATM prior. Walking out of the airport the humidity hit me like a truck. Below I have included a pie-chart I made to better illustrate the discomfort.

To hopefully be continued.....

April 17, 2016, 02:22:47 PM
Re: Amsterdam Master Thread I concede that a TR will not be forthcoming so I wrote up a couple brief lines about my quick trip to Amsterdam a couple days ago.

Getting around.
Walk, its beautiful.
There are car lanes in the bike paths.
Taxis drivers drive cars, cool people drive Vespas, everyone else rides a bike.
Taxis from the airport are a thieving 50 each way. Avoid the highway robbery and pre-book for a third of that.

Andaz Hotel.
Wonderfully quirky, from the most unconventionally designed hotels I have been in. 
I would rate it a minimum 8/10. Only negative I had was lack of view.
Great Central location, 20 min from the airport and 5-20 minute walk to all activities and attractions.

Pizza and Co is a pizza store, its a pizza store with good pizza, but it's a pizza store, it also doesn't take CC so it's a decent pizza store that doesn't take CC.
HaBaron is right next door to the pizza store and the small kosher grocery. Small and basic menu but remarkably  phenomenal food. They take CC and charge for water.

Rijksmuseum is a vast collection of art in a vast building with a vast amount of humans.  Even if you despise art, paintings, and history there is still enough to keep you occupied for at least 9 minutes - taking into account a 3 minute bathroom break.

Anne Frank House was underwhelming and over-hyped. Blows my mind that people wait on line for 3 hrs to get in there. I guess when the book is mandatory reading for every student worldwide it holds plants interest and is intriguing to some. Viewing the wraparound line was a better use of my time. Buy tickets in advance or skip it.

Portuguese Synagogue is nice for a quick visit. A lot of info packed in there.

Heineken Experience was surprisingly interesting and fun. It's the first time I remember that it actually took me the full recommended time (1 1/2 hrs) to walk through it all. it baffles my puny mind every time I go to an attraction where people took the time to research and determine they wanted to do it but not to pre-book tickets. It isn't rocket science.

There are boat tours on every corner, no need to prebook. Easier than booking a cab or ordering a gourmet stain of cannabis.

Is crowded like NYC - but not quite.
Locals are outgoing and  friendly like the Irish - but not quite.
Has canals and is romantically charming like Venice - but not quite.
Has quaint and picturesque designed streets and buildings like Prague - but not quite.
Overall a wonderful choice for a shortish vacation of one to 3 days. Unless your an art snob in which case you should only buy a one way ticket.

July 06, 2016, 03:31:21 PM
Re: Shabbaton DO Master Thread
I can give the sermon
And for that reason I'm out.

August 07, 2016, 07:46:55 PM
Re: Brooklyn Restaurants
Good shwarma in brooklyn?
Olympic pita unless it changed recently.

September 13, 2016, 04:09:35 PM
Re: America's Got Talent I personally dont think standard singing acts should have a place on this show. There are enough platforms dedicated to that.
September 15, 2016, 02:52:00 PM
Re: Manhattan Kosher Restaurants
+1, only 2 solid dairy places in NYC, Noi Due and Basil.
Basil tends to be a subpar dining experience.

September 19, 2016, 07:31:23 PM
Re: Where Are You Posting From Now?
Upon the Golden Thrown

Giving out a Like to the person who knows what I'm talking about

Hint it's worth $2,000,000

September 21, 2016, 04:36:36 PM
Re: Acronyms Thread for the Uninitiated
Some members here.

October 05, 2016, 05:27:53 PM
Re: 2016 Election Pick Your Poison Master Thread
Assange claims to have more stuff.
Don't see what he's gaining holding off so long.
Unless news breaks that she fathered a child with Stalin named Osama no news will do much damage to Hillary.

October 10, 2016, 03:02:38 PM
Re: In A Tight Spot - Looking For Some Insight
Hi there,

I am currently in a bit of a bind.
I have numerous Chase credit cards as well as some from other banks that have all recently come due with their annual fees.
I have paid the fees in the past simply because I wasn't interested in hassling.
This was not the most responsible decision as I could not afford to pay the fees and most of the cards I barely use.
I understand that one can downgrade in certain  scenarios such as with the Saph Preferred to Reg Saph.
With these cards however, such as the Chase BA card and Chase Hyatt card, there is no lower tier card to downgrade to.
In a perfect world I would love to keep the cards and have them in my pocket in case I need to use one of the benefits, but realistically I cannot simply absorb the cost this time around.
Other than losing the benefits for a rainy day, I am most concerned about closing the cards, losing the credit, and thereby hurting my overall credit score.
So - other than calling and trying to waive the fees by begging (which I am really not in the mood of doing) what are my best courses of action?
Are there specific tactics one can use if I call where I would avoid begging but still convince them to maintain the cards through a waiver of the fee?
Would they be open to shifting all my credit lines to other cards?

I understand this post may have been a bit long winded but I wanted to ensure that I covered all the bases.
Thank you for reading and I would truly appreciate any advice.
Shifting credit before closing is easy.

October 11, 2016, 04:01:06 AM