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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Trip to New Orleans

I love JetBlue! If you get the chance to fly them, do it! You need to check their web site for flights and cities they fly to, because Expedia, Travelocity, other travel sites do not include them in their results yet.

Not only is everyone at JetBlue friendly, funny and helpful, but boarding is painless, they offer free wireless Internet at most of the airports they fly out of and you get your very own TV screen on the back of the seat in front of you. This means no more dragging out my laptop to watch a DVD.

Very, very cool! Plus, they give you snacks and full size beverages. And you can ask for seconds if you want them.

The best part is that their ticket prices are lower than most of the other airlines.

When I found out they flew to New Orleans, I told the travel agent who booked me for the Dept. of Justice conference I wanted to fly JetBlue. She got a bit miffed because they weren't on her list of available airlines. I wonder if that means she doesn't get a cut of the airfare or whatever. Tough. I pushed and she got it approved from the DoJ.

So I flew out of Portland, Maine yesterday morning and had a two hour layover at JFK. No biggie - they have an Oasis Day Spa there. So I made an appointment for a 30minute chair massage, then headed for the sushi bar to get lunch. I think it's called Blue Fin or something. Don't eat there. Once I seated myself, it took 15 minutes for a waitress to come over to take my order, then another 15 to get my sushi. Although it was good, I was a bit miffed at the service.

The chair massage was wonderful. The lady who did it was great and boy, did I need it. My shoulder muscles were so tense it wasn't funny.

Got on the flight to NO and watched Kathy Griffin's D-List. I kept laughing and the people next to me kept looking at me. It is a funny show and Griffin is hilarious.

Got to NO, got my bags and took a taxi to the Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street. Didn't see any of the hurricane damage from the air or on the ride to the hotel. In fact, downtown NO looks perfectly fine.

The hotel is gorgeous, got my room key, got the package I had sent myself (tip $2 for the guy who had to run around the corner to get it) and headed up to my room. I got in (nice room) and the message light was blinking. I called and it kept ringing, so I had to call the concierge. He said an envelope was downstairs for me. So I called the bellhop stand and he checked and yep, there was. Someone brought it up. Another $1 tip.

Unpacked, called Chris, then headed downstairs to register for the conference. I wanted to do room service, but had discovered there was no menu in my room. And no folder (they call it a compendium) with info about the hotel. So after registering, I went down to the lobby, stood in line and asked the guy at the front desk if I could get one. Mind you, I'm right there. He could have handed it to me. But no, they promise wonderful service. So he said someone would bring it upstairs.

This was 7:15 pm. Got up to my room. At 7:35 pm, called downstairs to find out where the menu was. Oops. They sent it to the wrong room. A few minutes later a woman brought a menu to me. I didn't tip her. Enough with the frigging tipping!

So I picked out what I wanted and pressed the room service button. A man answered and I said I wanted to place an order. He told me he had to transfer me to room service.

Um, isn't that what the "Room Service" button on the phone does? Apparently not.

Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.

No one answered at room service. So I hung up, grabbed my Vanity Fair magazine and headed down to the restaurant.

The dinner was wonderful - an 8 ounce filet (steak), zucchini, and mashed potatoes. It was relaxing and I was kind of glad I didn't do room service. Plus, I saved having to pay a 21% gratuity and a "service charge." Yikes.

Crashed, slept so-so (I always do the first night in a hotel), got up early and hit the treadmill in the fitness center.

Went to the conference continental breakfast, grabbed something to eat and came back up to the room. I don't have to speak until 3 pm today, so I plan on playing tourist, do some shopping and hit a museum.

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