Photo Tour: Flying First Class

I got the opportunity to fly home from Seattle first class on Alaska Airlines.

There’s a nice, big console in between each seat.

The seats were wide enough that I sat cross-legged just fine.Image

Prior to coach boarding, we got a glass of cold water and snack mix.

Classical music could be heard through the plane’s PA system.

I informed the man next to me that it was my first time in first class and hoped he wouldn’t be annoyed by my taking pictures.

The flight attendant addressed me by name every time we interacted, which was a nice touch.

She asked me if it was warm in the cabin. I replied, “A little, but I’ll just turn on this,” referring to the twisty air directors on the roof.

She responded, “No, I’ll lower the cabin temperature for you.” Now that’s service!

After the remaining passengers boarded, we took off.

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, Washington

Image

There were two windows for each window seat.

Once electronic devices were allowed, they gave us these tablet-type devices from which I could pick current tv shows, movies, music, and even things to entertain kids.

They came with noise-canceling headphones that I got to keep!Image

Drinks were free – I ordered a vodka Coke Zero.

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About 2 hours into the flight, the glass began to freeze.

Ice Crystals

I ate a turkey breast sandwich for my meal. Not sliced turkey breast, but an actual thick turkey breast!

My sides were orzo and a slice of a tomato, and I ate chocolates for dessert.

This was served on a table cloth with real flatware including a knife!Image

We flew over some beautiful, snowy scenery.Image

As we flew over the plains, the landscape drastically changed.

Wind Power

Wind Power

After dessert, coffee and warm mixed nuts were served.Image

I finally made it to Dallas!

It was a great experience, but also a little shocking to see how different coach and first class flying experiences can be.

Next time I fly it will be difficult to sit in my tiny, coach seat with a crying baby behind me and a coughing man seated next to me. I’ll see the first class cabin and remember that I had it good once…

New Year’s Cruise to Central America

We sailed into 2013 aboard the Crown Princess. We stopped in Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. It was the best New Year’s Eve of our lives… so far!

 

We’ve been blessed to be able to set aside money each month in a vacation fund.  When it got big enough, we were able to pay for a cruise with going into debt! Budgeting and using coupons for buying groceries lets us travel within our means.

Guess Where I’ve Been?

Magic Kingdom!

That’s right. Only the happiest place on Earth: Walt Disney World!

I went to Orlando on business (first time to say that)

to attend a psychology convention.

I knew I would be attending this convention about a year in advance.

This allowed me to save $100 each month to pay cash for everything.

I was there for 5 days and my entire vacation cost me only $750.

Here’s how I did it:

Transportation:

I bought my airline tickets 7 months in advance to get the lowest cost.

I traveled non-stop on Spirit Airlines,

an absolutely no-frills airline

(read: pay for your carry on).

To save money, I did not pick my seats (an extra $10 each way)

and purchased my luggage fees in advance.

My options for each way were to purchase the advanced purchase carry-on: $30,

or the advanced purchase checked bag: $28.

Trying to save $4 (round-trip) I checked my bag.

Total airline cost: $229.58

I rigorously stalked the daily deals sites (Groupon, Living Social, etc.) for Orlando deals.

From these sites I purchased a car service to pick me up from the airport for $39

and a shuttle van to take me back for $17.

During my time in Orlando, I purchased

an unlimited ride 5 day trolley pass from the I-Ride Trolley for $8.

Very safe trolley mainly used by tourists

 

I took a cab twice totaling $24.

Total ground transportation: $88 + tip

Convention:

The whole reason of traveling was to attend a convention.

$70 for students

Conference bags filled with SWAG

Disney: 

As a firm practitioner of the always-searching-for-better-deals science,

upon my web browsing I found that

if you go to any of the Disney theme parks after 4pm,

admission price is reduced from $89 to only $52.

However, you must purchase this ticket in advance.

A great deal since it is open until 11pm,

giving you 7 hours of child-like romping.

Hotel:

I split a hotel with three other women from my grad program.

They stayed one day longer than I did.

To keep my bags in the room longer for my evening flight,

I paid for an additional night.

My portion: $101.50.

This comes out to $20.30 a night!

Food:

I had a food budget of $200 for my trip,

divided out to $40 per day.

The hotel had free breakfast

which allotted me $20 for each lunch and dinner.

I stuck with my budget and even came home with $80 left!

If you are wanting to plan a vacation

but are afraid of the cost,

do what I did.

1. budget airline. Why pay $100 extra for free pretzels?

2. split hotel with friends/budget hotel. I usually go for inside doors for safety.

3. use daily deals sites for savings. The sites are great for hotels, ground transfers, and restaurants.