Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Last Cheapie Flights

After learning that Ana’s job with WestJet will be no more as of Dec 15th, we decided we better take an early winter holiday before our travel benefits dry up. While it is unfortunate that Ana is losing her job, she has had a great run with West Jet - it’s been over seven years that she has worked there, in at least four different positions. We’ve taken full advantage of the travel benefits over the years which has enabled us to travel to every destination in Canada we’ve ever wanted to visit and plenty more in the US and Caribbean. It has also enabled the kids to see our family in Saskatchewan much more than would have been otherwise. The timing is actually not too bad for us, considering both of the kids are now in school which makes it tougher getting away outside of the regular school holidays. And traveling standby during the regular school breaks is practically impossible as most flights are usually sold out. We’ve actually found that traveling standby generally has become more difficult the past couple years, due to high flight loads and less frequent flights to the places we normally go. While it is extremely cheap, it adds a substantial amount of stress traveling, since you really don’t know whether there will be space for you until you are actually standing at the gate, and this makes booking accommodation and rental cars that much more challenging. This is only our second airplane trip of the year, which is by far the lightest year of air travel we’ve ever had. That’s not to say we didn’t travel much this year - we certainly did - but it was by sailboat and by van instead of by airplane.

We are now sitting in Tampa airport after a lovely four days here. The last two times we’ve been to Florida the weather has been rather chilly, but this time it was absolutely perfect - no clouds and temperatures in the high 20’s everyday. We are all returning to Canada with sun tans, which feels pretty nice in November. The kids spent a lot of time in the hotel pool and we spent a lot of time sitting around it drinking nice cold Presidente beer. We visited a few of our favourite spots including the Conch Republic and Frog Pond restaurants, John’s Pass and St. Petersburg waterfront. We were sad to discover the seaside cafe at John’s Pass which served the best grouper sandwiches in the world had closed, a terrible loss to humanity but excellent news for the local grouper population.

Oh my, I see I haven’t updated my blog since our fantastic sailboat trip in July. Well, the rest of the summer was fantastic and we had lots of visitors including Barb & Gerry, my mom, my dad and Loretta, our old buddy Mike Schaaf, my friend Stillman, Mike & Anna and I think a couple more I can’t remember right now. We kept projects to a minimum over the summer to allow maximum sailing time, but as soon as the fall hit, we got back to work on a few property projects, which are nearly complete now. The dreaded winter will soon be upon us so time to hunker down and keep warm as the Farmer’s Almanac predicts a more typical Ontario winter, unlike the warm and snow-less conditions we’ve had the previous two years.

Almost time to head to the gate, better cut it off here.


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