Log in

No account? Create an account
25 February 2011 @ 08:11 pm

Looks like chartering a flight to Alaska this fall is out of the question. The cheap end seems to start around $32K and you could easily pay a hundred grand more. Plus incidentals. I guess when I win the lottery I’ll just go ahead and buy a jet of my own. :)

Traveling by ship and rail is far more affordable, of course, but does still come on the thick side of five grand. And there’s the small problem of being unable to get to Anchorage from Seattle in November. The ferry goes to Juneau, but you then have to fly out of Juneau. Of course, hiring a puddle jumper to get you to Seward and the train line is an option, but that probably puts you somewhere nearer to eight or ten grand than five, nevermind the whole thing taking something more like six to eight weeks instead of the two or three we expect to be gone.

(I really don’t want to give the airlines my business and tacitly support the TSA’s activities by doing so. Unfortunately, the only way I can see to avoid that is independent wealth or never go back to America. The former’s unlikely, which makes the latter more appealing…)

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on February 25th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Ack. That's difficult. Can you find an airline that isn't too appalling? (The Scandinavian ones are fairly law-abiding, frinstance.)
kitmizkit on February 25th, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
The airlines aren't the problem, really. The US government is the problem. The TSA (Transport Security Administration) have recently--since the guy put the bomb in his pants, I think--gotten permission to install and use new scanners, which render a person effectively naked and have not been tested for radiation levels on humans.

I don't know how many airports have them installed so far, but you either have to go through them or be subjected to an invasive full body pat-down (not, I believe, a cavity search, but thorough groping, and I wish I was being hyperbolic with that term). It's my understanding everyone, even infants and children, have to go through this.

The idea of subjecting myself to it is infuriating. The idea of putting my child through it makes my head light on fire. And there's basically no way around it. You either subject to it or you don't fly--and if you refuse to be scanned and/or patted down and choose to walk away from your flight, they're allowed to slap you with a fine of up to $10K.

The only way this will stop is if people stop flying, because the only way the government will listen to pressure on the topic is if it comes from the airline lobbyists, who are worth much more to the government than Joe Public is. So since the only way *I* can pressure the airlines is by not flying on them, I wish very badly there was a viable option to get to Alaska in particular. I could fly through Canada, but I'd either have to drive to Alaska, which is a 3 day trip both ways from Vancouver, or fly in and out of Vancouver (assuming they run an airplane to Alaska in the winter, which there's a distinct possibility they don't), which still means going through an American airport at least once, on the way out of the state.

We promised the in-laws we'd come over this winter, and I /want/ to. But I may not go back to the States unless I can take a train over the border, after this.
GM Ceosannaceosanna on February 25th, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC)
I actually wrote my Congressman about the TSA, something I never would have considered doing in my younger days.
Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on February 25th, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC)
I sympathise.
Flitterbyflit on February 26th, 2011 06:27 am (UTC)
Children under 12 are exempt, but still... 13 year olds getting groped or irradiated? So. Not. Cool. Not cool for anyone, but if I had a 13 year old and was faced with that choice at an airport my head would pop right off in furious wrath.

I'm boycotting flying, personally, but I'm in a more drivable situation. Not that I can drive lately anyhow, but Brad can drive. It is really annoying to have family on the other coast (because of the prior ease of travel) and now be isolated from them. Double plus ungood annoying for you with the extra travel distance and situation in Alaska. :(

The TSA security theater has gotten way, way, way, out of hand. It STARTED OUT out of hand and now it's descended to Brazil-like depths. When I add to that the extra fun of maybe being unable to walk well or carry my own luggage while traveling... yeah. My last airplane trip was the last one I'll take until this gets sorted out. (If you're in a wheelchair they MAKE you take a pat-down because you can't go through a normal metal detector in it. JOY. Not that I wasn't able-bodied enough to get through a metal detector without my cane, but boarding the plane later was all around ADA fail.)
rfrancis on February 25th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
I understand entirely. The last time I flew was in 2005 (pretty much the only game for getting to India and back) and things have gotten rather worse since then, haven't they. I've stopped even looking at conferences and such. The two trips of note I may go on this year will both be by car.
kitmizkit on February 25th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah. The only option I'm finding viable is flying into Canada and taking a train across the border. Except you can't get to Alaska that way. :p
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on February 25th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
That's insanely depressing. :p
Turning the Schmaltz up to 11pullthestars on February 25th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
Is it possible to go strictly by Canadian airline? To at least lessen the exposure to TSA?
kitmizkit on February 25th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
Assuming they fly into Alaska in the winter (which is not a safe assumption, actually), that could potentially minimize the TSA exposure to once, yeah, which would be better than two or three times, but still not *good*, y'know?
Ellen Millionellenmillion on February 25th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain. From the 'would like to get out' angle rather than the 'would like to get in,' but still... &*%$#ing TSA. At least I can get to Anchorage flying Era and bypass them.

Also, I would love to see a train route to Whitehorse for all kinds of reasons - wouldn't that be a gorgeous trip??
(Deleted comment)
Ellen Millionellenmillion on February 25th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
You can ask respectfully, but the pat-down isn't respectful.
-peartreealley on February 25th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Only things I can think of off-hand:

1) Offer to fly in-laws to Ireland, if they don't mind dealing with all that. (Plus a flight that long with a small child kind of terrifies me, but I'm not a parent.)
2) Meet in the middle and all stay at a Canadian resort for a few days ^_^
Cally Beck: rootfic non-mod posteldestmuse on February 25th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
In the end, no matter who's flying, she's still supporting the TSA, though.

The meet in the middle isn't homey but isn't a bad idea though I of course can't speak for Catie about how feasible it is.
Megabitchmegabitch on February 25th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
Don't you still have to go through all of the security palaver with a chartered flight as well? Or would it mean you'd be landing at some tiny airstrip without such amenities?

It's things like this that have been building up over the last decade that have me firmly in the "never visiting the USA again" camp. This includes travelling anywhere that could include a stopover/refueling at a US airport :(
The Bellinghmanbellinghman on February 25th, 2011 09:03 pm (UTC)
Same here - the last US con we went to was the 2004 Worldcon.
Laura Anne Gilmansuricattus on February 25th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
Actually, a lot of the airports (I am told by those flying more recently than I) have pretty much abandoned the pat-down guidelines. They got understandably tired of the crap. Now we just have to deal with the "usual" petty power-mad TSA dictators, who sadly outnumber the decent folk on the job....
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on February 25th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
Fly to Russia, boat to Alaska?

Or, fly to anywhere from which cruises begin and cruise to Alaska...

Sorry, these probably aren't useful.
Ellen Millionellenmillion on February 25th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
Actually... Frontier Air does fly to Russia, and they're an air taxi, so that's not a crazy idea.
Wolf Lahti: antimonywolflahti on February 25th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)

Dog sled?
cainle_bean on March 1st, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
I no longer fly. Since TSA frisked my 69 year old mother in the middle of the airport, I refuse to fly again. She has to wear an underwire bra so it set off an alarm or something. And she said they were VERY invasive... and did it in the middle of the security section of the airport. So I won't fly, unless I am given no choice. Neither will they.
silcristsilcrist on March 2nd, 2011 04:43 pm (UTC)
I don't really have any good solutions to this issue, either, but if you end up forced to go through the TSA you can go to http://securityedition.com/ and buy a little playing-card-sized piece of metal with the Bill of Rights printed on it. So when it sets off the metal detector, you can take it out and loudly proclaim as you hand it over, "Here. Take my Rights."

(I just saw Penn & Teller this weekend, and they had this available at their show.)