Day320 travel

I am really out of topic to write…so going to go out on a limp to talk about money aspect of my last trip.

It is a sensitive topic…even if it is not a time as now when many people don’t have a job. I really don’t know the number, but I have heard something worse than the Great Depression. Is it like 20% of the population are out of job?

During my trip to Atlanta, I tried to not spend too much. Flying though, can’t be cheap…I used to fly American or United, but their services disappointed me – they are no frills, but it is their way – their corporate culture treating their lower paying customers, just rub me the wrong way. I got it no frill. I have been on cheaper airlines but they do well, but somehow I can’t stand American/United services.

Then I discovered Jet Blue and that was Amazing (remember in January about my layover trip to Boston for a Wendys shake?). Same too for Delta. Their services are A+. Of course I later learned you pay a bit more for Delta, but I don’t mind (though I read with Corona, people are paying double to fly on Delta). Off topic, only recently I found out both Jet Blue and Delta were being partially owned by Warren Buffett; ya no wonder the two companies are so good; but now he sold his share, hopefully quality won’t decrease.

There was no direct Jet Blue flight to Atlanta. This time I booked Delta. It was expensive, but I found out they are one of the few airlines that do social distancing seating. Everyone wearing masks is a given, but they leave the middle seat empty, that was a surprise. They lost ton of money by doing this. I have no regret. They also say their jets do not recycle air, but pump fresh air from outside.

Today, I finally tallied my spending expense for the trip. Flight was about $400. Uber $200. Food $300. Hotel $250. I paid $60 for checked bags. Originally, I was going to do under the seat/carry-on, but I had to bring a lot of stuffs, I was too tired the night before the trip to be creative in my packing, and decided to get my bag checked.

Things that surprised me was I spent a lot on Uber. When I went to San Diego, I rented a car, and I thought that was expensive, but looking back, on that trip I spent less on transportation than having Uber. Rental was something like $30 a day. For me Uber was $90 on one of the trips, and bled my heart. So my trip to San Diago was cheaper; $200 cheaper!

A thing I learned from the trip was how to pay for things using my phone – contactless payment! I made many stops to gas stations and convenience stores during my 100 mile run. It was not easy to pull my credit card all the times from my running pack, so I started to use my cellphone for payment. I found out how easy it is. I had Google Pay set up long long time ago when I first got a Google phone, but I never use Google Pay in stores because at the time it was not popular (none of the store support it but I think one or two stores). But now it was ubiquitous but I didn’t know. I just went up to the register, unlock my phone, press and hold the power button (not sure if this step is needed), but by doing that my credit card shows up on the screen. Then I just hold the phone over the credit card payment unit, and it beeps (and does it stuff) and my phone shows the payment confirmation. That’s it. Easy. No more pulling out wallet and putting things back.

I was learning as I go. Another wonderful thing I learned was using the airline app for boarding pass. I have been seeing other people doing it for a while now, but I was always reluctant to try new things. I like to have a piece of paper in my hand and walk up to the gate agent with my boarding pass – that is my ticket. But this time, I read holding paper is not safe, since so many people would touch it. So I switched to relying on the phone app. It was easy. I used the app to check in. It had my boarding pass. I used it to check my luggage, going through security, and finally boarding the plane. It was entirely contactless. On the way, I can check the gate number, check the status of my luggage, and check my seat assignment. They changed my seat because I was being seated next to someone, so they offered to move me to a seat with the middle being left empty. I was delighted. Instantly the seat assignment in the app was updated. So no need to print out a boarding pass any more.

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