Hotel Madness: Gadling’s tournament of hotel pet peeves

Like many of you, we’re very excited about the NCAA basketball tournament. We’ll be filling out brackets and putting off work to watch the games. However, that doesn’t mean that we stop thinking about travel. In honor of March Madness, we’ve put together our own tournament of hotel pet peeves. Welcome to Hotel Madness, the ultimate bracket of things that drive us insane at hotels. You’ll be choosing the winners of each match-up by voting in polls, meaning that you’ll decide the ultimate Hotel Madness champion.

What do we hope to accomplish over the course of the next three weeks? Most likely hotels aren’t going to change their abhorrent behavior, but we’ll have plenty of fun blowing off steam and mocking the most annoying aspects of staying at a hotel.

All this week we’ll be running the first round match-ups and asking you to place your votes for hotel pet peeves that bother you the most. From the lack of free wifi to filthy television remotes, all of your least favorite things at hotels are represented in the tournament. Only one can be champion and you’ll decide the winner.

Below is a key so you can decipher all of those icons. First round match-ups will begin today and we’ll have descriptions of each pet peeve. All of our first round match-ups are now live and listed below. Be sure to vote and tell all of your friends. Welcome to Hotel Madness, the tournament of hotel horribleness!

First round voting ends at 11:59EDT on Sunday, March 20.

Follow along with the Hotel Madness tournament here.

Flight attendant going bonkers? Here’s one hilarious explanation

For Gadling’s day of posts centered on Vintage America, Scott treated us to 10 vintage airline commercials. Those commercials put airlines and their personnel in a positive light. Here’s a video with another version of air travel thanks to one very cranky flight attendant.

Thankfully, this is a commercial for a product other than an airline, but it perfectly captures the worst aspects of travel –plus, it’s hilarious. Haven’t you had times on an airplane when you wish you could behave this way? The passenger version of these scenarios would be funny as well.

For a bonus there is a video of three other commercials after the jump. You’ll recognize other flight attendant pet peeves.

Galley Gossip: A weekend in Chicago- talking about blogging & a quick trip report

It’s been a few years since I’ve had a nice long layover in downtown Chicago, so I’d forgotten what a truly wonderful city it is. You see, whenever I’m visiting the Windy City my crew and I usually get stuck at an airport hotel, if we even leave the airport at all. So when I got an invitation to speak at the travel blog exchange conference, I decided to make it a long weekend. I also decided to bring my mother along.

Our flight from New York departed to Chicago on Friday. Saturday we spent the entire day wandering around and exploring the city. More about that later. Because on Sunday, I, yours truly, actually sat on a panel with some of the most powerful travel bloggers around. In fact, I took a seat right between Sean Keener (co-founder of Bootsnall) and Nomadic Matt. And on the other side of Matt sat Michael Yessis (co-founder and co-editor of WorldHum). Honestly, I’m not even sure what I was doing there, but I was very excited about it and I do hope someone photographed it. Because we were there to discuss how to keep a blog lively, I won’t bore you with the details of “lively” blogging, but I will share a few of the questions and answers I think you might find interesting.

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE STORY ON YOUR BLOG AND WHY: I couldn’t narrow it down to just one post, so I shared my three favorite posts…

  1. THAT DAY – 9/11: This is the most serious post I’ve written to date. The best part was AOL featured it on 9/11 last year and it inspired millions of people to share their own stories of that tragic day, a day that not only took so many lives, but also completely changed the way we travel today. Some stories were so emotional they made me cry. Powerful stuff.
  2. FLIGHT ATTENDANT PET PEEVE #1: ANSWER PLEASEThis is my very first Gadling post. Over 700 people responded and the majority of those comments were not nice…not at all! In fact, it felt like 700 drive by shootings. I learned very quickly I needed a tough skin in order to write about what I do for a living, and to shake things off, and not take the comments personally. That was a huge lesson. I now work hard to show that flight attendants are nice, good people, who are also smart and interesting. Because we are!
  3. THE HOTTEST TREND ON THE AIRPLANE SINCE THE MILE HIGH CLUB: The laviator post is one of my favorites not just because it was featured on MSNBC and National Geographic, but because so many people responded and joined in the fun. I never expected that! I love including my readers, whether it be by having contests, sharing letters, stories, photographs, whatever, so if you’ve got something to share, let me know!

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR READERS: An escape from day to day life. At least that’s what I hope to provide for readers who are unable to travel as often as they’d like. For those who do travel regularly, a chance to see what’s going on behind the galley curtain. Because aviation enthusiasts really are curious. I also enjoy educating my readers by allowing them to “see” what it’s really like to be a flight attendant and letting them know why we do the things they do, because honestly, we really aren’t on a power trip, we’re just enforcing FAA rules, rules that are really quite simple.

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR BLOG ALIVE WHEN YOU’RE NOT TRAVELING: Thank goodness for readers who inspire posts with their comments and questions.

And now for my quick trip report….

WHERE DID I STAY? Hotel Burnham. We got quite a deal on For just $129 / night we had an amazing view on the 15th floor in the refurbished, 105 year-old, Reliance Building . Located in the theater district, the pet-friendly, boutique hotel is a short walk from Millennium Park. In the lobby they offer a complimentary wine reception from 5-6 pm. The rooms are plush and tastefully decorated, the beds are comfortable and set against a bay window overlooking the city, and a zebra print bath robe awaits you in the closet. What more could you ask for? A Nordstrom Rack, you say? Right next door.

MY FAVORITE MEAL? Fish and chips at The Gage. They weren’t too crispy or even greasy. They were, however, perfectly flakey. Not only is the food amazing, but the portions are huge. The atmosphere is a mix of cool and contemporary, and while the prices are a tad bit high, it’s totally worth it. Especially if Oliver is your server.

MY FAVORITE THING TO DO? Walk around Millennium Park. I don’t know what I loved more, the Opera singers practicing at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the middle of the afternoon, the gorgeous gardens at every turn, the kids splashing around in Crown Fountain, or the family fun festival we were lucky enough to run into, all while just wandering around.


Galley Gossip: Flight Attendant Pet Peeve #3: You want me to do what?

You’ve packed the bag. Actually what you did was stuff it full, and then most likely you had to sit on it while you zipped…the thing…up…there! You did it, you actually got that thing closed! You feel good, you really do, because you are not going to pay that ridiculous checked bag fee for the life of you. No freakin way!

Then you dragged that bag to the car and somehow managed to get..the bag…inside…the trunk…there! You did it, and now you’re off to the airport where you’ll have to get…the bag..out of…the trunk. Now you’re dragging that thing over to the airport shuttle bus.

Finally you’re in the terminal where you pass all those losers standing in line to check their bags. It’s your turn to go through security, so up…goes…the bag…there! It’s on the conveyor belt and slowly moving to the other side. As you wipe the sweat from your brow, you meet the bag on the other end and yank…it off…the belt. Now you’re off and running to the gate where boarding is already in process. Down the jet-bridge and onto the airplane you go, where miracle upon miracles, there’s an available overhead bin right above your seat. Now, where’s that lazy flight attendant?

“Excuse me, miss,” you say, trying to get the attention of the one and only flight attendant in the cabin who is already busy trying to re-seat a family of four together. “Can you help me get my bag into the overhead bin?”

You want me to do what?

I’m looking at a bag, a very big bag, that belongs to a passenger, a passenger that looks a lot like me, and I’m a little confused here. You’re not elderly. You’re not an unaccompanied minor. Nor are you handicapped. You packed it, and somehow you managed to get it into the car, on the bus, and through the airport. But now, for some reason, you can’t get it up into the overhead bin? The funny part is you and I both know that you knew you weren’t going to be able to do this before you even packed the bag!

Okay, you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Due to the fact that most bags are ROLLING onto the aircraft these days – not being carried – the bag situation has gotten a little out of control, particularly in the size and weight department, which is why, I’m sorry to tell you, I’m not going to be able to lift that enormous thing into the overhead bin for you. It’s too heavy! For both of us.


  • 1:50: That’s 50 passengers per flight attendant. Nowadays flights are staffed with minimum crew, which is why, in most cases, you only see one flight attendant in the cabin during boarding. The rest are either setting up the galleys, greeting at the door, or in the terminal taking tickets.
  • 1-4: Flight attendants work anywhere from one (if they’re senior enough) to four legs a day (from anywhere up to 14 hours a day)
  • 16 : The average number of days a flight attendant works a month. But ever since our pay was decreased by 30% most flight attendants are forced to work more hours and days to make up the pay. (Don’t forget, one of our days is like two of yours, and we don’t get to go home at the end of the day.)
  • 145: There are AT LEAST 145 passengers on-board our smallest aircraft – the S80. The 777 can carry anywhere from 283-368 passengers
  • Now add all that up: 1 (Flight Attendant – minimum crew, remember) X 4 (legs – the max) X 16 (days – the average) X 145 (passengers – the least amount) = an awful lot of passengers with bags that need lifting by flight attendants, resulting in an awful lot of flight attendants getting injured on duty. Not that that has anything to do with you…

What’s that? Your little one would like to visit the cockpit while we’re sitting at the gate? Certainly, come along with me, kiddo, and don’t forget your camera! You’d like something to drink? I’ll be right back with your (insert drink order here). You’d like me to help you find two seats together? No problem, I’ll see what I can do after everyone is on-board and seated. You’d like a blanket? Let me go see if I can find one. You’d like me to check on your connecting gate? I’ll call the captain right away and see if he’s gotten an update. You want to know if I can suggest a good place to eat in the airport? Oh have you asked the right person! You’d like to know the football / basketball / baseball scores? I’ll call the captain. Again. You’d like me to hold your baby while you go to the bathroom? Of course, hand that little princess to me! Maybe we’ll even go for a walk so you can have a break. You’d like me to take a picture of you and your loved one? I’d love to! You’d like to know where we are right now? Calling the Captain. Again. What, someone fainted in your row and you think they’re unconscious? I’ll grab the medical kit along with the AED and page for a doctor right away! What, there’s no doctor on-board? I’ll start CPR now!

That, in a nutshell, is my job. That’s what I’m there for. And I like being there for it. But lifting your bag into the overhead bin is not, nor has it ever been, a part of my job description, even though I work in the service industry. Oh I’ll help you find a place for your bag, no problem. Of course I’ll move things around in the bin to make room for your bag. I might even ASSIST you in lifting that bag, if it’s not too heavy,into the bin. But the key word here is assist. As in team effort. As in WE can do it together. What I won’t do is do it for you. Not unless you’re elderly, handicapped, or an unaccompanied minor. Sorry, I do what I can to avoid injuring myself and going out on disability. Hey, like you, I’ve gotta pay the bills!

“But I’ve got a bad back!” passengers often cry when I test a bag to see how heavy it is. Yeah, and so does my mother who is also a flight attendant, who has had two back surgeries that took her out of work for two years because she lifted too many bags for too many passengers who should have checked them in the first place.

Look, It’s not like you don’t know you’re too short, or too pregnant, or too frail, or your arm is too broken, or your back is too weak to lift your bag into the overhead bin before you come on-board the aircraft, right? I mean when I traveled as a passenger, I always checked my bags when I was pregnant. And I did it again when I had to hobble on-board the aircraft on crutches. And I still do it whenever I’m traveling with my son, which is pretty much once a month. It’s just the responsible thing to do.

Responsibility, is anyone responsible for anything anymore?

That’s a question I once asked Mark Matteson, a passenger on one of my flights, who in turn handed me a book, Freedom From Fear, a book he’d written, a book that actually changed my life, a book about…you guessed it…responsibility. In other words it was a book about how to change your life for the better by not being a victim and taking responsibility for the things that happen to you. Taking responsibility for oneself is something I believe in passionately, it’s a trait I admire greatly in people, and it’s a trait I’d like to pass along to my two year-old son. Taking responsibility for oneself also includes taking responsibility for ones bag, the bag the self packed and brought on-board the airplane.

Honestly, I don’t know what bothers me more, the fact that a passenger will come on-board and EXPECT me to lift their bag, or the fact that they actually get upset when I won’t lift the bag. Like I mentioned above, unless the passenger is elderly, or an unaccompanied minor, or handicapped, AND / OR is traveling with a bag that is NOT heavy, I am not touching that bag. No way! And when I do lend a hand, rest assured I’m wondering to myself why the bag wasn’t checked in the first place.

Responsibility, that’s what I’m talking about.

In Jeffrey White’s post, A note of Apology to the helpful, dedicated flight attendant out there, after he kind-of-sort-of apologized to flight attendants everywhere after scolding the Ryan Air crew for not helping a wheel-bound passenger be lifted up the stairs and onto the airplane (flight crews are not responsible, nor are they trained, to lift passengers up stairs and onto airplanes), he then went on to write, “I feel that many flight attendants won’t help you these days to the degree they used to, say, 10 years ago. As one attendant, “Ann,” puts it: “Bottom line, you pack it, you stow it. If you can’t stow it, then check it.””

And the reason flight attendants won’t help to the degree that they used to 10 years ago is because bags are now being rolled, not carried, onto the aircraft, resulting in much heavier bags. Don’t believe me? Try lifting a few.

Responsibility, it’s the word of the day, and that’s all I’m going to say.

Now go read Mark’s book!

10 tips for smarter flying