Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Packed and Ready!

After an exhausting day, we are finally packed and ready to go on our cruise.  I should have taken my own advice and been 100% done packing yesterday.  There is just so much to think about when you're going to be gone for two weeks and have a baby.  Our suitcases barely closed after we were done.  It's amazing how many diapers, wipes, and baby food is consumed weekly.  Hopefully our flight back home will be lighter since most of the baby items will be used up.  That is if we don't buy anything.

This will be our third cruise to go on, first with a baby.  Thankfully my parents are joining us and will be a huge help in helping with our baby.  They have not seen him in six months.  This will be nice for all of us.  We are looking forward to catching up in person rather than on Skype.

As of now our flight is on schedule.  We have no shore excursions planned which is really unlike us.  I guess we'll book some on the ship.  These past few weeks/months have been really busy.  I'll give you the full report when we return.  Stay safe!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lufthansa Pilot Strike Suspended

Lufthansa and labor union Vereignigung Cockpit have agreed to end the pilot strike at the end of the day.  They concur that the strike will be suspended until March 8,  after a court hearing to decide on the lawfulness of the strike.  

This is good news for those of us traveling on Lufthansa this week.  I just hope Lufthansa and the labor union  can come to an agreement where a strike like this does not happen again. 

Click on the links below for more information and to see the current flight schedules:

Lufthansa's Current Travel Information

The Wall Street Journal

Lufthansa's Pilot Strike Begins

Lufthansa's pilots are going through with their strike, see BBC News.  The strike started at midnight tonight and will continue until midnight Thursday night.  If you are like us and have a flight scheduled during the strike then make sure to visit Lufthansa's website for flight updates. 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lufthansa's Code Share Passengers are Second Class

Lufthansa Airlines, Germany's largest airline has announced that their pilots plan to go on strike next week, Feb. 22-25, 2010.  We are going on a cruise next week and have a flight on Lufthansa during the strike.  On their website they offered the option to rebook your flight if it is scheduled during the strike.  We were happy to see this announcement and quickly called Lufthansa to see about changing our flight.  When we called Lufthansa they said they were unable to offer us the free re-booking because our ticket was issued through SpanAir, not Lufthansa.  What?!  Yet, we are on a Lufthansa flight.  When we called SpanAir they said they could not do anything either.  Currently Lufthansa said they are trying to negotiate with their pilots and resolve the situation before the strike begins.  

What bothers me most about this is discovering that people who book with code share flights get treated like second class citizens in these situations.  Basically we were told that if our flight is canceled because of the strike, then they will put us on another Lufthansa flight that leaves after the strike is over.  That would be no help to us because our cruise ship will have already left the port.  We asked if they would change our flight to leave a day before the strike is scheduled to begin.  They said they would but it would cost us a lot of money.  This is frustrating because they made this offer free to passengers who booked directly with their airline but not everyone who is riding on their airplane.

After spending over an hour talking with a Lufthansa's customer service representative we are very disappointed with how the airline is handling code share passengers.  Hopefully our flight will not get canceled and we will make it to our destination before our cruise leaves.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Traveling with a Baby

As we are preparing to go on our first cruise with our soon to be 8 month old son, I want to share a few travel tips from our own personal experiences.  While this is our first cruise to take our son on, we have done quite a bit of traveling since he's been born.  He has already been to 7 different countries, taken 3 round trip flights, including one overseas.  I am not an expert but I have learned a few things.  Here are 11 tips for traveling with a baby.

1. Make a list of what you need and pack early.  I try to have everything packed at least two days before.  

2. Pack extra diapers and wipes especially if you are traveling somewhere you've never been.  This way you’ll have more time enjoying your destination rather than shopping for baby items. 

3. Carry-on extra clothes for the adults and the kids when flying.  There is something about airports and flying that sometimes makes a kid throw up or have extra leaky diapers.  

4. Try to keep your child's regular sleep schedule.  When you travel to a different time zone this is difficult.  But it's important that they get enough rest.  

5. Wipe sanitizers are lifesavers.  I know you can't avoid germs but there is nothing worse than having a sick baby when traveling.  We make it a habit to wipe down highchairs, seatbelts on airplanes, and toys that have fallen on the ground.  

6. On car trips stuff an empty tissue box with plastic bags.  These come in handy for dirty diapers, clothes, and all sorts of things.  

7. Take time to play.  Every day on your trip make sure your baby laughs and smiles.  It's very stimulating for them to travel and they need the extra connection with you.

8. Do not be afraid to throw clothes away.  If you're traveling and your baby has a big blow out diaper sometimes it is just easier to throw the outfit away.

9. Pack baby Tylenol and any other medicine they may need.  

10. Pack extra food.  You never know when your plane will be delayed.

11. Take lots of pictures.  They may not remember these trips so having pictures is a nice reminder.

Most children love traveling.  I hope these tips help you.  I’d love to hear any travel tips you have.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day Roses

When my husband went to the flower shop this year to get me some flowers for Valentine's Day, he found out that the Germans typically do not have red roses during this time of year. The flower shop owner said that Russia and the U.S. outbid the other countries for red roses for Valentine's Day. She said if they were to buy some, the Germans would not pay the high price for them. So what did my husband get me instead? He bought me two beautiful flower bouquets, pink roses and purple tulips. He also got me the BEST chocolate in the world, I ate all 32 pieces in less than 3 days. He bought me my first pair of real diamond earrings and three pairs of jeans. I am truly the luckiest girl living in Germany.

Aren't my flowers beautiful?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

10 Things Schools Don't Teach Well

In the article 10 Things Schools Don't Teach Well, by Live Science (http://www.livescience.com/health/070927-charm-school.html), they mentioned 10 things students are not learning in schools anymore in the U.S.  They are:

* Listen to others
* Follow the steps
* Follow the rules
* Ignore distractions
* Ask for help
* Take turns when you talk
* Get along with others
* Stay calm with others
* Be responsible for your behavior
* Do nice things for others.

From what the Germans have said, these are pretty much the only skills children in German kindergarten learn.  They learn colors and numbers at home and work on their manners at school.  I think American schools could learn something about raising kids with manners rather than trying to cram a lot of pointless information at them.  I don't know about you, but I'd rather work with a kind person than someone who has no manners but knows a lot.  Plus society would improve as a whole if children were taught manners in school because unfortunately many are not learning them at home.  The one thing Germans are not taught, how to stand in line.  That's the one thing that could improve things over here. 
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