NAVAL WEATHER SERVICE ASSOCIATION

An association of Aerographers & Mates,
Meteorologists & Oceanographers

TRAVEL VIA THE MOON

AGCM Claude R. "Moon" Mullen, USN RET


His Biography Since Joining USN

Source: Aerograph November 2018

When taking a trip, there are generally three facts that matter most: when you’re going, where you’re going, and what it costs. Everything else comes under the fine print and we tend to ignore it, even the agree at the bottom of that big long paragraph that we so easily skip over.

There’s even contractual fine print you’re agreeing to when you purchase an airline ticket, hotel room or cruise. There is no agree button, but your check or credit card will serve the same function.

But there are some things you should be aware of when making a travel purchase, either directly from the supplier, like your airline, or your travel agent.

     Pay particular attention to those cancellation penalties.

     Airline tickets…once purchased, if you cancel except for one or two airlines (like Southwest), no

     cash refund.

     Hotels…it used to be you made a reservation and then paid when checking out. Still happens, but

     at some hotels you may be offered fundable or non-refundable, the latter at slightly reduced price.

     And some hotels take payment when you book and then give a date by which you cancel to

     receive a refund. The key here, be clear about the plan you want (more restrictions for lowest

     rate).

     Cruises…It used to be standard…you paid a deposit…$50 to $400, with $200 typical, and then a

     final payment of the balance 90-120 days before sailing. Although this is fairly common, some

     lines offer lower rates that are subject to only a partial – or no – refund. Check with your cruise

     company before putting money down/paying. Customers are often so excited at the rates at

     booking time that they fail to pay attention to these details. Last minute booking surprises tend to

     make that cruise just a little less enjoyable.

Discuss with your airline, hotel, cruise-line or travel agent exactly what you want and let them tell you exactly what the price will be. Then you can make any adjustment necessary to suit you without that future surprise. Planning ahead takes only a couple minutes longer to avoid that surprise. This additional planning (and follow-thru) can make the difference between a good and an outstanding vacation.

 

Enjoy that vacation…you deserve it!





Source: Aerograph August 2018

The first time you travel to a new destination, or the first time you try a new kind of vacation, there may be a lot you don’t know or some totally unexpected experiences that may surprise you when they happen.


Sometimes this experience can be exciting! Trying something new or seeing a new destination for the first time is one of the great pleasures of travel. And when things go well in our travels, that’s great.


To help with your next vacation trip, here are some of the “if only I’d known” things you might be prepared for…a power-strip…if you’re traveling with a family, or, you’re on a cruise ship, or in a hotel room, that power-strip may let you recharge all those electronic devices while you sleep.


Can I have something else? You don’t like the dinner offered tonight. Ask if you can have something else and then maybe you’ll be able to enjoy that meal a lot more. It doesn’t cost to ask, and if you’ve made friends with your waiter/waitress, it might be a simple request for them to offer something else…maybe not as expensive, but at least you’ll enjoy it.

And as often happens, you’d like to stay a little longer past the usual check-out time. Explaining that you have a later flight will allow you to remain an hour or two in your room and the clean-up crew can do other rooms and leave yours till last. Another option there is go to the airport (depending on the size airport and airline availability) and stay at the “high-priced” “specialty clubs” like American’s Admiral Club. Even if you’re not a “paid member”, most airlines will allow you to enter and wait for your flight, but again, asking an airline, or club, employee for permission to enter those exclusive clubs, will be better than sitting in the large waiting room.  

    

Travel can be challenging and not always a fun experience but doing something different can make it more enjoyable…and you’ve been looking forward to this vacation for a long time…you deserve it…enjoy!!!
Submitted by AGCM C. R. “Moon” Mullen USN RET



Source: Aerograph May 2018

Summertime is here and those plans you made a couple months ago for your trip are just around the corner…time to pack suitcases now. But one item that you don’t want to put in those suitcases—medications! Those go in your carry-on bag…and they’re easy to take if you get one of those old pill-bottles (plastic) and just fill it up with your daily AM pills & 1 or 2 days more, and one more pill-container with your PM pills (again, with 1-2 days extra). Even if you have liquid meds you’re taking, you can put them in your carry-on even if they exceed the 3 oz. TSA restricts you to…a medical bottle will allow you to have more, or some identifier paperwork along with the bottles will get you thru TSA and the airlines.


Do you need vaccinations where you’re going? Your doctor can tell you or just go to cdc.gov/travel and you’ll be able to see which country requires what vaccination…4 to 6 weeks before your trip to ensure no medical problems or those that take longer to become effective. If you take prescription medication, a copy of that prescription would be a good idea to take along in case you spend more time than you planned, and be aware, drug stores in some other countries do not say “drug stores” or look like your local store, but your hotel can tell you where/direction the nearest one is. Naturally, a list of those medications is a must for your carry-on. Another thing your hotel can tell you is where an English-speaking doctor is located.


A couple items you might want to consider beside your usual medicines: motion-sickness pills, laxatives, cold pills, antihistamine, pain-relief, eye-drops, and basic first-aid items like Band-Aids, etc.


You read this every 3 months and accept it, but did you ever wonder ‘where did the name AEROGRAPH come from’? Soon after going into the USN in the ‘40s my PO2 boss suggested that I answer the “ad” in the Plan-of-the-Day for an Aerographer’s Mate. Sounded great! A flying photographer…wrong. They had all those funny maps of the USA with big blue H’s or red L’s, blue or red lines halfway across the country, and not one photograph anywhere in the office. They didn’t think too much of my answer “no” when asked if I had any math, science or physics in high school, but the one thing in my favor (and probably the ONLY thing), I could type 46 words per minute. And so, I was given six months to learn some of the codes, how to take surface obs and fit in with the other “strikers” fresh from ‘A’ school in Lakehurst. Before long I was told by the FDO to “take over the map” because the A-schooler was too slow and the duty officer had a forecast to put out, plus a really neat thing!


First class AGs plus senior 2nds got to fly Aerographs, but on their day-off at 0830 in the backseat of an SNJ (Queen 9), which had a reputation for good radio communication with the tower ONLY when it was on the ground without the engine running. Also the “horn” never sounded when the landing gear was going down and navigation needles seldom worked or were reliable if you were more than 10 miles from the “aid”, which for some reason made the AG in the backseat ask why he was there when he could be sleeping on his day off!!! So, when I volunteered to take the flight for them (I soloed when I was 16 and this was free flight time that the Chief in the front seat let me have 3/4ths of the time, including many take-offs and landings), the assigned AG would let me do the flying, without pay, and then they would come in around 1000 and work up the Aerograph. An Aerograph was an instrument that you strapped onto its holder on the wing [See pictures on Page 17 of May Aerograph], and then you circled over the station (NCO-Quonset PT, RI) at 300 ft. per minute, recording the temperature and humidity to 10,000 ft. In later years it would be replaced by a radiosonde balloon. On Queen-9, we often (read “always”) got ‘lost’ and ended up over New Hampshire, Conn, West Mass…almost anyplace but over NCO…of course, but you could always “blame the instruments”…yea, right.

The FDOs probably often wondered why the winds aloft were never quite what the Weather Bureau forecast. But in those days, with Queen-9 and modern technology like the Aerograph, there was never any doubt that our forecast would always be correct…otherwise, it was probably a USNR on 2 weeks active duty that made the “bad forecast”.


Lack of Aerographs probably explains why your local forecast today isn’t always correct. Don’t tell them!

Submitted by AGCM C. R. “Moon” Mullen USN RET


Source: Aerograph February 2018

The Queen is retired! And yes, that affects you…particularly if you do a lot of flying. It all started back in 1970. Back then, if you planned a trip to Hawaii flying with United, your travel agent would tell you something you never heard before: you will be going on a brand-new airplane, the 747, called the Queen of the Skies. But it ended on 7 November this year where it all started…California to Hawaii.

Boeing announced plans for this large aircraft on April 1966, followed by the test-flight from the Boeing factory in the Seattle area in Feb. 1966. Its first commercial flight was from New York to London for Pan American World Airways, the leader in world travel airlines. United flew the four engine DC-8 with 180 to 220 passengers to Hawaii for a whopping $1455 round-trip coach and $2000 first-class.

With the advent of the 747, airlines like United could carry almost 400 passengers on a flight…and it you were lucky enough to be in 1st Class you could have gone to the upper-deck lounge after take-off where an elegant buffet of Hawaiian food and free-flowing mai-tais awaited you. Those were the days…people used to dress up to fly…even in coach/economy. Multi-course meals were served even in coach on some flights.

Airline economics have changed over the past years as more fuel-efficient planes like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 started covering the same routes at lower cost. Trans-Atlantic flights by British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa & Virgin Atlantic continue to use the Queen on long-haul routes with large numbers of passengers…British Airways with the most 747s (36) in service.

Along with United, Delta is expected to drop their 747 flights early this year leaving the A380 the largest plane…and yes, on this plane you’ll still be able to go to the upper deck for seats, but not for a lounge or snacks.


Maybe not the large planes we once had, but they’re better than the choice at “Kittyhawk NC” a few years ago. Enjoy you flight—you deserve it.



2017

November Aerograph

August Aerograph

                                                                                          May Aerograph


             February Aerograph           
 

  
 2015

November Aerograph

Protect Yourself from Travel Delays Beyond Your Control
with Backup Plans and Insurance 
August Aerograph

Beware of the Germy Magazine, Seat-pocket, For Bargains Make your Summer Reservations in February,  and Check the Fine Print for the Months of Deep Discounts 

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May Aerograph

Get the Planning Done NOW (before the prices go up), Fly Overnight and Check that Passport.
February Aerograph






2014

European River Cruises and Informing your Credit Card Co. of Travel Plans
November Aerograph

   
Visiting Normandy France and Omaha Beach, Oversize Bags, and Bravo Zulu NWSA #40
August Aerograph

Effects of Weather on Flights, Severe Thurbulence, Shop for Lower Prices and Buy at the Right Time
May Aerograph

Less Restrictions on Liquids At European Airports, Higher First-Class Airfares,  Exercise at Airports, NEVER Put Passport in Checked Baggage

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February Aerograph



2013

Snacks/Lite Meals in Rooms, "Gotta-goes", Health Kits and Travel Insurance
 November Aerograph

Medical assistance and considerations while traveling.

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August Aerograph

Fees for Upgrades, Alerting your Credit Card Co. to Travel Plans, Ireland and Dublin, Best Time to Purchase Tickets

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May Aerograph

Bags, getting them delivered; Miscellaneous Tipping; and Tour Guides 

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February Aerograph

  


2012 

 

Using your Credit Card Out-of-Country, AAA/AARP Discounts, Group/Guided Travel Vacation Cautions

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  November Aerograph

 

Reunion #38; Best & Least Expensive Travel Times; Baggage Limits and Costs

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August Aerograph


Medications, paying for and lists of them on trip; Credit Card cautions; and those "dirty" handles, knobs and trays...

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May Aerograph

Travel to UK, Cuba?; New rules for airlines...

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February Aerograph


 

 2011

 

Rental Cars

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November Aerograph


Visas...Baggage and Safety Tips
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 August Aerograph


...to Days Gone By

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May Aerograph

Baggage Tips and Travel to Japan and Taiwan

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February Aerograph