Washington DC: Air And Space Museum – An Airman’s Dream With A Few Flaws


The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Independence Avenue and 6th Street SW
Washington, DC 20560
Phone: (202) 633-1000
Website: nasm.si.edu
The Air and Space Museum is a dream for an Airman like me, but the crowds drove me bonkers! 
The exhibits are sublime, from Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis to the original Wright Flyer, the aviation history in this building is impressive. However, the massive amount of humanity roaming the halls was a nightmare. People roaming around in a trance or engulfed in conversation or their cell phone caused bottleneck after bottleneck. Having only a week in DC with too many things to do and see, we did not have time to lollygag and that was extremely frustrating.
The building is also in desperate need of maintenance. From a leaking roof that stained the walls to carpets with duct tape covering the holes, the building requires some simple maintenance to bring it up to Washington DC and Smithsonian standards.
CombatCritic Gives The Smithsonian’s Air And Space Museum 8 Bombs Out Of 10 With A Two Bomb Deduction For Crowds And Poor Maintenance … More Bombs Are Better!


Eight Bombs Equates To:


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Yelp – Elite ’14/’15/’16

TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

Zomato – #1 Ranked Foodie

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Title:  Washington DC: Air And Space Museum – An Airman’s Dream With A Few Flaws

Key Words: Washington DC, Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian, air, space, national, Washington, DC, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, attraction, museum, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor

Translation for Civilians: WTFO = “What-The-F#@& … Over!”


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United Airlines: We Don’t Care (Sometimes), We Don’t Have To (But, Maybe We Want To) … I’m Confused!


United Airlines, Inc.
77 W Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
b/t Lower Wacker Dr & Michigan Ave in The Loop
 
I do not usually write reviews so many weeks or months after the fact, but being in India for four months where Yelp did not yet exist, I felt compelled to add my two cents.

My first two of three United flights to Delhi were both two hours late and I had to rush through Frankfurt Airport to catch my final flight after already spending close to 20 hours traveling (with 7+ yet to go). I somehow made it!

However, when I recently checked my mileage balance on United.com, my final leg still had not been added to my balance, requiring me to submit a request that still has not been answered.

Airlines in general, and United in particular, just do not care about customer service because they do not have to. They know that most of us will probably purchase the cheapest fare, so it will only be a matter of time before we return even if their service is pitiful, which it usually is … rude check-in and gate agents, aggressive flight attendants, and poor on-time departure/arrival record … they should change their motto to: “United Airlines,We Don’t Care, We Don’t Have To”

As my India trip neared its end, I have to say that United came through with flying colors. 

When one of my wife’s return flights in mid-January was rescheduled, leaving her a 30 minute layover to clear immigration/customs, re-check her bag, and get to the next gate (IMPOSSIBLE), we contacted United and were quickly dismissed … “sorry”! But when we got our travel insurance company involved, they were able to change her flights and get her home in time to attend a meeting at work the following morning.

The saga continued …

I received a call in early February, three weeks prior to my scheduled departure, informing me that my 84-year old mother had been hospitalized and was not doing well.  I contacted my travel insurance company (Allianz Global Assistance/AGA Service Company /Jefferson Insurance Company) thinking that they would be as professional as my wife’s, but after 12+ hours of being ignored (on their 24/7 Hotline), I contacted United reservations in New Delhi.  They were not extremely helpful, but when I was finally transferred to an American employee, she was outstanding.  She quickly found me a flight two days later (i had to get from Southern India to Delhi the next day) and WAIVED THE $300 CHANGE FEE … without even asking.  I was able to get home to see my mother and spend a couple days of quality time before she passed away on 2/12/2015. At that point I was much happier with United.

and continued …

Then, just three weeks after my mother passed, my wife received word that her father had suddenly died in Naples, Italy where he and her mom live. I logged-in to my United account to search for “bereavement fares”, but even though a link appeared in the search results, there was no such information on their website. It turned out that United discontinued their bereavement fares at some point in the recent past. When I called United Customer Care, a deceiving term, I was connected with their offshore “care” center in Manilla, Phillippines where I was quoted $4000 for a single ticket … $1600 more than the cheapest fare available on Kayak.com and $2350 more than we eventually paid Delta airlines. Thanks for your compassion United!

I had been prepared to give United 6, 7, even 8, Bombs (3 to 4 stars) because of the recent positive experiences detailed above, but finding out post de facto that 15,000 of the 20,000 miles from the US to India and back I paid dearly for were not eligible for frequent flyer credits (K Class) and the $4000 quote for a last-minute bereavement fare changed my mind. So, I will now have to downgrade my previous ratings …

CombatCritic Gives United Airlines 3 Out Of 10 Bombs With Room To Grow Or Recede Further … More Bombs Are Better!
 
 





Read More Reviews By CombatCritic, Including United Airlines, On Yelp And TripAdvisor Along With Many Other Reviews And More!

Title: United Airlines: We Don’t Care (Sometimes), We Don’t Have To (But, Maybe We Want To) … I’m Confused!
 
Key Words: United Airlines, United, Airlines, air, plane, airplane, travel, airport, flight, reservation, agent, customer, service, CombatCritic, TravelValue, Yelp, value
 

United States Air Force Academy … Enough Said!


After having worked at USAFA as an assistant professor and counselor, and being a retired Air Force officer, I must admit that I am a bit biased. BUT … the Academy IS THE BOMB!

The most majestic location of any of our service academies (sorry West Point and Annapolis), the scenery is awe inspiring. The iconic Cadet Chapel with its towering spires and modern design is the centerpiece, but there is so much more to see.

The Eisenhower Golf Courses (Blue and Silver) are top-notch, abutting the Rampart Range and challenging even the best golfers, particularly the Robert Trent Jones designed 7,200+ yard Blue Course. I have seen a 12-point buck (deer) and his harem standing next to the tee munching on an early morning breakfast of grass and, just the other day, a group of wild turkeys foraging through the thickets surrounding the par 5 5th hole (Blue).

Enter through the North Gate off of I-25 and follow the signs to the Visitor’s Center where you can see many exhibits and take a short walk to the overlook and an up close view of the Cadet Chapel and “The Terrazo” where you can view cadets marching to and from classes, lunch, and appointments during the school year.

CombatCritic Gives the United States Air Force Academy 10 Bombs Out of 10




Key Words: USAFA, United States Air Force Academy, US, air, force, Air Force, academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Springs, military, service, cadet, cadets, Eisenhower, golf, course, Robert Trent Jones, CombatCritic