There is no doubt at all about who was the best travelling companion on this trip - especially now I am completing the journey on my own.
But there have been a couple of other items that must be mentioned. The first is my trusty Trakdot. I bought this fabulous device back in 2013 after seeing it in a gadget magazine. I had had a bad experience losing my luggage in LAX and this wee device seemed like just what I needed. I have used it nearly every time I have flown since, from local trips in NZ to Asia to the UK, from Australia to Europe to the USA and it always delivers. When I land I get an SMS and an email from my suitcase telling me where it is in the world. And if I have my bluetooth on I usually get advance notice that my bag will be appearing on the luggage carousal any moment. It is wonderful. I did note on one flight this trip that TSA seem to have taken an interest in it. I had the notice inside my suitcase that TSA had been borrowing through it and my Trakdot had moved from the bottom of the case to sitting on the top. But nothing was said, so it must have been deemed kosher.
The notification emailed reads:
Your Trakdot device: NamedXX is indicating its location is within the area of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). If this is a final destination of a flight you are on, proceed to baggage claim to pick up your luggage. If you are at your final destination, but it is not the location of your Trakdot luggage, then proceed to your carrier's Baggage Claim Office and arrange for the luggage to be sent to you from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).Battery: Full.
The other must have is the app TripIt Pro. All your travels in one place. You download the app on your phone and you sign up to create an account with them. The Pro Upgrade costs a fee that is well worth it. I had to allow access to my GMail, and then it takes every travel looking document and adds them to my TripIt account. From there it handles all my bookings like a travel agent sending me notices 24 hrs in advance that I need to check in, what Gates and terminals and even tracks my seats. It informs me of flight delays, Gate changes etc on the day right up to boarding. It provides maps and information about the arrival destination as part of the deal. My human travelling companion has come to accept that TripIt will always be the first to let us know of any travel changes. I have stood in an Air NZ terminal, with the AirNZ app on my phone, and TripIt has informed me of flight changes before AirNZ themselves do - every time. It is well worth the investment.
Notifications received like this:
TripIt Pro alert: Connection summary for DTW DL 98 arrived at DTW and will disembark at terminal M, gate A3.Your connection DL 5264 (DTW to CLE) is currently ON TIME departing from terminal M, gate A61, at 5:45pm EDT. You have 1h, 53m to make your connection.For help or changes, contact FLIGHT CENTRE BROKER JIM: 09 815 6675; Delta Air Lines: 1-800-221-1212View your trip to access the latest flight status information.Happy travels,The TripIt Pro team