February 17, 2007
It wasn't the easiest trip down here to Florida via Charlotte on Thursday.
First problem was me mis-remembering the time of the flight, somehow getting a 1PM departure stuck in my head when it was supposed to be 11... luckily I double checked when I thought I had heard my phone ring around 6:30.
I bypass the huge lines at the United counter only to have the automated kiosk tell me that it doesn't do US Airways flights. Apparently this is one of those insane "United Served By US Airways" flights and I jotted down the wrong airline, and so arrived at the wrong terminal.
So I tramp over to US Airways again bypassing a huge line only to have THEIR kiosk tell me that my first flight was running late, so I'd miss my flight and don't get a boarding pass. So I get into the huge line, along with some other travelers trying to make other connections via Charlotte, and after some complaining and only moving about 15 yards in the line (half an hour maybe?) we get put to a special express lane, and I get on my original flight, but with a later connection to Florida.
So this flight is suffering some typical airline-y delays, no big deal. Those seem on the verge of being settled when we are told: they don't actually have the crew they thought they would to fly the plane. I'm not too worried, my rescheduled connection is late enough (hmm, I think, the guy said it was 4 something, the badly printed ticket says boarding... 3:35? 3:55?) that it shouldn't be a problem.
Except, of course, it takes even longer than expected to scrape up a crew, and then there's lots of mysterious sitting at the gate, and we don't land in North Carolina 'til 4:30.
Also, just to add to the indignity of it all... when the hell did they start using tray-table tops as billboards? And those drop down video screens to go through a series of "Cranium" questions/advertisements? All the fun of a pre-movie slideshow but with even less comfortable seats.
So we get to the airport, and I decide against making a frantic push to make the connection, that boat has already sailed, to mix a metaphor. But wait! What's this? The flight is now leaving at 6PM? All right! Fate is finally smiling upon me and I have time to grab a local-ish Carolina BBQ sandwich!
(Anecdote... I purchased a book at the airport bookstore, since I had ripped through my first two pretty quickly. The clerk asked "do you need a magazine or newspaper to go with that?" What?? As like, a warmup? It's reading, not french fries, people.)
Another typical airline delay, plane got in late, need to clean it up, we'll leave at 7, blah blah... but then...they just found out their crew went "illegal" (which I assume means "have flown too many hours", and not "wanted by the INS") and the desk guy doesn't sound too optimistic about digging up a new one...
At this point, I'd want to use the ancient phrase and tell them to go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, except I don't think they'd have the staff to actually get off the ground.
Fortunately the desk guy's pessimism was unfounded, and the flight was fairly fast, despite the cranium questions being a repeat of the first leg's....
All in all only 5 hours late, but... oy. A good chance to practice my efforts of contentment and detachment, I guess is the best that can be said about it, well that, and I'm Just Happy To Be Here.
Oh... also in the "could be worse" department, I had an empty seat next to me on the first part (guy wanted to swap for an aisle) and a whole empty role on the second. (Why someone in a full row didn't go for the aisle, I'm not sure.)
- Don't bother to call or check the website ahead of time. It's not like I did, anyway, but it was of zero help to the other travelers who did so.
- Do double check the airline, especially with United and US Airways. (and one less I learned this day, from other travelers who weren't quite as blasé: checking the flight status the day before or the day of just doesn't matter. You might as well just try your luck showing up at the airport...)
- Do relax and try to roll with things. You'll get there, and chances are there's someone in the same boat as you.
Today's Theme: Letters and Words.
Here are some neat little typographical artpieces. With music.
Here's an odd little handwriting technique.
And then Wordorigins.org gets pretty deeply into where our vocabulary came from.
Quote of the Moment
"If she would just love me again, I'd build her a beautiful cage and never ever let her out."
--Bobby Hill, "King of The Hill"