A day at the airports

Filed under:General — eric @ 12:02 pm

I had the kind of travel day you only read about.

My scheduled flights yesterday were to begin at 7:30 at the Athens airport, taking me to Charlotte and then to Boston. At Boston, I was to rent a car and drive to my hotel in Ashland, New Hampshire. Total travel time: under six hours.

Instead, after I got to the airport at 6:30, I waited around the gate for four hours. Charlotte was fogged in, they told us, and nothing was getting in or out. After a series of delays, they cancelled the flight at 10:30. By then, all the rest of the day’s flights out of Athens were booked. My options: wait until Tuesday to try again, or try my luck in Atlanta. My schedule wouldn’t allow me to wait a day, so I took their offer of a cab to Atlanta. Traffic was heavy, so the trip took two more hours. In Atlanta, all flights to Boston were full, so I was told to wait on standby at one gate after another. They definately could fit me in on a 7pm flight to Philidelphia and then to Boston, they said, but maybe I could get there sooner. No dice. I left Atlanta for Philly late, at 8pm. On the good side, they flew me first class. I’ve never gone first class before, and of course I greatly enjoyed it. Free irish cream while reading a cheesy science fiction book? I’ll take it.

When we landed in Philly, I was late for my connecting flight to Boston. I ran to the gate they told me, only to find a (overbooked) later flight to Boston on the sign. My flight, the new person said, was actually two gates down. I got there to find a flight to Chicago boarding. My flight? Two concourses away, with two minutes to get there. I ran down the moving escalator and arrived to find a long line at the gate. They needed volunteers to stay behind, but I went ahead. We boarded the plane, they shut the door, and we sat there. For a long time. The pilot finally came on and announced the company had “forgotten” to schedule any baggage handlers to load the plane. We had to wait for handlers form other flights to get some spare time to load us. That only took an hour and a half. I finished my book (the second one for the day) and began another. We finally departed, and I arrived in Boston after eleven pm. The place was deserted.

I literally got the last rental car on the lot. I rent National, where they let you choose your own car, so mine was the car everyone else rejected. The engine worked, so even though the mirrors were broken, I took it. I didn’t have directions to New Hampshire, other then “North” and “Interstate”, but my boy scout training got me pointed in the right direction. From what I could tell in the darkness, Boston was signs. There were giant holes everywhere. Lanes stopped for no reason. I guess I was witnessing “The Big Dig“.

I pulled into my motel a bit after one in the morning. I’d hoped to get dinner (I’d grabbed lunch at one of those carts between the gates in Atlanta), but every restaurant between Boston and Ashland was closed. Even the fast food places. I guess the open-late policies I’m used to are a regional thing.

Anyway, I’m here now, a little weary but hard at work. Maybe I’ll have an easy evening tonight.