Off the road again

My trip home yesterday was under the auspices of the Fairy Godmother Department (see Robert Heinlein’s Glory Road).

Originally, my meeting was supposed to end about 1:30pm, so I’d booked a 3:15pm flight out of Atlanta Airport to Dallas, which would get me home about 10:30pm Eastern. But then they revised the agenda so that we’d finish at 11am, leaving me a long wait for my flight.

A friend was planning to leave on the 1:30pm flight so she could get home to Austin at a decent hour, so we left the meeting promptly at 11 (slightly before the last speaker finished, but such is life), and were at the American Airlines counter at 11:30. I asked if there was room on the 1:30. The agent asked me if I wouldn’t rather take the noon flight(!), but I didn’t know how far the gate was or how long it would take to get through security (on the bus from the hotel, we’d heard horror stories of 90-minute lines that very day), so I said “no,” and she put me on the 1:30 with a reasonable connection in Dallas, and I went to get in line.

The line was the longest one I’d been in on this trip — about ten people. I was clever this time and put my metal-tipped belt in my suitcase instead of wearing it, but it didn’t help me; I was selected for a random scan and had to be wanded and patted down anyway. Despite that delay, I was past the checkpoint at 11:45 — and the gate for the noon flight was only a couple of hundred feet away. So we zipped down there and got onto the noon flight.

En route, I used a secret trick and called American Airlines Reservations for free on the Airphone (hint: dial *044) to see if I could get an even earlier flight home from Dallas. There was one available, but I’d have to wait till I was Dallas to see if there would be room.

In Dallas, I walked over to the Terminal B Admiral’s Club (the longest walk I’d taken in three days — I needed it!) to see if the earlier flight had room. It did — and I was even able to upgrade to First Class, where I was delighted to find that warm nuts were still served on this flight, but I was not so happy to find that the people in front of me were determined to get their money’s worth of the liquor being poured. But eventually they got quiet.

I’d called my regular taxi driver while I was in Dallas, and he was waiting for me; I got home before Diane and Jeffrey did. While I was waiting for them, the driver called me back to tell me my luck was still holding — we’d had a fast trip down from the airport, but now there had been a wreck, and traffic on 880 South from the airport was snarled up badly. But I’d missed all of that.

All in all, a much better trip home than I’d expected. And getting home four hours early made it even better.

Shabbat Shalom!

On the road again

I’m sitting (actually, standing) in the San Jose Admirals’ Club, ready to start my first business trip since mid-July. I got up an hour early to be sure of getting to the airport early enough to get through security in time for my 9:26am flight — I got here at 7:26, right on the FAA-mandated two-hour deadline. And I was through security at 7:35, with nearly two hours left before flight time.

I must admit that I cheated a little bit — instead of standing in the very long check-in line, or even the long First Class check-in line, I walked up to the self-serve check-in kiosk. I had to wait ten seconds for the person in front of me to finish her transaction, but that was it. The actual check-in process took about a minute — it would have been slightly longer if I’d had luggage to check, but still much less time than it would have if I’d waited in the line to talk to a human being.

Security was noticably different than it used to be — I had to take my laptop out of my briefcase so it could be x-rayed (but I was allowed to leave my digital camera in the briefcase…you figure it out, I can’t). And when I set off the metal detector, I wasn’t asked to be sure I’d emptied my pockets and given a second chance…instead, I was wanded (my belt was the culprit). Still, the entire process took less than three minutes.

I was hoping to get an earlier flight, but I’d’ve had to stand by, both here and in Dallas. I decided to stick with my original plans rather than wind up stuck in Dallas for five hours (2.5 hours is plenty, thanks) if the flight there didn’t clear.

The Admirals’ Club is pretty empty, though I’m not usually here at this hour, so I guess I can’t really compare it with pre-9/11. The short-term parking at Terminal C was really empty compared to the old days, and my taxi driver said business has been really slow.

I’m doing my part — but I am still somewhat nervous.

Oh, why am I standing? I’m using the free computer here, and it’s been put on a pedestal at a height that’s remarkably uncomfortable if you sit. I guess it’s to keep people from hogging it and doing their e-mail or composing web pages.

Now coming to you from DFW Airport

Boy, I’d forgotten how slow a dial-up connection is. And how tedious travel can be.

Congratulations, Audrey and Hal! (I know which of you did more of the work!)


I made it. Uneventful flights. But the hotel shuttle setup at Atlanta Airport is more confusing than I’ve ever seen anywhere else. And there weren’t any warm nuts. And if that’s my biggest complaint in this post-9/11 world, I am a very lucky person.

At least they're honest about it

“Advertisement: Get-Rich-Quick-Scam!”

I can resist.

Good thing we lose an hour that day

From the KPIG Featured Squeals page:

From “Al”: Posted Thu Oct 18 05:48:23 | From Annapolis, MD

Howdy Pigs!

Don’t go to the bathroom on October 28th. CIA intelligence reports that a major plot is planned for that day. Anyone who takes a crap on the 28th will be bitten on the ass by an alligator. Reports indicate that organized groups of alligators are planning to rise up into unsuspecting American’s toilet bowls and bite them when they are doing their dirty business.

I usually don’t forward reports like this, but I got this information from a reliable source. It came from a friend of a friend whose cousin is dating this girl whose brother knows this guy whose wife knows this lady whose husband buys hotdogs from this guy who knows a shoeshine guy who shines the shoes of a mailroom worker who has a friend who’s drug dealer sells drugs to another mailroom worker who works in the CIA building. He apparently overheard two guys talking in the bathroom about alligators and came to the conclusion that we are going to be attacked. So it must be true! Don’t crap on the 28th! Hold it in!!