July 24, 2006 Leave a comment
I’ve had a couple of airline adventures this week. My class in Philadelphia ended early last Friday, so I went to the airport expecting to spend hours in the US Airways club. Not a bad thing, incidentally, since I had a lot of work to do. As it turned out, though, I was able to get a standby seat on a 1:45 pm flight that was currently boarding. Since my original flight was set to leave at 8 pm, that was quite a savings.
I did manage to board. It was a middle seat in the back, but I figured it was okay because the flight is only about 45 minutes. Then, just before the doors closed, the weather report detected lightning within a three mile radius of the airport. Everything shut down.
Apparently that’s a new OSHA regulation. Even though the skies were only overcast, we had to sit there waiting for a grounds crew. That all seems reasonable, of course, but the problem was that the showers must have been hovering right on the edge of the three-mile radius because they kept saying, “now we can leave,” and then ten minutes later, “wait, no we can’t.” This went on for three (!) hours.
We did eventually take off. I got into Hartford about three hours later than I expected, but there were a couple of very silver linings. First, I still arrived much earlier than I expected. Second, when I glanced at the monitors in Bradley airport, I noticed that my later flight had been cancelled!
Whew, that was close.
The other eventful time happened yesterday when I was ready to fly to Chicago (the class is in Naperville, actually). I arrived at Bradley at about 1 pm for a 2:07 pm flight on United. The plane was actually from a United partner and was one of those small commuter planes. When I arrived at the airport I discovered the flight was delayed until 4:30 pm. I did the usual thing of staying in the small US Airways club at Bradley (one of the best investments I’ve ever made — I renewed it while I was waiting).
The flight kept getting later. First it was 4:52, then 5:07, then 5:35. I asked and was told weather was not an issue, but they didn’t know any details. As it turned out, there was another flight to Chicago on a much bigger plane leaving at 5:30. They offered the passengers a chance to get on standby for that flight, but I decided against it.
My flight eventually boarded at 5:52. When I got on, however, I realized that most of the passengers had taken the 5:30 flight and therefore my flight was nearly empty. The plane was small, too, but not so small that it didn’t have two rows of first class seats. I told the flight attendant that I had planned to upgrade, and she let me move into first. I then had a very pleasant trip to O’Hare, only about 4 1/2 hours later than I expected.
Airline travel is worse than almost any other form of transportation, but sometimes it works out.