Fair warning: this post is going to be something of an extended whine. I am writing this in a hotel room with the inevitable “joy” of hotel internet after attending day one of a testing conference on the left coast of the US.
I live on the right side of the country, so this meant a plane flight.
Since this particular conference comes with two optional events – a pre-conference meetup the night before and a post-conference meetup on the night of the last day, I naturally wanted to attend both. Since my experience with the same setup last year was that after connections I really didn’t want anything to do with any kind of activity after checking in, I naturally booked a nonstop flight so I’d have a nice early-ish arrival with plenty of time to take a nap so I’d be able to go to the pre-conference meetup.
First, the non-stop flight is cancelled. The replacement has a moderately tight connection, but isn’t too bad. Then the first leg of the trip runs late. It lands with room for me to make the connection if I hustle… Except that the airport is having a little issue finding enough gate staff to bring the flight into a gate. So we sit on the taxiway for half a bloody hour before we can get into a gate.
Naturally, I book it for the connection. Arrive just after the doors close, to be told that I’ve been booked onto a different flight leaving an hour later, and due to start boarding in the next 1/2 hour. Yay…
Time is spent with phone notifying the hotel that my check in might be a wee bit later than planned since instead of arriving between 11 am and 12 as I’d originally booked, or even between 2 & 3 according to rebooking version 1 I now don expect to reach them before 4.
I am in fact correct. The connecting flight loads up on time. Leaves the terminal on time. Sits on the taxiway for half an hour before getting to takeoff. The rest of the trip, no real problems.
Heck, the flights themselves weren’t too horrible, mostly because both were very lightly booked – instead of the usual “we’re completely full so expect to have your carryon changed to booked baggage” it was “we’re very empty so for weight distribution reasons we need people to volunteer to move to the rows behind the wings or we’ll move you ourselves.”
The extra space was nice, and I’ve got to admit that if I have to choose between a mini TV screen in the back of the seat in front or a power point built into the thing, I’ll take the power point thanks. I can flip the phone or the tablet into flight mode and do what I want instead of having to deal with having something I don’t care about shown at me. Or course, I may be one of the few people in the universe this applies to.
I miss the days when flying was an adventure. When it was a big thing, and you didn’t have to deal with TSA lines (no matter how efficiently they’re set up, the whole thing is still a big vulnerable mess). I don’t know how they’ve managed it, but the combination of government mandates, airlines looking for the cheapest options, customers looking for the cheapest options, and airports looking for the cheapest options, the whole experience has turned into a kind of hell.
I’ll be glad to get home Friday (late) and recover. No matter how much fun the convention is, getting there and back is a trial.