there are no direct flights from seattle to baltimore. so choosing which connecting city to be delayed through is an important decision. do you want to be delayed by thunderstorms in dallas? by a rogue blizzard in denver? by either (or both) in chicago?
any way you go, the day before is a bad time to discover that one of your chosen flights has been cancelled.
get on expedia. call the airline. call the airline whose flights are being operated by the first airline. get redirected back to the first airline. get re-redirected to the second airline. think, "this is fun" in an un-fun kind of way. hear that you can fly to washington, dc, and drive to baltimore. hear that you can fly into baltimore -- very, very late -- and pay a lot more for the privilege.
tell them that these options, while very interesting, are completely unacceptable.
ask for a supervisor. within 30 seconds, get a flight connecting through chicago, arriving baltimore within 10 minutes of your original itinerary. wonder, "wtf?"
in order to get from seattle to baltimore in time for a preconference meeting, it's necessary to catch a 6 am flight. to catch a 6 am flight, it's necessary to get out of bed and be semi-coherent at 330 am. hilarity ensues.
upon 445 am arrival at the airport, it's disconcerting to see a huge line at the ticket counter, and a longer line at security. especially since the airline's online check-in feature was down for 24 hours prior. so you wait impatiently in line to finally be told that it's too late to check your bag. wait some more for a supervisor to intervene, get bag checked, and get escort to the front of security line.
note to self: in the future, deal only with supervisors.
it's the same whenever i fly.
as the plane rushes down the runway, i summon images of my children. i figure if things go sideways, i'd prefer my last thoughts be of them rather than, say, the mailer copy that the boss made a hash of. or the risk of deep vein thrombosis on cross-country flights.
the instruction is to "return your seatbacks and tray tables to their full and upright position." even the so-called safety video says it. "full and upright position."
i'm no aviation expert, but i'm pretty sure they mean "fully upright."
on a very full flight, i'm in the center seat next to someone who insists on bogarting the armrest. this same person has a thick, phlegmy cough and seems eager to share the mucus with the entire plane.
the guy across the aisle is picking his nose. right in front of god and everyone. his finger is in the full and upright position. he flicked whatever he found into the aisle. i kid you not.
apparently united airlines has an arrangement with CBS to play the network's sitcoms for in-flight "entertainment." i can't hear the dialogue, which is probably for the best. merely watching the cast's overwrought gesturing is seriously annoying. hearing them speak would likely send me to the nearest exit.
oh, look...two of the characters are passionately dry-humping on the couch. girl's got her legs wrapped right around that boy's back. huh. CBS programming has changed since i last tuned in.
for the record, yes i heard correctly. there it is again..."full and upright position."
it's raining and cold in baltimore. if you squint, you could convince yourself you never left seattle, rendering moot all the travel-related monkey business. or monkey-related travel business.
as i left the terminal, someone wanted me to sign up for an air tran credit card so i could earn free travel. "no thanks," i said. "i don't like to fly."