Saturday, October 24, 2009

Air Travel and Good Karma

I managed to have some good karma as far as air travel for my most recent trip - despite delayed flights both ways. I personally wasn't delayed because I found my way onto earlier flights which had not left at their scheduled time.

Heading north to Boston I was on the 5:15 flight. I had decided not to book the late flight despite the fact that any other flight would mean leaving a seminar early - one that was already paid in full. Based on the timing of the seminar and convenient times to slip away - it turned out I get to the airport earlier than expected so I got on the standby list for an earlier flight. The 1:30 had not left because of a maintenance issue and the 3:30 was already bumped a few minutes due to weather delays - specifically a Northeaster.

Well the 3:30 left before the 1:30 so I think there were some standby moves there. I was told in the club that there was a long list ahead of me for the 1:30 and I probably would not make it on. The suggestion was to not bother trying. But I felt like stretching my legs and walked on down to the gate - where all within the next 10 minutes they called my name, gave me a boarding pass, and started boarding the flight. OK, that worked out.

Then we sat on the tarmac for 35 minutes waiting for clearance to head north.

We left at 5:15 - the time of my booked flight's planned departure. I saw another airline's 5:05 waiting on the tarmac but no signs of the 5:15 as we took off. When I arrived in Boston I looked at the board to see how delayed my original flight was going to be. Turned out that it had been cancelled along with the later flight. I got on the last one for the day.

Sure there was snow and wind and cold in Boston but come on - it wasn't that bad. And it was warmer and clear the next morning. At least I didn't have to spend the night on a train this time. I did that many years ago when a flight was cancelled due to weather.

Coming back had its own excitement. I was scheduled for the late flight but too tired to do anything fun on my Friday afternoon. I got to the airport just barely in time to try for the 3-something flight and by the time I got through security it was delayed another 20 minutes or so and the plane had not yet arrived.

Then they announced the plane was in the area but asked to hold instead of land. This seemed odd. The weather wasn't great but I didn't see lightning.

Next I notices the staff looking out a window on the end. As I got closer I heard murmurings about Air Force One. I looked and there was a BIG plane with United States of America on the side starting to taxi. It was then that I realized that not only were planes not landing but NOTHING on the ground was moving - no planes, no baggage trucks, no fuel trucks - nothing. After the fact, I realized that I hadn't seen them moving for at least several minutes.

The plane took off and just as it became a speck, everything began to move on the ground. Planes lined up to take off. Others that had landed were allowed to move on to their gates. About 10 minutes later - or however long it takes to clear the 15 miles of empty airspace - planes began to take off and land again.

The staff breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently they last time they had to wait for Air Force One everything backup for well over an hour and this time things were stopped for much less time. Next they could now find out which of their incoming planes would land soon and which would be diverted elsewhere for fuel first.

I managed to get on that 3-something flight (which boarded about 4) and I was home merging into what we call heavy Friday evening commuter traffic well before I otherwise would have been boarding a plane. A flight that likely would have been delayed by the next set of storms that were moving in about then.

I went home and watched a West Wing.


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