May. 28th, 2008 04:05 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Over the loudspeaker, regarding my flight, which has been delayed for ages: "If you're waiting for flight whatever, we are under an aircraft maintenance delay."

[ profile] graycastle, over IM: "They are under it? How are they under it?"

So, what do you think? How exactly are they under it?

(Bored at airport, can you tell?)
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
So I finally finished packing -- I was nearly done, but despairing of those last few things, late last night. And then [ profile] graycastle came by yesterday evening, AFTER she went out with some buddies to celebrate someone's exam, to help me disassemble my dresser. And she was also helpfully decisive at me, because by that point I was so over it that I was like "I don't know! What do I do with the dish drainer? Where does it GO? I only have three things left!1 Why can't I find places to put them!"

And then she let me sleep on her futon (as I had packed all my sheets) and gave me a beer. YAY. And lent me some tape, and helped me finish taping packages this morning. And then, after we had some coffee and muffins, my friend B. came by to pick up the Too Valuable To Let Landlord Put In Storage stuff (photos!), and drove it to [ profile] graycastle's, and then me to the airport, and then I was done, thank god.

BLESS THEM BOTH, is what I'm saying. Never has the idea of a plane flight been so relaxing before. I plan to listen to podfic or maybe just music and nap, you guys. Naps! I am pro.

1. The dish drainer, a pair of boots, and a tea set.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
To have the airport shuttle fail to show up! Yeah! I waited for it for the scheduled time, and then for the extra fifteen minutes of "we may be fifteen minutes late," and ... no. Nothing. No shuttle.

So because I have no cell phone, I ran back to the apartment from the doorstep and called the yellow cab company. "What are your approximate rates to SFO?" I asked. "When do you need somebody?" he said. "I don't know if I need somebody until I know what it ... oh, fine, here's the address, I need someone now, NOW will you tell me what it will cost?" me, exasperated. "Rates? You mean average fares?" him, stonewalling. "Um, YEAH." Him: "Oh, about fifty dollars, early AM hours, somebody can be there in half an hour." "No THANKS," said I, as that is a) far too expensive (that's flat-rate from the East Bay!) and b) half an hour? I didn't have half an hour!

So instead I booked it to the mission street BART station at 4:40 am. Now, you may ask why this was not my first choice, and the answer is simple: Mission district. Laptop. Four-something-am. BUT I knew there was a 4:48 train that would get me to the airport an hour-plus before my flight (faster than the cab!), and I can totally do a half a mile of flat city streets in eight minutes, even with luggage and with having to get a ticket and get onto the train, right? Absolutely! I made it! With a minute to spare! *dance of successful BART run* Only then I was sweaty and icky and tired, which I really didn't need after being already tired from, you know, waking up at three-something and waiting for my 3:50 am airporter. That I may have mentioned DIDN'T SHOW UP.

So, basically, that sucked a lot.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
This ranks about 139, in terms of Things I Shall Never Do Again.

Guys: my flight is at 8:50. I know the American bus system, and I know that there's a storm coming in, and that it's going to hit upstate New York before it hits Manhattan, which would stop the buses.

So I thought, okay, 8:50 pm. No stress. I shall wake up early, do the last minute tea dishes, grab my bags, and catch the 7:20 bus! It is supposed to get to New York at 12:00! And that way I have lots of leeway built in in case of stupid American bus system, or the Lincoln Tunnel, or whatever. Or maybe to switch flights at the airport.

And indeed, this I did. I suspect that 90% of the people awake and out and about at 7:20 am made the same choice, incidentally: in my mile-plus walk to the bus station (in 17 degree weather! with wind! and with ice! and dark!), I saw... three pedestrians, five police cars (or maybe the same police car five times), twelve cars, two Ithaca Bakery delivery trucks (this is why they never have the good bread at the Collegetown store before 7:00, even though they technically open at 6:30), and the staff at Green Star and Gimme! Coffee, neither of which was open.

At the bus station, however, I saw ... one hundred college students. Most with bags the size of, give or take, a Holstein. Now, I was one of the first twenty there, but that means nothing at Greyhound stations, which like to avoid the issue of forming lines or cordoning off space in favor of great rushing mobs.

And then the bus showed up. It already had forty-some people on it. It was late arriving, and the forty-some people all had to get out and buy tickets before they'd let new people on -- this is, seriously, the worst thought out system ever; they pick up on campus, but they don't sell tickets there, so. They could require people to buy tickets in advance at the student services place on College Avenue, but they do not. And then they let ten of the milling people on, but only ones with no luggage, because they'd filled every rack. (They'd known the bus was full since the driver radioed down, but that was the first point at which they radioed for another bus.) The 8:00 to Syracuse departed before the 7:20 bus did.

And I was like, hey, no problem, they radioed for another bus, they've promised us it'll be an express, I have, like, a bazillion hours built in, whatevs. And the second bus wouldn't be full, which would be nice. (Some of the hundred people were going to Syracuse.)

So we waited for the other bus... and waited... and waited... and it was fifteen minutes away. And it was fifteen minutes away. And it was fifteen minutes away.

When it finally arrived, we discovered that in fact it would not be an express bus because a) one of the women who'd been bumped was going to the Ridgewood Park and Ride, NJ and b) the bus driver was on the ninth hour of his shift, and could legally drive us only as far as Binghamton.

So we get to Binghamton, and the bus driver heads off to find out what's up (telling us all about his wife's dialysis as he went), shutting the door on us. And we sit. And we sit. He comes out of the terminal, talks to people, heads off in another direction, goes back in the terminal. We get antsy, and anyway we want to use the restroom. (One of the women eventually just goes "fuck it," figures out which level opens the door, and heads in. She is then roundly scolded by the counter staff: why aren't you waiting on the bus? Her: Because it's been fifteen minutes and I have to go to the bathroom? Them: Why must you make trouble? Fifteen minutes isn't that long! Her: Yeah, except I was supposed to get here two hours ago.)

The bus driver finally returns. Well, sort of. He walks past the bus, doing the shrug-and-two-palms-out of "I dunno, but it's not my problem."

"Wait, what?" we all say. Several more people get off the bus, off to investigate. One of them returns and reports back to everyone, because the counter staff clearly aren't going to do it: "They're looking for a driver. They don't have a driver. And they say we should stay on the bus and wait for them to tell us more."

The bus turns cold: they've had hours to find a driver. Most people on it are on flights at 4 or 5 pm. And we've waited for twenty minutes already without even a report.

Finally a woman from the counter shows up. Rejoicing! Perhaps an official briefing! Perhaps a driver! Oh, no, she's just here to find out where we're all going. "We're working on it," she says. I nap for a while, occasionally surfacing to complain with the linguist I met in the original terminal. (Adversity brings people together! We all watched each other's bags as people ran for Green Star or 7-11 or whatever. A nice physics grad student bought me a scone in exchange for watching her bags. The linguist was a Cornell grad, now a UCSC student, with Jim McCloskey. We shared stories of being cornered by Geoff Pullum at parties.) Said linguist has a flight at 4:30, and we're all getting steadily more ... and more ... and more ... pissed off.

Another dude shows up. He can't be our driver, because we've seen him wandering around the terminal for twenty minutes now.

Oh. He is our driver. And he doesn't apologize or anything for the delay, just "okay, New York." And off we go. We have to stop a couple of times (for him to use the restroom). And then we get to the Lincoln Tunnel. UCSC grad student dude is already sitting there all tense and ready to spring off at the drop of a hat.

And then there's a stall in the Tunnel. In our lane. Takes half an hour to clear. The bus is working on three hours late. We get to Port Authority, finally, and everyone scatters at the speed of light to their various transit choices to the airport.

So I finally got to the airport, and ... I can't switch to the earlier flight (too late), so I do have to wait for the 8:50. But I can't check in until 4:50. And all the amenities? Including wifi? And chairs? And electrical outlets? And food that isn't ice cream? Is on the other side of security.

I mean, the whole time it was happening I was like "[ profile] eruthros! you've got seven hours built in! this is no big!" but I got sympathetic nerves from all the people with five pm flights. Blargh. *shakes self* It was exhausting: nobody telling you anything, ever, and having no faith in the system to remember your bus, and altogether ick. I'm exhausted and I haven't even done the flying yet! AND they're playing Christmas carols. *facepalm*

Rochester is equidistant, and equivalently priced, but the airport only runs little bitty planes, and it gets more snow, so I've opted out. But on the other hand, guys, the bus to Rochester? Doesn't have this mob scene.


Now through security! Fed a reasonably-priced freshly-made burrito! Sitting at my gate on JetBlue's wifi! Suddenly, the world is much better.

Well, except I'm still exhausted and my eyes are already dry and itchy, and I haven't even flown yet. But still! Better!
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Where, instead of posting, I nearly died of ick. Of ick, I tell you. So much for "Lufthansa! They're awesome!" as a travel model.

See, here's the thing about the Frankfurt airport. There's nowhere to sit down! I mean nowhere! The seats at the gates are only for the flight next departing, so even if you have a gate number you can't sit down early. "We'll open that in half an hour," people kept telling me. All a lie.

And outside the gates, between passport control and the end of the terminal, there are ... four chaires, all reserved for handicapped folks. And six benches under the stairs, all of which appear to be permanently occupied by zonked backpackers.

And if you sit on the floor, people come by every two minutes and yell at you until you stand up. And me with a four hour layover!

So your options are pretty much "walk around" or "eat at the only cafe this sıde of passport control and security."

A-ha! I hear you say. So it's all a clever scheme to make money.

Except ... there's no money exchange and no ATM this side of passport control. No. Really. So there one is with USD and nowhere to spend them! I finally tracked down a place that sold espresso drinks and took credit cards, which was good, because it was still morning in my head, and I had, like, six transfers to go. (Now I'm down to four!) Anyway, I bought a mediocre cappucino to rent my chair -- but there was nothing to do there for a brain-dead person, because (haha!) although the airport is a hotspot? You can't sign up for a day pass unless you already have a username and password! No shit!

Oh, Frankfurt, I'm so giving you negative points on the website that scores airports-to-get-stuck-in.

Especially since -- did I mention? -- there's no signage. And for some connecting flights, you don't just have to go through passport control, you have to go through security again! Oy!
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

So since I freaked all you guys out, possibly, I thought I would call and let you know what happened. And this is what happened: We were even later than they said we would be, then it took us twenty minutes to get to our gate in Philadelphia, but I still might've made the plane, I almost might have made it, except for one small problem, which was, the door to our plane got stuck. Yes. And my flight was leaving from the gate right next to mine. I could see the plane out the window, but I couldn't get there, and we kept getting these messages: "the door to the plane will be open any minute now!" But... not so much. So I missed it, in total, by thirty seconds. But it worked out okay, because I booked it to customer service, and managed to score the very last seat to anywhere in the Bay Area open today. Somehow had canceled just before I got there. So I'm going to make it, and I don't have to sleep on the floor of the Philadelphia airport, and that is all I wanted you to know.


Jun. 26th, 2007 12:00 pm
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Me = at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. (I have always assumed the "international" part to be a joke. Welcome to Syracuse Hancock, home to ... three whole different airlines!)

It took me thirty-five minutes to check my bags. See, I'd gone and printed out my boarding pass in advance, which usually means you just walk up, flash it at people, and hand over your luggage. Not so at Syracuse and with US Airways, where we have no curbside check in and no dedicated line! You must stand in the line with all the people trying to change flight and all the people having problems with seating and glower impatiently at the man who's been at the counter since you got here, trying to change something about his flight... on July thirtieth. Then I spent half an hour in line at security. However, as it turns out, this was not a problem.

My flight was supposed to leave at 11:30. You may note that it is now 12:04. My connecting flight leaves Philadelphia at 2:05. No problem, right?

Except that the plane bain't here yet. It pushed off the gate at Philadelphia at 10:39. Didn't get into the air for an hour after that. Projected time of departure here now 12:50. Projected time of arrival in Philadelphia now 1:50. (Note: this is a lie, because at Philadelphia you are always required to taxi randomly around in circles for twenty minutes when landing. It's a rule.) Man at counter said "this may make connections tight. If your flight is leaving Philadelphia before two pm or earlier" (side note: what is earlier than before two pm?) "please come up to the counter." But apparently my fifteen minutes? Totally aok! I shouldn't bother them!


ETA:Apparently everything from Philadelphia to the West Coast is sold out. There is no seat anywhere. There is a list of ten standby flyers for every flight. I offered them SFO, Oakland, San Jose, even Sacramento. They can't even get me to their hubs in Phoenix or Las Vegas. So if I don't make my flight, I'm screwed. There is no seating anywhere.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
The Las Vegas airport is creepy. Not that I didn't notice this the LAST time I flew through Las Vegas, but last time I was in a gigantic hurry and didn't notice the designated smoking area. There is in fact a tiny little glassed-in Designated Smoking Area with man slot machines. Basically it's slot machines, two chairs, and a lot of smoke. However, there's what I might call a small design flaw: the glass doesn't reach the ceiling. And there's no door. So when they say "designated smoking area," what they really mean is "this is the designated smoker area, but the smoke is permitted everywhere." So my eyes sting and my lungs hurt when I wait at my gate, as it's a mere 30 yards from the designated smoking area. Bleh. Also, I am still creeped out by the slots-in-airport thing they have going. So, so wrong.

But I really scored. I grabbed the exit row window seat that has no chair in front of it on both legs of my flight. Meaning lots and lots of legroom, plus the handy fold-out tray that lets you have only a half-tray unfolded for your drink. You can't sit in an exit row without talking to the check-in agent, and I was lucky enough to have an non-harassed person who had the time to change my seat assignments. And I have a down comforter in my carry-on. I may sleep the best I ever have on a red-eye. *happy sigh*

And I downloaded new vids to investigate and evaluate before I came to the airport. Life is good.

I've had five-six vids in my "recently downloaded/evaluate" playlist for three months. Somehow I think the fact that I still haven't decided whether or not I like them or want to keep them means I probably don't. But OTOH, I just a little while ago found Lithium Doll's Firefly vid to "Running For Home" (Matthew Good) and it rocks a lot. (At bonicus amicus alter idem est.)


The woman I was sitting next to on the second half of my flight was what I might politely call a total idiot )

Still, here I am in Philadelphia, where the outside temp is 25*F. And I got all my stuff here without breaking the ceramic jar my aunt made for me and without losing anything on the plane. Well, permanently, anyway. I was tired and left my book on the plane because I'm an idiot and had put it in the thingy on the back of the chair next to me. But then I went "wait, where's my book?" And got it back.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
Message received today on the ICQ network of Trillian: "Hello! Do you want to have sex today? :-)" No shortage of the Blunt, there.

Oddly, it's just an ICQ number (no name) with no URL or anything attached. So I can't imagine what they're advertising. Unless maybe they just do want to have sex. Weird.


It snowed here last night and again today. Not enough to really stick to the ground much, just enough to stick to the tops of cars and foliage. Nonetheless, this is Very Very Wrong. It's going to get down to 20*F by 7 am. With windchill, it's supposed to get down to 5*. *mind boggles*


I made it back from the Bay Area okay, although I had a fun time at SFO. I got there a little more than two hours early, went to the check-in desk, presented my ID, and the woman clicked away on her keyboard for a second. Then she printed me out a boarding pass (as per), shoved it into my hand, and said "your flight is delayed in order to make your connecting flight I've put you on the earlier flight which is also delayed so you should have time to get there but it could leave any minute so hurry to the gate." My brain went "Bwah?" But I hustled to security, where I waited in line, and looked down at my boarding pass to discover than in theory the flight left in ten minutes. My brain went "GAH!" Through security, hurrying through airport, found gate (actually they weren't yet boarding), did not get chance to have dinner (couldn't leave gate, as they were boarding any second), felt horrible because patronized a Starbucks (the only thing near the gate) and bought a croissant.

I did, however, make my connecting flight.


eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)

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