Friday, August 10, 2007

I hate flying

I am in the Rochester airport right now. Which, all things considered, is a decent airport. I am not, however, supposed to be in Rochester right now. I was never supposed to be in Rochester. Right now, I'm supposed to be in Chicago. Actually, I'm supposed to be about an hour away from LA now, where I was going to spend the rest of the afternoon researching apartments for next year.

To summarize my week thus far for those who have not been updated. I'm in New York on a work trip right now. I was at Rome, NY earlier this week (site of the Air Force Research Laboratories) to do a demo and attend some meetings. After that, I was going to (actually, am) travel to LA to try and find an apartment for the upcoming school year. Then, Monday evening, I'm going home.

Problems started Sunday night. The middle leg of our outgoing flight (from San Francisco to Philadelphia) was canceled without notice -- we were lucky to find out about it and rebook before we got to the airport. Then, due to weather in SF, our flight out of Eugene was delayed by two hours (and a further half-hour of orbiting over the SF airport). Which of course made us miss our connection and resulted in us spending the night in DC, rather than Rome. All of which would be OK, except that since I'm on the road for a week and a half, I checked my luggage. And, of course, my luggage was not there to greet me in Syracuse. Nor did it choose to arrive for several days. And when it did finally arrive, United sent it to my hotel. Which I'd already told them I'd checked out of, since I was driving back to Syracuse that evening. Fortunately, I found out about this before we'd actually left town, so we stuck around for a couple extra hours to pick the damn thing up (yay for clean clothes!).

Yesterday evening, we decided to print out our boarding passes online, rather than doing it at the airport. The fact that none of the three of us had assigned seats should have been a hint. Our flight was overbooked (by five people!), and they were looking for volunteers. Since I don't need to be in LA until tomorrow morning, I volunteered, but there was no way they could get me out that evening. But I'd stuck my neck out, and they knew I was weak. They struck, and I was bumped (my two coworkers, though, made it onto the flight without issue). The very nice lady at the ticket counter tried hard, but was unable to find anything before tomorrow. However, we figured out that if I could get to Rochester, there was a flight out that afternoon that I could take.

So, bidding my bags adieu (I hope to Christ they're waiting for me in LA), I hopped on the Greyhound down to Rochester. So far, I have had a conversation with a 71-year-old man in the Greyhound station (who's going back to his father's first church to find his roots, and then wants travel somewhere. Also, he told me he was the mayor of Fairfax, CA, used to program mainframes, and that he was featured in a recent album by the Psychedelic Cowboys (who are, in fact, a real band, so maybe he really is the mayor), and an evangelist taxi driver who very politely argued religion with me for a 20-minute car ride. I'm now exhausted, going to do more apartment research, and hope that nothing goes wrong with the rest of my trip.


  1. Go luck getting to LA! I tried to look up the names of mayors of Fairfax, CA, but Fairfax, CA has a bug up its butt about its glorious past in the 1920s and '30s and I couldn't find anything about the place in the last 40 years. Except for their actual website, but I don't guess you care who the mayor is now (Larry Bragman).

    Pete is watching a YouTube video of a swearing granny playing XBOX. ::sigh::

  2. I don't wanna be a dick or nothin,' but maybe you shouldn't check your bags. Embrace the roadwarrior lifestyle, and learn how to live out of 1.5 carry-ons. Of course, the risk in this stratagem is that the air travel gods, unable to torture you with luggage screw-ups, would resort to harsher means, and future blogposts would bitterly chronicle flight delays due to kraken tentacles or smallpox, and you having the middle seat between Liam and Noel, who have both inexplicably gained 200 pounds. I think the only solution is to check a decoy suitcase filled with Goodwill clothes and newspaper, and maybe a cheap camera so that the baggage handlers don't feel left out.

  3. Hmm. Well, it was unclear if the guy was saying he was the current or former mayor of Fairfax, and I haven't been able to find a picture of any of the mayors. This may have to remain a mystery. My best guess, though, looking at the Psychedelic Cowboys' home page, is that he's named Dr. Eric Hord. Although of course, I can't find any pictures of him, either. So this may just have to remain a mystery.

    And yeah, I normally don't check bags on these kinds of trips, Pete, for exactly this reason. I'm on the road for a week and a half, though, and my desire to have clean pants won over my caution. But, of course, since my bags were lost for three days, I'm ending up only using as many of my clothes as I would have packed in a carry-on, anyway. Grrr!

    Frankly, Kraken would feel like an improvement at this point. At least you know the Kraken's got it in for you. As best as I can tell, the baggage handlers are just playing poker and using my bag as a chip. Apparently my guy's just unlucky...

  4. -"I'll see your Samsonite and raise a Gucci."
    -"Crap. I fold."

    Everywhere I read says this has been the worst summer for air travel in 15 years, and all the anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that's the case as well. I got really lucky when I flew back from Colorado earlier this summer. My flights got shuffled a little bit, but I made it back in a reasonable amount of time. But I flew a red eye friday night (the summer school ended earlier that day). My friends who flew out the next day went on a 2 day hellish journey through various airports, shitty hotels and long waits at the service counters. But they did get some free tickets out of it.