I’m still catching up on my life after being away for a few days (seems it takes longer to recover from travel the older the kids get, no?) I thought I’d pass along a few random notes from my trip today to Orlando and last week to Sao Paulo:
- On the flight last week we pulled away from the gate at Newark and headed toward the runway. We stopped for a bit and were then told that a brakelight was malfunctioning. We returned to the gate, a SWAT-team of mechanics came on board and quickly determined that they weren’t going to fix the issue in 10 minutes. Luckily an extra (?) 767-400 was parked at the airport and 2 hours later we boarded that plane. I mention that background for this reason: We began boarding that plane at 12:30am with gate agents saying, “If we aren’t off the ground at 1:20am, the crew times out. So hurry.” They (we?) boarded a full 767-400 and had us IN THE AIR in 35 minutes. I don’t mean we boarded in 35 minutes, I mean we were off the ground. Moral: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
- Most of the business class cabin still elected to eat dinner at 1:30am and the crew was kind enough to keep the lights on in the cabin until 2:30am so those folks could get a thorough view of the food they were eating. Moral: bring eyeshades.
- That was quite possibly the first time I had ever faced a significant flight delay and 100% did not care. I had basically no plans on the other end that day. Moral: if you just chill out during a delay, it goes much faster.
- I had originally planned to spend the first night in Asuncion, Paraguay, and had gone as far as too book the tickets and hotel. I would have missed that connection anyway, so this point is moot. But I mention this because a week or so before that flight I thought I should check the weather in Asuncion: it was 109 degrees. And not a dry 109. Moral: I have no idea.
- My flight this morning was at 8:55am and for reasons that aren’t so obvious right now I thought I could get picked up at my apartment at 7:30am while it was snowing and make it to Newark Airport on time. When I was saying goodbye to my wife at 7:30am she asked what time my flight was. I told her it was at 8:55am, she laughed at me. Well, Sooz, who’s laughing now? I arrived at the airport at 8:41am, went through TSA Pre lane, cut in front of the people waiting to put their crap on the x-ray lane (MY FLIGHT IS IN 5 MINUTES!), and ran to gate 92 like my ass was on fire (?). I arrived at 8:46 and, because I had apparently the world’s most wonderful gate agent, they let me on the plane. Bravo. Moral: Just because your wife is right doesn’t mean you can’t get on the plane.
- I accept that part of my fate as a United Silver is that I will never again see the front cabin of the plane. Except, apparently, for flights from Newark to Orlando, where I was upgraded. Moral: I’m so unappreciative, apparently, that I jeopardized that by showing up at the gate at 8:46.
- I basically spend all 365 days of last year agonizing over the fact that given my presumed travel schedule, I would not make United Gold this year (I care mostly about being able to choose Economy Plus seats when I book, which I cannot do as a Silver). I was constantly re-calculating my chances, booking connections on US Airways to get extra miles in here and there, and I was still wildly short. I considered mileage runs and in the end just accepted my fate. Contrast: My wife got an envelope from United last week that contained her Silver Elite card. Susan, to me: “Huh, look at that. I didn’t know I made Silver.” Moral: Opposites attract.
- I actually had the Seinfeld situation with my rental car at Avis. When I got there, they did not have any cars, despite my having a reservation (“anyone can TAKE a reservation….it’s the HOLDING the reservation…”). This conversation (more or less) ensued:
AVIS: We only have a minivan.
Me: I don’t want a minivan
AVIS: We also have a pickup truck. You want a pickup truck?
AVIS: We have a sled.
AVIS: It’s being pulled by a pack of dogs.
AVIS: We have a plank of wood with 4 midgets rolled up into balls underneath it.
AVIS: Oh wait, we do have a midsize car.
Me: I’ll take that.
Moral: Anyone can take a reservation.