Saturday, March 2, 2013

On the road again: TEDActive, day 7

Travel days are seldom fun.  Today wasn't awful, but it definitely didn't start out fun.

I worked in my room up to the minute that I had to leave to check out.  Before I turned to putting away my computer and its power supply, I wheeled my large suitcase to a spot near the room's door and opened the door.  This way, I'd be able to move quickly as soon as I packed the computer stuff in my backpack.

A housekeeper's head appeared in the doorway.  "You leave?" she said.

"In five minutes or less," I said.

She started to pull the door shut.

"Please leave it open," I said.

"Okay," she said.

She closed it. 

At checkout, I asked for a zero-balance receipt, a common request from business travelers.  The woman behind the counter handed me a receipt and said, "We'll charge your card later."

It was not a zero-balance receipt, which I need so I can submit my expenses for reimbursement.  So, I asked again, this time suggesting she charge my card now.  She consulted with a manager and learned that, yes, she could charge me now; in fact, as the manager pointed out, she should have done that in the first place.

The cab ride took a bit longer than the advertised time, but we reached the airport about an hour and five minutes before take-off time.  No problem; PSP is a small airport.

Only one person was working the American counter, and she moved only slightly faster than molasses flowing uphill.  Ten minutes later, I, the only person in the priority line, got to check in.

Still, no worries yet.  A quick dash through security, and then I'd be able to buy some water and lunch to take on the plane.

No such luck.  Security was backed up beyond its normal maximum of five winding aisles and most of the way to baggage claim.  Everyone in the line was nice, but everyone was also on edge.

Forty minutes later, fifteen minutes before departure time, I exited the security area in time to hear the last call for my flight.  I dashed to my gate, handed the woman at the boarding station my boarding pass, failed to scan.

That's when the good news started.  I'd been upgraded, which is why my previous seat assignment no longer passed the machine's muster; another person was in that seat.

On the flight to ORD, I was lucky enough to have a salad with chicken for lunch, drink all the water and Diet Coke I wanted, and work nearly the entire flight.  I can ask no more from a flight.

In ORD, dinner was a bottle of water and a fairly lame "Tuscan" sandwich from a mediocre place in the G terminal.  They can't all be winners.

The second flight was on a commuter jet, so we were all in small seats with no bandwidth.  Nonetheless, I was able to work and read, and the flight attendant, a man with the most annoying voice I've heard in some years, served me Diet Coke, so I can't really complain.

I'm home now and glad to be here. 

No more trips until my sabbatical!

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