Saturday Mar 22, 2008

Fly Clear

Well I sprung for one of those Fly Clear memberships. I have used before by now my home airport Dulles and National have open lanes to use. I was the only one in the lanes today. Took all of 3 minutes to go through security. The personal are really helpful. Asked me how many bins I would need and sent the bins through the scanner for me. Customer service at the airport. My word. What next, smiling airline employees. Ok need to start small. Like world peace.

Now the good thing is the Clear lane was the best part of the whole trip. The airline counter employee just did not seem to care anymore. The plane had not been cleaned between flights and the seat back in front of me look like it still contained trash for the past week. The flight attendant was cheery and really great. But she works for a partner airline. That may be why. Flight crew was good. The baggage crew at CVG really kicked butt. I did not have to wait for my checked luggage. Maybe it was not all bad after all.

Sunday Mar 09, 2008

ERJ's, CRJ's, the 767 and HOU

Took my first trip with Continental today. Not a bad airline very professional. Sub coach leg room is much like UAL. Not sure if the Elite fliers get any more room but I sure hope so. Also got to love the Embraer ERJ-145. I used to the the CRJ's but it hit me that unless your twiggy then you are not comfortable. Embraer got it right with the slope of their exterior walls. They do not cut into the window seat space like the Canadairs. We had two "big" guys in my row and we were comfortable. Cannot do that in the CRJ's.

Today the ERJ is up their with the 767. Yes, it is a dated plane but you got to love the fact the there is only on prisoner seat per row. The odds of getting that seat are pretty low.

Whats up with Houston's airport ? People always beat up on Dulles(IAD). Yes they still have those "Mobile Lounges" from 1960. Some year soon there will be a train system underneath that airport. But Houston is tough to navigate. My travel agent assured me that my 35 minute window to get to the next plane was legal by Continentals standards. I have traveled a lot and I knew better. But I put the blinders on anyway.

Well my plane from BWI. Yes BWI - BTR = $400. IAD - BTR = $900+. So no mobile lounge today. So we arrive with my 35 minute window. Ok. I am in row 20 of the 737. Funny how small plane is so big when time is flying by. My gate is B70. I think well if we park in a gate like B30 I can make this flight. Well nooooooooooooooo. We park at the International gates. Specifically "E9" or something. At this point it really did not matter. "E" is nowhere close to "B".

So I start my trek thinking I can make to the plane before the 10 minute cutoff. You know the one. Where someone that did not get a seat just took yours. So am I walking, dodging the assistance vehicles. Thinking maybe I could catch a ride. But no, I am going to miss this plane on my own. How do you tell your boss that you missed your plane after hijacking a "assistance vehicle". Not going to work.

So at this point, I am a good 15 minutes into my HOU cardio and I am dreading this jacket switch. I figured since I was going somewhere warmer I would ditch the winter jacket and take my new lightweight Sun jacket we got at Immersion Week. It is pretty cool. Sort a fleece like material. The label says 100% polyester. Plus it is not flame retardant. Hmmm. Just got to be careful :) No open flames.

Wish I would have know that before the trek. Picture this, a 300lb man in a 100% polyester non flame retardant jacket is creating some serious heat getting through this airport. It is a miracle the thing did not combust. Anyway, at 15 minutes I have traveled from E to C987. The actual number is a blur. I now see the latest sign to redirect. B gates are no where in site. Stop to ask security the quickest way to the B gates. Since I have not see one sign of modern transportation. Like a "Mobile Lounge".

The security folk say to take the escalator to get the train to the "B" gates. Why can I not get a train at E to get to the B gates. Maybe I can. But it is not clear. So I get to the train. 75 seconds to board. Electronic signage here is helpful. Only to remind me of how screwed I am going to be in 10 minutes. The close the door back the plane up see ya later time. 60 seconds to go. Finally the train arrives on time and we are on are way to the B gates.

We are all looking out the window and wondering why the heck is this train moving like at 3 miles an hour. Tick Tock Tick Tock the Leroy is dead. I can walk faster than this. Exit the train. Talk the escalator down and walk to the gate. Yes the furtherest one away. Get to the gate, my shirt is wet, the coat is smoking (just added that one in for grins) and a miracle happens. They just start boarding my plane. This never happens.

Moral of the story. If you fly through HOU, give yourself at least an hour to transfer planes. Ask yourself was this airport designed by random ? Wear comfortable shoes. Be prepared to walk. And walk baby walk. Do give up.

Sunday May 13, 2007

What a week...

Well made it back home from JavaOne and the Java Ambassedors meeting. I have been on the road for two weeks. Nice to see the tumble weeds er dust bunnys did not get lonely. JavaOne was great as was the preceeding CommunityOne. Also got to add the I returned on my most favorite plane. The 767. I know, you are saying dates back to the 80's. Well there is something to say about a 2-3-2 configuration in coach. The odds of getting a prisoner seat are worse than winning the lottery. That alone makes it my favorite for comfort.
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