Stormy weather

With quiet anxiety i sit at my departure gate at Dulles Airport.  It’s a Friday. Rush hour.  Massive storms through the midwest have begun the magic game of Air Traffic Dominos that can cause horrific air-travel cluster fucks. 

Snuggled in a corner, i’ve staked out my position* – and am prepared for a long night.  I’ve got electrons – sitting by one of the coveted electrical plugs in this particular terminal.  Bought a wireless day pass, with an honest-to-god SIGNAL so i’ve got solid connectivity.  Watching the line at customer service grow as the departure board begins to light up with more delays. 

So i do the work e-mail.  Read the news.  Fart around in the blogosphere.  And watch the weather radar while tracking flight status online.  By all rights, it should be a pretty grim chance that the flight will go on time due to weather.  Yet it’s still showing an on-time departure, and the plane that will potentially carry me home is at the gate and unloaded…

But, since my creature comforts at the airport are good, The Girl is home to take care of the dog if i’m delayed, and i really don’t have to be anywhere tonight?  This will be the one random shot where the flight goes on time, i’m not stranded, and the planets align for me…

Could it be a magical gift from the travel gods? Repayment for all of those times i’ve slept under rows of uncomfortable benches, bathed in restroom sinks and worn the same clothing for days on end due to travel glitches?  And i didn’t even have to offer a sacrifice at the airport chapel….

* Finding the ideal camping spot in an airport is yet another acquired travel skill.  Near the gate podium, so you can overhear idle chatter amongst crew, gate agents.  Line-of-sight to a departure board so you can watch for updates without disconnecting electronics and abandoning luggage.  Avoidance of insurance salesmen looking for love, small, tired children and cell-phone yakkers…

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16 thoughts on “Stormy weather

  1. daisyfae,

    Reading this I can only conclude that you are, indeed, a true “road warrior”. Hopefully your travel plans conclude without a hitch and little in the way of inconvenience.

    Whenever I’m traveling, I always try for one of those coveted outlets but rarely luck out. Seems they’re always possessed by some nerd (or nerds) watching a movie on their notebook.

    As for wearing the same clothes, etc. – don’t you use a carry-on? For trips of five days or less, I would try to get everything into a carry-on. It would save the time/hassle of waiting at the baggage claim, not to mention avoiding the disappointment of checked bags that don’t show up where/when you are. Air travel “safety” is probably bringing that idea to a dead end, I imagine.

    Again, bonne chance!

  2. rob – made it home – a full minute early! i’m gonna get totally screwed on a trip someday because i’ve burned too much travel karma… i typically travel very light – absolutely use carry on. for a 2 day trip, i carry a backpack and a small duffel – which means recycling of suits/parts (hence limited clothing options if i get stuck!)

  3. Glad no sacrifices were required and you made it home. Our next trip state side will be by vehicle. Rob will be the only one flying in and out since the trip is mainly for me to help mom out with care taking and spring-ish cleaning (they are thinking about selling their house). Should have our PR (green) cards by then. Woo-hoo.

    I envy people who can snag an outlet.

  4. At least you weren’t leaving out of Reagan National. I think there are seats at Gate 35A that have permanent indentations of my ass checks due to getting delayed/stuck there so often.

    Maybe it’s my turn to tag-in as I’m currently just getting to the Marriott I’m staying in at it’s midnight east coast time….

  5. “sitting by one of the coveted electrical plugs in this particular terminal”

    Yebbut, what if you have to go to the toilet? Can you sell your spot just before your flight is called?

  6. annie – good luck with the drive. my butt gets numb if i’m in the car too long – and i hate to stop – so it’s rough on roadtrips for me! i travel enough to know the layouts of most US airports (so i know where the ‘secret’ outlets are)… sad, but true.

    umdalum – AAAARGH! Been there! Gate 35A – known as “the bus stop”. i coach my young enginerds to NEVER walk away from the gate because the flight calls happen fast. Depending on who is on the microphone, you even might want to stand at the top of the stairs and ask people headed down “what flight is boarding” just to make sure…

    uncle keith – well when the bad travel karma hits and i get stuck, perhaps a little rioting in southern MD is in order!

    az – one of my least attractive nicknames is “the camel”. i can accumulate for many hours (yes, i know it’s bad for me). some argue that it was the key to my professional success – during meetings, with urns of coffee – i can outlast anyone in the room. Decisions have occasionally gone my way just so they can go pee!

  7. Hey Daisyfae, hope the travel gods were with you… but no sacrifice… do tell? Once I am e-eed out, I undertake the old fashioned practice of sitting in the airport bar, drinking myself silly, bothering fellow travelers, and waiting to hear my name called!

  8. Bb – a riskier, but more satisfying approach. i have done that, but only when looking for an excuse to actually miss a flight, or when weather is so bad i’ll be there all night…

  9. Bb – I’ve always wondered what kind of…uh…um…people would force the gate attendants to page them by name and now I know. Thanks! So, tell us, do you have to endure the withering looks of everyone else on the plane as the flight attendants slam the door shut on your ass and hustle you to your seat?

    🙂

    I remember being last on board trying to make a connecting flight on Northwest in Memphis going to Baton Rouge. Even though I was visibly out of breath from running from one end of that airport to the other to catch the plane (I remember turning the last corner in the terminal – which was seemingly deserted – already plumb tuckered out and having the gate attendant at what was about the last gate on that particular leg yelling at me to “hurry up!”) and still receiving more than my fair share of glares and other disapproving looks. Like it was my fault the plane from MSP was late?? Not even my being nattily attired mollified any of my fellow travelers that day.

  10. Oh girl, too many stories. Same as on the connecting flight front. I once had a 3 terminal and immigration run, begged at the desk for them to hold the flight, could have hailed a cab to get me to the gate, got on the now 30 minute delayed plane soaked from head to toe in sweat to jeering BOOOOs. Once comfortable in my seat, the pilot announced that because of the VERY late passenger, we had lost our slot and would now sit on the ground for 2 hours. It is Friday 7pm, and it is a 30 minute flight. Many more BOOOOs! There is a god. The Irish man sitting next to me handed me a bottle of Jameson offering sage advice, ‘fuck em’.. we got rat assed and I passed out before we got in the air.

  11. rob – i don’t glare at the late arrivals – sober or drunk. the people who earn my wrath are the miserable beings who don’t understand how to board/disembark efficiently. once, while waiting impatiently in an aisle for a business-twat to stow his briefcase, then remove it to get out the laptop, then slowly take off and carefully fold his suit jacket — while standing in the aisle holding up the entire boarding process — i said loudly: “I HAVE A DREAM! That someday, i will live in a country where people know how to board a fucking airplane!” Happy snorts and chuckles from behind me as doof-wad stepped into his row…

    Bb – Lucky with the seatmate! Since i travel frequently, i often get seats up front – and get off the plane first. For tight connections – with travel companions stowed in steerage – i have been known to race to the connecting gate, and once there, sloooooowly board to assure the door stays open til my colleagues arrive. Never had to do it, but always figured that faking a heart attack would buy at least 30 minutes…

  12. Okay, that’s brilliant about seeing it as a competition. It’s all perception, isn’t it? Next time my whiney ass is at the airport I’ll go at it from your direction. Much better!

  13. bc – Hey, you even get bonus points for being hit on by the female TSA agents at security! i scored the bonus this time – she complimented me on the Diane von Furstenberg-inspired wrap dress! Optimize, optimize, optimize!

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