Travel update 2009

Decided to update the map again, so far my total is 64341 miles. I have done 9,755 miles so far this year. I see a lot more coming up next year. This year also took me to 3 new states and 4 new airports.


Thoughts on Southwest and Northwest Airlines.

Recently I had to fly to the Northwest of the US. Unfortunately the only flights out and back were on 2 carriers that I had never been on before. The first was Southwest, over all not to much to complain on but the main point I hated was their seating policy. Yeah it may be ok for the average size person, but if you are anything over 5’5″ it sucks. Being 6’5″ makes it extremely hard to sit in one of their seats for 3+ hours with some one elses seat in your knees. It also means that if you aren’t up ad the crack of dawn to “check in” online you get a bad seat. What makes this worse is that if you have multiple connections, you are SOL. I had to go through 2 airports to get to the final destination. Southwest has a policy that you can only have 2 Boarding cards at once. What they don’t tell you, is that you can only get the first one on line. The web site will refuse to let you print the other ones, until after you have flown the first flight. Which means the 2nd and 3rd flights you are stuck with the really bad seats. In fact, after I had flown the first flight they still would not print out the boarding card for the last flight. I ended up having to wait in line to get a card while the rest of the flight boarded. Only thing that lucked out on the final flight was that I got an exit row sit, even though it was a middle seat, it at least had more leg room.

Some observations of the flights, they like to taxi a little faster than most other carriers do. They seem to hit the runway a little faster and harder than most others do as well. After talking to some people it seems this is how they get their good on time rating. Other than that, they seemed to be ok. They even checked my bags through for me on the weird ass path I had to go through which was nice.

Next up is Northwest (or Delta?). My trip back was supposed to leave at 105PST. But about 30 minutes before our board time they changed it to 230PST. You should have seen the gate area. Every one was running up to the desk to try to get their tickets changed. The suck part was that for me, the only way I could get home if the flight didn’t go was to wait another day. So they then come on the loud speaker and said that the Pilot talked to the ATC and we were going to start boarding, Yeah!. But that was short lasted, we ended up setting on the taxiway for about 30 to 50 minutes waiting on a clearance to leave. Needless to say there were a bunch of pissed people. (I saw the guy across from me go through like 4 beers in a 30 minute period). So we get close to the airport and we are told to slow down and start circling because of weather and runway problems. (Don’t go through MSP if you can help it till they get their construction stuff done.) Needless to say we landed and I had 3 minutes to go from Gate C1 to C21, which is a hefty walk. By the time I get there the board still says the flight is on time and will be leaving at 720CST. So I ran to the desk and found out that the crew hadn’t even showed up yet. Great, at least I should make it home. But the crew showed up like 30 minutes late, and we were late leaving, which meant we were really late arriving. And then a 1.5 hour drive home.

I think that the airline industry has cut back to much on their staff, such that they can’t even get their own crews to the gates on time. The other thing is that if they know there is so many problems in MSP, why do they scheduled flights so close. Course it is probably not their fault but more of the travel agency’s.

But the “best” thing I saw yesterday, and I wish I had my camera in video mode shooting it, was when a baggage tosser was kneeling on top of a bag coming out of under a 737 from Delta that had just landed. He rode it half way down the belt and then stood up and acted like he was surfing. No wonder people’s bags are destroyed so much.

Travel update

Was going back through some old posts, and noticed the last time I updated my travel map was in 2006. Hard to believe that since that time, I have done more air travel in 2 years, than I had done in the 6 coming up to it.. As of now, I have 54,586 miles done by air travel. 2008 accounted for 16,487 of that. Was just 4000 short of the fake goal I wanted of 20,000 for the year, but hey, it was for the most part a good year for travel. here is looking to the future.


USAirways and delayed flights

Yesterday I started my trip back home. I got to SFO around 11AM or so, we got the car taken car of and then on to the terminal. Everything seemed to be fine, and then we got on the plane. They started the plane’s right engine and everything seemed fine. So they pushed us out on to the taxiway and they tried to start the left engine. I knew something was wrong and I was right, so they came on and said we had to go back to the airport and have the plane looked at. They thought they knew what it was and took 15 minutes and tried it all over again. Nope, the left engine still was having problems. The problem it had was that when they went to start it, it never wanted to stop “starting”. Sort of like if you keep holding the key in the ignation and try to start a already started car engine.  By now we have missed our window and was 30 minute delayed so far. The pilot came on and said that we were now delayed for an hour to see if they could fix it. Just great, we were already supposed to get back at 9:21PM, now it was going to be 10:21PM.

So about 5 minutes after we were told it would be an hour, the flight attendants starting coming through offering people water. (I already had mine, see last post.) So I declined some. I then heard them coming through offering cookies.. What they should have said was a small biscoff, (the size of a single ritz cracker). Wow 1 hour and all they gave out was a 4 oz cup of water and a 0.5oz “cookie”. We finially got to the runway about 1.45 hours after our original departure time. So up up and a way…. Everything was smooth till we got close to the east coast and hit the remenants of Hurricane Ike. We got a 80MPH tail wind which helped, but on the discent, it got quite bumpy. The one they they did do was give out free beverages to everyone on the plane because of the ‘delay’ that had happened. We ended up landing about an hour later than we were supposed to so they must have picked up the slack with the tail wind.

It took about 30 minutes for our bags to come out which just sucks as we were the only flight at the airport. So by the time I actually got out of the airport and drove the 2 hours home, I had been traveling for almost 11 hours straight.. The bed sure felt nice…