Saturday, September 16, 2006

Air Travel - the pluses and minuses

In air travel, as in so many areas, you never know!

Yesterday, I was flying back from Phoenix to Toronto via Denver, and many things that could go wrong went very right.

I was flying TED out of Phoenix (half of United) (having got up at 3:45 AM!) and was told I had to get my seat at the gate. At the gate they had only middle seats (I am over 1.88m) and my heart sank, but I got an exit row seat and I will say, it was very comfortable, and my neighbours were very congenial. Wilder, the plane arrived early.

I have come to quite like Denver airport, and very much enjoy Lefty's Mile High stop (right beside the Air Canada gate), and I had a great breakfast there. Next to me for about an hour were a wonderful couple of US public servants, one working for the GSA and one for the EEOC, on their way to visit his relatives in El Paso. He (the latter) (yes they were both hetero) was embroiled in a transgendering case, and had some interesting perspectives. He was a delightful character, and had done stand-up comedy on several amateur nights. I suspected he was looking for another career.

Later I had a nice chat with an acupuncturist plagued by the protective policies of his charge card company. His wife, who shared a card with him, was in China, and the card company balked when it saw charges accumulating in both Denver and Beijing, so her attempt to impress her clients had been foiled. He was trying for the second time to explain to the company what the situation was, and how it would get worse, as he was flying to New York.

Philosophically, these experiences made me feel really good about the people who generally are on the road. (A view emphasized even more by the week I spent working, about which I cannot say much.)

At one point at my left someone clearly part of a rock band was talking about how he was planning to self-produce his own CDs. He was calculating how many shows per week he needed to survive, but was also preparing to invest in some significant CD replication hardware. I suspect the threat felt by the large record labels is very real.

And what was bad? To give credit to Air Canada we were on the ground 20 minutes early, and I was through customs and immigration with my bag at 4:40, which was before I thought we would be at the gate. And then, sadly, Park 'n' Fly did not get a bus to the place I was waiting until 5 and even when I got tho their valet centre and had paid, could not produce my car before 5:17.

This spoiled what had been a great travel day! More later on Park 'n' Fly's valet parking (which had negative value compared to the next option this trip).


At 9:08 PM, Blogger EclectEcon said...

We often use "stay and fly" options out of Trono -- stay at a hotel and leave our car there. But I guess that's not a very good option for you. How about just cabbing it?

At 6:21 AM, Blogger Alan Adamson said...

Just cabbing it is my normal option.
In this case the funny thing, as many of us standing waiting for our cars, and many of the poor overworked guys racing to fetch our cars, observed, is that we would have been far better off with the lower-cost Park 'n Fly option, where you just park in some giant lot and the bus drops you off in the vague vicinity of you car. But at least it has a good chance of being there!


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