Sunday, October 22, 2006

Juice Runs, Grumpy Grey and Laptop Envy- Tales from a PHL Vagabond

Today is one of those days that makes traveling seem really fun.

I arrived at PHL this AM approximately an hour ahead of my scheduled flight- yes I realize this is pushing it these days- however I was utterly dumbfounded when the ticketing agent informed me that they had given all the seats away and I would have to fly standby on the 10AM flight- and the fatigued yet condecending look in her eyes led me to believe that if she could personally ensure I would get bumped from the 10AM, she would do it just cause she didn't like my sweatpants.

So I leave her my checked luggage- basically 40lbs of mousse, hairspray, toothpaste, gel, evian, crisco and other forbidden carry on liquids- and hustle up to security on the off chance that I could pursuade the gate agents to let me on.

Forty minutes later- as I finally clear the Security Labryth (for the FIRST time today), I make it to the gate in time, but alas, nobody has disappeared between the ticket counter and the gate.

BRIGHT SPOT #1: Free WIFI in PHL

So I sit down and hop on the PHL flight schedule searching for anything to San Diego. I locate a several Southwest flights, so I hop on down there to talk to the gate agent. YES- there is a flight. But no, he doesn't know what would happen to my luggage. Good thing USAirways and Southwest are about 4 miles, 3 Brookstones and half a dozen moving sidewalks from each other.

I hoof it back to USAirways- where I am met by a different set of eyes that say "I would burn your luggage given the chance" and I say to myself- "Who cares? I can always buy clothes, I have trusty M65 with me, what else do I need" and I scamper back to Southwest. Too late.

So they tell me- nothing for the rest of the day. I sit down, open up M65, and book MYSELF onto the 4:30PM San Diego via Midway flight, and walk up to the counter to get my boarding pass. The internet is an AMAZING thing. It was virtually instant. And this time, the gate agent- a girl of about 22 with an amazing smile- was friendly and did not appear to want to burn my luggage.

However, my luggage must be dealth with. It too wants to see Shamu and the San Diego Zoo.

So I go OUT of security and down to the USAirways baggage department, where I am informed, that my luggage DID INDEED make the 740AM flight. Interesting.

So I go back through the Security Labrynth (for the SECOND time today). And this time is even better than the first. Since my Southwest ticket was a "last minute purchase" I get to go into the special line- the one reserved for Pilots, Flight Attendants, Delta Crown Club Members, and Suspected Smugglers of Non Essential Toothpaste.

So..I survive.. hours to kill.... I wander around, look through Brookstone and Sharper Image, and walk 4 miles back to the food court for some breakfast and to stream a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy from www.abc.com. The first episode works like a charm, then as soon as Nick (TGFGT) tells me he is having issues, kaboom. No more Dark and Twisty Meredith and friends. What am I going to have to do, WORK here?

I realize it is now time for a JUICE RUN. You've seen us. We have a greenish skin tone, a laptop under our arm and a power cord in hand. We scan the foodcourt pillars, the airport bar and the walls by the payphones for unused outlets. I have even been known to sit on the floor by a vaccuum station to load up on enough juice to watch Wedding Crashers during a cross country flight.

I found myself digusted that people WITHOUT laptops would have the audacity to take a seat with a clear shot at an outlet. Where were these people raised anyway?

Juice in tow, I work on a cut fill and some template creation and prep a little for tomorrow's Civil 3D class I am teaching out in California.

I look at my watch and realize that my luggage is currently watching the Beluga Show and enjoying a corn dog.

I figure it is time I head over to the Southwest Gate. Oh, a glance at the terminal monitor- my flight is in Terminal E not D. I follow the signs and notice this one "LEAVING TERMINAL D AND ENTERING TERMINAL E WILL RESULT IN HAVING TO GO THROUGH SECURITY AGAIN"

Fan-freaking-tastic.

How bad can it be? Bad. Construction and detours later, I wind up in the longest and most disgruntled line yet. And yes, I am still considered dangerous. So, on with the strip search, the laptop wipes, the bag digs. And I make it through with about 15 minutes before departure. Once again, cleared Security Labrynth (for the THIRD time)

And yet, I am blogging. Needless to say- the flight is delayed.

BRIGHT SPOT #2
Terminal E (Southwest) has no armrests on their waiting room chairs. What a simple, yet welcome comfort. Boy.... I must be having a bad day.

But I will get there. And I will have a great, fun group in class and with any luck my luggage took lots of pictures at Sea World.


Side note...Laptop Envy-- I spent a lot of time researching machines when I was out to build my desktop and purchase my new laptop (I love you, my precious M65). So now, whenever anyone whips out their laptop at security, I check it out. I saw a red XPS (which is what I really wanted- except apparently Dell Business Leasing didn't think it was appropriate for me to purchase a $4000 gaming rig), a few of those nifty technicolor Alienwares, countless Macs, IBMs, and the usually potpourri. Since there are a few gates near where I am sitting right now that have flights to Manchester, NH and there is an ICE class this week- I found myself scanning the crowds for the typical Sonys, Toshibas and Dell M90s that AEs usually carry. The guy sitting next to me is a good candidate..... Hmmm....

*** Postscript: I just took a hard look at my boarding pass and apparently, Southwest has open seating. This almost guarantees that I will be crammed in some middle seat hell from here to Midway since I now notice that other people have been lining up in what I had originally took to be cattle chutes. However, despite the rank smell of PHL, there are, indeed, no actual cattle.

1 Comment:

jpostlewait said...

Great Blog piece.