transport | urbanism | adventures | pontification
After finishing my junior year, I am now back in Southern California.
Virgin America will begin flights to and from John Wayne on April 30th, occupying the slots that Aloha Airlines opened up when they ceased operations last year. I would have preferred an airline that flies to Philly; the Register reports that AirTran had a spot on the waiting list ahead of Virgin America, but was noncommital. Oh well. It will still be nice to be able to try Virgin America without driving to LAX.
While I managed to make it home to Southern California before the airline system got majorly screwed up, my journey was not without complications. Before getting on my bus to the Philadelphia Airport, I received an automated call notifying me that my flight on Delta from PHL to ATL would be 30 minutes late. “No problem,” I thought, “On the scale of things, that’s nothing, and I’ll still have plenty of time to make my connection to Orange County.” Of course, once I arrived at the airport for my 4:55 scheduled departure, they announced it would be delayed 30 minutes further. As I started to investigate alternate flights to Southern California, since I would now likely miss my connection, they moved my flight’s gate.
Our old gate was to be occupied by the 5:55 scheduled Delta departure to Atlanta. I figured that flight would be delayed too, but no. The flight that was scheduled to leave for Atlanta an hour after ours started boarding before ours. I found this bearable only because of the mild irony. The major irony came in the fact that the concourse only had one tow bar for MD-88s, so the other flight’s earlier push-back meant that we had to sit and wait even longer as it pushed back and taxied behind us, on its way to a much earlier takeoff.
With such shenanigans in Philadelphia, I was sure I would miss my connecting flight in Atlanta. I really didn’t want to spend the night in the Atlanta hotel, so when we pulled into gate B3 at 9:00 PM, I was determined to make it to a flight to Southern California. The monitors at the gate showed a 9:15 PM flight to LAX at gate A26 and a 9:15 PM flight to San Diego at gate B32. I figured that these flights had already boarded, but I sprinted the length of the B concourse to get to the San Diego flight (I didn’t want to have run people over on the underground moving walkways to concourse A). The gate agent somehow interpreted my breathless rants about missing my connection, and I got on the plane to San Diego. Altogether, the evening was an appropriately hectic end to a very hectic semester.
Saturday was my last airline flight of 2008. I ended up making 21 takeoffs and landings this year, including my first trips through San Diego, Chicago Midway, Salt Lake City, Raleigh-Durham, and Managua. I used to love flying and airports, but the airlines and, to an even greater extent, the TSA, have destroyed every last bit of enjoyment I used to derive from them. Maybe some carbon offsets will make me feel better about all the flying.