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Archive for October 1st, 2019

Diary #483

When I scheduled my flights for my Washington trip a couple of weeks ago, I could see that the trip east would go relatively smoothly, but the trip back would be tighter; accordingly, I packed very light so I didn’t have to bring my roller bag.  That way, if I got wedged into a flight at the last second, I could take my bag with me instead of being forced to gate-check it (because I absolutely despise checking luggage).  The trip out wasn’t bad; everything was on time and I made my connections, and the only problem was that on the scond leg I got put in a middle seat next to a dude who thought it was a wonderful idea to leave the window-shades open the whole time despite my polite warning that it was likely to trigger my vertigo (and of course I was correct, and only my practice of not eating for at least four hours before takeoff prevented me from making a really disgusting display of puking for over an hour instead of just embarrassing myself by retching up bile).  But a two-hour nap on Liz Brown’s couch put me to rights, and we had a lovely evening.  Then the event at the Reason offices on Thursday night went very well, and I got to meet several of the staff whose bylines I recognized, and some noteworthy people whose names you might recognize; I’m kind of hoping I managed to talk them into throwing a similar event at their Los Angeles office sometime soon!

Alas, the journey back did not go smoothly; bad weather in Chicago caused a very large number of cancelled flights which rippled through the system like falling dominoes.  I arrived at Reagan airport at 8 AM Friday, endured no fewer than seven reroutes and a similar number of postponements, and then a little before midnight the flight I was booked on by way of Dallas (which had been postponed half a dozen times since its originally-scheduled time of 4:30) was quietly and inexplicably cancelled without warning (despite the fact that we had repeatedly been assured for hours that the delays were almost over and we would be departing for Dallas at midnight).  The only way the passengers found out was that someone saw “cancelled” on the board next to the flight number, and almost 200 people were forced to line up at the customer service desk to be rerouted.  By the time that was finished it was almost 2 AM, and I saw little point in trying to find a hotel when I had to be back at the airport for 5.  So I wandered around a little, did some tweeting, had a croissant sandwich thing at 3 from Dunkin’ Donuts (literally the only thing open at that time in the main airport for the capital of the most powerful nation on Earth), then was forced to go back through the TSA gropeline at 4 to catch my 7 AM flight, which I had routed through Phoenix in the hopes of avoiding all the displaced Dallas travellers.  Fortunately, the return trip was exactly the opposite:  I was given a very good seat on a not-overcrowded plane and fell asleep during takeoff, then after a brief period of wakefulness around the time we crossed into Arkansas I found a very comfy position and slept like a baby until about 3 minutes before the captain announced we were landing.  After a 90-minute layover the next flight was just as smooth (though I didn’t sleep), and I found myself surprisingly energetic all afternoon and evening until I suddenly crashed just after 10 PM.  I was asleep by 10:30 and slept deeply for eleven and a half hours, then awoke none the worse for wear.  But even if I never have such an airline adventure again, it will still be much too soon.

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