Of Course It Is

I’m headed out to my first business trip of 2016 tomorrow. my flight leaves at 3pm ET.

On Saturday while the snow storm was still raging, I got a notice from my airline that said: “Travel disruptions likely due to winter weather Winter weather throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast will likely impact travel through Tuesday. Before going to the airport, be sure to check your flight status.” Probably overkill, I thought to myself. I had just finished reading about United’s woe from being the airline with the most/longest flight delays and the worst customer service on the follow-up so I thought this might be their 2016 resolution to turn their reputation around.

But danged if it isn’t true. Here ‘s the FAA Flight delay map for all US airports as of 20 minutes ago.

faa map

That’s right. Of all the airports in the US, only Newark Liberty is experiencing  significant flight delays. That red square means “DELAYS 45 + MINUTES”. The only categorization that is lower than that is “AIRPORT CLOSED”.

So, here we go. Stay tuned for some Twitter bitching from the gate tomorrow afternoon.

 

Bird Flu and You

I met a health inspector at the United gate who was on a layover in Denver. Random chit chat about travel turned to a conversation about the devastating effects of avian flu on the chicken population of America’s midwest. The guy said 10 million chickens dropped dead in a very short period but it looks like he understated things.

333He also said the price of chickens and eggs will be going up. Act surprised. The plane started boarding and we went our separate ways before I could ask him if the Maryland chicken mills were affected but I guess we’ll all find out soon enough.

Enjoy your quiches while you may.

I Went To Denver And All I Got Was This Lousy Headcold

It’s just a little bit harder for me to get around now but when they said Come to Denver for a week, I went. Take it from me – it’s much better to spend all of your time in your home office and then flake out on all weekend plans so that you never have to leave the house than it is to mingle with the actual people and risk compromised health status. So now I have a sore throat,dry cough and fever headache.

And I know just who gave them to me, too. It was a family of Spaniards returning home from vacation in Aspen by way of Denver CO to Newark NJ. First as I was gingerly making my way from terminal door to check-in counter, the gigantic and goony looking father rammed his wheeled suitcase into my cane. He did stop his forward momentum long enough to turn around and expresses regret and then his goony looking 10 year old son, absorbed by his Gameboy or whatever you call them nowadays, crashed into the suitcase that I  was dragging behind me. Fate decided it would be a jolly joke to seat them across the aisle from me and you never saw such commotion in getting settled.

spaniardsYou know when you first board the plane and then the stewardess has to come on the PA to say please take your seats don’t block the aisles let’s get settled quickly? This is who she’s talking to. “My” family of 5 was traveling with another family seated in a different part of the plane and there was much unpacking and trading items and re-stuffing bags and  moving carryons around before anyone of them could be considered settled. This involved lots of bending over in the middle of the aisle by the gigantic father who seemed to be the decider in the movement of goods and bags. As you modern travelers know, there is no such thing as the middle of the aisle any more because there’s really just about 18″ from one aisle seat to the other. So every time he bent over, he stuck his Euro ass right in my face. So in retrospect, I a came away lucky that all he gave me was a cold.

FYI. He was wearing a colorful leather belt with a Rubic’s cube design on it. Secksee.

The final indignity was when  he jammed his half-empty carryon into the bin above my head and pushed my bag way down into the far crack and then left it there for me to deal with when he got off the plane.

On the plus side, United has this new thing where instead of screens that drop down from the ceiling or are embedded into the back of the seat in front,  you can watch tv shows movies for free on your personal devices. (The selection is not bad, I watched Saving Mr Banks, which was much more sad that I thought it would be) On the minus side, they replaced the seats on the Airbuses and while the irritating spinal rod is gone, the cushioning is very thin and slumps your butt forward a bit.  Also, 2 oz of Bombay Sapphire gin increased to $9.00 per.

I knew all along that United wasn’t Continental but I’m thinking of giving them up and transferring my allegiance to another airline. If only I could find one even marginally better. Any suggestions? (not Southwest)

The Last Time I Took A Taxi

txI Uber-ed this week for the first time. I’m a big fan.

This week marks the last time I took a regular taxi here. The driver took 15 minutes to get to my business-district hotel, which is a long time at 7:30 am. He didn’t know how to get from my corporate-preferred hotel to my corporate office – surprising because it’s a high traffic destination and sticks up in the skyline with a blue neon glow from the top three floors. He was fumbling around with a portable navigator and couldn’t get the spelling of the street right , so i said “Here let me do that.”*. $10 and 5 minutes later, I was standing in front of my office door.

The Uber guy I called the next day got to my hotel door before I did from the 15th floor of my hotel, and he GPS geared up and ready, and drove straight to the office. The car was clean and comfortable. No frills, no nonsense – an overall good experience for about half the cost of a regular cab, pre-paid, tip included with an electronic receipt and you do it all from your phone. So no fumbling haste for the passenger to get it together at the end of the trip.

Since that first Uber ride, I’ve taken regular cabs and more Ubers this week, both alone and with a small group. I’m sure its just coincidence that the regular cabs were smelly and littered and the driver was too proud to ask for course correction on a trip of about 15 blocks but preferred to drive in circles and then dumped us out about 5 doors away from where we were headed.

Anyway, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t use Uber compared to regular cab service.

* During the ride, he was making the typical chit chat meant to induce a good tip and when he was asking me about work, he asked if I was a boss. I said no and then with increased volume, he said YOU ACT LIKE A BOSS. Which I think was a pretty good assessment of your average Lithuanian-American female.

God Love Ya, Newark Liberty Airport

At the end of a trouble-free trip to Denver, the jetway broke down and we had to stay on the plane for an extra hour waiting for a mechanic to come fix it. Seemed much longer than an hour. 😦 When we finally deplaned, the electric carts that run through the terminals were nowhere to be found, which was not a surprise. Transporters are always busy hiding in dark corners of the terminal feeling each other up. I’m wondering if they invited the mechanics to join them last night.