27 October 2011

Travel Upgrade

Today, a mere two weeks after my most recent debacle in the joyous world that is air travel, I got to head to the airport yet again for another crack at getting it right. 

This time, I got into my van and it started.  This time, I was still running behind by taking the hub's special back route to the airport.  While less freaky than driving on the 6+ lanes of I-85, I still don't see why he thinks it takes less time. The speed limit is slower, the traffic is more meandering, and it still took me the same 90 minutes that the other route would have taken (the hubs may be getting a visit from Mini-Beyoncé when I get home).

This time, I trotted the long walk from the economy lot to the terminal--why doesn't Atlanta have freaking shuttles in that lot?--after finding a spot in the first row of the lot.  Score one for me.

I packed more lightly this time, so I was able to save time by skipping the baggage check and heading straight for security.  Just like last time I got to security with maybe 15 minutes to spare before boarding would begin.  The lines were surprisingly empty, so I more or less walked straight up to the checker and was passed through.  I got into a scanner line that was relatively short, deliberately selecting one which did not lead to the Naked Scanner.  I deposited my things, walked through the normal scanner and PASSED.  Score another one for me.

I collected my things and headed to the tram.  I got off on the B Concourse, because every Delta flight to date has gone from there, even though I didn't have a gate written on my boarding pass.  When I got off the tram, I went over to the departure screens, only to discover that I was supposed to have gotten off at Councourse A.  I also discovered that the illegible "AM" written on my boarding pass in highlighter was apparently sloppy security penmanship for "A-4."  Okay, airport, I'll give you that one, but only a half of one because it's my own bloody fault for not checking the screens before getting on the tram.  So score.5 for the Airport. 

I walked back to the tram for Concourse A, got on, and begin the interminable (see what I did there?) walk to Gate 4.  Naturally, because I'm running late, my gate is at the opposite end of the concourse.  Score another point for the Airport. 

When I got to the gate I inquired why my confirmed seat selection had been changed from 23C to 31E.  I was told that I had been bumped for "equipment" or something, "equipment" apparently being code for "10-year-old girl flying alone."  Sigh.  Score another one for the Airport.

I quickly got in the boarding line so I could to my new row and settle in before my seat mate arrived, since I hate climbing over people just to get wedged up against the window.  My carry-on ended up in a compartment a few rows down from my seat, guaranteeing that I would be one of the last people off the plane.  After getting comfortable (or at least as comfortable as it is possible to get these days), I waited to see who my seat mate for the flight would be.  Eventually a gentleman a few years older than me came down the aisle, nodded and smiled at me--with a complete lack of eye rolling and dramatic sighing.  Score!  Once situated, he began to answer several emails on his phone.  He was still playing with it when we taxied out; every time the flight attendant walked by he would quickly turn it over to hide the fact that he hadn't turned it off.  The second time he did this, I couldn't quite repress a little snort.  He smirked sheepishly and gave me a conspiratorial nudge in the shoulder.  Score another one for me. 

After that we had quite a nice chat during the flight, making the trip both short and pleasant--in spite of our apparent invisibility to the flight attendant serving snacks.  After Ms. CrankyPants served drinks to everyone but us, my subversive phone friend hit the call button overhead.  Ms. CrankyPants came back in a mild huff to see what we wanted then returned with our drinks, grudgingly at best.  Later, when she was collecting everyone's trash, she all but jerked my cup from my hand to throw it in the bag.  Well, alrighty then.  Clearly, we had been branded as troublemakers.  Perhaps she saw us sneaking electronics when we weren't supposed to and was annoyed by it.  Or perhaps she just had a big stick up her butt; if so, I could hardly blame her for being cranky.  Butt sticks chafe.

All in all, the first half of my trip went much better than the last one.  So, with the first leg of the journey completed, the score stands thusly: Airport, 2.5. Me, 3. 


Stay tuned for Part Two:  The Voyage Home (Humpback Whales Sold Separately).

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