Don't It Always Seem To Go You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone
Back from vacation, although I must say the return trip turned into a veritable comedy of errors.
You know those stories about some crazy guy who hires a cab to drive him some ridiculously looooonnnnggg distance? That was me yesterday, although truth be told my airline picked up the tab for the cab (and please keep in mind, these guys just got OUT of Chapter 13 protection. At this rate they'll be back in faster than you can say, "poor financial management".)
So, The Story: I got to the airport in plenty of time to catch my outbound flight to JFK, where I was then to get my connecting flight direct to Seattle. The only problem was that the first flight had some sort of mechanical problem and was now scheduled to depart two hours late, meaning I would miss my connector. So, they decided to rebook me on a flight that would leave JFK about two hours later than my original. However, when the ticket agent did the math he realized I might not make THAT flight either. The solution? Put me in a cab at the Philadelphia airport and have me driven to JFK, a roughly 120 mile (one-way) trip that took about three hours.
Hey, at least I got to see the beautiful New Jersey countryside.
Of course, as soon as I got dropped off, I was informed my new flight was delayed for an hour, meaning if I'd taken the later flight from Philly I would still have gotten there in plenty of time to catch it.
So, now I'm scheduled to leave JFK about three hours late. Eventually, we get our boarding announcement, all us downtrodden airline passengers wedge ourselves into our narrow little padded seats, buckle in - at which point the pilot informs us that, due to the heavy international departure traffic, we're going to sit on the tarmac for an hour until the backlog clears up and we can take off.
By the time we actually go "wheels up", I am now four hours behind my original schedule, and instead of arriving at Sea-Tac at a comfortable 8:00 p.m., it is instead almost exactly midnight when the cabin doors open (after yet another delay while waiting for the plane occupying our parking slot to be wheeled out), and we finally shuffle out for the inevitable wait for our luggage.
Which turns out (for me at least) to not be so bad. The nice skycap at JFK, true to his word (and with palm sufficiently greased), has in fact managed to get my bags up near the top of the pile, and so I'm out the door in a remarkably short time. It is now approximately 12:30 p.m., and I'm ready to head for home.
But, as you can imagine, things aren't going to be quite that simple. Crossing over to the ground transport area, I confront approximately 100 people standing in line for taxis, which are arriving at the rate of about one every two to three minutes. So, doing the math myself this time, I calculate that if this keeps up I will arrive home with just about enough time to take a shower, change my clothes and go to work.
Not a promising scenario.
I tend to think of myself as a fairly resourceful person, so I immediately start weighing my options. I trundle my bags over to the bus stop to check on the possibility of catching a 194 back to town, but this being a (now) early Monday morning, there won't be another one coming by for several hours. Okay, on to Plan C. Unfortunately, the door-to-door shuttles have nearly as long of a line as the cab stand, plus the dispatcher tells me that unless I've already made a reservation there's No Way I'm going to get one tonight, so that's out.
There's really only one other thing left to do: call for a town car.
Now, the great thing about town cars, that many people evidently haven't figured out yet, is that the cost for an airport run is at a flat-rate only slightly more expensive than a taxi, generally $40 - $45 compared to say $35 for a cab. And they're nicer, cleaner, and if nothing else, you make all those poor schlubs waiting for their Yellow/Orange/Checker Cabs think you must be SOMEONE IMPORTANT. But, the best part is they usually show up within about ten minutes of your calling them.
So yeah, it was worth paying an extra ten bucks for the privilege of not having to stand in line for two hours. And even though I pissed off the guy who thought MY car should have been HIS car (which is why they dispatch to you by-name - to avoid just that sort of confusion - not to mention potential fisticuffs between us hoity-toity types), I managed to get home by 1:30 a.m.
And of course, still being on East Coast Time, I woke up at 7:00 a.m. this morning, and managed to get into the office just after 9:00 to start digging into the week-long backlog of emails, phone messages, snail-mail, etc., etc.
So much for the vacation.
on 4:32 PM