Episode 1: The Trip Out

Long, Long Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

O.K., it was a week ago in Massachusetts.  But with all that snow on the ground it felt more like Hoth to this Hawaii boy.  Our story starts with a flight from Honolulu to Atlanta.  Delta actually was one of the least expensive options so despite my previous experience with them I opted to give them a shot.  Glad I did, they did well this time.

Dana dropped me off at the airport on Wednesday and I got to upgrade to first class on the long flight to Atlanta.  "It’s 15,000 frequent flyer miles sir" the Delta agent said, warily.  "No worries, I have more than 90,000 in my account and I’ll get 15,000 more by St. Patrick’s day" I replied.  The upgrade was worth it, nice comfortable seat and decent food (for an airline).

We arrived in Atlanta without incident and I made my way to the gate for my flight to Boston.  Checked in at the gate, had plenty of time, so I strolled down the terminal to a coffee place to get some hot chocolate.  Hot chocolate secured I wandered back to the gate, plugged in my laptop to charge, struck up a conversation with a nice young lady from South Carolina who was headed home to Texas to see her family for the holidays and waited for them to call my flight.  After a while I happened to glance up at the display over the gate and it said: "Flight 668 to Boston has been canceled."  Pardon me?  Canceled?

They were sending everybody down to the Delta customer service desk to make other arrangements and as I stood in line I thought maybe I’d call the "Medallion Service Center" and see if I could do this by phone instead.  Before they picked up my turn in line came though.  The lady managing the line would take your boarding pass, scan it with the computer and then direct the bearer to either the counter agents or to a bank of phones on the wall that linked directly to Delta customer service.  When she scanned my boarding pass however, she said "Oh, you’ve already been booked on the next flight."  She printed a new boarding pass, handed it to me with a smile and sent me on my way.  I was a little surprised, as I think the folks behind me in line were, but as I walked away I saw that printed prominently across the top of the boarding pass was "SkyMiles Status: Gold Medallion".  Heh.  Guess that finally paid off.

I went down to my new gate, saw I had about an hour to wait, and settled in to do a little people watching and just relax.  The crowd grew steadily as other flight 668 refugees arrived most of them apparently on standby.  I almost felt a little guilty that mine was confirmed.  Almost.

New one on me:  The gate agent comes on and announces that this flight will be delayed a bit because…they don’t have any flight attendants!  It took almost 40 minutes for the crew to arrive, but once they did boarding proceeded as normal and we finally got under way.

Good Neigbors: I ended up seated next to an interesting fellow who travels around playing "World Fusion" music.  We chatted about our travels – he spent 10 months in Zimbabwe for instance – for much of the flight.

At some point I fell asleep on the plane and I woke up a short time later to hear the pilot announcing that due to bad weather at Logan that we were currently circling Providence, Rhode Island and might have to do that for up to another HOUR.  There was even the implication that we might have to just land at Providence.  Frankly I was fine with that, I just wanted to get on the ground.  I wasn’t sure it would be that much longer a drive to Gardner, MA from Providence anyhow.  As it turned out after circling for a while the pilot announced that we’d been cleared to land at Logan.  So in we went.  Happy?  Not so fast.

We got on the ground, and there we sat.  They didn’t have a gate for us!  All of the gates were full of planes getting de-iced.  So on the tarmac we sat for a good 20 minutes.  We finally got into the gate and eventually off the plane.

Pet Peeve: I hate sitting at the back of the plane and having to stand there for 25 minutes waiting for my turn to get off the aircraft.  After a long flight I just want to get off the dang plane.  Given the choice I will always choose a seat near the front so that I can deplane that much faster.  Here are a couple of photos of what I saw when we got off the plane:

Boston 002 Boston 003

Finally off the plane, bags collected, made my way to the Avis shuttle and they delivered me right to my rental car.  Turns out they’d upgraded me from a Pontiac G6 to a Pontiac Vibe – small SUV.  That suited me fine, I set up Emma and told her to take us to the Colonial Hotel in Gardner, MA.

It was actually a pretty nice drive and I had a lot of peace of mind with Emma handling the navigation.

Emma Boston 013 Boston 015

Arrived at the Colonial Hotel right on time, got checked into my room and called the bride to see what our plans were.  Let’s get our wed on!


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