Stream of consciousness on a plane (part 1)

I wrote this rambling run-on paragraph on my flight from LAX to IAD yesterday. There’s no better time for writing than on a long flight!

Air travel sucks. I didn’t fully realize this until today. At the moment I’m not doing too badly – I took a short nap after we took off and now I’m watching “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” (although the subtitles are hard read from three rows away), but so far most of this trip has been unpleasant. After my alarm went off this morning and I got in the shower I was trying to be as quiet as possible so Dan could sleep. Unfortunately I only hit the snooze button on my phone rather than turning off the alarm so it went off again a few minutes later. Stepping out of the shower while dripping went is never fun. Then as I was throwing a few last things in my suitcase I got a phone call. It was United informing me that my flight to DC that wasn’t leaving for almost three hours was switching gates. Why would I possibly care about that before I even left for the airport? I understand that I’d already checked in and the gate on my boarding pass was now incorrect, but I’m a savvy enough traveler to know to always check the departure monitors after I get through security. I’ve been in more than one situation where the gate changed between dropping off my bag at the counter and putting my shoes back on after clearing security. Granted not everyone knows to do this, but I think a simple email would suffice – which United sent me as well, of course. I’ve got to figure out how to disable phone call notifications in the future. When I got downstairs and slipped my laptop into my carry-on bag my phone rang again. This was starting to get old, especially since it wasn’t even 7 AM. This time it was Supershuttle telling me that my van was pulling up outside my house. So I grabbed my bags, went outside, and locked the door behind me. There was no Supershuttle van on my street. And ten minutes later there was still no sign of one. I started to wonder if the “your van is arriving” calls are meant to get people out on their curbs so when the van really does get there it doesn’t have to wait. Obviously effective, but for those of us who’ve been unprepared once too often when our ride to the airport shows up this is a little annoying because we’re ready to go twenty minutes early just in case. In any case, I got to the airport with no troubles this morning, just a few annoyances. Evidently LAX is busy on Saturdays. Without access to the United Premier security line (I didn’t travel enough last year to maintain my status) I had to wait a little longer than usual. But since Supershuttle wouldn’t pick me up any later for my flight, after I got through security I had an hour and a half before boarding even started so I made the most of it. I bought a bottle of chocolate milk for breakfast and sat down in the corridor between two terminals where the crowds were thinner for a little peace and quiet. It was actually very pleasant sitting there surfing the web on my phone and watching planes arrive and depart. Eventually it was time to go to my gate, though. Without my Premier status I was in the last boarding group so I was one of the last people on the plane. I actually considered flying another airline since I don’t have perks on United anymore (and don’t anticipate getting them back anytime soon), but I still have a hefty amount of frequent flyer miles and I’m holding out hope of earning enough for another trip to Hawaii. It wasn’t important for me to get on the plane early on this trip because I checked my suitcase. When I flew Delta to Tallahassee in December I only took a small carry-on suitcase because I didn’t want to pay the checked bag fee. I was subject to a similar fee on United for this trip because of my lack of Premier status, but I can submit it as a business expense so I didn’t hesitate to check my bag. Plus, I know from experience that it’s tough finding a place to store roller board suitcases on planes these days. No one else wants to pay checked bag fees either so there are a lot of carry-ons. After I earn enough miles for another Hawaiian vacation I am probably going to change my airline loyalty. Either that or I need to get that new United credit card that offers priority boarding and a free checked bag. Too bad my current United credit card isn’t so generous, but then again I purchased my ticket for this trip with my corporate card so it wouldn’t have made any difference today. I definitely need to investigate new credit cards to see what kind of rewards I can earn after I’ve outlived the usefulness of United. You can’t beat their choice of in-flight move, though. “Mission Impossible” is hard to top for entertainment value. I’d love to have internet access right now, though. At least I’m comfortable. Usually I freeze on flights, but right now I’m pleasantly warm. Probably because I have two windows next to my and the sun streaming in is very warm. I’m not wearing my usual fleece jacket because I thought it would be unnecessary in DC this time of year. Luckily I’m not cursing myself for not wearing it today. I did shove it into my suitcase at the last minute after looking at the weather forecast for the next few days. Somehow it’s going to go from highs in the 80s to highs in the 40s in the matter of two days. And then there’s the rain. I just realized that I forgot my raincoat. My little umbrella was already in my suitcase when I packed so I have some protection, but maybe not enough. If only I owned galoshes. Let’s just hope it’s not pouring when I arrive in DC. It’s not going to be pleasant picking up my rental car in a lot of rain.

To be continued…