Some observations from the airport…
- If you are a frequent flyer, you can stand by for an earlier flight for no charge. If you are not a frequent flyer, there is a charge. US Airways charges $50 per person. Fortunately, we are frequent flyers. We had our flight scheduled to leave Atlanta at 8pm, arriving home around midnight. Since it was not really conducive to stay in Atlanta til then as people had school and work, we went to the airport to try to make the 11am departure. We arrived too late for that one, but caught the 1pm departure to Charlotte, and what’s more, got first class to boot. More celebration!
- TSA has spot drills, and they are so exciting! As we were collecting our computers, bags, and belts in security, someone yelled “A-17 infiltrated! Freeze!” Everyone froze. Security officers blocked the entrances to/from the gates and the metal detectors. I didn’t know if I needed to crawl under the bench for safety or use my hapkido to fight off infiltrators. After everyone stood frozen in place while each officer called, “clear!”, the TSA manager man came out and announced that this was just a drill and thanked us all for participating. Phew!
- If you are a frequent flyer, it pays to buy a pass to the airline’s lounge. There are decent snacks and drinks there, nice bathrooms, and comfy chairs for you to slouch in while you wait for the next flight.
Instead of arriving at 11pm, we got home at 8pm. Still decent. Thanks, US Air!
Two days later, we were back at the airport, dropping Mom off for her flight to Portland. Turns out, she had a “Freeze!” story of her own. President Obama was leaving Portland on Air Force One that evening and every plane, no matter where it was (I guess they told the ones in the air to keep circling), had to “freeze” while he took off. They even stopped the cars on the freeway to the airport. Her plane just landed and sat on the runway for 15 minutes. Not a bad delay, considering. Remember when flights at LAX were delayed for an hour so Bill Clinton could get a haircut?
Four days after that, it’s the airport again. We’re scheduled for the 3pm flight to Philly to connect with the flight to Munich, then on to Brussels. We try to leave early to catch the 1pm flight, out of Norfolk so we’ll have more time in the lounge, but don’t make it. Arriving in Philadelphia, we only have half an hour to quaff some wine, cheese, and meat from their buffet before boarding the Munich flight.
George, Morgan, and I each had our boarding passes as we approached the gate. George got through, I got through, but I turn around to see that Morgan gave them the wrong boarding pass, the one from the Norfolk-Philly flight. He couldn’t find the paper that would get him on the international flight! Where did it go? Did I have it? NO. Would we have to leave him in Philadelphia? Fortunately, the ladies at the gate let him in without the little paper, seeing that we checked in at the lounge. When we were on the plane he found the boarding pass IN HiS POCKET. Aaarrgh!
Thanks again, US Air! We’re on our way to Brussels.