Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trip report

While shopping online for something else recently, I came across a write up for a "Child Avaiation Restrain System" . I had to chuckle when I read that it "is FAA certified for all phases of flight " taxiing, take off, turbulence and landing." Since when did turbulence replace cruise as a phase of flight? I guess I didn't realize that turbulence was a given during a flight. I'll reserve my judgment on the actual equipment for another time.

I recently took a quick trip out to California, my first trip there in 2.5 years. Thanks to pricing, I got to fly on American Airlines, whom I've never flown with before, and Delta, whom I haven't flow with for years. A survey of good and bad experiences during the trips:

Departing from JAX, I made it from the curbside drop off, through check in and security, to my gate (at the far end of the terminal) in just 17 minutes. A wasn't even off the airport property yet.

The Pilots for the flight arrived from their hotel about 10 minutes after we were due to begin boarding. The Flight Attendants arrived from the hotel about 10 minutes AFTER we were due to take off.

American Airlines was too cheap to through any blankets or peanuts at us during the flight, even after the crew caused (and probably preventable) delay, but I did get several free drinks and was impressed with cool gel/foam headrests on the seats.

We made up most of the delay in flight, I made my connection to SFO and other than being fantastically hungry, all was well.

For the return flight on Delta, it took Kidzilla and I about 35 minutes to make it to our gate, mainly because we got shuttled into the "family" line at security and had to wait for all of the parents who couldn't figure out what they were supposed to do. We could have made it through the regular line just fine, but at that point I just let it go.

We boarded the plane behind a tourist family with 4 daughters. Who then proceeded to back up the boarding line by having to discuss who was going to sit where and next to whom while we all had to stand there waiting for them. Finally, I snarled at them "do you think you could let us by and then continue this?" They all promptly sat down quietly. The gentleman who was seated in the row with Kidzilla and I seemed a little afraid of me after that. Hopefully next time, the family will hash out who sits where BEFORE they get on the plane; to me that seems like the common sense, polite thing to do.

Foresight led me to purchase two bagels and a water prior to leaving SFO. It was a good decision because it took 2.5 hours for the FA's to get our drinks out to us. And we only got one round of drinks during the entire 4+ hour flight. The delay wasn't due to turbulence or anything I could identify; I guess I should have just been happy they made it to the flight on time. Or not, because then maybe they would have given us better service to make up for the delay. But at least we got free peanuts and blankets on this trip. And some free TV.

When we arrived in ATL, we sat on the tarmac through a 1.5 hour weather delay groundstop. It really sucked. Although our outbound plane was delayed, giving us enough time to eat, all of the airport food vendors were closed due to the late hour. Ironically, the FA's were late for this flight as well, although it was excusable because the plane they were on was also held on the tarmac due to the groundstop. We finally made it in to JAX at 1:50am. To find that our one checked bag had been left in ATL.

Due to our start and end locations our trip involved driving 3 hours west to fly 7 hours east to drive 3 hours west again. Isn't that the way life goes?

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