Monday, June 06, 2011

The ‘Glamor’ of Traveling

For the American worker who slaves away at a job, doing the same thing in the same place for 5 days and week, the life of us who travel as a part of our jobs must seem interesting and glamorous.  I’ve posted over on Facebook how it is truly interesting, but in a proverbial Chinese sort of way.  As for glamorous, it is not.  Consider that I’m now sitting on the floor of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport writing this here post instead of doing the work that I was scheduled to do today.  I’m not doing the work because I’ve been trying to get to Huntsville, Alabama for over 24 hours now.  I’m not saying it’s better to work at the same place everyday, just that each job has its challenges.  Today, I’m being challenged, and how.

It is only a seven hour drive to Huntsville, so I could have driven yesterday and gotten there on time, but I could not foresee the future.  In short, I arrived at the airport yesterday afternoon for a 6 o’clock flight that takes about an hour.  As we were boarding the plane I noticed the interior lights in the plane flickered and then came on full.  I commented to my neighbor that the lights didn’t add a lot of confidence for the flight.  Sometime later the pilot came on the intercom and told us that the flickering lights was actually a circuit overload that they needed to get checked out.

It took about 30 minutes to get the checks done.  Nothing was really wrong and we were good to go.  Just as we were ready to push back, a thunderstorm closed the tarmac and we could not move until it was reopened.  There was some excitement when one plane at the airport was struck by lightning.  That was cool.  I’ll bet they did have an overload.

It took about 45 minutes for the storm to blow over.  We pushed back and headed for the runway.  Once there we pulled to the side and the pilot told us that we were to be rerouted due to other storms in our path and that calculations had to be made to determine if we had enough fuel.  That’s important, I guess.  Then we were scheduled on a different runway.  Then the fuel calculation for the new, way-northerly route came back as insufficient.  But by this time the old route was clear, but we had idled away too much fuel and had to go get more.  But that would take too long for either the crew to make the trip or for the airline to avoid paying us hefty fines.  That wasn’t very clear.  What was clear was that our flight was cancelled.

Rebooking went reasonably well and I was back home by 9 pm with a ticket for today.  Before I went to bed, I called the hotel to let them know I was still coming, I’d just be a day late.  They were cool about that.  Why not. They get paid the same whether I show up or not.  Then I went to change my rental car reservation.  The problem was that they (Avis) had no cars to rent.  NONE.  I didn’t believe the web site so I called Avis.  It was true – no cars, trucks, busses, nothing.  I checked the other rental car companies at the Huntsville airport and they all were out of cars.  Carp. (Carp is funnier than crap right now).  I did find a reservation at the Enterprise rental office in Huntsville and figured I ‘d take a cab to get that car and figure out how to get it back and get to the airport later.

I returned to the airport around 1 this afternoon, waited to board the plane, boarded, and got ready to fly.  That didn’t happen either. (Part 2 coming soon)

No comments: