It’s a Friday night and as you might expect of someone with a young sentient being in his care, I’m not at the local bar killing off precious brain cells. No, on this beautiful evening I’m enjoying the hospitality of one of the many Northwest gates at good old MSP. Yes, that’s right, I’m on my way to someplace even hotter than the big Minne has been the last few weeks – I’m heading to the “dry heat” of Phoenix. I’ve made the joke about Minnesota winters and a dry cold but how you can say temps in the hundreds are anything but oppressive is beyond me. Oh well, as is typical of my trips these days, I’ll see little more than the airport, a shuttle bus, and a hotel ballroom.
As luck would have it my already late night flight is delayed – so far by only half an hour but still…good thing I’ll be sleeping in tomorrow! Sitting here in the G concourse I’m reminded of just how self absorbed people can be. On one side, I’ve got the guy who thinks his Bluetooth headset requires that he SHOUT to be heard by his friends – either that or he thinks the rest of us really care whether or not his anonymous partner went out with that guy from the office. Well, maybe if it was someone from The Office, we would care… Then on the other side of me I have the couple that is excitedly describing their free trip to the “cigarette company ranch” to some poor family. Man – thank god I was reading when those two showed up but I can tell you a set of noise canceling headphones will be purchased very soon. Too bad the darn iPhone has that goofy recessed head phone jack. Hmm, this phone is getting more costly by the day.
Just another glamorous night on the speaking circuit. Hey – maybe Jake was on to something about my blog…either that or I’ve been reading way too much of Peter King‘s stuff. I promise, one of these days I’ll write about something technical. Maybe. We’ll see.
So – I thought this would be the end of the story, but alas it wasn’t to be. First, shortly after I put my laptop away, we were told of a gate change and as is usually the case, it was essentially on the other side of the terminal. It’s quite something to see a couple of hundred people all simultaneously bolt for the proverbial exits… Anyway, after settling in at the F concourse, the gate agent informs us that we’re waiting on the pilots who are flying into (of course) G but as soon as they land, we’ll start boarding so after they are spirited over we’ll be ready to go (apparently their delay is why we’re behind). Considering they could have just canceled the flight, this seemed acceptable.
After everyone was on board, the pilots arrived only to find that their dinners somehow hadn’t managed to make it. The captain tells us he’s very sorry but they’re going to just run back into the concourse and grab a quick bite to eat – shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes. Now, frankly, I want a pilot that’s focussed on, you know, flying the plane and not on his rumbling stomach but still…this is turning into a long night. They finally return and we push off – alleluia!
After starting the engines, we (oddly) just sit on the tarmac. Given the hour and the lack of any weather, I found it strange that we weren’t moving…after sitting there for a bit the pilot informs us that one of the three navigation computers is showing an error and since we need all three to fly, we’ll have to pull back up and get it fixed. Now, I’m guessing the plane can actually fly without all three computers but at this point more than a few passengers are wondering what kind of hotel Northwest will be springing for tonight. Speaking of passengers, for whatever reason, I seem to be on a lot of flights filled with teeny-boppers. Now that I’m a thirty something and have a child I think I can say things like that.
Anyway, on this particular flight we had quite a number of that age group that is never wrong and this crowd was…interesting. First off, I’m not entirely sure how three of them managed to get an exit row – it’s not like they needed the leg room and I doubt they have status. They also didn’t handle the delays very well. One shouted “Northwest sucks” at least once and was quite proud of herself while others made angry comments to (one assumes) their legal guardians about the setbacks. Of course the young lady that said “we should have landed hours ago” clearly doesn’t understand time…or how flight works. I can only assume she didn’t quite grasp the time shift. Oh well.
Once we returned to the gate, three mechanics showed up and kept going in an out of the cockpit. At this point the stewardesses sprang into action and started handing out water. After about a half hour, things finally were under control – the pilot informed us that they had to “reboot” the navigation computers (I can only surmise they were using Windows Vista Supreme Ultimate Avionics or something similar). After a two plus hour delay, we were *finally* in the air and my adventure was over…or was it?
Upon landing in Phoenix, I called the hotel and asked for a shuttle – I was told it’d be five to fifteen minutes. OK, no problem, the hotel is *very* close to the airport so this shouldn’t be an issue… Well, twenty five minutes later I called back wondering where the shuttle was and again I was told five minutes tops. Keep in mind that it’s 1 am but my body insists it’s 3. After another phone call, the shuttle finally arrives and I’m whisked to the hotel. I’m just happy Jay scheduled me for a later time slot this morning. Speaking of the hotel, I’ve got to say, what a comfortable bed! Kudos to Crown Plaza for doing what EVERY hotel should – they put a night-light in the bathroom. Such a simple thing yet this is the first hotel I’ve stayed at in recent memory that did that… Well, enough of this – time to shower and spread a little Ajax goodness!