Saturday, December 24, 2005

If there's one place you don't want to be

it's in an American airport in the week leading up to Christmas. If the crowding and the delays don't get you the carollers will. Yesterday, at Dallas Love Field, they had not one group of carollers, not two, but three groups, all poisoning the atmosphere with note perfect renditions of such pap as 'Silent Night', 'Winter Wonderland' and 'The little drummer boy'.

I admitted last year[^] that I dislike Christmas intensely. Admitted? I practically shout it from the rooftops :-) My opinion hasn't changed. This year I've put the family on notice that any attempts on Sunday to 'jolly' me into the Christmas spirit will have exactly the opposite effect. Let well enough alone; I'll attend and keep quiet but don't expect me to join in with the saccharine.

Returning home from Dallas was a long winded affair. Given the date I made sure I was at the airport well before departure time; three hours to be exact. Checked my suitcase in and was handed a standby security pass. Standby??? My ticket was booked and paid for on December 12th! When I asked the check-in person I was told that most likely all the other passengers had printed out their boarding passes over the internet and I, as the poor bastard lacking a printer on the road, was one of the last to confirm an intention to travel.

To say that this annoyed me somewhat would be an understatement.

So I whiled away two hours until the gate should be staffed and I could petition for a seat. Not a bad two hours as it happened; I smoked outside, watched planes take off and land and enjoyed the never ending spectacle of people. I neither confirm nor deny the presence of a couple of cuties :-)

At the end of the two hours I was the first in line at the counter and I was fortunate enough to get a boarding pass. Group C of course. Another hour to wait. I wish. My flight out of Dallas started at about the time it had been scheduled to land in El Paso. In other words, an hour and a half late. Given that I'd booked a set of flights with a one hour wait in El Paso this made me somewhat apprehensive about the connection. I needn't have worried. The plane to take me from El Paso to Phoenix was still on the ground in Albuquerque!

Delay piled on delay. In total, it took me 10 hours to travel from Dallas to Phoenix; arriving just in time to catch the traffic gridlock at Sky HarboUr airport.

But I have to tell you; that smoke when I emerged onto the South kerb at the airport made the whole thing almost worthwhile!

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