Air Travel… Ugh.
It's been a while since the last time I flew, so I experienced some new things this last weekend. It's no surprise we hear a lot of stories about the headaches and less than stellar service, but I also will share a heartwarming story about a Southwest pilot that I ran across a little later in the blog.Last Thursday morning I arrived at the Duluth Airport at 6:30 am, to catch my 8:15 flight to Minneapolis. We were told to arrive two hours early for security. I laughed at that, because it tooks us 2 minutes to go through security and then we sat and waited for an hour and a half to board the plane. The nice thing about the smaller Duluth International airport is things tend to move quicker. Once we got to Minneapolis, we had about another hour and a half before our flight left for Memphis. So we walked around the large Minneapolis airport, and got to our gate. Now the fun begins....
After boarding the plane, I noticed it was snowing pretty hard outside. The wings were covered with snow, and the snow plows were working hard to keep the runways clear. We were on the plane at 1:30pm. We left the gate at about 1:50, and then waited an hour in a line of planes to get de-iced. Don't get me wrong, I'll gladly wait for that. However, it was pretty frustrating that we are crammed into these tiny little seats for not only the 1:45 min flight time, but another 1:30 just sitting on the runway. It wasn't very comfortable. It wasn't the airline's fault, it just goes along with the traveling.
We headed back to Minnesota on Sunday. We had a 2pm flight. The plane was completely booked, and this is where I experienced something new with air travel. Since my last time, airlines now charge $25.00 for a checked bag. Seemed like a lot of people tried to cram everything into their over-sized carry-ons to save that 25.00 because it took 45 minutes for the flight attendants to help passengers cram these bags into the overhead compartments or under the seat. That chewed up a ton of time, and there were a lot of frustrated people.
We got back to MSP airport at 4pm. This is when I realized that our flight to Duluth wasn't until 8pm. So we waited for the flight for four hours, when we could have just drove home in 2 hours. Of course, we didn't have a car. Boredom! Yikes. By the time we got our luggage at the end of the day, we had spent 11 hours in either an airport, or an airplane.
You hear a lot of people complain about airport security and airlines, but it's nice to hear a good story, although it was sad. Here's a story about a Southwest Pilot that held a plane for a man desperate to go to his Grandson's funeral.