The Photography of h.butz

Welcome my fringe
It is currently Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:18 am

All times are UTC

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:58 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:35 am
Posts: 75
Oh how I love air travel. Delta is my airline of choice - they seem to genuinely treat people like people, not cattle. For example, I have never seen a flight attendant aboard a Delta flight deny a bathroom break if the Captain had illumined the seat belt light... unlike British Airways who expect that passengers should pee in their pants rather than ignore the command from the flight deck. Delta's attitude seems to be, "You have been warned; pee at your own risk."

Ah, the lay-over in Atlanta flying a Boeing 737 into Key West from NYC. It was a 757 down to Atlanta and I had chosen my flight via the Delta website directly. Booking direct gives me a few advantages, including the ability to make a quick adjustment to my flight without complication. However, unlike other websites which has me choose the first leg then the second leg, Delta's website lists every combination. I did not see the same leg listed further down the page with a longer lay-over than 45 minutes. (groan).

How I sweated that connection. I used Google satellite imagery to measure the distance from the furthest gate to the next furthest gate, calculate how long it would take me to walk from one gate to another, taking into account the 15min (10min?) rule of closing the aircraft door as the crew readies the push-off from the gate. I figured I would likely make my connection with just moments to spare as they were calling my name over the public address system threatening to remove my luggage unless I showed up with my boarding pass in-hand.

30 minutes before landing in Atlanta I asked the flight attendant for connection information. She looked up the passenger manifest and advised me that my gate was on the other side of the airport as I had feared. However, we landed 20 minutes early while my connecting flight was 10 minutes behind schedule, giving me a comfortable 5 minutes to chill out at the gate following a quick bathroom break. And, I still got my blast-off champagne in the first class cabin. Sweet.

The return flight was not as smooth. Following Hurricane Irma's devastation of Marathon in the Florida Keys, Delta reduced 5 flights to just 2 to Key West. Ouch. What they didn't tell me was... well, they didn't tell me. I'm checking my return flight 30 days before departure and realize I've got a scant negative 21 minutes to make my connection. That is, it was likely that as I landed in Atlanta for the return flight I would pass my connecting plane taxiing for take-off with no way to hop onto it. Where is Scotty when you need him with that transporter beam?

A quick phone call to Delta and they were most accommodating with a much more relaxed 2 hour lay-over. In fact, I had a full hour to slam down a hot meal on the way home. As I'm waiting for my departing flight in Key West, my cell phone starts ding'ing with credit card transactions to my Discover Card. Apparently I was booked to see a very expensive rock concert that I didn't know about. Thankfully I had a good enough signal to download an app to my phone and freeze my Discover card until I got home 12-13 hours later to fend off the hackers beating up on my credit card.

I check my watch. I've got 1 hour and 51 minutes for a lay-over in Atlanta which I had intended to have a nice meal. From Sunday's experience, I know it takes 20 minutes to walk briskly from gate to gate, less 15 minutes for door closing - leaving 1 hour for dinner and 16 minutes to spare so I can board with my group.

Touching down in Atlanta we're taxi'ing, and we're taxi'ing, and we're taxi'ing.... it takes us about 20min to taxi to the gate! I was tempted to call over the flight attendant to ask the pilot to drop me off at Terminal C while taxi'ing to Terminal F but figured better of it. Us passengers are all looking at each other in disbelief at the 20min taxi ride as we finally pull up to the gate. I look at my watch and my 2 hour layover is looking more like 90min. ok, I still I have a full hour for dinner but will have to forgo the early boarding.

We all rise, released from our seats with the ding of the seat belt sign being turned off. We're standing... standing... standing... until the pilot gets on the horn and explains that the keypad which unlocks the door at the top of the ramp went dark. They can't open the door! We're not exactly trapped - but, there's no way you can get a plane full of passengers down the service stairs onto the tarmac with their luggage. The pilot announces that "Plan B" is to get everyone buckled back in and TAXI to another gate! no! Thankfully, after 20min they manage to unlock the door and let us off the plane. I groan as I hear someone say, "This is why I always book long lay-overs."

Now, I've got 50 scant minutes left for my layover, 20min of that required to get to the other side of the airport. so... 30min for dinner, down from a full hour. I'm frantically trying to find a place to eat. There's pizza, fast food... the best steak house is on the other side of security so that's out. I'm googling and couldn't find anything but TGIF which everyone says sucks. In the place I least expected, I find a highly detailed map only inside the Delta phone app. That describes the restaurants and shops and a highly detailed map on how to get there. Nice! I find an "Italian Grill" on C. I'm arriving (finally) on F on my way to A, with TGIF on B. I pop up the escalator on C and find myself right in front of the "Italian Grill."

What a great menu! They've got all kinds of "real" food - Italian dishes and steaks as well. But, they're all moving in slow motion. I wait another 10min to get seated and to get a server. Now, I've got 20min left. I ask her for a steak, potatoes, soda, and the check. She's confused that I didn't want my soup or salad. "It's included." no, no - just the steak; I don't have time to eat salad. oh... ok. She returns with my soda and I ask her for the check. She looks really, really confused. "You want me to ring you up now?" yes.... please. "ok." She returns with my check and says, "Thank for dining with us... uh.. well, dining shortly with us?" I smile; thanks. I sign the check while waiting for the steak... which wasn't the best steak I've ever had but certainly in the top 10 and way better than TGIF. I inhale that and vanish back onto the down escalator where the air train is waiting for me.

I rush for the A gate where, surprise, they're having computer problems and can't board. That only lasts for 5min, thankfully, and I board on time. We arrive at Terminal 4 JFK gate B36 yea! - that's the mid-way point. It's not as good as gate 18, or even Terminal 2; but, not nearly as bad as B54 which is over a mile walk from baggage claim. We taxi to the gate and there is a big ass jet already parked in our spot. uh. The pilot says, "If you look out the right window you will see our gate with another plane parked there. I'm going to talk to them. Worst case is we'll need to taxi to another gate." Nooooo! Thankfully, that only lasts 10min and I make the sprint for baggage claim.

I couldn't move the next morning - sucks getting old and using muscles I haven't used all year to dash for connecting flights. It makes me appreciate the words, "non-stop" way more. I think next time I'll book a 3 hour lay-over in Atlanta.

Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group