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March 17th, 2007

Travel Day to Dallas

 5 Years Ago 
Today

Today is my 5th anniversary of not having a television in the house.

It's also the 5th anniversary of moving back to my townhouse—and not a coincidence, as I just didn't bring any TVs with me when I moved back in. Just left 'em all with the ex.





I was up at 9 today, and after a quick check of e-mail, I had a hard-boiled egg and some toast, while I scanned the morning news on wral.com.

I called Kathryn at 10:30 to make sure she was up, and then I showered and packed.

We left the house right at noon, and we had a nice "catch up" on the way to the airport. We don't see each other any where as much as I'd like to, and it's always a fun conversation when we do get together. I need to remember to send her my blog address again.



I got in line to check in inside at the AA terminal, and a guy working the line asked me my destination.

"Dallas," I said.

"You can use the kiosk right here," he said unhooking the line strap to let me through.

"I've already checked in online and have a boarding pass," I said. "I just need to check this bag."

"Press the 'Checking Bags' option," he said.

I did that, got a new boarding pass and starting walking toward the gate quite sure I had read, "Proceed to the gate."

Before leaving the immediate area, I saw the guy again and asked, "Just take this bag I'm checking to the gate to check?" as that just seemed wrong to me.

"No, no. They'll call your name over by the kiosk."

By the time I got back over there the lady was calling, "Mr. Martin?" and looking around.



There was virtually no line at security, which is always a relief. On the way to Gate 26, all the way at the end of the concourse of course, I stopped at Jersey Mikes and got a Turkey and Provolone sub to have on the flight.

Drama ensued on the plane due to the family sitting just in front of my seat—four people, one "child," one "infant," and the parents. Evidently, the passenger count the flight attendant sent in did not match the manifest, or whatever it's called.

After two or three re-counts, an agent from the gate came on the plane, and as soon as he saw the aforementioned family, he said, "Oh, that's the problem. They have two children, not an infant and a child."

"But that one's an infant," she said pointing at the baby.

"But they've paid for a seat for it," so it counts as a child.

"But, no, it's an infant," she argued.

"Yes, but if you send him in as an infant, the computer doesn't count it as a seat taken, because infants typically fly in their parents' laps, so even though it is an infant, you have to count it as a child so the count will come out right."

By this time everyone in the vicinity was about to shout, "Problem solved. Move on!"  We left 20 minutes late due to this lack of training and employee bickering about internal processes in front of the customers. I'm just saying.



The "infant" cried almost the whole trip, and the "child" "counted her numbers" out loud a good portion of the way. I longed to say, "Let's count with our inside voice, missy!" but resisted. Thank &deity for iPods.



We landed in St. Louis to a very light snowfall, none of which stuck to my shorts, t-shirt, bare legs and exposed arms as I walked across the tarmac to the stairs up the Jetway, or should I call it a "Terminalway."

My layover was for less than an hour.



The St. Louis to Dallas flight was oversold, and as soon as I heard "we need a volunteer" and "$300 voucher" juxtaposed, I was up at the desk, where I heard the rest, "and a flight out first thing tomorrow morning."

In succession, I thought:
  1. I don't have to be anywhere until tomorrow.
  2. Can I still cancel my hotel in Dallas?
  3. Was it a "you can cancel up until 6pm on the day of arrival" cancellation policy?
  4. I think so.
  5. I don't have my luggage.
  6. I don't mind wearing the same clothes tomorrow. (What else is new?)
  7. Oh, my drag bag is in my checked suitcase.
  8. I can do without gel in the morning.
  9. The hotel will give me a toothbrush and some toothpaste.
"Are there accommodations included?" I asked.

"You don't live here? Oh, you're mid-flight." she asked and answered her own question.

"Yes, this is my layover," I confirmed.

She confirmed that a hotel could be worked into the deal, she swapped my paper boarding pass for a card stock one, and she asked me to just stand aside until they got everything settled. There were about 6 people on the stand-by list, too.

In the end, I ended up on the flight as scheduled.



My seat mate and I had just gotten our iPod earbuds in and had started to wheel a selection when the announcement came on that all electronic equipment needed to be turned off.

She opened her book, which I noted was The Kite Runner.

"Are you just starting that book?" I asked her.

"Yes."

"Oh my &deity. That's such a great book. It's one of my favorite books of all time." I gushed.

"Great!" she said, "I was just looking through the books at Target and picked it."

"It's very, very good," I said hoping she would find it that way.



My checked bag was the third to come out, and I headed to Ground Transportation where I had visions of catching the courtesy shuttle to the Radisson Hotel Dallas Love Field.

I got on a phone that had listed above it all of the various types of ground transportation with a number after them:
1Rental Car Shuttles
2Hotel Shuttles
3Shared Rides
4Taxis
5Pre-arranged Limos
6Skylink
7Courtesy Cars
8Charter Buses
0Public Transportation


"How organized," I thought. Wrongly.

I pressed 2, and it said to enter the first four letters of the hotel name. I touched r - a - d and then wondered if Radisson was spelled Raddison or Radisson. I went for one "d."

That took me to another menu of three choices of different Radissons, none of which was the Radisson Love Field. I pressed the third choice, which was "operator." The operator at the Radisson DFW South picked up, told me the Radisson Love Field wasn't included in this list, but that he could connect me to Radisson reservations, who could connect me to the Radisson Love Field.

He switched me over to reservations to a guy who said, "No, I can't connect you, but I can give you the number."

"That's alright, thanks," I said, and I got out my cell phone and called them from the number on my printout of my reservation, where I was told that they don't have shuttle service from DFW.

"About how much is a taxi?" I asked.

"About forty bucks," she replied.

I decided to check the Public Transportation number just for the heck of it. I got back on that special phone, and I pressed "0" as soon as the VRU started. It just looped me back to the beginning. I did it again. Same thing. I listened all the way through thinking maybe it's actually "9" for Public Transportation, since 9 was skipped on the list.

"For public transportation, press 0 now."

I did, and it looped back to the beginning of the list again. Grrrrrr!



I finally ended up trying the "Shared Ride" option where I got a reservation right away on the "Super Shuttle" for $17.00.

When I got in the shuttle there were two women in the middle row of three. The driver had told me "don't go in too deep, your hotel is the first stop," which I was delighted to hear.

We picked up two girls next, and a man. After the driver loaded the girls' bags, but before we pulled out, they decided they wanted to catch a cab instead. We waited while he unloaded their bags.

As we pulled out and were driving the driver asked to confirm our hotels. The guy who had just got on with the girls said, "The Hilton."

"Which one?" the driver asked. "There are two of them downtown."

"I have no idea," he said as if that was going to be the end of it.

"Well, just let me know when you know," the driver said.

The others in the van confirmed their hotels, while the man got on the phone to talk to his secretary or someone.

"She says it's the one on Main St."

The driver said, "On Main Street? That's not either of the ones in Dallas; that's the one in Ft. Worth. That's in a completely different direction than where I'm going. I'll have to let you off at the next stop."

He phoned another van en route and got the guy hooked up with the Ft. Worth van. We waited while he unloaded that guy's stuff.

When he got out, this other guy in the back also got out.

"Are you leaving, too?" I asked.

As he got in the front (passenger) seat he said, "No, I just need some air."

Drama.

We finally got out of there, and I got so tired of hearing one of the ladies sitting in the seat behind me complaining about how long it was taking, and then talking to every one of her known relatives on her cell phone, ending each conversation with, "Well, I luuv yew,"  that I put my iPod on. Loud.



I was the first stop, and I was grateful. I checked in without incident. This room is ridiculously lush for $59, and it has a sleep number bed in it. I cranked it up to hard. And the bed, too. [ba-dump bump. It's a limited engagement folks. I'm here for one night only.]


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