Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fear and Loathing - Montpelier - 7 (and final)

On my last day at the Vermont client, I was flying home from Burlington to Washington Reagan to DFW. There was a complication in that the first lady was visiting Burlington, and the local streets around BTV were subject to closure from mid afternoon on - my flight was at 5:10. The first lady was coming for a fund raiser – there was no need to campaign in the People’s Republic of Vermont.

I looked at my FlightCaster iPhone app (really good app) and saw that my BTV/DCA flight was described as 'probably delayed' due to late inbound aircraft, on account of an earlier mechanical. My connection time at DCA was not very long, but it is a compact airport and the distance between gates is not bad.  (They also have a Potbelly Sandwich Works, which I really like.) So, with a possibly compromised flight, and concern about not even being able to get to the airport, I bailed work and went to BTV early.

I checked with the US Airways ticket counter, and the young lady said my connection was right on the edge. She rebooked me BTV/PHL/DFW. The connection in PHL was an hour or so, but I would be arriving at the dreaded commuter terminal F, so no slacking around.

The Air Wisconsin RJ sat for a while awaiting sequencing, passed by Michelle Obama's plane (spiffy looking 757), and headed south. About halfway there I could feel it slowing. Then I saw the same golf course out the window a couple of times. The captain came on and said PHL was not accepting any aircraft for landing. Storms? Lots of clouds and haze but no storms in the forecast. They gave no explanation as to why Philadelphia was not accepting aircraft.

Eventually we resumed course.

When we landed we passed a B-747 with 'United States of America' on the side. Yes, Air Force One had PHL shut down completely for a while.

I barely made it to my connection, getting there just as they were boarding, not stopping to pick up something to eat.  I got stuck in the window bulkhead seat on an A-319 Scarebus, which is as claustrophobic as it gets.  The plan sat at the gate for 90 minutes as PHL tried to recover from the effects of the presidential closure. We had another delay because the tug that was pushing us back broke down.

But the drinks were free in coach.  I had a can of almonds for dinner.

(Know anyone else who flies from Washington to Philadelphia?)

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