The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Monday, July 30, 2007
Seven Hours of Pure Hell

Yesterday was not the day for East Coast travelers. A series of severe thunderstorms made their way up the coast causing havoc among airports in the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday, which of course had to be the day I was supposed to fly back to BWI from Albany. Our journey would begin at Albany Airport where we were greeted by two long-ass lines for the Southwest ticket counter. Not only were the lines not moving, but the electronic ticket kiosks weren't being used which prompted absurd amounts of frustration, especially by yours truly. The two lines were apparently separated for travelers with connections and those with direct flights. Fortunately, we were part of the latter, but still, it was a huge clusterfuck. Every single person evidently needed to talk to an employee, forgoing the relatively simple kiosks which were, you know, designed for efficiency. However, our know-it-all knowledge of these machines failed us as the kiosk refused to print our boarding ticket which, much to our dismay, prompted assistance of from one of the employees. It seems that the programmers of these devices didn't take into account that planes can, wait a minute, get delayed! Our flight was supposed to leave at 4:20pm but was pushed back another hour. Since we were checking in at 4:15, the machine, still thinking that our flight was departing at 4:20, said it was too late to print a boarding pass. It seems that Southwest can update their website with the latest flight delay information but somehow cannot update the ticketing kiosks with the very same data. Blast these confounded pieces of machinery!

On the other hand, security was a breeze. There was barely a line but that could be attributed to the fact that the majority of the passengers were still stuck in the Southwest ticket queue ignoring the eight or so ticket kiosks. When we got to the gate, the monitors inside the terminal now called for a 7pm departure. 7pm then became 7:30. 7:30 then became 8. When it was all said and done, our 4:20 flight would be leaving at 8:30. There's only so much one can do when you have four hours to kill at the Albany Airport. I read 3 magazines, consumed one slice of pizza (which meant to be a snack to hold me over before getting home due to the hour delay at the time), and then ate a chicken wrap once realizing I would be stuck in Albany for another two hours and needed to eat an actual dinner. The flight itself wasn't bad but just don't look out at the window when you're traveling through a storm. Flying through rain that appears to be dropping horizontally creates a cool yet nauseating light speed effect. If only Chewy were on board rather than the flight attendant who kept trying to crack lame joke after lame joke.

BWI was bustling at the ripe hour of 11pm due to the crazy amount of delayed flights. Of course, our trek home wouldn't end just yet. Why oh why did I check my baggage? It took over half an hour for the bags from our plane to finally hit the baggage carousel. By the time we got to our car it was nearly midnight. Bottom line, I had nothing else to blog about today except to bitch about yesterday's traveling fiasco. On the bright side, I left the track $2 richer on Saturday. Hooray for conservative gambling.

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