Monday, April 6, 2009

Traveling...Yet Again

I am writing this while in the air, somewhere over the upper Midwest. [Though, of course, I don't have internet access up here (thank God!). I suppose I should say I am composing this in the air, then uploading it at my next opportunity].

It has been a rather busy 36 hours, which has brought me yet again to New Hampshire.

And what could be the reason for this trip, now that my family is back in Minnesota? Surely there isn't something else in New Hampshire that demands my in-person attention. As it turns out, there is a very good reason: a job interview. It is perhaps best to not mention who it was with or for what job. Suffice to say that they seem pretty serious: they paid to fly me out on short notice, after only an hour's phone call and looking at my resume.

Those of you keeping score will note that this is my 6th round trip to the Northeast since mid-December. I shudder to think of the carbon footprint. Believe me, I'll be happy when this one is done. I pray for an end to days when my time is so thoroughly out of my hands. This trip hasn't been quite as arduous as driving the whole distance, but it hasn't been a picnic, either.

The flight out there yesterday actually wasn't that bad. There were some delays, but I ended up in Manchester more or less on time. I spent the night at our place in Concord, then had the interview this morning.

When I arrived at the airport to come back, I noticed on the flight board that there was a lot of yellow and red: delayed and cancelled flights. Some bad weather had been passing through the area - it was a torrential downpour when I arrived. So, my flight leaving Manchester was delayed for over an hour. That chewed up most of my layover in Detroit, so as soon as we touched down I fired up the iPhone and looked up the status of my connecting flight. Ah, no problem. It, too, was delayed about an hour.

But there was a problem. Because we only have one car in Rochester at the moment, I took a shuttle up to MSP on Sunday. Likewise, I was scheduled on a shuttle to get back Monday night. The delay in Detroit meant I'd miss the 9:00 shuttle I was scheduled on, and instead must take the 10:30. This happens to be the last shuttle of the day.

But, at the moment, even this is looking doubtful. That hour delay in Detroit quickly grew. It took longer than expected to load the passengers, then some mechanical problem kept us at the gate for a while. By the time that was cleared, the flight crew's allowable work time had maxed out (their day had started at 4 am), so we needed to wait for a replacement crew. Then we had to wait while taxiing for our slot in the departure queue.

So, here I am flying, wondering if I shall miss the last shuttle from MSP tonight. That's happened to me before, and it resulted in a white knuckle drive on snowy roads, in a blizzard, in a rented economy car with racing slicks, driven by a woman from Salzburg. We careened off a snow embankment and guard rail just before reaching Rochester...good times.

In fact, thinking on it now, of those six round trips to the Northeast in the last few months, I've had serious airline problems in three of them. One of those round trips was driving, which means that the airlines are two-for-five. That might be good in baseball, but hardly for transportation. One of those bad trips resulted in an entire lost day!

As things stand, I estimate I'll have 20 minutes from touchdown to the shuttle departure. I'll need to deplane, walk an indeterminate length of terminal, collect my checked bag (alas, it was unavoidable - too much stuff to bring back from Concord), and get to the shuttle. That's probably impossible. I will call the shuttle when I touch down and ask them to wait a bit longer. Being the last shuttle of the day, they might do that.

The backup plan is for Hilary to drive up and get me. I really, really hope that doesn't come to pass. We were in touch while I was on the ground, so she knows the flight and knows to check the flight status. Seeing the expected arrival time and doing the math I've just done, will she already be on the road when I touch down?

1 comment:

Beth said...

forgot to ask you today how the interview went...sounds like good news is probable on the job-hunt front...hoping for all the best for you!