Geoff and I split a car that drove us out of downtown at eleven in the morning, yesterday, to take us up to KCI Airport. they dropped us off at the terminal, in front of the Continental ticketing area, where the first inkling of it being a long day came along. A few weeks earlier, I was delighted to be told by a Southwest ticket agent that my name had been taken off the airport "security list." I suppose, however, that that information varies by airline, because Continental had no such notion.
The Continental ticket agent, who perhaps was just having a bad hair day, manhandled my suitcase, throwing it hard against the wall with me watching, and fixed me with a dirty smug look from behind his podium-shield. Geoff and I went over to the "Expedia Cafe," and consumed a bland, tasteless, yet of course expensive meal, before heading over to security. Even with these minor setbacks, I was still in a good mood. I was traveling for work, which meant per diem money, and basically not having to pay for anything.
So, my good mood was reinforced when we got to security, and there was no line at all. I walked in, did my routine of taking off my shoes, pulling my laptop out of its bag, and placing all my metal and electronic objects into various folds and pockets in the laptop bag, without any holdup from some middle-aged guy in front of me that has no idea that increased security measures are in effect.
We walked over to our gate, and found a pair of seats with a good view of the gate, and of passersby. Geoff reserved a room in Orlando for the conference in October, muttering his personal information into his phone under a cupped hand, and I listened to Death Cab for Cutie's new album, which, by the way, is fantastic. They called us onboard for about a ten-minute delay in pushing back. We were almost to the runway when the plane came to an abrupt stop, and the radio-powered voice of the captain came on to inform us that a thunderstorm had descended upon Houston, and that we'd have to sit where we were for at least two hours.
I laughed, because I figured getting pissed off would just make me bald faster, and pulled out my computer, and hooked it to my phone. The previous night, Geoff and I had gotten the go-ahead from a client to deploy a website that we had been working on for them, but hadn't gotten the login password on the new server. I checked my email from my seat, and saw that the new password had been sent, and got to work. Within about twenty minutes, we had logged into the new server, copied over the tarball from the development server, and fixed the scripts to reflect the new path and server. That was an excellent high point. After about the promised two hours, the plane started moving again, and we were on our way.
Houston Intercontinental Airport is the worst airport in the world. I have been to Logan, LaGuardia, LAX, O'Hare, Philadelphia, Dulles, and countless other "bad," airports, but Houston takes the ass-prize. I have never arrived there on time, and I have never been there without having to frantically run from one terminal to another, to switch planes on the same airline. The layout is horrible, and the moving walkways are always broken in the direction in which you are hurrying.
After hurrying to our assigned gate, only to find that the flight had been relocated to another gate on the other side of the terminal, we got on the plane to Austin. the 40-minute flight went without incident, from the relative comfort of an exit row seat. We arrived in Austin, and found that the airline had lost our bags for us. Both of us. We filled out the form, and walked across the massive parking lot to the rental car, and drove into downtown Austin to try to forget about the long arduous trip.
We grabbed dinner and a beer at the Bitter End brewery, and it was fantastic. The Austin Pale Ale was delicious, hoppy, and sweet, and the flat iron steak was heaven on the tongue. After dinner, we began the 70-mile drive up to Temple, where we were staying, hoping our bags would beat us there. They didn't. We woke up this morning, called the front desk, and found that they hadn't been delivered in the night, either. Finally, as we were eating breakfast, they arrived.
We head into Ft. Hood today. I hope the rest of this trip goes more smoothly.
As for checking in w/ Continental, i would recommend online check-in. It's awesome, and it doesn't matter if your name is on the 'List'. My name is on it too, but have no issue whatsoever checking in online. From what i understand, checking bags is a breeze too, but i've never done it. Again, Continental makes it very easy; as long as you can lug your baggage to the gate, they take it and put it under the plane for you, and it's waiting for you as you get off the plane, NOT at Baggage Claim. (Continental should be paying me for this...)
7:14 AM, Aug 11, 2005