Friday, April 22, 2016

On the Road and in the Air Again

I have been telling people hub and I are home for a while, no trips planned the next few months. I misspoke.

We are on the road and in the air once again, traveling to visit Florida family, our transportation of choice the long distance equivalent of a city bus - Spirit Air. We booked a mid-day flight, spending a day traveling but not getting out of the house in the pre-dawn hours. 

An email alert from Spirit announcing a flight delay officially signaled the beginning of our trip. The new departure time, less than an hour from the original scheduled time, posed no problem.

Hub requested a Lyft car via the company's computer app, securing a ride to the airport. Time: 9:30 a.m. We have used Uber and Lyft in the past, but never at home. We are not returning to our departure airport, so did not want to leave a car at the airport. And if we could forego the $10 a day parking fee, all the better.

Immediately following his Lyft cyber-conversation, hub placed his phone on the kitchen counter so we could easily view the screen. Once assigned a car, the license plate, driver's name and picture are sent to the customer and the car's progress can be tracked online. The wonders of modern technology...

Our driver started at the airport, apparently dropping off passengers. A notice from Lyft announced his arrival at our house in 18 minutes. The car left the airport, then stopped for a few minutes, we guessed at Wawa - a local convenience store - for a cup of coffee and maybe a detour to the men's room. Not a problem, we had plenty of time.

The car returned to the road, slowly inching its way towards us. Less than two miles from our house the car made a wrong turn. We watched, mesmerized by the moving dot on the screen, waiting for the driver's GPS to redirect him.

Minutes passed. The car meandered up and down city streets, wandering further away from our house. Hub attempted to contact the driver, but the call went directly to voice mail.  The driver never called us. 

Over an hour after contacting Lyft, we gave up on the little dot on the phone screen. We were getting nervous and did not want to miss our flight.

Hub canceled the Lyft car. Time: 10:35 a.m. We drove our car to the airport and will unhappily pay $10 a day for the privilege of parking in the airport lot.

Parking is free in our driveway.

WIth no luggage to check - only personal carry-ons - and our printed-at-home boarding passes in hand, we strode directly to the security line. Only a few people ahead of us, minutes later I sent my belongings through the conveyor belt and entered the scanning machine.

I do not know why, but my body sets off alarms. The computer screen showed yellow blobs where something suspect might be lurking, in this case around my hips and pelvic areas. I was not wearing a belt, metal on my clothes, or jewelry - lessons learned on previous trips - but something triggered the machine. 

Security agents motioned me aside and I received a total TSA pat down. Arms, chest, abdomen, hip and pelvic area, between my legs, top to bottom, then hands swept for explosive residue. Finally I passed inspection, grabbed my stuff and hub and I quickly found our departure gate. 

Time: 11:40 a.m.

Arriving at the gate, the monitor indicated the plane leaving on time. We made it with just a few minutes to spare.

But appearances deceived. The gate monitor had not been updated. The plane was delayed...

We finally took off. Time: 12:30 p.m. 

Squished into seats in a Spirit plane about 90% full, I settled in with a book and my iPad. If I gain any weight in the next four days I will not be able to sit in a seat with my iPad on the table in front of me - there will be not be enough room for both me and my iPad. Space is extremely precious on a Spirit plane.

But the tickets were cheap. $90 round trip, Atlantic City to Ft. Lauderdale and back to Baltimore (visiting more family). 

Such are the joys of 21st century travel on the cheap.

5 comments:

  1. It sounds grueling but at least you didn't miss the plane! You might not have paid much in dollars, but the fare in hassles was pretty huge. :-)

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    1. You are right - haven't thought of it that way - the hassles are huge.

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  2. Tech is great when it works. Glad you made your connections. Crammed seating on planes is np pleasure for any distance.

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    1. Air travel is no fun, dealing with lines, security, delays, tight seats, but it is worth it when getting to your destination.

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  3. Wow. I'd have been wound tight after that. You ARE a seasoned flyer.

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