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Yeah, We Did It Again

Thursday 22 April 2010

Yeah, we flew through SFO again.

Well, almost. On the way up, it was again drizzling at SFO (“we have serious weather!” gnarled the gate agent). We got there just in time to find out that we wouldn’t make our connection through SLC (Delta, cheap tickets bought months before), so we would be stuck in SLC overnight. Fortunately, Delta’s customer service is actually polite and helpful (and seemingly not outsourced, as some *cough*United*cough* are). So we got a replacement flight.

The next day.

Saturday.

At 6AM <thud>

But at least it was out of SJC, which is a much easier airport to take a cab to, but not to take public transit to. VTA‘s light rail is a joke if you’re going anywhere other than a couple of major employers near 101–oh, wait, it’s a joke if you’re trying to go there, too. Caltrain doesn’t run that early on weekends.

Anyway, so, we get back on the AirTrain (little people-mover that runs around SFO), then BART, stopping in San Bruno as part of BART’s “We Hate Caltrain” special service, then Caltrain. Then up at 4AM to get to SJC by 5AM (pointless to get there earlier, kind of like MFR1 in that respect).

Delta is okay for these flights, at least it was this time, although the path at SLC  from the actual aircraft to a real, enclosed building with heat and doors that close against the cold could be used in the next Olympics for a 5k run. The aircraft are CRJs, which are fine for the first hour and then get really, really cramped (seat width is 17.5″, which is actually half an inch more than a typical 737, a frightening realization). SLC is not a good airport to layover at; there’s only one half-decent restaurant inside security, and it’s a bar, so they have sports on various TVs and thump-thump music at all hours. But there is a Krispy Kreme outlet inside security, and that’s not half-bad. And wide-spread free WiFi service, so that’s nice.

Coming back we had our original flights, through SLC again and into SFO. On the downside, again through SLC, again on CRJs, and much more crowded in the terminal at 5PM than at 9AM.

The airlines are getting looser with their scheduling. Schedules are being padded even more so that a late departure or arrival doesn’t show up as a late flight on their records. Apologists will say that this more correctly reflects the realities of modern air travel, but it just covers the flaws in the system like a layer of thick foundation on an aging starlet. So now you sit in the airplane waiting for your gate when you arrive early, except that would have been on-time before. Fun fun.

And yes, we did arrive at SFO early (the old on-time) and caught BART (no penalty stop on weekends) and Caltrain. And then we caught up on a lot of TV (but that’s a story for another post).

1By the way, “Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport”? What’s up with that? Is “Medford” left in so people don’t get confused about where it is? What was wrong with “Medford Airport” or even “Medford International Airport”? I disagree with the “International” moniker; there are no international flights (not even Canada), and there is no Customs facility, so why?

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