Breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, dinner in New York. The movies make travel look effortless and occasionally glamorous. James Bond jets all over the world without a thought. I’m always amazed when his travel becomes the least complicated part of his adventure. My unplanned overnight stay in Dallas makes me question the believability of his travel.
After 10 days in Louisville, KY getting our call center ready to open, I was finally headed home last Friday. I’ve travelled a lot. (Five Percent Travel) Normally, I carry on all my luggage. It’s easier, it’s faster and it’s cheaper. Even for a a ten day trip, I can pack everything into a couple of carry on bags.
Friday I had to check a bag. I went to see the Louisville Slugger museum while I was in Kentucky. (That’s a Really Big Bat.) I purchased some souvenir bats. The airlines don’t allow you to take a bat of any size on a plane. I think this is a good rule. It does make me wonder how James Bond gets his cool weapons through security, but that’s another story.
I’ve been working the past week and a half with Jeremy, our desktop engineer from Richmond. He’s been in Louisville for a month and he flew home on Friday also. Jeremy believes in checking all his luggage. “This is all I travel with,” as he held up a Steelers jacket. He thought I was a little nuts to travel with even a computer bag.
Since I was going to check a bag anyway, I put as much into my checked bag as I could. Not only clothes, but toiletries, the bats, of course, also all the power cords for my laptop, iPad and cell phone. I figured I could manage the power usage on them enough to get me home.
I normal fly out late on Friday so that I can work most of the day. My flight from Louisville was scheduled to leave at 6:55 PM. I had a thirty minute layover in Dallas. I was scheduled to arrive at the Salt Lake airport just before midnight. It would be a long day.
And it didn’t go as expected. Something about some tires loaded as cargo might have made us too heavy. I’m a big fan of not crashing. And if the airline decides that we need to delay to avoid crashing, it’s not something I complain about. I went to sleep pretty much as soon as I got on the plane. I kept waking up over the next hour and a half as the flight attendants and the captain kept us updated on why we were not yet flying. Finally, they sort of gave up. They told us that we were all going to miss our connecting flights. They offered to put us in a hotel in either Louisville or in Dallas. Of course, they would rebook our flights.
My thought was that Dallas was half way home to Salt Lake. I might as well spend an uncomfortable night in Texas as in Kentucky. Access to our checked bags with clothes, toiletries and power cords, was absolutely out of the question. About a third of the passengers decided they’d spend another night in Kentucky. The benefit was that for the first time in a long time, the center seat was empty on our flight. Looking for small benefits.
It was not lost on us that Dallas is a city with confirmed cases of Ebola. The folks in my row were experienced travelers and we understood the risk was very low. But, the risk in Dallas was slightly higher than the risk in Salt Lake City, or Louisville, or pretty much anywhere else.
At the Dallas airport they offered us a $12 voucher for dinner, a $7 voucher for breakfast and a voucher for the Super 8 motel. . .who’s shuttle will be by in an hour to pick you up.
As we landed I turned my phone on and in addition to a voicemail letting me know one of my kids had emergency surgery, I had a voicemail from American Airlines that I was automatically rebooked on a Saturday morning flight leaving at 9:55. All the restaurants in the Dallas airport were closed by the time we landed. So, the four of us who were getting a forced one night vacation piled into a slightly older minivan with a motel sticker plastered to it and headed for the Super 8.
The hotel was as lovely as you would imagine. But, it had a bed and a TV. And that was really all we needed. And it had a shuttle back to the airport at 7:00 AM. Sure, I didn’t have to be there until nearly ten, but I figured I’d use the unused meal vouchers from the night before and have a nice breakfast.
My 9:55 AM flight ended up being delayed. This time no one even knew why. The captain came on the PA as we were sitting at the gate.
This is your captain speaking, we are ready to push back from the gate. We are waiting on the ground crew to tell us what the delay is about. We are ready to go. As we find out more information I’ll keep you updated.
Never did figure it out. At least they didn’t tell us why. We finally pushed back twenty-five minutes late.
Leaving Dallas as 10:20 gets me into Salt Lake around 12:05 PM, about twelve hours later than my original arrival time and about twenty four hours after starting my trip on Friday. I thought, “I’ve never seen this in a James Bond movie.” It doesn’t take an international man of intrigue nearly 24 hours to move 2000 miles across a single country. But, then I realized in at least one aspect, my trip did mirror life on the silver screen. I went to TGI Fridays for breakfast. Traveling by myself I did what I normally do and sat at the bar.
I ordered orange juice and a ham and bacon omelet. It was excellent. However, in the hour I sat and ate my eggs and bacon, I watched at least a half dozen guys order everything from Bloody Marys, to beer to hard drinks. Who drinks a vodka and orange juice Screwdriver for breakfast?
International spies, that’s who.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children, one and soon to be two one grandchildren.