Posts Tagged ‘US Airways’

20th April
2010
written by Sean Noble

I travel a lot. I fly red eyes, morning flights, afternoon flights, morning flights followed (what feels like immediately) by red-eyes… you name it.

I actually fly enough that I get a free Club membership with US Airways.

So I decided that I’d analyze toilet paper at airports (yes, this idea was likely after one of my morning flight/red-eye combos). My preliminary findings (stay tuned for updates) conclude that the worst toilet paper on the planet is in the Philadelphia Airport. New York’s LaGuardia isn’t much better. The best toilet paper when you are on the road is the US Airways Club in Charlotte, NC. Trust me, I’m expert on this stuff.

But nothing holds a candle to the 3-ply (that’s right, 3-ply) toilet paper I found at CVS Pharmacy on 14th Street in Washington, D.C. I did a triple take (no pun intended) when I saw it, and even though I wasn’t in need of toilet paper, I had to get it, and I’m tempted to carry a roll with me in my carry-on.

Wow, was it worth it. Wiping will never be the same again. And neither will the way you look at me, surely.

11th April
2009
written by Sean Noble

Some times in life you have a day or two when nearly nothing goes right.  Good Friday was anything but for me.

It actually started Thursday.  I had a very busy morning and then headed to the airport to catch a flight to St. Louis to monitor a focus group that night.  As I’m going into the security line and reaching for my wallet I realize that my pocket is empty.  I had left my wallet on my desk at home.

Now if I were a normal traveler, this wouldn’t have been a crisis, since it would have been 90 minutes before the flight and a loving wife who would have had plenty of time to grab the wallet and drive it down to the airport.  But I’m not normal, and it was exactly 28 minutes before departure.  I was in a bind.

I remembered, out of sheer divine intervention, that I had my old driver’s license (from my previous address) in the console in my car. So I hit the elevator, got back to the 7th level of the parking garage and grabbed the license.  Crisis averted, I got through security and on the plane.

However, still a problem.  No cash, no credit cards.  I made a quick call to a colleague I was meeting in St. Louis (he was in Atlanta on a lay-over) and told him that he would need to cover the hotel and rental car, and if he were feeling generous, feed me.  As expected, he was more than happy to help.

The flight was fine, and other than rain and terrible traffic in St. Louis, the evening was a huge success.

Friday morning I got up, took a quick shower and returned the rental car.  That’s when everything went south.  I pulled into the return lane, and sat their patiently waiting for an attendant to check it in and print out a receipt.  No one in sight.  I start walking around, noticed a shuttle bus at the curb and made a bee-line to get there.  Of course, it pulls away with me eating exhaust flailing my arms trying to get him to stop.  All that was accomplished was me pulling a muscle in my shoulder from swinging my computer bag.

And then I wait. And wait. And wait.  I figure I probably could have walked to the airport faster than it took the next shuttle to show up.  It finally came, and of course stopped at every other possible stop at the airport before getting to my stop.

I ran through security and sprinted to the gate – which was, you guessed it, the furthest gate from security.  And, of course, the door had closed a couple minutes before and the jet-way was just pulling back from the airplane.  

This was at 7:30 a.m. central time, and the next flight wasn’t until 2:30 p.m.  So there I am at the airport with no wallet and a seven hour wait.  There is no US Airways Club in St. Louis, and no United Club, another disappointment.

I was starving.  I had $40 (thanks to my colleague) but that was to pay for parking when I got back to Phoenix, and now with the delay, that would be cutting it close.

Seven hours later, we start the boarding process, and just as I’m about to give the gate agent my boarding pass, they evacuate the plane.  Apparently, something spilled in the cargo hold.  30 minutes later they start the boarding process again, and then we wait on the plane for nearly an hour before taking off.

As soon as we hit 10,000 feet I reach for my iPod to watch a couple episodes of “Mad Men” (my escape when I travel) and realize I don’t have my headphones.  I flip open my laptop to get some work done, and realize that it hadn’t turned off when I had put it in my bag earlier, and it’s down to 20 minutes.  I work on it until it is about to die, and put it away and grab a book, a National Review and read.

We land in Phoenix and by this time I’m actually lightheaded from lack of food.  I get to my car, pull out of the spot and I’m turning left at the aisle and have a fender-bender with a TSA vehicle.  The damage to his truck consists of the front license plate being knocked off, and to my car, a small wrinkle on my front left wheel well.  No biggie, no one hurt, but because it’s TSA, it’s a federal case, and the paperwork starts to fly. 

Forty-five minutes later, as the TSA agent and his partner are filling out countless reports in triplicate, and the Phoenix police officer keeps saying that it can’t possibly take this much effort to deal with such a minor incident, I finally get to leave. I apologize to the TSA agent for making him get writer’s cramp and head toward the exit of the parking garage, praying that my $40 is going to get me out.

I put my parking stub in the machine, and, sure enough, $50 flashes on the screen.  I explain to the guy in the booth that I didn’t have my wallet and I only had $40.  He agreed to bill me for the rest, which took another 10 minutes of paperwork, while a line of cars behind me are honking and cursing me.

As I’m about to pull out, the parking guy points to my rear tire and says, “That looks low.”  Sure enough, it was nearly flat.

I was able to get to a gas station, and miraculously, I had 75 cents AND the air actually worked!  I’ve never been so happy to hear an air compressor start up. So after a missed flight, a seven hour wait with no Club, no food, an evacuation, another delay, no computer, no iPod, an accident with a federal agent, not enough money for parking and a near-flat tire, I was finally on my way. 

It was Friday evening, and that was good.  But it wasn’t a Good Friday.