23 Hours on the Road

Dan Spain (2006)

After breakfast in the hotel, I met up with Nancy who would be on the same flight to Boston as me. At 10:30am (Madrid time) we were driven to the airport, where I checked my bags in through LA, and only at the gate did I notice that my seat – which I had reserved (and confirmed!) at 9L (window seat) was now 22G (middle seat). Hmm. According to the lady at the counter, the flight was full, and nothing could change. Urgh. When on board, I saw that it wasn’t terrible – I was on an emergency row, so I had a bulkhead in front of me and some legroom. But then people started changing seats. The man to my right switched so he could be with his wife and son (further up), and in his place a mom (who was crying) with infant (who was not crying) took his place. I was then informed that they would be attaching a crib to the bulkhead, effectively putting the infant in my lap. Not good. I asked why she (the mom) was upset, and was told that she was now separated from her husband. Well, that’s not right! So I asked where her husband was – and he was on an aisle seat, a few rows up in the next section. Doing the proper thing, I switched with him – which reunited the upset mother with her husband, and got me a better seat. Everyone wins!

The flight took off on time (1:45pm) and was itself uneventful; I spent most of the 8 hours reading and listening to music. After landing in Boston (and saying goodbye to Nancy who was staying an extra day), I went through passport control, got my bags, went through customs, and then sent my bags off to my American Airlines flight to get to Los Angeles. It was now 4pm (Eastern), and I had been on the go for 11.5 hours. My next flight wasn’t due to leave until 7:15pm, so I had plenty of time – which allowed me to meet up with mom and grandma for dinner! We went over to the Airport Hilton and had a nice bite, and I got to talk a bit about my trip – even showing them photos on my laptop. It was a nice break in the middle of all the traveling.

The next flight started off miserably. I was in the seat I picked (yay), but it was a full flight – and right behind me was a screaming baby. That in itself wasn’t bad (I have headphones), but unfortunately she was in a carseat thing that put her closer to my chair – and she’s a kicker. Her father was traveling alone with her older brother (3 years old) so he had his hands full. He didn’t really do much to try to calm her down or prevent her from kicking my chair, which was quite annoying. After the first hour, she finally went to bed, which was a blessing, and I finally got to enjoy the next 4 hours of the flight. Then she woke up again.

We landed at 9:45pm, a bit earlier than planned. By the time I got my luggage, and took a SuperShuttle shared van ride home, I got in about 11:30pm. It was about 23 hours of travel (or maybe 22, I’m not entirely sure), and I’m wiped. Tomorrow is my “day off” – not going to do any actual work, but will rather go through the dozens of emails and do laundry, before going to an awards ceremony I have in the evening. The fun never ends!