Tag: planes

Don’t even leave the airport

Friday, May 23rd, 2008 | All Things, Travel

Memorial Day weekend: the unofficial kick-off of summer! Though I usually try to avoid airports (and the L.I.E.) at this time, the Sasquatch beckoned, sending me to join the ranks of the estimated 4.35 million Americans traveling by plane over the long holiday weekend, thereby substantially increasing my carbon footprint. (I’ll have the chance to plant flowers for my block association on Tuesday to atone.)

I read about DelayCast — a new site which has built mathematical models of the U.S. air transportation system to predict on-time and cancellation probabilities — in The Times last month. Earlier today, I plugged in my arrival and departure airports, one hour flight time window and airline; DelayCast predicted a 44% chance of leaving as scheduled. That did not bode well. And when I arrived at JFK after a 90-minute traffic-clogged ride from my apartment, I discovered that holiday congestion is not limited to the Van Wyck or to TSA security checkpoints.

Yes, that’s the queue of planes waiting for take-off.

We ended up hitting the skies two hours after the official departure time. In what has become industry standard, passengers sat through the entire cross-country trip without an in-flight meal. I did have the opportunity to buy an $8 sandwich. (I passed — perhaps for the best.) The nickel and dime-ing didn’t end there: headsets were offered for $2, and could be used to watch the basic cable satellite broadcast, but premium HBO programming ran extra: $6 for feature length films (like La Vie En Rose), somewhat less for HBO show episodes and comedy specials. I could have relived Bob Saget’s “That Ain’t Right” (which we saw taped at Skirball last year) for another $2.

Well, at least I was able to check my one bag for free. And though I probably could have settled in for the beef jerky episode of “Good Eats,” I found “Deal or No Deal ” was actually improved on mute.

Tomorrow, or rather: in a few hours — The Gorge in George!

Tags: , , ,

There are 2 comments