Saturday, February 13, 2010
Changing Planes on the Way to... There's an old story that if you're headed for hell you're going to have to change planes in Atlanta. True, except when its snowing. When that happens you can't get there from here. Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport claims to be the "world's busiest" and, in the main, it seems a remarkably well run place. Vast, imposing, but well planned and operated, that is until the rare inch or two of snow arrives in north Georgia. Apparently snow was on the ground in 49 states on Friday. Only Hawaii was the holdout, but unfortunately I wasn't headed in that direction. A little bit of the white stuff, about the amount that would barely freshen up a ski slope in the northwest, virtually shut down ATL on Friday. Sitting around considering your fate during a "weather delay" provides LOTS of time to consider the human condition. Mostly that condition can be humorous, even amid a thousand cancelled flights. OK, so you have to look for the humor. A Scotsman in the bar, awaiting his flight to Amsterdam and on to Glasgow - my guess, he's still waiting - asked a young woman on a nearby stool if anyone had ever told her she looked like the actress Salma Hayak. She wisely didn't respond. She also didn't look like Salma Hayak. During a stop at one of those typical airport shops - one of those places that carries watches, jewelry, etc. - a woman enters talking on her cell: "I've found something cheap," she says, "I think this is what I'm looking for - cheap." The salesperson glances over a with a smile and mouths under her breath, "cheap, not in this place." I've long ago quit checking luggage on any flight. I'm a straight on, carry on kind of guy. I figure given all the things that can - and often do - go wrong with air travel, why not eliminate at least one complication. I never check. The folks who did check on Friday wished they hadn't. One guy sees my rolling bag and asks how I'd managed to retrieve it in and around all the delayed and cancelled flights. He looked absolutely envious when I told him. Maybe I should have offered him a clean pair of socks. I saw most of the world in Atlanta on Friday. Most folks were pretty well mannered, a little stressed, tired and confused, but rolling with the travel punches. There was lots to see in Atlanta on Friday, but no Salma Hayak sitings - darn. Bet she doesn't check either.