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    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    A Rotten Travel Night

    I have had some rotten travel experiences, but tonight is shaping up to be one of the more frustrating ones. As many may know a major storm system is forcing its way across the East Coast today, and this morning, it severely impacted Atlanta (my destination) and tonight it is killing the Northeastern states. As I sit here, my 8:10 flight to Atlanta from Newport News is now delayed to 11:02pm as we await the aircraft to leave Laguardia for PHF. Since it's not off the ground there yet, at 10:21pm, I'd say our chances of making it out of here by 11 are nil.

    Anyway, since it is highly unlikely I will hit Atlanta before the trains stop running (my car is parked in a remote MARTA lot 35 miles from the airport), and I am too cheap to pay $60 for a hotel room, ask my wife to spend 1.5hrs and $30 in gas to come get me, or to pay $50 for a cab ride to my car, I decided to look into sleeping at the Atlanta airport and taking the train at 5am when they start up again (by now, it's looking like I'll only have to kill 4 hrs til then, and hey, I've already been sitting on my butt here for 7 hours, what's 4 more!). So, if you're ever in this same predicament and are lucky enough to have Internet access, check out this web site, Sleeping in Airports. It's chock full of great hints and tips about how to make yourself comfy at an airport and provides lists of the best airports to crash in. Plus, now I know about a whole subculture of people who are too cheap to stay in hotels, and actually use airports as their vacation spots.

    Another great site for tracking flight status is Flightstats.com, which I recommend to use to find out early on whether your flight is hosed or not.

    See how this night ended after the jump...

    Well, the LGA-PHF flight landed about 11pm in Newport News and we had about the quickest turn around I have seen and were in the air to ATL by 11:40. Since I was arguing with my wife not to come get me at 2am at the Atlanta airport, we kind of departed on a sour note. I knew she didn't want to, but she felt compelled to. Personally, I could have slept the 3 or 4 hrs I needed to before the trains resumed at 5am, except....when we landed in Atlanta, you would have thought is was 5pm on Thanksgiving Eve with all the people in the airport, waiting to catch flights still, and in line to get their travel plans completed the next day. My plane was turning around and going back to PHF, the normal 12:15 arrival not due in there until 2:11 by the sign, but since we landed at 1:25, that was unlikely. Can you imagine, arriving in Newport News at about 3am??? Funny.

    Actually, now surveying the airport, there are lots of places for sleeping. A lot of people were taking advantage of the floors alongside the moving walkways between concourses, where it was less crowded, and there were plenty of plugs for laptops. They looked pretty comfy down there. In the concourse, no way. The place was crowded, people were mad, and there was going to be no sleeping there! Had my wife not decided to come get me, I would have headed over to the international terminal to attempt to find some comfy places. Much less crowded, usually, over there.

    So, despite getting hom eat 3:30, it was ok. Anytime you can return home from a trip safely, it's a successful one. 4 hrs of sleep and back to work!

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