The journey to visit Godot.... Er... Dublin

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/11/17 12:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/11/17/493945.aspx


(Note: If you are uninterested in the journeys of me, then you will almost certainly want to skip this post)

About the title -- I was tempted to make the title " The way to Emmaus.... Er... Dublin" but I was not sure who would get the reference, and of those I was not sure who would feel insulted. This seemed safer and I knew there were at least 3 of my 14 semi-regular readers who would get the Godot reference, and I cannot think of anyone outside of Continental employees who might feel insulted by that reference (and I figured the ones who would be insulted would probably not be reading my blog anyway!).

It is hard to believe that I am now sitting in the Great Southern Hotel at Dublin Airport. But it is true, I finally am. It is perhaps important for me to explain why I was worried that this may not happen.

My morning started a little before 2:00am. In the morning. But that is not unprecedented, sleep seem to be an optional accessory some days. Probably just as well since I knew I had to be up early for my flight anyway. It was definitely not  day to sleep in.

It was good that I was up, for had I been asleep I would have missed the chance to get an email that would help me lose a little sleep. Nothing important, just new information about a bug that completely alters the plans for fixing it. A topic for another day, I am sure!

So I thought about the bug for a while and was looking at some other bugs. I had a few fixes to check in but it is probably weird to check in bug fixes and then jump on a plane (not implying I could actually jump, but you get the point). No problem, they could probably wait till I am back anyway. Or at least until some time this week when I am on mail.

Then at 3:30am I repacked. I had packed before I went to bed but I realized I wanted something different for the luggage. I was going to be in economy and an upgrade was unlikely, so better to check as bag since the luggage situation I always feel pretty bad in pre-boarding. Like others deserve a chance, too.

So I work some more and then before you know it, the clock says 5:30am. So I get in the shower, get dressed, and put my bags on the big scooter to head to the garage. By 6:05m I am on the road, and by 6:40am I am on the road.

With the scooter, I always take the short line (the one time I did not, a lady from TSA yelled at me a bit). People get to realize that traveling with me is a mixed blessing (it is faster than the long line but they have to wait for me while I am patted down -- so the end of the line takes more time).

Anyway, I am wearing my Kathleen Edwards shirt (a little psychic boost, I won't wear it to the show since I don't want to wear the shirt of the band I a am seeing -- I am not that guy. And some people even looked at the shirt and asked me about her on the way to Dublin. Which was fun. I love to talk about music I like to the un-initiated.

But I am getting ahead of myself, since I am not on the plane to Dublin yet. I am trying to upgrade while trying to get to Newark. It did not work, I was still in coach. Though I was moved to 10F rather than something with a good view of the tail of the plane.

Anyway, the plane was late to leave the gate, like 20 minutes late. And then late to takeoff -- like 50 minutes late. Finally by 20 minutes to ten we were on our way.

I was not too worried with a 4 hour layover in New Jersey. Perhaps I should have been a little worried though....

The reason for the delay was "weather in Newark" which should have tipped me off.

Anyway, we flew across the country and I saw many movies  -- Rebound and Elf and The Island.

How did I see three movies on a flight from Seattle to Newark? Easy -- because we got there by way of Boston.

You see, as we approached Newark ATC warned us off of Newark and although images of the Angel Maintenance episode flashed through my head, Continental 737s cannot  refuel in midair. So the plan was to land in Boston, refuel., and then fly to Boston. We would be in by 6:00pm and I would still have over two hours for my flight.

The lead flight attendant was on the PA a lot; I think he was lonely. He was doing helpful stuff like telling us we could get off the plane in Boston if we wanted, maybe even pick up a flight there if there was one. Then he was on a few minutes later to tell us we may not even go to the gate. Sigh.

No problem, we would still be in on time. Except we  spent a long time on the ground in Boston, too. Damn.

Finally we are in the air and on our way to Newark. We make it in at 7:35. Hmmm. Well, maybe if we are in the same concourse, I can make it.

But no, we are on sitting on the ground. For 15 minutes. We would go forward a bit, and then stop. I am talking nervously to the person sitting next to me, the woman who was very unhappy to be sitting in the middle seat. Well, I would have been too if the overweight man had been sitting on my left. But I gave her the armrest to try to make up for it. And by now she had forgiven me enough to commiserate with me about the flight I was going to miss. She even tried to convince me I would make the flight. Well, at least until it was 7:50 before we got there, and everyone was slow to get off the plane, and it was 8:04 before the scooter was brought up.
But miracle of miracles, I made it out and the gate was just down the way was the Dublin flight. At 8:08 I was at the gate and the lady in the Continental outfit asked me if I was Michael Kaplan. I smiled and aid yes and she told me to get on board. And by 8:09 and 30 seconds I was in my seat (I love planeside check in for the scooter!).

The plane did not take off at 8:05pm.

Or 8:10.

Or 8:20.

Or 8:40.

Or even at 9:00pm.

A mechanic was walking past us and I speculated with the lady and her friend across the aisle about what it means that he was smiling. Was he happy that he had solved the problem? Or glad that he would be busy for hours fixing the plane? Elated at the opportunity to help us? Or had someone told him a funny joke? None of us could read the signs -- I was going to say it was just pragmatic info that we did not have, but I did not, for two reasons:

Anyway, I hope it was a freaking hilarious joke. Soon after we were told that the door would not close. We would have to deplane.

Ok, I waited for the scooter to come back up, and then rode back out to the gate's waiting area.

By 9:15 I was holding a meal coupon. We would have to come back to find out if it was a hotel for the night or a late flight to Dublin.

Ok, I ate some food (only two places open) and by 9:45 we were told they were trying to get a plane in the hanger released. We could be in the air by 11:30pm!

Ok, by 10:30 they announced a new gate, and by 10:45 I was working to get a seat on the plane. For some reason the computer would not recognize me as a passenger, so I had no seat.

It turns out my ticket had been cancelled and I was booked on a Newark-Paris-Dublin flight. Which made me wonder why they let me on the 8:10pm flight.

No worries, said Danny. I'll fix it. But the system had outfoxed him -- he could not put someone new on the flight without an empty oversold list and thus he could not get me on -- even though I was technically on the same oversold list. Several phone calls, and finally he had an idea (or one of the people he talked to suggested one).

I was busy talking with the group of Irish people near the desk -- did I mention that I love that accent? :-)

Anyway, the idea -- he would put me in the one of the last remaining first class seat being held for revenue, and then downgrade me to one of the coach seats, and then try to downgrade me. There were three possible outcomes:

I think I managed to say with a straight face that I would try to buck up and deal with the agony. I told him I even had enough miles for the upgrade, which made him smile.

I may never know if he actually only half-way succeeded or he was just being a nice guy but he handed me as business class seat.

I did not know how nice until I landed and someone at the Dublin ticket counter told me (when I asked if I had enough miles for the business class waitlist on the way home) that no miles had been taken out of my account for the flight. Apparently my gesture convince him I was not trying to take advantage.

I was just happy I had thanked him warmly. :-)

Anyway, by time everyone was on the plane, our 11:30pm flight left more on time than any other flight that day for me - at 12:30am.

I saw some more movies including The Perfect Man which I liked a lot (and I sometimes agree with the notion that 'love is friedndship on fire'). It was not only great to see Chris Noth but it was also great to see Heather Locklear.

I think I'll get ready to head out to the show soon -- more on that later....


# aidan_walsh on 17 Nov 2005 12:56 PM:

Failte, Mick! =)

# Ben Bryant on 17 Nov 2005 1:43 PM:

Ain't it great to be alive! Travel is like work, but work pays off.

# Tim Smith on 17 Nov 2005 5:22 PM:

You've got to drop by BioWare. The lady in charge of localization is Irish.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 18 Nov 2005 6:03 AM:

Tim -- I can just imagine dropping by to see the head of loalization and asking her to talk to me. When she asks what I want to hear I say 'anything, it is the voice I am looking for.' :-)

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