I just got back from a quick trip to Florida, as many of you already know. I’m guessing you expect me to blast the airlines for something/everything, but I’m not going to do that. When I fly, especially when I fly alone, I have plenty of time to think (DANGER!!DANGER!!). When I thought of the prices for flights, rather than thinking they were expensive, I thought they were cheap. Here’s the scenario. It’s likeÂ going up to a person and saying “I’ll give you $197 to take me to Florida and bring me back. I’ll drive to your place, we can go whenever you want, and I’ll have someone pick me up at your place when we get there. I need to come back on Monday, but I’d be happy to drive to your place and leave, again, whenever you want. And, by the way, I hope you can carry my bag for me ‘cuz I don’t want the bother”. What do you think that person would say?
I made the arrangements at the last minute, so I looked around for the least expensive flights. I got a flight out of Flint Bishop Airport for $100 less than Grand Rapids, Lansing or Kalamazoo. The drive is an hour and 45 minutes, door to door and the airport is on this side of Flint, so you don’t have to fight traffic at all. The overnight parking is $5 a day which is cheaper than Grand Rapids (I don’t know about Lansing or Kalamazoo). The airport buildings are quite new, fairly small, and easy to get through.
The only problem I had on the way down was passenger related. I went through security with only two or three other people in line. As is fairly common, I stepped in line behind a woman with three bags of stuff (you’re only supposed to have one plus your purse). She put them all down and rifled through one to find her picture ID. Out came three or four candy bars (Ghirardelli) and a couple of small bags of candy. Most people would have told me to go on by while they repacked their mess, but not her.
We got to the next station and she took three tubs to put all her junk in. One of the TSA people asked her if one of the bags was a C-Pap machine and she said yes. The attendant told her the motor had to be out of the bag, so she unzipped the top and pulled the motor out along with five or six more candy bars. It took her a while to stuff them all back in the bag and we were on our way. At the other end it took her a while to gather all that crap together while I, again, stood and waited for my things. We went on through and, since ours was the only flight taking off, she was in the same waiting area. When she got there, she took off her coat and sweater. She was around 50 years old, and was wearing a pair of black stretch pants. You can probably guess that, with that many candy bars in her bags, she should not have been wearing stretch pants…that’s all I’ll say about that.
The weather was great in Florida and Mom, Bob and I had a good time doing family things. I’ve been having a plantar fasciitis problem with my left foot lately. It may surprise you to know that I didn’t take any of my running clothes down there so I could give the foot a rest. It also may not surprise you that I went for a couple of long walks which is just as bad for a plantar problem as running. I’ll plan to run tomorrow in the Thanksgiving Day Trilander outing, but that willÂ probablyÂ be it until the end of the year. We’ll see.
So, back to the travel.Â My flights back up were fairly uneventful. The woman next to me from Tampa to Atlanta fell asleep and dropped her magazine four times on the floor. Her son picked it up each time and confiscated it the last time so she wouldn’t drop it again. I’d say it slipped off her lap, but with her build, she didn’t have a lap.
The girl next to me on the flight from Atlanta to Flint looked 15, but was probably 25 and was flying up to see her boyfriend. She had never been to Michigan and hadn’t been in snow. She was wearing a light, tight sleeveless top and a light sweater which she took off during the flight.Â She was a little nervous so she talked quite a bit. She was very short, less than five feet tall but, and I’m trying to be delicate here, was very, very well endowed. When I looked at her to talk, I really tried to keep my eyes focused on her face, but it wasn’t to be.
At the Flint airport, I went to baggage claim and waited there for my checked bag. After about half the bags had come through, I saw it coming and was relieved. Just then aÂ guy picked it off the belt and started walking out with his family. He was a guy about my age and was with his wife (I assume) and a young couple in their earlyÂ thirties. I started to follow after them, trying to see if it was mine. I had just about caught up with them to ask if he was sure it was his bagÂ when anotherÂ that looked just like it came out from the back onto the belt. I turned around thinking that the guy had picked up his own bag since mine had my name on the airline tag and he looked like he could read. Not so!! The other bag wasn’t mine and it was the only bag not claimed.
I was kicking myself for not chasing the guy down but, by then, he was long gone. Come to find out, it was the young couple’s bag, and the airline baggage tag was covering my name tag, so they never saw it. When they got to Midland they realized it wasn’t theirs and, eventually took it back to the airport. The bag was delivered to me yesterday safe and sound. I have learned to not put anything in a checked bag that you couldn’t stand to lose.
So the only problems I had with the flights were passenger related, not the airlines.
Just (Happy To Be Home In The Crappy Weather) JackÂ