Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

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For Those Who Say Nobody Uses Public Transit

I caught the 3:33 Capital train out of Centerville without incident for the short trip up to Oakland Coliseum, where I did the hike over to Coliseum BART. (The straight-line distance is maybe 100 meters, but you have to climb up the long ramp to the overpass, because trying to cross the street there is madness.) As I trudged along, I caught sight of the queue for the AirBART bus that connects the station to Oakland Airport. It stretched clear down the block to the corner. There must have been over a hundred people in line. I started to worry that I might not make it to the airport in time, even though it was still two hours until my flight.

I bought a $2 BART ticket and joined the queue. Fortunately, buses were appearing every five minutes or so. Looks like whoever managed AirBART actually realized that they needed more capacity and quickly. They had pressed into service some airport parking shuttles, which aren't ideal for this service because they don't have a front door, meaning the driver has to come back and take fares by hand, but it's better than stranding people at the BART station.

After around twenty minutes, I was able to squeeze into a bus, and shortly thereafter I was at the airport. Then I remembered that I'd forgotten to do online check-in, so I had to get in the regular check-in line for Alaska Airlines, rather than the short "web bag drop" line. I saw plenty of open self check-in stations, and nobody using them. I asked the eight or ten people ahead of me, "Do any of you plan to use the check-in stations there that are open?" and when they all said no, I asked if I could go ahead of them and use one, which they allowed as I could and let me go.

I expected a huge line for security, but they had four people checking boarding passes and all of the security lines open, with the result being that I had almost no wait at all. I made it out to my gate with plenty of time to wait. The airport was very crowded, of course, but I was able to find a place to sit down and read for a while before the plane arrived.

Because I'd put off making my travel plans, I'd had to buy a first-class ticket, which fortunately was only expensive, not impossibly expensive. You don't get much extra in first class on such a short flight other than early boarding and a bigger seat, but it was still nice enough. We were slightly delayed because it took so long to load all of the luggage people were bringing, but otherwise it was an uneventful flight to Portland. After claiming my bag, I hopped onto light rail and rode over to Parkrose/Sumner, where Lisa was waiting for me. An advantage of traveling on a later flight than usual was that traffic wasn't so bad, and we got out of Portland and headed south, after stopping for dinner at the T/A truckstop (because they have pinball machines we like to play).
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