Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Lots of Airport Time

I flew back from Chicago (ORD) to San Francisco today, on a fully-packed 777. The system offered me an Economy Plus upgrade for only $39, which I almost took, but the only seats were middles (2-5-2 seating), so I elected to stay with my left-2-aisle seat in the back of the plane.

When the flight got to the gate, I noticed that we'd arrived at the International Terminal, gate 100. That's because the inbound equipment formed the United flight to London that left a couple hours later. We had to walk to the domestic terminal to claim bags. Not being in a particular hurry, I moved out of the way of the woman in the window seat next to me while I dealt with getting my briefcase and backpack together. I strolled over to the domestic terminal, taking in the view of parts of SFO I'd never seen before. I didn't know, for instance, that there's an air-side walkway between the United domestic gates and the G concourse of the International terminal.

Anyway, my bag was coming off the belt as I got there, and I went out to the curb. As I waited for the shuttle bus, I tried to pull out the book I'd been reading, only the discover that it wasn't there -- I'd left it in my seat in the airplane, having left it in the seat-back pocket when I gave way to let the more impatient people stand up and queue to get off the plane ahead of me.

I went back in to the domestic terminal and up to the ticket counter. One of the agents called down to Gate 100, and after about ten minutes, called them again. They found my book, but I had to come get it myself. That was okay with me, but how was I supposed to get air-side again? The counter agent printed me a document I'd never seen before -- a gate authorization. It's sort of like a platform ticket for an airport, allowing you access air-side without any travel authority.

But now there was a new problem; I'd claimed my checked bag, and I certainly couldn't take it through Security. The counter agent said I could leave it with her. I wish I could have left my briefcase and backpack as well, because carrying two laptop computers (one in each bag) slows me down at Terrorization. Anyway, I trooped down to Security and trudged through the line for the third time today (counting once at ORD). Once air-side, I headed down to Gate 100, where the flight to London was boarding. I saw my book on the desk, walked up, pointed at it, and said, "That's mine; I'm the person they called you about." One of the gate agents handed it to me, and I went back to the domestic terminal. There, the desk agent gave my my bag back and apologized for the hassle. I thanked her and said that I was the one who was thankful and that I knew I'd inconvenienced them as well, and was grateful for their help.

It took me longer to go through Terrorization than it did to walk to Gate 100 and back. I suppose the walk slightly makes up for having not had much other exercise today and being cramped up inside the 777.

I got home about 8:30 -- 10:30 PM CDT. A long day. And tomorrow I have to be up early and get work done from home before heading off a little after lunch to fly to Oregon, where I'll be all of next week.

Oh, and I'm still very sore from playing Whirlyball. It may take me several days to recover.
Tags: airlines, travel

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