On AmericaBlog, John A. rants about an American Airlines flight from DC to Chicago that took 6 hours, but I had a similar experience yesterday. First, I could only get a two-leg return flight for the price I was seeking, and it involved starting out on US Air and then switching (back) to United (which I'd flown originally a week ago). Although my top choice for flying between Chicago and Newark is Continental, they've been keeping their prices pretty high, and my fallback, ATA, is barely airborne these days, since they went bankrupt a year ago. So United/US Air it was.
At any rate, my flight that usually takes 2 hours took 6, with the added bonus of a long layover in...Pittsburgh! Not that I have anything against the Steel City, mind you. But when I arrived in Pittsburgh I didn't see my flight posted, because it was the first leg of a Pittsburgh to Oakland flight, and the US Air check-in attendant didn't seem to know this. She pointed me towards the flight monitors, which I'd already looked at, so I went and started asking other check-in attendents until I found one who could figure out which flight I was on. I got to the gate and, lo and behold, because of "weather conditions" and prior delays in Chicago, my flight was delayed, first by thirty minutes, then by a hour, then.... Since I'd been led to believe that the weather conditions in Chicago were horrible, I was surprised to find that when the plane landed, it was sunny, over 50 degrees here, and not especially windy. Today it's freezing and there was almost the hint of a snowfall at one point in the afternoon, but yesterday, it was so pleasant outside I thought I was in Atlanta. Anyways, here are some photos from the flightmare.
The bearer of the bad news.
One of several soulless, drab food court areas in the Pittsburgh airport that actually had a free wireless signal (at Newark Liberty it's $6.95, while O'Horror, I mean, O'Hare doesn't have wireless at all--paging Mayor Daley....)
Across from where I was sitting stood this ice cream stand. The sister behind the counter didn't look too happy.
Getting off the plane in Chicago. It was packed, as always, and so it took forever. Sometimes I think someone just lies down in the aisle for about 10 minutes just to ensure that you can't disembark too quickly. This time, at least, no one slung a lead or anvil-filled carry-on bag perilously close to my forehead.
Purgatory, or the walkway.
A reflection in the O'Hare ceiling art, a bad pseudo-Dan Flavinesque thing that hovers above as you stumble in a daze from one concourse to another. Fortunately I was stumbling out of the place altogether.
Driving back to Chicago, via Touhy (the magical street to the airport!), sandwiched between two SUVs. Who says gas is (too) high in the Midwest, or that people in the Heartland are more practical that folks on the coast?