Today I journeyed to Columbus and caught a United flight to Chicago to make a connection to Fairbanks, AK. The trip went well, with my son driving for an hour and a half, stopping briefly at McDonald's for a combo meal before entering the airport security system and over-priced food.
Now, the merits of doing this can be debated, but I had skimped on breakfast and this would assure that I didn't have to get in line when running short on time in the terminals.
As it was, I could have used the half an hour when we got in line for baggage check. The line was more than 50 people long and was moving at a snails pace. I spent an hour in line, when I had only 90 minutes before flight time. By the time I had gotten through security, it was flight time...except that United had delayed the departure by a half an hour. That grace period was just enough for me to catch my flight.
Arriving early by 2 hours is recommended, but since the plane coming in from Chicago wasn't there
yet, it would have done me no good. As it was, we departed 55 minutes late, and I had about a half an hour layover in Chicago, which worked out fine.
I sat next to three young men who were all semi-military, and I noted a lot of such military soldiers moving through the airport. My first seat mate was a soldier stationed in Brussels, who had come home to deal with a family situation. He was from an Amish country near Ada, Ohio. He had spent a year in Turkey on anti-terrorism efforts, and then got to switched to dispatch for military police. He was completing an associates degree in History, and was thinking of more Public Safety/Law enforcement studies.
The second young man is going home to Fairbanks for a visit, after a tour of Afghanistan. He was
6 foot 5 and sitting in the exit row. After his service, he will enter a basketball program. His family had moved to Fairbanks when he was in sixth grade through graduation, and he didn't like it...but now stationed in Fort Legume, he misses Alaska more than he realized: Low Humidity!
The third young man repairs and works with satellite antennae for NASA, and is on his first field assignment to Alaska. He doesn't know what to expect, but says he can fix anything. He says the types of antennae he works on are like those in the movie Contact. He's never been to Green Bank, WV to see our radio telescopes, but it's the same concept. He has a GPS and reports he reads we're traveling at 500 mph, at 35,000 feet, but he can't get a wifi signal, so he's watching Japanimation on his laptop. Every so often, he turns and holds his I-phone to the window and announces our speed and height, worked out by GPS for him.
We'd both like to be watching the weather channel, due to bad weather below us, but neither wants to pay the $8 premium for direct TV service. We did get a 15 minute preview and the OZ movie looks good. So does Gangster Squad, and others, but I think I'm going to be getting some shut eye soon after a meal.
A Thai Wrap runs me $8.95 and it looks small but I'm assured it is not spicy. That's about the extent of my food service so far. Fortunately, the wife had packed me an array of snacks to keep me from buying more airline/airport food. But this is my one indulgence. It was tasty.
I'm told the flight time is 5 3/4 hours, but the time zones we're crossing will make it seem shorter. I correct him that the flight time is the actual time in the air, provided there are no delays or zig zags, but the time-zones underneath us don't affect that. Time zones are just the labels we used and shifting from one to another doesn't mean much until you cross more than say, four of them. It's your body rhythm that will give you jet lag.
I hope that I have stayed up late enough and risen late enough recently so that my trip out will not disrupt me much. It's the return from Hawaii or Alaska that usually plays hell with me. Same is true when I travel east to Europe. It's the flight east that I cannot hack. I have difficulty sleeping on a plane. But I have Advil PM with me. A frequent flier has told me how the included sleep-aid will help you drift off. That's good, cause last night I tossed & turned, and slept with a fan blowing on me. I'll need a good rest.
I have been enjoying the photos already sent back from Alaska by the group, and have been posting them on WTAP's Scene Everywhere under the "Travel: Alaska" category. Ours are the most recent four or five shots. And I hope that they will make it onto the air for News if needed.
Go look at them now. I'll wait here, and I'll post another entry tomorrow. Go ahead, now.