See Part 1 here.
It was the heaviest I’d ever packed for a two-day trip to work. The reason was that it was really going to end up being a marathon five days away from home, and I needed to be prepared. Normally, I pack pretty light, but when you add a pro DSLR camera, three lenses, a flash, a spare battery and battery charger, extra memory cards, cleaning supplies, a laptop, and USB cables to the normal get-away bag, you weigh it down quite a bit. All that had to go to work with me because I’d need to leave straight from the end of my trip in Phoenix.
Loaded up with the heaviest pair of bags I’ve ever put together, I schlepped off to work that two-day trip. During those two days, I mulled over exactly what my best route to Boston would be. I looked over quite a few opportunities. There was a slim chance I could catch a US Airways non-stop from Phoenix to Boston, but the window of opportunity would require me to be on-time or early on the last day. Even with that, I’d have to sprint from one terminal to another in Phoenix, which would require a trip through security. Not the best choice, really. Another choice would be to ride on my own airline from Phoenix to Denver. Once in Denver, there were three opportunities to get out to Boston that night (one United flight and two Jet Blue flights). Depending upon what flight I caught in Denver, I would be getting to Boston some time between midnight and six-in-the-morning. Hoping I could sleep on the airplane, I decided that Denver was the best choice.
Day two of my two-day trip ended in Phoenix right on time, and I was able to easily make the flight to Denver. Once in Denver, I hopped the tram to United’s concourse and signed up for the jumpseat on their non-stop to Boston and stood around waiting for my name to be called for a seat assignment. I’d purchased a couple dozen individually wrapped squares of Ghirardelli dark chocolate, and used them to “lubricate” my way onto that United flight, giving one to each of the customer service agents as I checked in, one to the gate agent as I handed her my boarding card, one to each flight attendant I introduced myself to, and one to each of the pilots. All that good-will and thoughtfulness got me the pick-of-the-litter in remaining seats (including a chance to ride first class). I elected to ride in a very roomy Economy Plus aisle seat a couple rows behind the entry door. I was treated very well on that United flight. This wasn’t out of the ordinary, but the last time I’d ridden on United, I was working for a United Express carrier. I thought being in the employ of my current company might possibly land me on some people’s craplist (lots of employees of legacy carriers look down upon my airline, mistakenly believing that we have hurt the industry more than helped by bringing low fares to everyone). I was happy to have been treated so well.
The flight to Boston was relatively uneventful. Aside from some VERY strong turbulence in the east-bound climb away from Denver, there was little more to experience besides a meal-in-a-box and Kung Fu Panda on the vidscreens. Our arrival into Boston was right on time, but apparently at 12:20 AM, there is a shortage of Port Authority security personell. We had to wait to be escorted from the airplane to the curb by two security guards who must have been on their union-mandated coffee breaks when we arrived because it took them nearly a half-an-hour to arrive at the jetway so we could deplane. The waiting was wonderful fun. Just ask the completely uncontrollable four year old who kept crying and screaming, “I WANT OFF THIS AIRPLANE NOW!!!!” at the top of his lungs while being ignored by his mother. But once I was off the airplane, a short walk to curbside pickup and a short wait for the hotel shuttle was all that was required before I was on my way to the hotel.
Checking in at 1:45 AM, I grabbed a quick shower and hit the rack to get some much needed sleep. About five hours later, I was up and downstairs to grab some breakfast and head over to the train station to catch the Metro to Fenway Park. I wanted to catch the 10 AM ballpark tour.