Friday, July 29, 2005

Back From The South: Spent last weekend in Savannah, celebrating my Mom's 80th birthday. I offered to take her anywhere and having read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil she chose Savannah (where they simply refer to it as The Book). Who's a good son, eh?

Savannah was about 4 steps beyond hot and humid, but it is a fascinating place, especially if you are into history and/or historic house and building renovation. More on that when I write it up fully.

My flights there and back, on the other hand, were 4 steps beyond annoying. Northwest flights to Savannah are on small planes operated by those two-bit, third-rate, fourth-class outfits - Mesa Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, Canadair, Assclown Airlines; I never figured out exactly which one - that seem to exist solely to employ angry, dull-normal cretins who pissed off one too many customers at Burger King.

I had reserved an aisle seat (like always) but I thought I might check at the gate if an exit row was available. The attendant was a battleaxe of a woman who was muttering hostile missives and wondering aloud why "...they blame me for everything. It's not my fault if Northwest overbooks." I gave her my best ingratiating smile as I approached. In return she glared through two-inch think lenses, thinned her lips to taught ribbons, and tossed me the kind of look that Tony Soprano reserves for someone who is late on a payment. I beat a hasty retreat, guessing she would have reassigned me to a seat next to the toilet. As it was I felt lucky to get away with only an unexplained half-hour delay sitting on the runway.

On the way home, I started with a three hour delay in the airport. Note: Small airports are usually terrific -- no problems getting there, no crowds, no traffic congestion -- but you do not want to be stranded in one, unless an afternoon shopping for souvenir spoons in a 10x10 gift shop is your idea of a ripping good time.

Once in the air, I had a new experience: a flight attendant with BO. I have encountered other passengers with BO before, but never a flight attendant. Luckily I am very skilled at positioning the overhead air conditioning fan to act as a force field against noxious odors.

Lastly, as insult to injury, we eventually make it to within 50 feet of the gate in Detroit and we have another 20 minute delay while we wait for some semi-literate Neanderthals to show up wave their red batons at the plane while it enters the gate. People had turned full-on back-flips to rearrange connecting flights to account to for delay and then still lost their connection thanks to this final atrocity.

Northwest and Detroit Metro Airport continue their slow backslide into the incompetence of a few years back.

(Admit it. You've been pining for a travel rant from me, haven't you?)