Travel Woes

The plan was simple—fly into Long Beach on Tuesday, spend Wednesday at meetings, then head right back out Thursday morning. I was calling it a “hit and run” meeting because there wasn’t any extra time built in at either end; just come in, take care of business, leave. And up until Thursday morning, it all (more or less) went to plan.

Fortunately, I head to the airport early if possible. Long Beach Airport is really tiny, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to show up a bit early. So even after taking forever to drop off the rental car and running a tuny bit late, I was still there well over an hour and a half before my flight was due to take off. I went to the USAirways self-check-in kiosk… where I was informed that I no longer had an assigned seat on my flights (heading home via Phoenix). Or, it seemed, a flight at all. Never mind that I’d already chosen my seats when I bought the tickets, somewhere along the way it was deemed that I was getting bumped. Nice.

Fortunately, Miriam G. (whom I’m writing a letter to USAirways about) was my savior here; in under five minutes she’d found out that I had no luggage to check (all carry-on, thankfully) and had me rebooked on a direct flight using Alaska Air. The kicker, though, was that the flight left out of LAX instead of Long Beach. And it was scheduled to take off in one hour.

With boarding pass and taxi voucher in hand, I headed out to the taxi stand and explained that I needed to get to LAX, fast. The next thing I knew, we were trying to get out of the series of turns and red lights that is Long Beach, moving towards the 405 and LAX. Now, according to Google Maps, one should expect the trip between the two to take 27 minutes, barring hideous traffic. (Which let’s face it, often exists on the 405.) With one hour to get there, I thought to myself that getting there in under half an hour was key.

We got there in 18 minutes. The ride itself ($68 worth) was paid for with the voucher I received from the airline, but I gave him a $20 tip because let’s face it, he earned it. (“I just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss your flight,” he said when I marvelled at how fast we’d gotten there.) It turned out that it was a good thing I still had 40 minutes before takeoff, because it took just over half an hour to get through security—including, of course, getting “randomly” selected for additional searching. Gah!

But I finally made it onto the flight, and I do love Alaska Air. Aside from having to kick someone out of my seat (nice try, go back to your middle seat), it was a pretty uneventful flight, Charlie picked me up at my new landing time, and I figured all was good.

Well, until this morning when I got in my car, planning to head over to the dealership so they could replace the faulty CD player. Because within two blocks, I was pulling back off the road to deal with what was clearly a flat tire. *sigh* I’m just glad my dad taught me how to change one way back in the day, although I did have to get the owner’s manual out at one point to figure out how to release the spare tire from within the trunk. (There was one bolt I was missing.) And hey, at least I was already on my way to the dealership, right?

So, knock on wood, that should be the worst of it. But if anyone wants me to blow up a Metro line this weekend, just let me know which color and I’ll ride on it too. I’ve got the knack when it comes to travel as of late.

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