Recently, during the first part of my 50 state completion tour, I commented about my unerring gift to find places that were closed on Sundays, but today while looking for food I found the same gift for finding that all of the restaurants in the high A concourse (Phoenix’s terminal 4 has two different A concourses for some unknown reason, and is in the process of building a third set of gates in between the two that exist for Southwest Airlines) to be closed on Tuesdays. I asked the cart driver why this was the case and he said that in Phoenix that restaurants were randomly closed on random times like Tuesday afternoon. This makes sense since before this morning I had no idea I would be in Phoenix during late lunch/earth dinner today, because I expected to already be in Portland.
I have already commented at length about the logistical problems that were inherent in the flight I happened to be on, but that is by no means the extent of the logistical issues that one finds when one flies. One thing I have found is that things often take longer than they should. This is true for a variety of reasons. One of them is that it simply takes a long time to move around sometimes. The longer it takes for us to do things, the longer things go. If one has left a lot of time to do things, then it is possible for us to do things anyway. For example, right now I am sitting at gate A30 in the Phoenix airport for a flight that should have started boarding already and then I find that the flight has been moved to a different gate and that the flight has been delayed a half hour or so. This is by no means a new experience. In my previous flights with American Airlines I saw that overly ambitious scheduling and various other issues (including apparent crew issues) have led to large delays on the flights I happen to be on.
One of the things that I think airlines have done a poor job at in the contemporary environment is communication. We did not find out about the delayed flight this morning until we showed up at the airport early in the morning, and the only reason I found out about the delayed flight and gate change was because something looked wrong when the gate that we were routed to was blank and the boarding should have begun already. Communication is not a particular strong suit of airlines, but really, something should be done. There should really be better communication of such changes, although it should be a wise course of action for someone to be alert to what is going on and looking online at flight statuses, at least.
By and large, traveling like what happened yesterday (as I write this now) is exhausting. I got up at 3AM to get to the Rapid City Regional Airport at 4AM. We finally left for Phoenix after 1PM, got to Phoenix and then had some five hours or layover, which was almost spoiled by a sudden and unannounced gate change. By the time we got to Portland and quickly got our luggage it was 10:30PM. That kind of day is just extremely long, even if the airports one is in are not deliberately uncomfortable and even when one has a bit of legroom to stretch in and some food to eat on the plane, as was the case here.