Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wanna Get Away?

I do, and I am. Work has been very hard for a while, and having a baby at home doesn't exactly reduce my average stress level (although it is often very nice to get to play with the kids when I get home). So I'm headed to So Cal to spend the weekend with Dan.

Theoretically, we're going camping in Joshua Tree, but since all the other people we invited have bailed at this point, we are going to play it by ear and do whatever the two of us feel like. No wrangling multiple cars or keeping everyone happy.

I'm sitting at gate 30 in the Oakland airport. My flight leaves for Burbank at 7:45. I haven't been flying as much lately. Haven't been on the road for work since February, or on a plane at all (as far as I can remember at the moment) since 7 months ago today, when we came home from Florida. Zachary was 6 days old and Dawn flew across the country with him by herself, while I brought Rachel home later in the day.

The security line is almost invariably shorter at terminal 1 (14 gates) then terminal 2 (18, all Southwest), so I had Dawn drop me there. There's NO ONE HERE. I walked right up to security where there were TWO people ahead of me. I'm not sure I've ever gone through security so fast.

Although a lot of the major changes to the airport we finished the last time I was here, it remains almost unrecognizable by comparison to what I'm used to. There are 32 gates now, instead of 25, and most of the airport is in pretty good shape, neither drab not run down.

There are at least 4 Starbucks and a Peet's where there used to be mostly nameless unknowns. And now they have not only the one decent place (360 Buritto) but also Fenton's, Max's, CPK, and a Pyramid! If I had more time and weren't figuring we'll get something to eat in So Cal, I'd probably try Pyramid.

I'm flying Southwest, which occupies the majority of the airport and all of terminal 2. Owing to poor timing, I was at the gate by 6;20, in time to contemplate the idea of hopping one of TWO earlier flights. I am on a very early fare, and would have to upgrade for $80 to take either one. Now, I understand that those are the terms of the ticket, but I'm surprised at Southwest. Each of the earlier flights left half full and it would have been an easy opportunity for Southwest to do something nice for me. Certainly, if I'd called ahead, even earlier this afternoon, it would make sense to charge me, not knowing how full the flight might get, but it would have cost them NOTHING to do it and would have pleased the customer. As it is, I am disappointed with them.