Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Merry Christmas from Arizona

Merry Christmas from my parents' house outside of Tucson. We had a nice day. We opened lots of presents, then we had a nice dinner with my Aunt Pam and Uncle Bill. Earl and Claudia were over for a while.

My trip out wasn't too bad. I got to the general vicinity of BWI slightly more than 2 hours before my flight was scheduled to depart. The BWI parking radio station advised me that satellite parking was closed, and I was to head to the BWI rail station for "overflow parking". The roadside signs, by contrast, pointed me towards the Gold Lot. I chose the Gold Lot. Oops. Gold Lot closed. So I turned around, parked at the rail lot and took the shuttle to the terminal.

For this trip, I forsook United, my airline of choice, for the less expensive flight on Northwest. I consoled myself by using most of my remaining Northwest frequent flier miles to upgrade the outbound portion of my trip to first class. This seemed an even better idea after I heard the horror stories of long waits at BWI -- at least I would be able to get in the first class line. I needn't have worried. There was one person in the regular check-in line, and none in the first class line.

So I had 1.5 hours to wait for my flight. As I lined up to take advantage of early first class boarding privleges, I attracted the attention of a security screener who thought I was in line for an extra search. Upon discovering that I wasn't, she selected me for a "random" search. I can't complain about being singled out; I just hope they also perform searches on people they have to walk a bit farther to get to. I know I have a right to a same-sex frisker, but she explained he had "wandered off" to another airline. Whatever. I'm not sure which gender would be more invasive, but it was a mild frisk in any case.

So I boarded the flight not with the early first class boarding, but with everybody else. As I settled into my seat, I noticed there was some unusual amount of to-ing and fro-ing with one or more of the passengers, but didn't take much notice of it as I started to nod off. After we had pulled away from the gate, the captain announced that a passenger had been removed from the plane after she had gotten "contraband" past security and assured us that all of her luggage had been removed from the plane. OK...

The rest of the trip proceeded without incident, unless you consider taking 45 minutes to get my luggage an "incident". Both the flight out of BWI and the connecting flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix landed ahead of schedule. I used the flights to finish reading Fellowship of the Ring, in preparation for seeing the movie.

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