Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Flyover Country is Layover Country

I'm taking a shuttle to another city to fly out to visit my Mom for a couple days.

I'm semi-cranky about it. I feel like I just got home from the UK, and then went to my brother's, and came home and now I'm heading out again. I think people who travel a lot must get better at it than I am, because all I want to do right now is hang out in my area, visit friends, and get some work done.

But it will also be good to visit my Mom and see old college friends and some family folks.

Taking the shuttle means I have to leave at 1:45 for a 5:15 flight. That flight at least leaves from a city with more than one flight a day to near where my Mom lives. Unfortunately, on the way back, there seemed to be no way to avoid a layover. So I'll leave at about noon and with the layover and the shuttle schedule, make it back home after 1am, if all goes well.

I hate the layover stuff.

When I interviewed for this job, I was living in a tiny town in the midwest. They said to make arrangements and let them know the flight schedule and stuff. Here's how it would have looked, if I recall correctly:

1) Drive an hour to a small city.
2) Fly from small city to big city.
3) Fly from big city to less big city.
4) Shuttle or fly from less big city to here.

Given that you have to give about an hour for security and stuff before you fly somewhere, it really adds up. So I looked at the roads, and it was a fairly straight shot on state roads, so I said I wanted to drive up. It saved the state a LOT of money (they reimbursed me for gas and mileage) and actually saved me several hours. And the hours I spent driving were FAR more pleasant than the same time would have been flying.

Unfortunately, it's a lot longer drive out to the coast.

Does it seem like there are fewer flights lately? I used to be able to get direct flights from the less big city to either of the airports close to my Mom (there's a third, actually, but it's less convenient).


  1. There are definitely fewer flights. When eldest was a baby, there was a direct flight from SFO to IND that I took a couple of times going back and forth, visiting family. That flight no longer exists. It became impossible for us to flight from the west coast to the midwest without a layover. Recently, I had to fly to St. Louis, despite the fact that I told my school I'd rather drive. (They said flying would be cheaper than renting a car - which they require for business trips - and paying for gas. Whatever.) Then, I got stuck overnight in Chicago because there was no direct flight to St. Louis, which is a five-hour drive for me. Bah. It made me crazy. In the time it took me to get to St. Louis, I could have driven there three times, minimum.

    I think that the airlines are cutting flights to reduce their costs, and then raising rates on tickets since there is steady demand, but limited supply. Pretty soon, flying is going to be much more cost prohibitive for the middle class. It really bugs me. Not because I want to visit family, but because I want to visit friends! (And escape family! ;) )

  2. Even though I live in NYC, I now find that it's impossible to fly direct to certain places. In the past I know I've flown to Albuquerque and Portland (OR) direct, but on my most recent trips to those places, direct flights simply didn't exist. (I bet that if you google this issue, you'd find out the actual situation about air travel pretty quickly.)

  3. THere are fewer flights, and more inconvenient ones. In fact, I was on the shuttle from the airport to a hotel today, and the other guy in the van (we were both going to the AHA) was commenting on how much he hated the long haul jets -- he was 6 feet tall, and couldn't stand up in them. Most airlines have gone to hub and spoke models, which is why Ianqui can't fly non-stop to some cities any more.
    I used to think travel was fun. Grumble Grumble

  4. Anonymous10:05 PM

    If you get stuck in my city, give me a ring -- I have a comfortable couch.. 651-205-2415.

  5. Thanks, Patty! Much appreciated!