Monday, May 21, 2012

Transportation Purgatory

We just finished the trip back...

Turnagain Arm from the Bus
We got up yesterday morning at 5 AM Alaska time (EDT-4) on the ship to have breakfast, and catch a bus (excuse me, motor coach), from the dock in Seward to Anchorage to catch the plane.  The bus ride from Seward to Anchorage take about 3 hours through some pretty steep and tough looking country, finishing with a trip down Turnagain Arm, a branch of Cook Inlet with 30 ft tides.

We reached Anchorage Airport in three hours, plenty of time to catch the flight, had a bit of coffee, got a wheel chair for Mom, and struggled through security.

TSA must die...  We already know the agency would not necessarily have caught the last "underwear bomber" (although, the "naked" scanner caught me inadvertently trying to smuggle a crumpled up $1 bill in my front jean pocket. Of course, it had a false positive on my back, too).  The system we have now is simply "Security Theater" in an attempt to convince us that the feds are controlling terrorism.  The usual tradeoff of life for dollars is a  few million dollars per life, (it used to be about $6 million per preventable death was a rough line, but I suspect that inflation and stupidity has at least doubled that).  The TSA has an annual budget of circa 8 billion, so you would hope it would save at least a thousand  lives annually.  There's certainly no evidence that it has done that.  But they do carefully  check out 88 year old women in wheel chair.  It's easy; they don't move very fast.
Cook Inlet from the air

The cruise line had promised, for a fee, to have our large bags checked through all the way to Baltimore (and involving a change from Alaska to United Airlines), but a certain level of confusion had suggested it might not work perfectly.

The first leg of the flight back was from Anchorage to Portland, Oregon, where we changed planes, but stayed within the terminal and the security zone.  It took what seemed hours for mother to get off the plane, but we made the next flight out, Portland to San Francisco, without too much stress.
East Coast Sunrise

At San Francisco, we parted ways from Mom and Dad.  As we suspected, our baggage checked to Baltimore stopped at San Fran, and we had to go baggage to fetch it.  After saying goodby, we took our big bags up to a fresh check in with United, and a fresh trip through security in a different terminal.  After a little confusion, we found our gate, waited until Group 7 was called (I think that's after pigs but before chickens), and got onto the plane for the cross country leg, San Fran to Newark, New Jersey.  The plane was a little late, what with boarding all the pigs and chickens.  As we ran down the ramp to the plane, they announced that the overhead compartments were full and that our larger carry-ons would have to be checked at the gate, which we did dutifully, but not happily.  It was supposed to catch up with us in Baltimore...  It was now after 10 PM PDT.

We got some sleep crossing the country, and arrived in a driving rain storm (but no thunder) in Newark, a little late, some 7:00 AM EDT.  The next flight to Baltimore was scheduled for about 8:30, and left about an hour late, due to the pigs and chickens problem, as well as a very long line on the taxiway. 

We arrived in Baltimore about an hour late, but still moving.  One piece of the "carry-on" baggage that was supposed to catch up to us from San Francisco has not yet caught up with us; it apparently took a liking to Newark.  We made it home by 1 PM EDT, more than 24 hours after we started, and having stopped in five different airports, which is apparently a local record.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Long 'day'!

    But Skye doesn't care, you're home and so is she!