I am the only passenger in the airport. Actually, calling it an airport seems a bit overgenerous. In the pre-security waiting area at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, there are 22 seats, plus 8 more by the inactive coffee booth. It’s pleasant, clean, modern, and utterly empty. It’s also smaller than a second-tier bus station in Boston.
Flying out of Tweed makes a certain amount of sense. After a crucial lift from a family friend from my parents house to the local train station, I took Metro North outbound from Westport (almost unheard of; I was the only passenger on the platform) to New Haven State St., then caught a bus out to the airport (you just have to ask the driver to go there!). I didn’t have exact change for the $1.30 fare, and no one could break a 5$, but two kindly passengers donated $0.25 each to cover the gap.
The trip is certainly more convenient than getting to New York airports, but the infrequent public transit, in concert with an abundance of caution, dropped me off at the airport 2.5 hours before departure. The security screening has not opened yet, but the lone check-in agent was happy to show me the location of the one power outlet and noted the free wi-fi. “Oh, you brought food.”, he said. “That’s good; there isn’t any around here.”
Two hours to departure.
We’re sitting on the tarmac, 105 minutes after our originally scheduled departure, watching a dramatic cumulus front line approaching from the west while all the planes in Philadelphia sit parked and anxious. The winds from the approaching storm are making amber waves in the short prairie grass beside the runway, and the plane is rocking unsubtly in the gusts.
We could be here a long time, and the pilot sounds distinctly frustrated that ATC wouldn’t let him take off South and dodge the weather pattern altogether.
I have new respect for the weight on the shoulders of aviation meteorologists.
8:30 PM. Now we’re back at the gate, but not allowed to get off (if we do we can’t get back on). I just got a call from the airline’s automated flight delay service letting me know that the flight has been delayed until 8:58 PM. I can barely enumerate all the ways I find this hilarious. I’m already on the plane so of course I know it’s delayed. If I had been following orders my phone would have been powered off, so I wouldn’t have gotten the call anyway. Telling me when I need to be at the gate makes extra non_sense because going to the gate at the appointed time would not only be unnecdssary, it would actually prevent me from catching the flight (as mentioned above). But perhaps most crucially, the pilot has not mentioned any estimated departure time to the cabin, indicating that he either doesn’t have this information, or he doesn’t believe it. What a mess!
(I apologize if this sounds like an encyclopedic, deranged, murderous deadpan — I’ve been reading American Psycho while waiting.
5:12 AM (Eastern)
Arrived at the hotel around 2 AM local time (5 AM Eastern). The flight was delayed about 3 hours, long enough that Enterprise car rental closed and I had to transfer the booking to Alamo. I did probably also waste 20 minutes driving around semi-lost in the unfamiliar territory. Oh well.
Total travel time: about
16 19 hours. Not exactly great.