Sunday, July 20, 2008

They Told Us It Would Get Worse

I am flying back to Washington DC in the morning, so I went online tonight to check in and print my boarding pass. If you are not in this habit, please start. It really saves time at the airport. And by going online earlier...

I found that my 8am flight had been cancelled and I was automatically rebooked on the 11am. By clicking around a bit, I was able to find the last available seat in coach on the 10am flight. In the middle seat of the last row.

Everyone and their dogs told us that flying was going to become even less pleasant. In fact, the route from O'Hare to West Palm Beach is discontinued, along with the route to Ft. Lauderdale beginning this September. Those are the airports closest to my grandmother. She is going to have to pick me up in Miami - I'm not sure I can afford the cab.

However. The Monday morning 8am flight between O'Hare and Reagan National Airport is sacred. Is sacred too strong a word? No. Rumor has it that after September 11, there were five minutes of discussion involving shutting Reagan Airport down permanently. It is too close to the Capitol, the White House and the National Mall. Why did the discussion last only five minutes? Because it would inconvenience the members of Congress to shut down that airport. They use it.

When it first became apparent that United Airlines was in serious trouble, which I remember to be not long after September 11, we were told that service was being scaled back. I remember thinking, "Damn. Can't count on flights every hour on the hour (between Reagan and home). Poor me." That was sarcastic. But the truth is, there wasn't much change. Maybe they pulled a 2pm sometimes, but overall there was always a flight. And often, if I was at the airport early, standby was still an option. I imagine because every midwestern Member of Congress flies through O'Hare to fly into Reagan.

So the fact that the Monday 8am flight was cancelled the night before a flight worries me. What the heck could be next?

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