The best bus ever

The best bus ever
Jason Sievers' awesome Art in Transit bus

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A day in transit

I spent Friday in transit from Hartford, Connecticut - where I'd been on business all week - home to Boise. The smoothest part of my trip was the 11-mile ride from downtown to Bradley Airport, which cost $1.25 on the local public transit system's Bradley Flyer.

Out at BDL, I learned that my 11 a.m. United flight had been delayed an hour-and-a-half. After we boarded at 12:30, the plane couldn't move because Air Force One was in the 'hood and Bush apparently had to get off the airfield for his Connecticut visit before any planes could take off.

Once we got to go-ahead to move, we taxied a long time, then finally came to a halt right next to the West Virginia Air Guard cargo plane that had apparently hauled Bush's limo and what have you to New England. The pilot powered down the engines. It turned out that thunderstorms in the Midwest had forced a ground stop of inbound aircraft to Chicago, so we needed to wait some more. The United crew opened the doors to let some air in - and to let people gawk at the giant gray plane nearby. A half-hour or so later, we were able to taxi and take off.

We finally arrived at ORD about 3 p.m., about 15 minutes after my flight to Denver was supposed to leave. My voice mail had a message that I'd been re-booked onto a later, direct flight to Boise. But on the concourse at O'Hare, I realized the flight to Denver had been delayed, too, and I boarded it with a few minutes to spare - then sat for more than an hour while that flight was delayed taking off. But it was still a good decision: Once we landed in Denver, I had another voice mail message alerting me that the later Chicago-Boise flight had been canceled and I'd been re-booked onto a flight the next morning. (No word on whether they were offering a hotel voucher as well.) Little did United know I'd already made it to Denver, with just minutes left to spare to make the plane to Boise. With no time between flights, I'd had exactly one packet of pretzels, one can of ginger ale, and no bathroom breaks in the 10 hours since boarding the plane in Hartford.

The last flight to Boise went off without a hitch, and somehow - despite the day's myriad shenanigans - we landed at BOI right on time. As the jet made its long, low descent over the still-snowclad Central Idaho Rockies then the greening Foothills to the east, I felt grateful to be home.

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