Thursday, August 9, 2007

Washed Out

I'm going to get to a post about how great New York City was, but first I have to comment on the disaster that was the trip home.

New York had a powerful storm that produced a tornado in Brooklyn, washed out the subway system, and predictably slowed air travel out of La Guardia. That delayed our flight by just over an hour. I thought this seemed like a pretty fortunate outcome all things considered.

The problem was that put us just far enough behind to arrive in KC just as storms were rolling in. The pilot came on and said the airport was temporarily closed. We circled. And we circled. And we circled. And then the pilot came on and said we could circle no more. We flew to Springfield and refueled. Then we flew back to KC and landed in some still turbulent weather.

We deplaned at 1:35 am, 3.5 hours later than we were supposed to land. It sucked, but I couldn't fault the airline (Midwest) for any of the decisions they made. I cannot say the same for KCI.

Air travel is rare after midnight in our fare city, so it makes sense that there are less airline employees around at that time on a normal night. Problem was, this was not a normal night. The airport doesn't temporarily close on normal nights. And 1.5 hours after we deplaned, we left the airport gates. This was because after the normal 15 minutes or so it took to get our luggage, there were 2 rather important snags.

First, we waited 30 minutes for a shuttle to the parking lot. It seems there are only three buses operating after midnight. I'm not sure how many people got off of all the planes that were landing much later than scheduled, but I am sure that it was more than three buses can hold.

Second, we waited another 30 minutes to go through the parking toll gate. There were two gates open, and about a half-mile of cars that wanted to go through them.

The question is why no one at the airport thought it might be a good idea to call in some reinforcements during the hour or so that the airport was closed. If they had we might have left the airport before 3 am.

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