Talk about travel hassles

And you wonder why attendees name travel hassles as one of their top reasons for not attending a conference...my experience yesterday was a case in point (look out, rant coming on).

I left my house at around 9 a.m. to catch a 12:30 flight from Boston's Logan airport. Sure, it'd gotten two feet of snow, but that was a couple of days ago, and reports were that everything was back on track. Wrong! First, it took me three hours to get from one side of Boston to the other, instead of the usual 15 minutes or so. I have no idea why; the roads were clear. Just stopped traffic as far as the eye could see. So I was already pushing it. Then when I got to Central Parking, they shoved me off to the "economy lot" way out in the hinterlands. Like a good little sheep, I went over there, and waited in line for 45 minutes to pre-pay (they had two guys in a van taking credit cards--it took forever). Then another wait on the bus to take me to the terminal, filled with very cranky people who also were about to miss their flights.

So I go to the United desk to try to book a later flight. But no, even though it doesn't say it anywhere on my paperwork, my flight actually was operated by US Air, so I had to schlep all my stuff over to the next terminal, where the US Air guy made fun of me for going to the wrong ticket counter--he actually yelled to the next person in line, "Can you believe she did something that stupid?!" Then he said he couldn't help me, I should go back over to United to see if they could get me on one of their flights.

So I dragged my bags back across the seemingly endless miles between terminals to get back to United, where the counterperson tells me I can try to go standby on their next two flights. I didn't make the 3:30, but hung around and got on the 6 p.m., even though the first ticket agent told me it was oversold. When I went back after not making the 3:30, I went back and got a different person who said it actually had plenty of seats, and he confirmed me on the flight.

When I finally got into San Francisco, of course my bag was nowhere around. The helpful baggage people actually told me to chase down that guy with a cartful of bags that he was taking to storage. So I ran across baggage claim and sure enough, there was my bag. Almost there.

Then the scariest cab ride I've ever had--his speedometer clocked over 100 mph at one point--and I finally got to the hotel around 10:30 p.m.--1:30 a.m. East Coast time.

When people complain about the hassles of travel, boy can I relate! But I'm sure the conference I'm attending (the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education's annual meeting) will make all the hassle worthwhile.

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