Friday, October 2, 2009

Business-related observations on fly-drive fun

If you read this Empoprise-BI business blog, you may have seen my Tuesday afternoon post entitled Expedia reverses single sign-on, doesn't say why.

And if you read my companion Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog, you may have seen my Thursday morning post entitled More airport news.

That's a lot of airport talk - but there's a reason for that.

As of Tuesday afternoon, I knew that I was going to have to make a one-way trip to Las Vegas on Saturday, and I was trying to decide whether to fly, or take the bus. But in a James 4 sort of way, the stuff that I knew on Tuesday afternoon no longer applied on Thursday afternoon. By Thursday afternoon, I knew that I was going to take the plane, not the bus - and that I was going to do it that same day.

And I knew that I wasn't going to use Expedia. In fact, since I was flying out of Ontario airport, I ended up going directly to the Southwest Airlines website and booking my travel there.

I booked my travel at about 1:45 pm on Thursday afternoon, which began ten hours of fun. I already tweeted about it, but let me give the more than 140 characters version of the story.

  • I had a meeting at 2:00, so I didn't leave my office in Orange County until around 2:30. When I got home to Ontario, I packed a small bag, just in case I had to stay overnight. Because I had already been thinking about going on Saturday, the packing was very quick.

  • I then got a ride to Terminal 4 at Ontario International Airport, arriving at 4:20. I went directly to the ticket counter, not realizing that they had separate kiosks in the terminal for people who weren't checking any bags.

  • One thing to note - I purposely chose NOT to use Foursquare during this trip, so I didn't check in to Foursquare when I got to the airport terminal, even though the venue is in Foursquare. (There's a separate entry for Terminal 2.) Foursquare check-ins are opt-in, and I chose not to opt-in at that time.

  • Note to airport shop owners - if you want to sell your Jelly Belly product to me, (a) it would help if you posted the price, and (b) it would help if you displayed the bags for the candy. I would have had to ask the price, and ask where the bags were, and by the time I got to that stage, I decided that I probably didn't need the candy anyway.

  • The flight had an advertised departure time of 6:20 pm, with an advertised arrival time of 7:20 pm. The plane didn't take off until 6:30, but we still arrived at the gate at 7:20. Underpromising and overdelivering works every time.

  • The purpose of the flight to Las Vegas was to pick up a car and drive it back to Ontario. I had to gas up the car before we left Las Vegas, and I paid a price of $2.699/gallon. (By way of comparison, I had bought gas the night before this in Claremont, and paid $2.959/gallon for it.) Usually the gas in Las Vegas is a little cheaper than the gas in the Inland Empire/Orange County area, but I don't think I've ever seen THIS large a price difference.

  • I wasn't that tired, so I was able to drive straight through, arriving at the Cajon Pass a little before 11:00 pm. A couple of miles south of the Cajon summit, I passed a fire that was burning east of the freeway. At the time I passed, there were no freeway closures, even for northbound traffic. I'm not sure what happened later.

  • I would have been home by 11:30, except that right after I passed the Foothill Boulevard exit, traffic on the southbound I-15 was reduced to one lane for construction. There was no notice of this before the Foothill Boulevard exit, nor was there any notice of this before the I-15/I-215 split. As a result, all of us funneled directly into a massive traffic jam that could have been avoided.

  • I finally got home at 11:45, ten hours after I had made the original reservations. I'm taking a vacation day today - sort of.
And I don't plan to go to another airport for...a week. Then I fly to San Francisco for Oracle OpenWorld. But I don't think I'll drive back.

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