Friday, December 14, 2007

Not So Magic

Southwest Airlines has many supporters - of which I am not one. Call me snobbish from prior days of inter-continental business travel, but I have never fancied the inevitable cattle call that comes when the gate agent opens up the mic. Tonight her call was honest and to the point: "line up, you know, just like gym class when you were long ago in school... and no so long ago for some of you." Correction duly noted - it is not just boomers with a pocket of pension money to burn. Students, military, modest couples, entrepreneurs, regional sales folks, the crowd was mixed - and all the more so because my flight was heading to Orlando. Ah yes, Orlando, that oasis of middle-class holiday-seeking so spot on attracting the bulls-eye median of the US population that chain restaurants like Red Lobster test their new fixin's down there. Simple reason: if the Disney crowd likes it, then anytown USA will like it too.

Somehow I turn out to be a supporter regardless. Standing in line amidst another rocky evening of slight weather conditions throwing off taut, yield-optimizing flight schedules, it seems every time I travel now, the flight is not scheduled to depart on time. Not always long - like the last sentence - but enough to reinforce the aggravation of 21st century travel. Tonight the delay was 30 minutes, but somehow I am willing to put up with it. Perhaps because I am going to the Magic Kingdom where all the magic went down last year, but perhaps also because I am on a budget. Yes, those high-flying consulting days are gone where I actually have to buy the ticket myself.

So I am in this line thankful that I can get a cheap flight on Southwest. Yeah, the crowd is a bit strange, and I am standing around like in high school gym class, but people are nice enough, and the flight is only two hours. Not so magic, but I guess it will do.

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