15 Jun 2008 4:26 pm   //   Filed under: Failure, Over!, Travel

Air travel is so over!

Greetings from Charlotte. Wait, Charlotte? What’s he doing in North Carolina? I’m suffering in airline hell, that’s what!

I left Charlottesville, Virginia, this morning. I was supposed to board a 10:20 United flight to Dulles. But that plane was already behind schedule, leaving me no time to make my connection. The airline courteously booked me on an on-time U.S. Airways flight to Charlotte, where I could get a connecting flight to Newark. Fine.

Actually, not fine. In Charlotte, my plane left on time and taxied out. It sat on the tarmac for two and a half hours. Then it taxied back. Now I’m part of a planeload of passengers waiting in the terminal while the airline negotiates with air traffic control for permission to land its plane in Newark. The latest word is that we’re supposed to take off at 5:30 – four hours late. The official explanation for the delay? “Weather.” Except it’s an absolutely beautiful day all up and down the Atlantic seaboard, and the departure boards show most of the other flights are on time.

If I’d left my hotel this morning and kept driving to Brooklyn, instead of to the airport, I’d be there by now. Now I am further away from home than when I started.

Also of interest: At no point today has anyone asked to see my identification.

Update: The plane landed in Newark more than four hours late. The pilot explained that landings were slow-going into Newark due to “puffy clouds.” My suitcase followed about 20 minutes later, arriving on a different plane.