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August 5, 2006

Flight Potpourri

Since I'm gearing up to fly again for the first time since 2001 (yes, it's been that long), I've been boning up on the current state of all the stupid post-9/11 regulations and the changes airlines have made in the 5 years. A few interesting tidbits: * Southwest Airlines now has their own blog, [Nuts About Southwest][1]. It's an interesting way to get an inside view on the airline and to know ahead of time about changes they're making. Hooray for blogging, and double-hooray for Southwest using bloggers from all areas and bases of their company: Pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, support staff from around the country... They're all there. * At least on Southwest flights, you are now permitted to operate GPS receivers in-flight. Being a total nerd, I find this fascinating and would love to be able to follow the flight's progress as we cruise along. Would I take one? Probably not, because then everyone else would know I was a total nerd. * You can BYOB, sealed or unsealed, onto a flight... But the FAA demands that you can only drink airline-provided booze. It seems a little bizarre to let you bring opened booze on the plane but not let you drink it. C'est la vie; if flying again gets me riled up enough that I'm compelled to drink, I'll have packed cash for an itty bitty Bailey's. Or, to follow my grandfather's guide to life, brandy. ("You know why I'm still here? Because I have a glass of brandy every morning, that's why!") * The Louisville, KY airport (the one nearest Fort Knox) is a regional airport and is, in fact, [quite small][2] even as regionals go. I used to think MDW (Chicago Midway) was small. Apparently I was mistaken and will be in for culture shock upon arrival. Not to mention I'm headed for "The South" and a state with two time zones. * Former America West and US Airways pilots are still on their old companies' contracts at the moment, resulting in the hellish chaos that has become the post-acquisition US Airways, as two groups of pilots fight over who gets to fly what and you end up with some routes involving USAir to AmWest transfers. Getting to Louisville is easy. Even if you take the longest flight, your total travel time is only 4h20m. And if you're a morning person (which I can be), you can catch the nonstop which is a paltry 3 hours and 20 minutes. The nonstop is actually a hair faster than flying into ORD. A ton faster when you consider how long it actually takes to deplane, get out of the terminal, retrieve your luggage, and escape the airport when flying into ORD, but I digress. Returning from Louisville, on the other hand, is downright brutal. If you don't catch the one non-stop which leaves at 07:20, you're stuck with flights ranging from 5h50m to 7h30m, with the average travel time ending up at 6h30m. And it only gets worse once you move away from SWA. America West/US Airways tops out at an astounding **10h46m**—yes, you read that correctly—trip, with their shortest being a horrible 6h30m and the average hovering around an unthinkable 9h15m. It's almost enough to make you just fly into one of the stopover cities, stay overnight, and take a flight out in the morning to break up the horrendous blocks of time it takes to make a flight that would be 3h50m non-stop. Intriguingly enough, this approach would earn you frequent flier credits in a much faster and more comfortable manner than asking for Deep Vein Thrombosis with an 11 hour domestic flight. [1]: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/ [2]: http://www.flylouisville.com/info/terminalmap.asp

Posted by Colin at August 5, 2006 7:39 PM

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