David J. Danto
Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion
When I was a young kid one of my favorite books was Fortunately, by Remy Charlip. It was the story of a boy named Ned that had a series of great things happen, and after each one there was a problem:
“Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.
Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.
Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded….”
That book came back to me as I attended a wonderful family wedding in Dallas this past weekend. Some parts of my family’s travel experience were surprisingly great, others were ridiculously bad. While I was trying to figure out which perspective to share in this blog, I decided to follow Ned’s example and do both.
· Fortunately, my family and I were invited to Josh and Marissa’s awesome wedding.
· Unfortunately, the wedding was in Dallas and we live in New Jersey.
· Fortunately, I was able to get the family frequent flyer seats on United well in advance of the party.
· Unfortunately, an aircraft swap pushed our seats into the bulkhead row.
· Fortunately, there was no additional government shutdown, so when we arrive at Newark Airport, the TSA Security at was as it normally is.
· Unfortunately, TSA Security at Newark Airport was as it normally is.
· Fortunately, we are United Club Members as a courtesy of our bank.
· Unfortunately, we were flying out of gate C110, which is just about as far a schlep as one can be from any of the EWR United Clubs, so it was a heck of a walk.
· Fortunately, we were able to find seats at the C1 EWR United Club.
· Unfortunately, most of the soft seats have been removed from the club, so the seats were not very comfortable.
· Fortunately, they actually repaired the long empty self-service soda machine in the club (really – it has diet soda now!)
· Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay in the club very long because of the long walk to our gate.
· Fortunately, we got to the gate on time.
· Unfortunately, the gate seating area is under construction, so there was nowhere to sit.
· Fortunately, we boarded on time and actually took-off early.
· Unfortunately, as we had bulkhead seats, we couldn’t take our PC out to do some urgent last minute work.
· Fortunately, we were able to sneak-up and grab the briefcase a little bit after we crossed the 10K altitude.
· Unfortunately, (no surprise here) the United WiFi didn’t work.
· Fortunately, the crew eventually reset the WiFi and we were able to slog-through the needed work.
· Unfortunately, we were flying over some significant weather, so it was very hard to accurately type.
· Fortunately, we landed early, picked up a checked bag quickly at DFW, and headed to our rental car.
· Unfortunately, the DFW rental car experience has always been abysmal. We waited for a bus for twenty minutes, and when it came there was almost no room on it. We bumped around trying to hold on without falling on other standing-room passengers for a very uncomfortable ride.
· Fortunately, we had a terrific selection of cars at National
· Unfortunately, our bags wouldn’t fit in the Nissan Murano we selected.
· Fortunately, a National employee walked by and pointed us to a bigger Murano.
· Unfortunately, there was only one exit gate open at National, and we had to wait in line 15 minutes to get out.
· Fortunately, the Homewood Suites two bedroom suite was perfect for us.
(Really, I don’t have a single complaint about this Homewood by Hilton experience – top notch.)
· Fortunately, we had an absolutely great time at the wedding.
· Unfortunately, my family was insistent that we get home earlier than planned to get urgent things done.
· Fortunately, there was space on an earlier (6:50am) flight that we were able to switch to at no additional charge.
· Unfortunately, that meant we’d have to wake up at 2am to get to where we needed on time.
· Fortunately, there was no traffic in Texas that early on a holiday Monday.
· Unfortunately, National Car had NO-ONE working to return cars at DFW at 4am. Everyone just pulled in to an open space and left the keys with no receipt. The National app didn’t allow for a way to report the car returned.
· Fortunately, the National social media team saw my tweet and offered compensation for the neglect.
· Unfortunately, we now had to wait for a terminal E bus at the rental car center.
· Fortunately, it was only a ten minute wait.
· Unfortunately, the bus was jammed again. DFW really needs to up its game with the rental car busses – it’s been terrible for years.
· Fortunately, the bus dropped us off right near the entrance to the DFW elevator.
· Unfortunately, that elevator was broken (with no sign) and we had to walk to the next door.
· Fortunately, there was no line at the United Premier check-in desk, they were able to switch us to better seats, and they told me the Pre-Check security line was open.
· Unfortunately, to get to a Pre-Check line, one has to walk outside the door near the United gates, and walk the entire length of the E terminal in the freezing cold, then walk back in at the other side of the terminal.
· Fortunately there as almost no line at the TSA Security checkpoint.
· Unfortunately, I was dinged with a “random” additional check.
· Fortunately, the additional check was only a very reasonable chemical swab of my mobile phone. I didn’t have to go through the x-ray scanner.
· Unfortunately, we now had to walk back all the way to the other end of the terminal to get to our gate.
· Fortunately, the United club was open and has now moved to closer to the United Gates at DFW.
· Unfortunately, every United Club everywhere is just a reminder of how horrible the EWR clubs are in contrast.
· Fortunately, our flight left on time and arrived on time.
So it was a fortunate, unfortunate wedding weekend in Dallas. I’m both happy and disappointed. Fortunately, I don’t have to travel again for two whole weeks. Unfortunately, it will be United out of EWR again.
This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.