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Off to OOPSLA , or, The Joys of Travel

October 20, 2006 23:15:43 +0300 (EEST)

I'm happy but exhausted -- and no, it's not much to do with the title of the next post! I'm flying to OOPSLA tomorrow, and the-airline-who-must-not-be-named's in-flight hospitality executives (or whatever they're officially called these days) have decided that now would be a good time to go on strike. This means that my 6am flight tomorrow morning -- which I was of course eagerly looking forward to waking up to -- is canceled, and I've had to find alternative transport for the first leg. Apart from they couldn't just tell me the flight was canceled, that would have been too easy. Instead, some time in the afternoon they announce which flights are going to run tomorrow. Doesn't exactly give you much time to react if they tell you Friday 2pm and you were meant to fly Saturday 6am...

Left without much choice, I booked another flight for this evening. You'd think that would be the end of it -- some hassle, but at least they'll refund my morning flight if it is canceled. The twist in the tail though (and I'm really hoping we've got to the tail here) is that if the flight is not canceled, I won't be using my morning flight (obviously enough), so the airline will kindly cancel the return leg of that flight, leaving me stranded after OOPSLA. Craziest of all is that the return leg is operated by an airline that isn't on strike, in fact the same one as I'm flying on this evening.

So, I heartily endorse Markus Voelter's "I hate traveling" stance (sorry, no links here: we're 20,000 ft above the nearest WLAN). There ought to be an extra ribbon at OOPSLA: "Yes, the airline screwed up my trip too". Whatever the statistics might say, the quality of air travel is rapidly approaching the quality of software ten years ago. We all have our own idea which airline qualifies best as the "Word Perfect for Windows" of the aviation world, and the sad thing is that pretty much all of them are getting a good number of votes.

If things are going to get worse, let's hope they get so bad that we all decide to stay home and figure out how to do these meetings without leaving our families and comfy beds behind -- wouldn't be a bad thing for the environment either.