Trip review: The anatomy of a tight connection

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by mikeef, Jan 24, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. mikeef
    Original Member

    mikeef Silver Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    837
    Status Points:
    795
    While racing through MIA the other day, it occurred to me that one of the most exciting, yet overlooked, portions of any trip is the tight connection. I am here to rectify that situation.

    Let's set the scene: The Mikeef family, which includes Mr. and Mrs. as well as three-year old twins (D&S), is flying BOS-AUA. The family is normally an AA family, but flying AA to AUA would involve a 45-minute connection in the dreaded MIA and arrive at 11:05 pm AUA time (10:05pm body time). Leave BOS 3:10pm, arrive MIA 6:45, leave MIA 7:30pm. On the other hand, Jet Blue has a non-stop flight with TVs that would entertain the kids. This one's a no-brainer.

    Except some idiot with a brain the size of a peanut books AA. Seriously, if brains were gas, this moron wouldn't have enough to drive a flea-mobile around the inside of a Cheerio. Truthfully, I think I booked on AA to use eight expiring eVIPs, although there's no reason I couldn't have held them through Feb '12 to book this year's travel.

    A 45 minute connection is not great, but I had been tracking the arrival/departure gates in MIA and fortunately, for the days leading up to the flight, the arrival was in the D1-D5 range, while the departing flight to AUA was in the D5-D8 range. Naturally, ours was the one day that we had to connect D1 to D33.

    AA 2617. departing 3:10 pm and arriving 6:45 pm, actually departs on-time. Nice. Captain calls for a 6:30 landing, giving us more than enough time to navigate [strike]the pit of despair[/strike] and get to our AUA flight, scheduled for a 7:30 departure. Added bonus: We strategically scheduled the flight for the kids' nap time. They are normally pretty good fliers, but they're even better when they're sleeping. The flight is uneventful, the Cobb salad a little odd and the FAs very nice. Soon, it's 6:00pm and I'm preparing for the landing. Landings always frighten me a little. Perhaps because we're a large, metal, pressurized tube aiming for a strip of concrete about as wide as my thumb. But we hit the ground safely and came to a stop.

    Of course, because we were early and it's MIA, our gate is still occupied (but should be clear in a couple of minutes, according to the captain). I kept hoping to hear the announcement, "Well, folks, our gate is occupied, so we're going to pull into D33." Instead, apparently because fuel is in such excess supply, we did a few laps of the airport. I thought about asking the pilot just to drop us off at our gate (Hey, we're in F and my wife is EXP. Don't they know who we are?), but apparently, we're supposed to remain seated while the plane is in motion. That's okay, we landed 15 minutes early.

    Tick, tick, tick. We approach the gate and stop again. This time, no explanation. We do the whole nervous "looking around the plane" thing, as if the constant head motion will somehow get the plane to the gate faster. Surprisingly, it doesn't work. My eyesight is apparently going, since I can't tell if we're near D1 or not. My wife, who is used to my neurotic behavior, assures me that we are.

    At 6:50, we finally dock. And, of course, have to wait for someone to open the jet bridge. We grab the kids, who, blissfully unaware of what is going on, are infinitely better behaved than their father, who is swearing at the world under his breath. The plan is for me to throw one of the kids in the Sit 'n' Stroll and run to the gate to make sure they know not to give our seats away. The people around us, who are incredibly patient, recognize that we have a tight connection and let us get through. We get off the plane a minute or two before 7:00pm. As we leave the plane, D utters the seven word that every parent dreads as he tries to make a connection: "Daddy, I need to make a poop." Sorry, kid, you'll have to hold it.

    I come blasting out of the gate like an overweight high-speed rail train (the good European kind, not Amtrak) pushing, well, something small. In a moment of sheer brilliance, I ask the gate agent at D1 to call D33 and tell them we're on the way. He makes me repeat my name, which I consider a good sign.

    Meanwhile, the cheerful lady on the PA system is telling me what time it is. Ya know who doesn't want to hear a cheerful PA woman telling me what time it is? Yeah, a guy rushing to catch his connection. Stop being so cheerful, damn it! I'm sweating bullets. Oddly, the Spanish version isn't nearly as cheerful. Is there a reason for this? I tuck the thought away for later.

    I approach the moving sidewalk, or Tapis Roulant, as the French call it, and think about getting aboard for the extra push. Of course, there are tons of people standing next to each other. People, it's walk on the right, run on the left! Don't just stand there! The moving sidewalk is ruled out and I race along the [strike]ravine floor[/strike]. Around D16, I pass a man with the biggest man-boobs I have ever seen. Seriously, if I stopped to take a photo or admire this phenomenon, she'd understand. "Honey, I know we missed the flight, but you just had to see these man-boobs. They were like the eighth and ninth natural wonders of the modern world. I bet that guy had plastic surgery to get those things in there." On second thought, I'll just keep going...

    On the map, it looks like a pretty straight shot from D1 to D33. And, as a man, I'm good with maps. Looking at something that is really tiny and imagining it much larger is part of the breed. But it's not as straight in real life. There are signs pointing in a couple of different directions and I easily get confused. I stop to ask an agent which direction to go and she points me the right way. I remember a post on TOBB saying that this journey should be about 15 minutes, but I feel like I've already run the Boston Marathon and am approaching Heartbreak Hill. That gap between D16 and D20? Really, really long.

    I pass the secure area and give thanks that I don't have to clear here. BOS was a breeze. Anytime I pass through security with kids in BOS, they are extremely nice. Thought for later: when traveling solo, take a stroller with a doll. By the time they catch on, I'll be through.

    Approaching the high D20's and starting to feel like I could make it before A minus 15, when they could give my seats away. Then I seen a man who is square-shaped. Seriously, 5X5. On second thought, this guy isn't nearly as cool as man-boobs. I keep running.

    I don't even see the signs for the Aadmirals Club by D37, but the numbers are getting higher, so I know I'm going the right way. As I approach D33, the gates get farther and farther apart. Like in a movie, where you're running down the tunnel but don't get any closer to the end and then Freddy comes and starts stabbing you in the neck and you start bleeding all over, and, well, that'll be a different trip review.

    And I make it at 7:12pm. I don't know if they ever called or not, but D33 is only up to boarding Group 2 and we're able to get on the plane. My wife follows up only a few minutes later, which must have taken some really impressive running on her part. We dig out the tickets and board the plane. And both kids get to the lav to poop. All is well.

    Mike
     
    Sean Colahan, viguera, Bonnie and 7 others like this.
  2. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,247
    Likes Received:
    33,912
    Status Points:
    20,020
    My fellow MP'er... I like your writing style but for the love of god...don't let teh kiddies poop in the Lavs... :p
     
  3. mikeef
    Original Member

    mikeef Silver Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    837
    Status Points:
    795
    Don't worry, they're toilet trained. :)

    Mike
     
    Flyer1976, harvson3 and canucklehead like this.
  4. canucklehead
    Original Member

    canucklehead Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,895
    Likes Received:
    22,059
    Status Points:
    11,070
    make sure they don't touch that flush button while sitting down! :eek:

    sounds like you would have had time to snap a pic of the twins with Mr Man-boobs, maybe even Mr. 5x5! :p
     
    viguera and Flyer1976 like this.
  5. mikeef
    Original Member

    mikeef Silver Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    837
    Status Points:
    795
    Probably, but man-boobs might have gotten offended if I asked him if a twin could ride each boob.

    Mike
     
    Flyer1976 likes this.
  6. Bonnie
    Original Member

    Bonnie Silver Member

    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    362
    Status Points:
    450
    Great TR, Mike!!
     
  7. Flyer1976
    Original Member

    Flyer1976 Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,247
    Likes Received:
    33,912
    Status Points:
    20,020
    For all you know he might have charged admission :eek:...
     
    mikeef likes this.
  8. mikeef
    Original Member

    mikeef Silver Member

    Messages:
    507
    Likes Received:
    837
    Status Points:
    795
    Well, they do like bouncy houses...

    Mike
     
    Flyer1976 likes this.
  9. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,737
    Likes Received:
    6,913
    Status Points:
    4,745
    Nice.

    I can happily say I've never tried such a tight connection at that airport... D1 to D30 is about 12, maybe 15 miles. :)
     

Share This Page