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Assorted thoughts from the airports

August 5, 2007, 11:34 am

I made it back from Reconnect 2007 safe and sound around 11:30 last night, and without a single flight delay! I didn’t have wifi at any point on the way back — see mini-rant below — so I kept a text file with some running commentary while I was waiting for my flights yesterday. Here you go:

- Both the Raleigh-Durham airport and the Newark Liberty Airport have wifi… for $7.95 per 24-hour period. That’s lame. Wifi in an airport should be free. Especially in Newark, which has one of the highest rates of traffic in the world — and one of the most boring gate areas. I’m writing this blog post offline at my gate in Newark, because of the non-free wifi, in case you were wondering.

- I’m hoping that Washington-Dulles has free wifi, because I was counting on snagging a Jericho episode from iTunes for the 90-minute flight back to Indy (in the dark).

Update: Dulles has three different wifi networks — each with its own set of rate plans. Nothing free. Lame, lame, lame. Guess I’ll have to find my in-flight entertainment elsewhere.

- Getting *in* to Newark is evidently a highly uncertain affair (see my reports from the inbound trip). But once you’re here, getting *out* seems to be no problem. Nothing is being delayed, lines are short, and people are moving on and off planes easily. What does this say about Newark?

- You cannot buy anything in the Newark airport with “New Jersey” or “Newark” on it. Millions of NYC items to buy, though. Again, what does this say about Newark?

- I had to take a hotel shuttle from Rutgers to the hotel, so I could catch my airport shuttle from the hotel to the airport. The hotel shuttle was supposed to pick me up at 12:30 and the airport shuttle was to pick me up at 1:50. The hotel shuttle was an hour late, almost causing me to miss my ride to the airport. How hard is it to drive a bus 10 miles?

- Upon checking in at the US Air counter, I entered my information only to get a message that my reservation couldn’t be found. When I checked with an agent, I was told that I was actually on a United flight. I guess I should just regard the fact that “USAIR” was printed on the ticket as just a decoy to test my critical thinking skills.

- State Shuttle, the airport shuttle service I used, has been the only transportation-related service I’ve used on this trip that has demonstrated anything approaching competence. And the drivers I had were very friendly and fun to talk to. If you are flying into New York or Newark and need ground transportation, I highly recommend them.

- One good thing about Newark: Electrical outlets in plentiful supply. Charlotte’s airport had great, free wifi but nowhere to plug your computer in except really inconvenient places (e.g. in front of entries to bathrooms).

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