Mar 22, 2016

Flying unfriendly skies

Before I started my current job, my fear of flying was largely based on the fact that I’m putting my fate entirely in someone else’s hands with every flight.  The more I fly, however, the reasons I dread air travel have become more about the many customer service catastrophes that can befall you at any given moment. 

Recently, I had one of those days where I felt the full force of the domino effect of Murphy’s Law.  You see, when one thing goes wrong in the airline business, it negatively impacts several other things, and before you know it, you’re in a tailspin of suck that can last for days. 

To be fair, my latent hostility toward the Cleveland airport had been building for a couple of weeks. For starters, it’s conveniently located near absolutely nothing, making my average commute to work or my hotel once I arrive at least 30-40 minutes.  And that doesn’t factor in how long it takes to get a rental car at the airport.  That’s because the airport rental area is nowhere near the airport. You have to walk a mile from baggage claim to a shuttle, which wanders through a maze of construction sites and frontage roads with potholes the size of a Buick.  All in all, this process takes at least another 20 minutes. 

Supposedly, all of the “improvements” at the airport are for the 2016 Republican National Convention.  I have a feeling if there really are riots, it won’t be because of Donald Trump; it will be because the airport and its surroundings are so messed up.    

So, one Friday morning when I’m more than ready to get out of Cleveland for the weekend, I started with dropping off my rental car and doing the 20 minute commute.  Fortunately, once I arrived, the security point check-in did not take nearly as long as it appeared it would.  This is one area where I will compliment the Cleveland airport.  They have this screening process down fairly well. 

I had plenty to time to catch my 11 a.m. flight on United to Chicago.  Sure, last week’s flight was delayed an hour due to mechanical problems (the last thing you want to hear about the plane you’re about to get on!).  But things were going so smoothly today.  What could go wrong?

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...