Monday, April 30, 2007

There and Back Again

As this is written, Delta Airlines has emerged successfully from bankruptcy, and your scribe is pleased to say that he has nothing but praise for the way things went last week on his non-hobbity holiday. You have already heard, dear reader, that the outward leg went smoothly, and it is pleasant to report that the homeward segment likewise brought us into JFK a little ahead of schedule.

A word about that schedule: for some reason, both Delta and Jet Blue (the only non-stop carriers on the route) offer only early-morning or late-night departures. Not seeing any sense in wasting a lovely Saturday in sunny Portland, your scribe opted for the latter. Which means, of course, that he took the redeye.

Fortunately, the plane was again only about 2/3 full, and this time your intrepid traveler had a whole row to himself. After ingesting the same cheese-and-crackers "meal" that he had relished on the trip out, your scribe stretched out and enjoyed several hours of relatively comfortable sleep. He suspects he did better than the passengers in first class, to which he was offered an upgrade for the modest sum of an additional $150. But since his ticket had set him back only $109 (each way, based on round-trip purchase), he couldn't see the sense in taking advantage of this thoughtful offer.

In the old days, upgrades were offered for an additional $25 or so. Often, after a successful business trip to Chicago or Minneapolis, your scribe would sign on. Considering the free drinks and full meals that were part of the deal back then, it was a no-brainer - not to mention the wider seats and being able to scoot off the airplane ahead of the maddening crowd.

But $150?! Excuse me, but that sounds like highway - er, skyway - robbery. And I don't think the first class passengers even got a meal worthy the name, let alone a row of three seats in which to lie down and stretch out. Your scribe was perfectly content with his lot in steerage.

Trudging back up Greenwich Avenue with his bag, who should he see driving past but Joe Williams, who was obviously on his way to a tennis date at Belle Haven. Joe beeped and waved, and kept on going. No suprise here, dear reader: Joe had also been driving on Mason Street when your scribe trudged down to the train station a few days earlier. At that time a request for a lift had been politely declined; there was a daughter to pick up at school. This time, your scribe didn't bother to ask; there was obviously a tennis partner waiting. But at least he knew he was home again - the same friend driving by, the same voyage by shank's mare to and from the station, the same streetscapes. Nothing had changed during your scribe's non-hobbity holiday, and indeed it was a textbook case of there and back again.


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