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August 12, 2005

ASAE travel story

Traveling to Nashville today or tomorrow? Everybody's got a funny travel story, and I have one from last year at the Annual Meeting in Minneapolis.

I returned to my hotel room after sessions one day to discover my room door was locked. I walked downstairs and asked the front desk about it. The man at the desk said, "Mr. Martin, we have you checking out today." I objected, "I'm still here, am I not? I'm checking out tomorrow!" The man reprogrammed my key and I went back up to my room to watch the news.

As the news was ending I considered the events, and it occurred to me that I might want to check out my itinerary. Lo and behold, my flight from Minneapolis was scheduled to leave in just over an hour.

I opened up my laptop and attempted to check in online. No such luck -- gotta check in 2 hours before the flight. So I called up the airline to check in. Denied again -- can't do that.

So I raced around the hotel room throwing all my stuff haphazardly into my suitcase (well, not all my stuff, I left a pair of socks in a drawer). I ran downstairs for a cab.

By the way, I had arrived in Minneapolis with $9 in my pocket, and I spent it all on "beverages." So I needed a cab that would take a credit card. I explained my situation to the bellman and he hailed a cab.

Wouldn't you know, the cabbie couldn't take my credit card. Defeated, I said to the bellman, "Forget it, I'll just stay over and fly out tomorrow."

"No, no, no," he insisted, "Here's another cab."

Like a smelly angel, this cabbie would take a credit card, and I was about to learn he had a lead foot. I implored him to "step on it" and he did. We rolled up to the airport with about 30 minutes before my flight was to leave. I slid my credit card into the express check in kiosk -- success! -- and headed to security with my two bags. Of course I got in line behind someone who had all kinds of contraband and cast iron plates in his shoes and every other no-no.

Once I got through security I hopped on the tram, ran down the moving sidewalk, just as they were about to close the door to my flight. But...

Did I mention it was dinner time? Well, I was starved and had passed every kind of good food: pizza, burritos, sandwiches, but couldn't stop. No food service on this three hour flight to Richmond.

So I sit down, and the flight attendant announces: "Ladies and gentlemen, this flight will be delayed 20 minutes while the ground crew does a routine maintenance inspection." I asked to get off the plane for some food, and the lady says, "You'll never make it."

"Ha!" I shouted, I was in downtown Minneapolis and supernaturally made it here in time for the flight. Certainly I could make it over to Godfather's Pizza and back in 15 minutes.

Denied, yet again. I ate four bags of peanuts and grumbled all the way home.

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