When are airports gonna figure this out? If you have wireless Internet service available in your terminals, people actually will pay for it. How hard is that to figure out, really?

Murphy has struck again. I dropped off my rental car 2 hours before the scheduled departure of my flight (as advised), got to the airport 7 minutes later, went through security in 5, took the mini-train to my terminal, and found that my flight is departing at 5:48pm instead of 5:18pm.

That's wonderful. Now I'm stuck in the terminal for nearly two and a half hours with little to do. I don't have so much spare time as to make it worth going somewhere else, and without wireless I cannot catch up on the stuff I hoped to.


KisMac hasn't found any evidence of wireless, public or otherwise.

And don't even get me started by the phenomenal lack of power outlets. I'm sitting on the floor across from the airport Burger King because it's the only power I can find within 1,500 feet (no joke) of my gate. This means everyone walking by has to check out the guy typing some rant on his Powerbook with the iPod and N-Charge external battery pack charging.

Speaking of Burger King, the selection of food here is pretty awful. A bar, Burger King, and Cinnabon. That's it. Really. It's a good thing I had popcorn and a drink during the IMAX movie at the Kennedy Space Center a few hours ago. That was breakfast and lunch I suspect.

Making matters worse is that my connection in Dallas had originally allowed me about an hour. Guess what. Now it's about 30 minutes, assuming this flight leaves on time, encounters no delays getting to the runway, in flight, and landing in Dallas. To make it even more "amusing" my flight seems to be arriving at terminal C, while my flight from Dallas to San Jose is leaving from terminal A.


We have 30 minutes from landing to get to the gate, get off the plane (of course, I'm in the rear), get to the intra-terminal train, to my gate, and on the plane.

Anyone want to guess if both my luggage and I manage to make it?

Wait. Since there's no wireless here, I won't have time to post this before getting home. And since I'll be getting from gate to gate in Dallas, I can't post from there either.

New Travel Rule

In light of this and my trouble making a connections earlier, I've decided upon a new travel rule:

Never schedule flights that have a connection window of less than 90 minutes. Ever.

I'll have to be sure to pass that along to the professional travel agents at work (who booked this and many, many other flights). You'd think they're already be aware of the dangers in doing this, wouldn't you?

Yeah, so would I.

In the meantime, I guess I've got a tiny bit of e-mail to catch up on and a ton of people watching to do.

Yeay for me!!!


Later: I made it by 5 minutes... Time to post queued blog stuff.

Posted by jzawodn at April 18, 2004 11:23 PM

Reader Comments
# gabriel ricard said:

Next time you're there, just head back to the main building and head up to the second floor in the Hyatt. There's wireless access in the open courtyard area, and comfortable chairs in the Hyatt lobby, as well as power outlets.

on April 19, 2004 04:58 AM
# Harrison said:

That is the reason I switched to t-mobile recently. With their unlimitted transfer GPRS, I can get internet where ever I happen to get stuck. It may not be as fast as 802.11b, but still works almost anywhere. Last time I got stuck in O'hare for 8 hours, I decided that it was worth the 20 bucks a month.

I do agree with the power outlets though. I don't know why they try to hide them or put two outlets in a terminal with 80 gates. I think they might have a deal with laptop battery manufacturers to try to get you to buy a backup (which I did).

on April 19, 2004 06:59 AM
# Barnaby James said:

Sounds like you got home somehow...

It would be nice if you could get the travelocity guys to add the "No layover shorter than X minutes" to Yahoo! Travel. If it already does this, I couldn't find it.

on April 19, 2004 07:00 AM
# Jeff Boulter said:

If you never schedule flights with less than 90 minutes between connections, you're going to end up with a lot of time stuck in airports without wireless internet access. :-)

Seriously, get a Treo and get the wireless software that allows you to use it as a wireless modem. Assuming you have cell coverage, you'll have internet access.

on April 19, 2004 08:16 AM
# John Roberts said:

Read Free Flight by James Fallows... which, given that you are a pilot, I would think you may have already?

Doesn't mean you can buy a plane just yet, but in terms of time...

on April 19, 2004 08:37 AM
# jr said:

Aside from the other cellular solutions mentioned, I'll also throw in that my Sprint PCS phone has unlimited internet access for the cost of a $20 USB cable from RadioShack. It's no where near 802.11 (It's usually more 126K), but it's more than fast enough to check mail and post entries. I pretty much just use that when I'm travelling since it's nearly guaranteed to be available, and doesn't cost me a dime.

on April 19, 2004 08:48 AM
# 6800 said:

Cingular now also has an unlimited GPRS plan which works pretty good if you have a phone that supports Bluetooth or infrared/usb cable.

My phone even has a POP3/IMAP4 client which works fairly well for checking your mail quickly.

on April 19, 2004 09:55 AM
# Shawn Medero said:

Remember you are in Florida now.. as someone who grew up there I must remind visitors that they just stepped back in time about 20 years.

And Florida easily has the worse food selection in the country, because it is 90% chain restaurants. The only decent "chain" amongst them is the "_insert town name_ Ale House" places that dot the various metropolitan areas of the state. Of course, Outback Steakhouse is a Florida based chain that I suppose is popular given that during the evenings you can't find a parking spot in the strip mall one is located in no matter what state you are in. I had no idea how bad food was in Florida till I moved and realized that not all Asian restaurants are "all you can eat Chinese buffet."

To give some credit to Orlando Intl. Airport, if you did a survey of customers in the airport only 5 to 10% probably have a wifi enabled device on them or in their home. A wild guess based on the few times I have been through that terminal and taking notice of the demographic travel to/through Orlando.

on April 19, 2004 10:36 AM
# joat said:

I always travel with a couple DVD's in case there's no wireless. What really sucks is if you've signed up for a certain service who advertises that they're in both airports you're passing through and it turns out that they only in Terminal B, which you're not passing through.

on April 20, 2004 03:38 AM
# joat said:

...and the O'Hare dash isn't all it's cracked up to be either.

on April 20, 2004 03:40 AM
# John K said:

Jeremy, if you want to have better travel experiences, here are a couple of tips:

- Read Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha". The secret to business travel is understanding how to wait.

- Be a bit more prepared to do work / play that does not require a wireless connection.

- Become more aware of airport lounges.

on April 20, 2004 11:37 AM
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. My current, past, or previous employers are not responsible for what I write here, the comments left by others, or the photos I may share. If you have questions, please contact me. Also, I am not a journalist or reporter. Don't "pitch" me.


Privacy: I do not share or publish the email addresses or IP addresses of anyone posting a comment here without consent. However, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are spammy, off-topic, or otherwise unsuitable based on my comment policy. In a few cases, I may leave spammy comments but remove any URLs they contain.