Monday, November 27, 2006

Post holiday travel

This was written in my Moleskine while waiting for my flight to Burbank to take off.

Since we moved to Seattle (and kept my job in Oakland), I have started to travel quite a bit. Today, I begin a series of trips. For the next three weeks, Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday, I'll be somewhere else.

But with all this traveling, I've begun to notice some things about my fellow travelers.

Usually, the first flight of the day is primarily business travelers. Sure, try to carry as much in a carry on as possible, but they are ready or laptop screening or already have their gels, liquids and toothpaste in a ziploc bag. They move through security quickly. They get on the plane and pull out the Wall Street Journal or Fortune magazine.

This trip is right after Thanksgiving weekend. These travelers are different. I'm on the first flight to Burbank, Monday morning and this plane is full of college students going back to school. College students have the same gadgets as business travelers, but the security lines are slower. Instead of business publications, it is text books: Introduction to Neuro Science, Italian Songs and Arias. Instead of leather briefcases, it is nylon backpacks and messenger bags.

This trip was oversold - something I haven't seen in a while (since my last ill fated trip right before the Fourth of July). Unlike what I've seen on Airplane, the guy who was bumped was polite and understanding as he was moved to standby on another oversold flight. Considering that he was at the end of the jetway, almost on the play, his behavior was pretty exemplary.

As we wait for de-icing, the plane has a certain quietude to it, sort of like a library: the rustle of papers, an occasional quiet whisper. Which decays as we roll into 15 minutes late for departure.

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