Saturday, October 4, 2014

Joshua Spaulding: Travel Agent

When I booked the trip to Russia to cover the Olympics, I made the decision to go through a travel agent. I gave her the time I needed to arrive, the time I needed to head out and told her to see what she could find.
She did a fantastic job and despite the fact that seemingly everyone in the world was flying to Sochi around that time, she got me in when I needed to be in and out when I needed to be out. There were a few long layovers, but when flying internationally, I always expect that to be the case. And in the weeks leading up to my departure, a couple of the flights had minor time changes. However, once the trip began, there was not one single delay. Every flight left on time and arrived either on time or early.
Just a few weeks before I had to leave for Russia, I flew to California for a Survivor event. I had four flights and of those four flights, three of them were delayed and/or cancelled. In fact, one of my return flights was cancelled before I even took off on the flight out. I had to rebook tickets through a different city and then got delayed in said city (Philly) on the way back and arrived a number of hours later than I should have.
Earlier this summer, I flew to Nashville for the bass fishing high school championships. Again, there were two flights in each direction, so four flights total. Once again, three of them were delayed and/or cancelled. In fact, I had to stay overnight in Manchester because my Tuesday flight was cancelled and I had to take off 12 hours later on Wednesday morning and I arrived in Nashville 12 hours later than planned. For the return flight, I got into BWI as planned, but my flight from there to Manchester was delayed by three hours. Instead of landing in Manchester at 9:30-10 p.m., I arrived at 12:30-1 p.m.
Flash forward to this past week.
I bought a ticket for another Survivor event in New York City. Instead of flying the relatively short distance, I decided to take the train from Boston's South Station. I booked an 11:15 a.m. departure on Wednesday and my return train was slated for 2:40 a.m. on Thursday. On Wednesday morning, I decided I didn't want to deal with parking in Boston, so I bought a bus ticket and drove to Dover and rode the C&J Trailways bus to South Station. The bus arrived about 15 minutes late, which wasn't too bad since I had left myself some wiggle room.
However, the train was a whole other story. It was supposed to be in New York City at 3:19 p.m. but somewhere between Providence and NYC, we stopped on the track for what seemed like an eternity. I have no idea what the issue is, but by the time we pulled into Penn Station we were 55 minutes late. I had hoped to at least see one or two things before a planned dinner with other folks attending the show, but that didn't happen.
I figured I had to be due for a good return trip, since I'd had such miserable luck, but I was a bit mistaken. The train left a few minutes late from NYC, but we still arrived back in Boston on time and I was ready to catch the 9 a.m. bus from Boston to Dover. The bus pulled up to let off passengers coming south and immediately they summoned security. A woman got off the bus, talked to the officials and the police and then left. A guy got off the bus and had a bit of a longer wait, as police and bus company officials talked to him. From the gist of what I heard, it seems like he was exposing himself to the woman during the bus ride from NH.
So, we had yet another delay and by the time we went to Logan and had to switch buses again (because our return bus couldn't make it to South Station due to traffic), we left Boston 40 minutes late. However, the driver was able to make up some of that time and we got into Dover only 15 minutes later than scheduled.
So, the moral of the story: Don't use me as your travel agent. Hire a professional.

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