Friday, June 20, 2008

San Diego or Beijing

While my camo pack helped me through the security line, once inside I was subject to all problems of air travel since the business downturn of 2000. I know, 9/11 had an effect, but air travel was really different when the airlines made lots of money. In 1999 I flew to a conference in Beijing. Back then Northwest Airlines flew direct to Beijing from Detroit. I left my house in Lancaster at 0830, 90 minutes before the flight from Harrisburg to Detroit. In 40 minutes I parked and was dragging my bicycle box (I always bring my bicycle on overseas trips, they don't charge for it.) and other luggage to check in. In 15 minutes I was boarding the 90-minute flight to Detroit. We had a 75-minuite layover, then off to Beijing. I took off at 1230 and landed 13 hours later in Beijing. Since Beijing is 12 hours ahead it was 1330 local time--the next day. It took an hour to get my bags and get my bike through Chinese customs, but by 1530 (3:30 am in PA) I was in my room assembling my bike. Total trip time from my home to Beijing with a bicycle--19 hours.

My flight out of Philadelphia to San Diego was delayed an hour. Then we sat on the runway for almost an hour. The connecting flight was also delayed. I did stop at work on the way to the airport so the comparison is not entirely valid, but I left my house at 0930 and was in my room in at 3am Eastern time in San Diego.
Total trip time WITHOUT the bike (it is cheaper to rent in America)--17 1/2 hours.

By the way, the trip distance to Beijing is about 10,000 miles--to San Diego is 3,000.

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