|Monday, May 21, 2012||Friday, May 25, 2012|
|Southwest Flight #1856 / #1153||Southwest Flight #50 / #163|
|04:45 PM Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to||02:00 PM Birmingham, AL (BHM) to|
|06:00 PM Arrive in Phoenix, AZ (PHX)||03:20 PM Arrive in St. Louis, MO (STL)|
|07:15 PM Change in Phoenix, AZ (PHX)||04:20 PM Change in St. Louis, MO (STL)|
|12:25 AM Birmingham, AL (BHM)||06:35 PM Los Angeles, CA (LAX)|
I’m an early bird… for the most part. I like to go to bed early and I like to wake up (relatively) early. The early bird concept usually applies to traveling too. I like to get out of the house early and arrive at my destination as early as possible. But, for the first time in a long time I decided to take a late afternoon Monday flight to a client on the East coast. Birmingham isn’t necessarily East coast, but it’s close enough. I wasn’t a big fan of the idea when I made the reservation and I’m less of a fan now. The original reason for reserving a late flight was due to cost, which was almost 50% more to leave earlier in the day or on Sunday.
Before I get to the reasons for not being a fan of late flights, there were some positives from leaving later. First of all, it allowed me to push off packing until the day of the flight, which made it easier to enjoy the weekend rather than losing a day to do laundry and pack. It also allowed me to work a little during the morning hours, finishing up a few tasks and cleaning my inbox. This was somewhat of a bonus since I rarely work after I arrive at a client following a long travel day. I even managed to wake up earlier than usual on Monday morning and mosey on over to the local Starbucks for a coffee and breakfast, sitting outside the store for a good 15 minutes to relax.
So why am I not a fan of later flights? Because they arrive at the final destination very late! This goes against my early to bed early to rise mantra. I was originally scheduled to arrive in Birmingham at 12:35 AM. The flight was delayed over an hour prior to the first leg of the flight, then changed to depart on-time by the time I landed in Phoenix, then delayed again because the replacement plane didn’t arrive from the hanger as scheduled. The flight finally arrived in Birmingham about 35 minutes late. By the time I got back to the hotel it was almost 2 AM, which gave me just under 5 hours of time to sleep. I don’t function very well with little sleep, especially when there’s a change in time zone involved, two hours in this case between Los Angeles and Birminham. To a lot of people 5 hours might seem like plenty of sleep, but anything less than 7 hours just isn’t enough for me. I was surprisingly functional and productive that Tuesday. However, for some reason, Wednesday turned out to be the tougher day.
There’s a small side story from the flight itself from Phoenix to Birmingham. The flight was practically empty. There were whole rows of empty seats. I got lucky, sitting in a window seat towards the front of the plane, no one decided to pull up in the aisle seat. However, just across the aisle, there were two men sitting in the aisle / window seats when someone came along requesting to sit in the middle seat. Seriously!!! I’m baffled neither of the two guys already sitting didn’t say anything. Sadly, my comfort comes first, I would have said no or moved the first chance I got.
Anyway, after an uneventful week in Birmingham, I’m back in Southern California now and have no plans to travel for business until mid-July. I do have a planned vacation away from work for the week of June 18th, but haven’t actually made any plans to do anything that week. Only time will tell what I’ll do, but I’m going to enjoy the lack of travel as long as I can.