Thursday, January 03, 2008

One Day in PA

Thursday brought a new first for me: the one-day business trip.

Connie and I booked the 7:00 AM flight from RDU to PHL, arriving at 8:15, allegedly. We boarded early, had space between us, and the flight was uneventful, other than a really long final approach with a couple of last-minute S-turns a few thousand feet away from the runway.
A Cloud Hangs Over Philadelphia
On the way off the plane, we heard the pilot complaining that they had to follow the 7:00 US Airways flight the whole way, and how slow they were. That is consistent with my experience with the two airlines: Southwest really tries to get places on-time, and US Airways just doesn't seem to care. 737 Winglet

We picked up my rental, a Jeep Liberty from Avis, and for maybe the second time ever, my Avis Preferred status actually worked. We went right from the shuttle to the running vehicle, bypassing the little desk. It was an easy drive to GlaxoSmithKline's Upper Providence site.

Did the normal work thing for the day, albeit in Pennsylvania. We had the 6:25 pm flight back, and had planned to leave GSK at 4:20, but everyone there said, "Oh, you should leave no later than three." I thought that was excessive, particularly since I'm from that area, and used to drive in that traffic every day, but when someone gives me the green light to leave work an hour early, I usually don't argue.

We drove back to PHL, stopping at MacDade boulevard to gas up the Jeep. We returned the car and hoofed it a few hundred feet through the parking garage to the terminal. (The shuttle ride takes at least 10 minutes.) We went through security and got to our gate by 4:15 - excessively early.

So we followed standard business trip procedure and camped out at the bar, a place called Chickie's and . . . . ? The walls had pictures of some dude, maybe the owner (Chickie?) and "celebrities" that were they not captioned would largely be unrecognizable, mainly employees of Philadelphia's football business.

It was way too early for dinner, so we enjoyed some beer: Blue Moon for Connie and Victory Hop Devil for me. When 5:00 rolled around, we ordered dinner. Mussles in white wine sauce for Connie and a Lobster Cheesesteak for me.
Lobster Cheesesteak

Lobster on a Philadelphia Cheesesteak? Some purists would consider this a desecration, but I liken it to Steak Oscar (steak topped with crab meat and hollandaise) or perhaps a portable Surf and Turf. A desecration is any cheesesteak I've had in the south, but I digress. This was really good. I highly recommend it.

We had checked-in right after lunch, and that was too late, as we were in the "B" group for boarding. By the time we got on the plane, there were no empty rows, save the last one. We took that knowing that the seat between Connie and I would be the last one occupied. I was right. There was one open seat on the plane, and it was next to me.

Another uneventful flight, with the hottest landing I've seen in a while. That pilot must have set a record in how quickly he got to the gate. You can tell that Southwest Airlines is serious about punctuality. The flight itself was probably about 10 minutes shorter than what I'm used to, which is saying a lot for a flight that's only an hour long.

Back to the parking deck and back to the house, arriving around 10 pm. A very long day for my first (and hopefully last, for a while) up-and-back in one day business trip.


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