There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Red-Eye

CHICAGO — This will come as a shock to no one, but flying just isn’t fun any more. It’s a long haul from Hawaii to mid-America under the best of circumstances, but this trip had to be booked at pretty much the last minute, so the connections were hardly ideal.

The first leg was a Northwest flight from Maui to Seattle, with a stop at Kona on the Big Island which added an hour to what is normally a five-hour flight. The plane was my least-favorite aircraft: a Boeing 757, which is basically a very long aluminium tube with three-and-three seating.

There was one funny incident during the stop in Kona, however, when one of the flight attendants was clearing up some confusion with the passenger manifest. He was trying to find out if someone named Pringle was on board. He used the PA system to ask Pringle to identify himself, but he was distracted and fumbling with the button so we never actually heard Pringle’s name. What we DID hear was “… if you’re on board the plane at this time, please press your call button so we can identify you.” There was a brief pause, then 50 or 60 of us pressed the call button. That was followed by gales of laughter throughout the plane.

I had a three-hour wait in Seattle for my Chicago flight, which was on Alaska Airlines*, and took another three hours and 45 minutes. Then, of course, came the lenghty cab ride into downtown.

However, I am finally and happily ensconced in a comfortable hotel room where I will order room service and will watch my Red Sox take on the Angels on a dandy wide-screen high-def television set … unless, of course, I can’t stay awake.

Tomorrow comes the tour of the CSX yard and a look at their new energy efficient locomotive. What’s not to like about that?

* I can report that nowhere in the in-flight magazine was there a photo of the current Alaska governor. I checked. Twice.