Aviation’s Weak Link.
I always marvel show we can move millions of people all over the world quickly and efficiently, if not comfortably. Today I had breakfast on Maui, hopped an inter-island flight to Honolulu and six-plus hours later Hawaiian Airlines delivers me to Sacramento. The system is immensely complex, but it works pretty well most of the time.
But there’s one step in the process where it almost always breaks down for me. It’s when I’m coming off a flight and trying to connect with a hotel shuttle. Something always goes wrong.
Tonight, after we landed in Sacramento and I retrieved my bag, I called the hotel I had booked and asked them to send the shuttle to pick me up. The desk clerk said that, in fact, the driver was already on his way to the airport and should be there any minute. She said I should hurry to the designated pick-up spot and in meantime, she would contact the driver and let him know I was coming. What was my name, she asked.
I had a momentary vision of the shuttle driver, peering at the dozen or so people standing at the curb and saying to himself, “That guy over there looks like his name could be Jim Loomis.”
So I said–rather flippantly, I’m afraid–that it would be better if she would just tell the driver to look for an old bald guy.
It took me a couple of minutes to reach the curb where all the hotel shuttles stop and that’s where I waited.
After ten minutes or so, I again called the hotel and told the desk clerk I was still waiting for the damn shuttle. Quite surprised, she said the driver had reported that he had picked me up and had just started heading back to the hotel.
It turns out that just as he had pulled up to the curb, a man had come hurrying out of the door, waved at him, and climbed into the van. The driver quite naturally assumed the other guy was me.
Because of course–it was an old bald guy.
Tomorrow: The California Zephyr to Chicago; a full report on Thursday.