looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Travelling to Dallas - and what I did there

The trip to Dallas was uneventful, and although it was weird travelling without Lisa, I managed to get through it without disaster. No chance to do any writing, I was in an aisle seat and the two crazy people next to me had to keep getting up.

There was a bit of a worry at the Dallas/Fort Worth terminal, as I couldn't find the Avis desk to pick up the rental car.

After I while I figured out that I needed to catch a shuttle to the rental car depot. The airport is big, with 4 terminals connected by mini-trams. The shuttle drove for about 10 minutes before it arrived at the depot. 

No problem signing for the car - a Daewoo Leganza (abreviated on the keychain fob as DWOOLEGZ) - and full of confidence I checked the Avis map and the Yahoo directions I'd printed out, and drove out of the car park.

15 minutes later I was hopelessly lost, travelling south on a freeway to nowhere. I knew the hotel was north of the airport, but for the life of me I couldn't find the right roads and intersections. Eventually I gave up on following the Yahoo instructions and looked at the Avis map, and found an alternate route. I must have misjudged the scale of the map, or something, because I always seemed to have travelled further on the map than I had thought.

Finally got to the hotel, checked in, and then had a rest before checking out Eric's itinerary to see what time I was supposed to pick him up from the airport, as he was arriving several hours after me and from a different city. 

I drove off to the airport, and upon entering the loop road that circles the 4 terminals, I realised that I was missing several peices of information: What Airline was Eric flying? I guessed at SouthWest (for some reason, probably "stupidity") and drove around looking for a sign that said which terminal serviced SouthWest. Turns out none of them. American flies to Terminals A, B, and C; Delta is Terminal D, and all others seem to get in at Terminal B. I eventually park at terminal B and run in to look for information. Nothing. Eventually I ask at the National Airlines counter a) because they're not busy, and b) because I flew on their airline this morning so technically I am a customer deserving of assistence. I ask the woman behind the counter, "I have friend I'm supposed to be meeting, I think on Southwest, where to I meet him?"

"Southwest doesn't fly to this airport. They use Left Field(?!?!)". 

Oh, that would be real good. His flight is due in 15 minutes and it would be typical if he told me the wrong airport. I just assumed he would be flying in to the same airport as me. I asked if she could confirm that Southwest was in fact the right airline? I gave her the flight number and the source city, and a few minutes later (seemed like half an hour!) she came back and said, "Southwest do not have a flight of that number, that's all I can tell you. You can go through the checkpoint and check the monitors to see which airline has that flight number?"

I decide to do this, but quickly realise that with 4 terminals to check, and each gate cluster with its own exclusive list of arrivals, it was a hopeless task.

Poor Eric! I'd promised to meet him.

I dashed back through the checkpoint to the car, feeling like four different kinds of idiot, and drove back to the hotel as fast as was legal (+/- 10%).  (I can now confirm that if you take the correct route, the hotel is 10 minutes away from the airport.)

I get into my room, and this time get out my notes and check the airline. It's American! Problem still not solved, I have 5 minutes until his plane lands, and I still don't know if it is Termina A, B, or C - American docks at all of the them! (I guess DFW is American's hub.)

I get out the yellow pages and look for a flight information number for American. I find one. It's in Spanish! I look for another number, call it, and find out the terminal, gate, and estimated arrival time for Eric's flight. Halleluia, they're running 15 minutes late.

Back in the car, zoom off back to the airport, park at Terminal C, run into the terminal. I appear to be at Gate C5. Eric is supposed to get in at C39, all the way at the other end of the terminal!

I walk fast, and eventually meet Eric walking the other way, looking for me. It turns out that they were stuck on the tarmac for 30 minutes because a faulty plane was docked at their gate, and he hadn't been waiting long, but he did think to call Lisa on his cellphone to see if she knew where I was. This of course would make Lisa worry on my behalf, so he called her back and said it was ok, I'd turned up.

That evening we ate at a TexMex restaurant called "On the Border", and I ordered a Margarita because I needed to mellow out after that traumatic day.