Friday, 21 January 2011

BAA Take Note

I woke this morning at about 5.30 a.m.

I have found that I have problems adjusting to Eastern Time and tend to wake very early and be pretty tired by about 7 o'clock in the evening. They say that your body clock adjusts at a rate of an hour each day so a 5 day stay should have me adjusted to ET just in time to fly back to the UK.

I have found that only partially adjusting suits me better. It means that I wake very early and need to avoid late nights - or at least try to - but the plus side is that I don't really suffer any jet lag problems when I fly back home.

Now, where was I? Yes - there is not a lot to report today as most of it will be spent in airports and airliners. The forecasted snow was still falling and I checked my flights on the web. All seemed fine so I packed, had a leisurely breakfast and caught a cab to the airport. There was a couple of inches of snow on the major routes from Cambridge to Logan airport and it was falling so quickly that visibility was severely restricted. The Cabbie thought I had little chance of flying out and gave me his card so I could call him back if necessary.

I wandered up to the check-in desk and was booked on to an earlier flight. The desk staff seemed optimistic of my departure and so I went through the rigmarole of removing belts, boots, metallic objects, emptying pockets and taking laptops out of cases before they and I were blasted with several millirads of x-ray radiation and the Department of Homeland Security judged me safe to pass through to the Departure Lounge.

I located my Gate and peered out at the plane. It was covered in snow to a depth of at least 4". I am guessing that it had been at the Gate all night and this was it's first flight of the day. The snow was still falling and the airport seemed to be running like clockwork. Skid Steer Bobcats with Miniplows were whizzing around the landing gear of the Jet and larger Pick-up Trucks with full size ploughs were dealing with the routes near the Terminal whilst Monster Ploughs were out on the runways and Taxi ways.
it left 20 mins behind schedule

I recall BAA* wittering on about how much snow sat beneath a standing Jet and that it had to be cleared before a plane could be moved when the UK airports ground to a halt in December's snow. Not out here they don't. We boarded and the jet was rolled off the snow on to the Taxi-ways. We then parked whilst the De-icing teams rolled up and blasted the snow and ice off with a sickly pink liquid from a high pressure hose before following with a gooey green de-icer that was more gently sprayed on to the wing surfaces. The hose operators must have been absolutely bloody frozen standing on a cherry-picker platform on an exposed piece of tarmac in sub-zero temperatures. Perhaps that is why it took them less than 20 minutes to de-ice the plane and before I knew it we were at the end of the run-way with the engines spinning up.

The flight over New England and New York was great and 16,000 feet was low enough to take in the snowy landscape, the frozen lakes and the fractured ice on the partially frozen rivers. They say that a shot of sun-shine is a great mood enhancer and I can believe it as my spirits lift further as the plane cleared the clouds. No wonder pilots look so damned cheerful all the time. They must be blissed out on the vast quantities of endorphins or whatever are liberated by exposure to the sun. If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder take my advise, don't buy the crappy lamp that is supposed to mimic sunlight, re-train and take a job as a Pilot.
Other Stuff

A quick recap on last night, I spent the evening with colleague, and hopefully a new friend, in an Irish Pub called Mr Dooley's in the Financial District of Boston. It was great. He was fine company and considering our wildly different backgrounds we had much in common. The conversation was great and it was really good to spend some time meeting someone new and not having work encroach on the chat to any great extent.  The food was incredibly good. I ordered a Boston Seafood Scampi and was rewarded with a bowl of linguine in a white wine and cream sauce topped with seared scallops, king prawns and fresh fish. It was gorgeous and cooked to perfection and, considering the location, very reasonably priced.

* BAA - British Airport Authorities.

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