Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Another joy of travel episode

By Mel Greenberg

Indianapolis-Chicago-Philadelphia-or-somewhere-in-between _ If my checked luggage with the system involving the rapidly diminishing dominant airline (RDDA) in Philadelphia were writing this instead of me, that would be the dateline in this little rant

The RDDA has a special approach to anger management here in the City of Brotherly Love.

It involves creating a slow burn among its passengers the minute the wheels of the plane operated by the RDDA touch down on the runway.

Did you know it is possible that from certain destinations located not too far away, the longest part of the trip involving the RDDA begins after the landing occurs?

The RDDA is like many teams on the field of competition here - it can't finish off.

I should hit the lotto, the number of times the equipment of the RDDA gets near the gate at the end of the trip and one of the following occurs:

The agent is anywhere but in the mechanical device that connects the terminal to the plane.

OR, the agent is in the mechanical device but is still figuring how to operate it.

OR, maybe neither of the first two situations have occurred, but the ground crew didn't park the plane properly.

OK, so eventually, we deplane. Sometimes, it's even exciting because the gate is near the front of the terminal. That happening creates a special formula that has recurred more than a few times when I use the RDDA -- the closer to ground transportation we are in arriving inside the terminal, the longer the wait will be to actually get out of the airport.

For instance, take the monitor screens that inform where your bags will arrive.

Several times, recently, due to a quick one-time announcement, if at all, knowledge was not available about changing which area the bags will arrive. Even if they had arrived elsewhere in the area, it was news to us.

An aside: staff of the RDDA in other cities who have had to deal problems of outbound passengers from here have been known to say: "They're killing us in Philadelphia." So much for esprit de air corp.

Our flight from Chicago arrived at 11 p.m. about the time two or three other flights arrived. Still, the airport was realitively empty at that hour.

After waiting for 30 minutes, it was time to take a trip to the complaint area of the RDDA, which seemed to be involved in a hostility hot spot. Amazingly, in the unclaimed area, several bags actually had a flight number similar to mine.

Now, on this particular trip, I was willing to cut some slack because I departed Indy on the codeshare partner of the RDDA and there was but a 50 minute window to move across three terminals in Chicago to switch planes.

Hey, remember not too long ago when the codeshare marriage was announced, one of the ingredients would be arrivals near where the other airline operates?

Although the distance the ground crew could cover is shorter than the path I had to transverse at O'Hare, I was willing in this particular situation to guess that O'Hare is the where the lugguage problem originated.

Of course, the RDDA is really at its best when you check bags two hours early for a simple non-stop flight.

Which reminds me, it would be nice if the booking itinerary might warn that bags may not make a transfer between planes in the amount of time scheduled.

If you're planning to carry on, you go ahead and ticket, because checked luggage wouldn't apply.

But at least I would be aware of the situation.

In this instance, I was arriving home, so a one-day delay wouldn't be the worse thing, but it might be going outbound.

Of course, you all have joined me as a casualty because material involved wrapping up the season is in the luggage, so you have to read this rant instead.

However, luggage wasn't the only thing last night that got snagged between locations.

The so-called print version of my season wrap up before transitioning on to the WNBA managed to drop out of sight along with several other victims between editions, but you can find that story somewhere inside of Philly.com.

Incidentally, speaking of codeshare, you might be interested in knowing that if you try to book a flight on the RDDA and the cost seems quite high, it is very possible to book with the codeshare partner who will put you on the same plane at a much cheaper price.

And on that note, it's time to go home and sleep this one off.

-- Mel

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