This is my first post for the Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference 2011. As has become a bit of a tradition, I will fill you in on my journey to Fargo.
Friday 25th February at 3am (Perth Time) is when my travel day started. The taxi picked me up at 4am and after a good clear 20 minute run, I was at Perth's Domestic Airport. After an uneventful 4.5 hour Qantas flight I am in Sydney and shortly after flying with United to Los Angeles. Another uneventful (which IS good) flight of 13 hours (I managed to sleep most of it) and I arrive in Los Angeles. All good so far.... until I check the time of my next flight to Denver.
My Jumbo for the Sydney - Los Angeles flight. Note it has eyes!!
The international flight to Los Angeles from Sydney had arrived about 30 minutes early which was great, but it was now 9:45am and my next flight was due to board at 10:30. So, with the tight connection, I thought I should ask if I could jump at the immigration passport check queue so I did not miss my flight. I asked the lady who was organising the queues, she said talk to an airline official. I found the only airline official I could who said I needed to find a United Airlines contact. Eventually, I did find one and was told that I could get back in the queue and miss my flight with everyone else. Great except that I know that there are not many flights from Denver to Fargo and if I miss this flight, I will then missed the final flight as well and that would probably be the last flight to Fargo for the night. I really did not feel like staying the night in an airport. While I know that delays happen, missing a flight when it could easily be avoided is stupid. Next time, I think I should feign a twisted ankle and get special treatment and go straight through on a wheel chair.
After an hour, I finally get through passport control at 10:45am. I find my bag, which now has the added benefit of a flat spot on one of the trolley wheels (allows people to hear me coming and get out of my way ..... clunk, clunk, clunk), and 15 minutes later emerge from queue at the customs check. I had given up hope of catching my connection and so went towards the queue to rebook what I can. But no... wait... what's that I see on the monitor.... The flight to Denver is delayed. It will now depart 20 minutes later than scheduled. I ran back and asked, if I had a chance to make it. The luggage handling guy said, "Yes, they were still taking bags for that flight.", he then said "Give me your bag and RUN!!!".
Now, I am trying to improve my fitness, in preparation for the Great West Australian Bike Ride 2011, but running from the Los Angeles international terminal 6 to terminal 7 with a heavy backpack was tiring. At least, it was only one terminal apart, I have had to run further before, but not with so little time. At least the guy at the terminal's security check allowed me to jump the queue as there was no way I could wait 20 minutes when the flight was due to leave in about 10 minutes. Well, the good news is that even though I was hot and breathless, I did make the flight, but only because the flight in was early and the flight out was delayed and not from any help at passport control. That said, I will be chatting with my travel agent and making sure, they don't book such close transit times again between an international and domestic flight.
The final leg from Denver to Fargo went without a hitch. I did ask the gate attendant what would have happened if I HAD missed my flight and got into Denver late. He said there was one more flight to Fargo that night, but it was already full. So, it was a good thing I did make it. Arriving in Fargo, you could see lots of snow on the ground. That was expected as I knew that the temperatures were below freezing. But when you exit the terminal and get a face full of the freezing air, then you know you have arrived in Fargo in Winter.
So in 30 hours, I have travelled from South to North Hemisphere, some 14 timezones, and gone from 38C (100F) down 62C (112F) to -24C (-12F).
View from my room at the Ramada Plaza Suites
Welcome to Fargo, North Dakota, USA.
PS: I wanted to get pictures of Fargo and the snow from the air. I had my camera and had swapped to a window seat, but it was dark by the time we got there.