Sunday, September 5, 2010

Home Again

United Airlines offered no-charge flight changes as a precaution against Hurricane Earl, and we managed to book an earlier flight out of BWI through DEN to SEA. The entire flight was in F, not a bad deal at all for us.

So now we're home, or at least close to home, and surrounded by all of our children, their spouses, and grandchildren. We arrived in time for a belated family birthday party for grandson Jake and enjoyed a great evening last night before falling into bed for nine hours of sleep. With a cup of coffee we feel more rested and awake than anytime in the last 36 hours.

Along the way, we engaged in a little musing about those terminally annoying airline terminal announcements, which we posted to Flyer Talk as follows:

We arrived very early at BWI - too early but wanting to allow enough time for an unfamiliar TSA checkpoint. BWI no longer has our lounge of choice, the UA RCC, nor do they offer free Internet, so once we'd cleared the checkpoint we had little choice but to sit and be bombarded for 90 minutes by continual (very nearly continuous for you English-usage purists) announcements, both recorded and live.

The threat level is Orange, don't leave your baggage, if you do it might be damaged while being searched, report any suspicious activity...

Then a GA announces a flight, and those announcements contain too many threats as well, mainly regarding what will happen if your luggage doesn't fit on the plane... Then the recorded voice interrupts the live announcement with another round of warnings, reminiscent of that opening scene of Airplane but not nearly as funny. And so it goes.

We're usually sitting in the RCC and this morning I had a revelation, helped along by a short night of sleep, how annoying those repetitive nanny-state announcements with their little threats can be over a period of time.

I'm surprised airline lounges don't make the absence of security announcements inside a blatant selling point.

Block it out with our NR headphones? If we'd slapped them on we would have missed the GA's paging us to pick up our new F BPs, the definite highlight of our wait.

Maybe another multi-million dollar survey could determine how many times the recorded "threat level is Orange" announcements, for example, can be repeated until pax completely tune them out.

In summary, what a depressing wall of sound a terminal has become for the paying customers.

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