Friday, July 18, 2008

Enroute to OSCON

I'm currently holed up in the Renaissance London Heathrow on my way out to OSCON 2008 being held in Portland in Oregon, at the Oregon Convention Centre.

Unlike last year the journey was fairly pleasant, just over two and a half hours in a straight run down the east coast main line from Leeds, where I was watching my wife graduate with her doctorate, instead of a torturous seven and a half hour journey across a flood torn west country.

However I've got a four thirty am check-in tomorrow morning, so right now it's time to get some sleep. More from me when I hit Portland...

Update: We took off late from Heathrow due to the late arrival of the equipment, we lost more time in the air due to adverse headwinds, and yet more time racked and stacked over a fog-bound O'Hare. So while I'm now on the ground in Chicago, I'm here two hours later than I should have been. Fortunately, for various values of fortunately, my trip through US immigration was relatively unscathed, and my onward flight turns out to be just as delayed going out as I was coming in. So I'm now camped out in the newly rennovated Red Carpet Club near B18. I'll let you know how things go when, or if, I make it into Portland later today...

Update: Finally made it into Portland. My connecting flight out of O'Hare was delayed, delayed again, and then delayed again. Then suddenly moved forward by an hour without warning, to a slot only a few minutes away. Apparently our plane was still sitting in Toronto, and United had decided to give us a different one at short notice. Presumably some other people were now without a plane, however...

This meant that I had to run across the terminal. Although I made it onto the flight ahead of most people, who no doubt had retired to the bar, or just taken a nap secure in the knowledge that had at least another hour to wait.

I also made it onto the plane before the flight crew, who took another hour and a half to arrive after we'd fully boarded. The cabin crew were looking distinctly nervous towards the end...

Once the flight crew arrived, did the safety check and the pre-fight, we'd closed the doors and started to pushback, one of the cabin crew noticed we had an extra passenger. The plane was full, every seat was taken, but there was still one poor guy still standing in the aisle clutching a valid boarding pass, but without a seat. After a brief discussion about whether he could sit in a spare jump seat, they finally decided that they just weren't allowed to do that anymore, he had to go...

So we had to find ourselves a new ground crew, return to the gate, and offload the guy. At this point we were getting close to the point where our flight crew were about to go illegal. We didn't pushback, for the second time, much ahead of the point where they'd have had to find us a new flight crew. Considering they probably couldn't do that the second pushback, and subsequent take off, was expedited. I was listening in on to the tower chatter on channel 9, and from the sounds of things we ducked in ahead of a fairly big queue, and rolled almost without a pause directly from the gate to the end of 32L and into the air.

That said, I arrived into Portland only two and a half hours later than planned, and I got to take a minor supporting role in an excellently produced farce. You can't complain too much...