Tuesday, March 22, 2005 - Bogota to Knoxville
We got up at 6:00 this morning, a half hour earlier than strictly necessary, to give ourselves time for coffee over in the Platypus kitchen before we left. On their Website they say "an around the clock lounge serves free coffee." Free, yes. Around the clock, no. They started it when we got there, but when it wasn't ready by 7:00, we had to go ahead and leave. We had a plane to catch. The taxi to the airport was only 9,200 pesos this morning. Our four airport-hotel transfers in Bogota have varied in price from 9,200 to 20,000. I was told it should cost around 17,000.
At 7:30 we arrived at the airport for our 9:30 flight. From the three other times we'd been through this airport on this trip, we thought that would be plenty of time. Not so! The airport was packed, and we barely made it! The biggest time consumer was the exit tax. Even the porters seemed surprised by the long line. By the time we finally got to our gate, they were saying "rapido" and shooing us on board, where of course we sat for 45 minutes before we took off because some passengers were incapable of taking their seats. We had taken the time in our rush to the flight to buy one cup of coffee each, but we wanted two!
It was a pretty miserable flight. The plane was jam-packed full, and I was sitting between Tom and a giant Colombian man. But that was the least of our problems. For no extra charge, we had the privilege of riding on the screaming-baby flight. This kid screamed four out of the five hours from Bogota to Atlanta. I call it a baby, but she must have been about two. Old enough, I think, for her parents to tell her to shut the hell up. I considered buying her a drink.
The sky waitresses eventually came around with breakfast, and we finally got our second cup of coffee. The coffee was absolutely not fit to drink. It tasted like chemicals. Very disappointing. It goes almost without saying that the food and the movie were dreadful as well. I finished my book and had to read Delta's in-flight magazine and Sky Mall for entertainment.
Then, about an hour out of Atlanta, the turbulence started. The plane bumped around, we strained against our seatbelts, and there were noticeble changes in the aircraft's altitude and attitude. In my opinion, the pilot should have spent less time talking to us and more time flying the plane. Now, Tom hates to fly in the best of conditions, and these were not the best of conditions. The nice man sitting next to us was a pilot and told Tom not to worry, that this was normal. The last hour-plus, as we circled and circled Atlanta, was definitely a little rough. Tom claims some passengers screamed, but the only screaming I heard came from aforementioned baby. When we finally landed, the passengers applauded.
Our flight arrived half an hour late, so we really had to hustle to make our Knoxville connection, but we made it to the gate on time - barely. Then it turned out the flight was delayed, so we needn't have rushed. Just as well, as Tom needed some time to calm his nerves. After one last little puddle jump, we finally arrived in Knoxville. There's no place like home!