September 26, 2006 - Ed Takes Flight
It was dark. It was early. If not for the automatic coffee maker, it would have been ugly and scary, too. But yesterday morning the dedicated staff of edhat.com woke up early to get to airport for an early flight. We didn’t mean to, but we woke up the Edhat Dog. However, a quick dog treat and a pat on the head and she went back to sleep.
Our flight was leaving from the Santa Barbara Airport at 6:30 am. We arrived at long term parking at 5:35 am. We know- we weren’t there an hour early as directed, but this is Santa Barbara. We parked our green car somewhere in the middle of the lot, gathered our belongings, and walked the length of the airport to the American Eagle counter. It was now 5:43 am. The check-in line was out the door, but no one was stressing out inside the terminal.
The line moved at a steady pace. There seemed be to an abundance of oversized and overstuffed luggage. At 5:55 am we got our boarding passes and dropped our bags off with the luggage inspector.
The security line for the America West terminal was backed up from the door to the ticket-counter building. At first it didn’t move. There seemed to be a clog. But once it started moving it went fairly quickly. The airport official in charge of telling passengers to have their tickets and ID ready was also telling us that he was retiring in 3 days – or at least his job was being eliminated.
Yesterday they weren’t checking for liquids anymore. But, the dedicated staff had our carry-on luggage opened and inspected. We figured that not too many passengers carry tally-counters. :-)
It was 6:11 am by the time we finished putting our shoes back on. The waiting room was packed. The people sitting and standing were mostly just staring into space. Were they trying to remember if they turned off the iron, or whether they remembered their toothbrush? Maybe, but only one of them was reading the paper – the LA Times if you are interested.
Just as we were about to count the crowd, the woman at the gate announced that our flight had already boarded and anyone not on the plane should get on the plane now. So, we never counted the crowd. Our estimate is 55. Once on the plane we saw 4 people reading the paper – 1 LA Times, 1 USA Today, and 2 people sharing a News-Press. There were about 64 people on the plane.
We sat on the ground until 6:33 am. There were no other planes taking off, so we were in the air by 6:38 am. It was beginning to get lighter. We could see the smoke from the Day Fire rising over the mountains. We took off over Ellwood and circled over the ocean – flying right over some of the islands. At about 6:45, a red burning light could be seen on the horizon. We were too far away for it to be flames from the fire. Oh yeah, it was the sun – forget that it hadn’t come up yet.
So we saw 119 people wait for planes to take off and five of them were reading the paper. That equates to 4.2%. Edhat subscriber Nophony came the closest in yesterday’s contest with a guess of 4%. Nophony wins a free, hot-off-the-press Edhat t-shirt!
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