From at least Philadelphia to Northern New Jersey this past weekend, there were some ferocious wind and rain storms. Power service was disrupted for many and no doubt flights were canceled. I perhaps should have anticipated this when I left the house this morning at 5 AM for 7:15 AM flight. (My commute to Philadelphia airport is about one hour.) This Raleigh, NC flight is rather routine for me and I believe I have the ‘system’ down cold.
Well, not this morning. At 6:15 AM, the security lines where – no exaggeration – about 10 times as long as they usually are at that time of day. (Anyone familiar, I am at the terminal D/E checkpoint). The line snaked around several times beyond the roped area and continued past the moving walkways that moved passengers back towards baggage claim and the parking garage. I then realized that the storms had indeed impacted weekend flight schedules and this was the aftermath. That was it. I arrived an hour before take-off and was going to miss my flight.
Well, actually, no. I was amazed how well TSA kept things moving and I don’t think I stood still for more than one solid minute at any one time. And when the line did move, it moved a considerable distance. By the time I was though security and gathering my carry-on belongings it was 7:02 and the monitors displayed my flight as ‘Boarding’. I walked briskly to the gate and boarded with many others who only one hour earlier wondered if they too would be making alternate plans due to a missed flight.
I don’t know if a one-time good experience is enough for some people to broadcast accolades for someone or a group, but I will certainly tip my hat off to the TSA staff at PHL terminals D and E this morning. I was certainly impressed by how fast that line moved. (Of course, we must hope that doesn’t suppose that they rushed through their screening procedures).
Now if we can only get the baggage handling system redesigned into something resembling functional we might have an airport not worthy of the scorn beset by many inbound travelers.
As an aside, the Philadelphia to Raleigh trip, I believe, is usually just a back and forth. Well, today the plane was continuing on to Tampa Florida and was half full with people donned in Phillies gear – likely those Florida bound the day before. How much I wanted to stay on board and continue on to see a little Spring training in Clearwater. Good luck Phils in 2010!