One of my oldest friends – we’ve known each other since we were three years old – decided to get married in Las Vegas this week. My friend, his fiancée and his parents flew across from the UK, but others of us flew across from Switzerland and even New Zealand to attend the event.
Now between Autodesk University and other events, I’ve probably averaged a week in Las Vegas a year for the last decade. So I didn’t really want to spend a full week in Vegas, but neither did I want to make the trip across for just a couple of days. I ended up choosing to fly across to San Francisco and spend a few days there either side of the wedding – from there I flew out to Vegas on Tuesday evening and came back on Thursday morning, which ended up being just about perfect, timing-wise.
The week itself went very well: aside from the time in Vegas I managed to spend some really good time with members of the ADN team in San Rafael, as well as members of our Engineering teams between San Rafael and San Francisco. Some of the information I’ve received – especially that related to some interesting technology soon to be available on Autodesk Labs – I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks, so watch this space.
Now while I don’t travel as much as some people, I do it enough to believe I’m usually efficient about it. Today, however, I messed up quite badly. When travelling purely for work I use our corporate travel booking system and *always* check in online in advance of the flight. As this was a personal trip, I booked it via a local, online ticket site, and got a fairly restrictive ticket – and accordingly priced – ticket. All of which would have been fine, but for some reason this ticket did not come with the ability to check in online, only at the airport. That, coupled with the fact that I was “on the home stretch” and had finished a busy (but very productive) week, led to me mistiming my arrival at the airport: I somehow managed to misread my itinerary and planned my arrival at SFO for the time my onward flight was due to be leaving Dulles (Washington D.C.). I realised my mistake at exactly the time my first flight was departing from SFO – and I was still hours from the airport.
United Airlines were very helpful: they explained my ticket was valid to be changed – for a fee, understandably – but only for exactly the same routing. The only problem being the next available combination of flights to get me back to Geneva was on Tuesday, which would have been a big problem from a personal perspective. It seemed my options were to wait until Tuesday or to buy a new ticket (United said a one-way ticket would cost around $3,000, although a quick check online confirmed cheaper options were available – I’d probably be able to get a flight back with a different company for $1,500).
With the (somewhat small) comfort that I at least knew the worst-case scenario, I headed for the airport. I arrived at about 11:30am, and it was nearly noon by the time I saw a ticketing agent. Thankfully United came through: just while I was at the counter a seat became available on the 1pm to Dulles, and they were also able to book me on tomorrow’s red-eye from IAD to GVA.
I had just enough time to get through security, buy some food for the flight and then go online and book a room for the night in Washington. And for some reason – despite the flight being close to full – I ended up being seated on my own in an exit aisle. So all’s well that (nearly, anyway) ends well.
Monday’s a holiday in Neuchatel and I’m taking another day off on Tuesday to spend time with my family, so please expect a few more days of radio silence: unless I manage to write something while I’m staying overnight in Washington I’ll be back online later in the week.