Wednesday, November 15

176 minutes late

(de-icers at ORD as seen from my seat on AA 2325)

Travel is glamorous.
Travel is glamorous.
Travel is glamorous.

If I repeat that to myself another 436 times, maybe I'll believe it.

The conference at the Q Center (about 45 minutes west of Chicago O'Hare Airport) ended at 10am yesterday, but I didn't get home until after 7pm. Even then, yesterday's travel could've been much worse.

When I boarded the bus, one of my colleagues said that some of the flights to Dallas had been canceled due to the high winds (25-40mph, with 50 mph gusts) .. great. So I quickly called the airline and they confirmed that mine had been canceled, but offered to put me on an earlier flight; I agreed. Once at the airport (after checking in and navigating security) I spotted 3 colleagues and grabbed a bite with them (Chili's Too). Three of us were en route Dallas, and one had to go through Austin* because all the Dallas flights were overbooked.
* Although his flight left Chicago on time, he was still in Austin waiting for a flight to Dallas, after we landed at DFW, nearly 3 hours late.
When it came time to board the flight, Brad-Bob and I wandered over to the monitors and saw our flight was now showing a 3-hour delay: splendid. So, we proceeded to try to find a WiFi hotspot and get some work done while we waited.

Although several networks appeared, only the SSID named [concourse] worked for me (banners confirmed that this was "official"). After too many (40?) minutes experimenting, I found a working signal next to gate H4 and was able to access email and a web browser (to keep an eye on my flight status). Maybe I should get a new WiFi detector which shows where the signal's originating. Mine can tell signal strength, but no more (even so, it was better than the guy walking around the K concourse with his laptop, searching for a usable signal). I've seen some detectors that claim to detect open WiFi networks, as well as cameras (which use a signal for their auto-focus).
Boingo AsYouGo is $7 at ORD (and Midway). It's cheaper ($5) at ATL and higher ($8) elsewhere. They also have a monthly plan ("Boingo Monthly Unlimited Subscription") for $22, but I'm not travelling enough to justify that.
I suspect the other SSIDs were there just to taunt me. Names like "Free WiFi" and "Public Access" were appealing, but I couldn't make a connection. There were also numerous other SSIDs being broadcast, which appeared to be individual laptops. Oh well .. there will be other flights, and more glamorous travel.

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