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SLC to FLL for Microscopy 2007

So, I am off yet again this time to give an invited talk at Microscopy and Microanalysis 2007 where Maryann Martone invited me to speak at her session on Multi-scale Imaging in the Nervous System. Fortunately, I got an upgrade to first class flying on Delta… unfortunately, even first class on this Delta 757 does not have seat power outlets, so the battery on my four year old Powerbook which lasts about 3 – 3.5 hours will not quite make the almost 5 hour trip across the country. It’s about time for a new laptop as this one has literally travelled around the world from New Zealand to both of the Australian coasts all over the US and Hawaii, to Argentina and the UK with me. It’s still in good shape but the miles are starting to show and the newer laptops have better energy management combined with better battery technology. I keep hoping for the new subnotebook from Apple to be released, replacing the dear, departed 12in Powerbook and very much hope that the beautifully svelte, outrageously thin (think of a Motorola RAZR for perspective on how thin) subnotebook replacement will come out prior to an upcoming trip to Japan. I’ll be carrying almost all of my photo gear on that trip, so the reduced weight and size of the laptop would be most welcome.

At any rate, the flight went remarkably well, flying directly over Denver, with no turbulence and very little in the way of hassle from even other travelers. The extra space in first class combined with a rather decent meal meant I could rest some, look out the window (Movie link), work (at least until the battery on the laptop ran out) and simply relax without being crammed into an entirely too small space for my 6 foot, 175 lb frame. I arrived reasonably fresh and ready to embark on a busy week of meetings, presentations and explorations of new hardware, software and ideas related to microscopy.

An interesting note however… We had to stop in Atlanta and change planes which is not unusual, but I was surprised to hear that the plane I just got off was indeed going to Ft. Lauderdale an hour earlier than my scheduled flight to Ft. Lauderdale on another plane. How that happened with the scheduling was a mystery to me, but perhaps more disturbing was that my luggage stayed on the plane and made it to Ft. Lauderdale almost two hours before I did where it sat in the luggage claim area waiting for me, completely unprotected. When I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, I walked down to the baggage claim area, saw my admittedly unique bag sitting by the wall and retrieved it immediately with nobody there to check that it was in fact my bag before I walked briskly out of the door. Someone could have simply walked off with my bag at any time and I would have been left thinking that the airline somehow lost my bag in transit. I travel a reasonable amount (enough to obtain Medalion level status with Delta) and know that this is actually a common problem in airports. There is almost no airport where I have been asked to confirm that a bag in in fact mine before leaving the door with it with the exception of the tiny, charming airport in Santa Barbara. It would be relatively easy to routinely steal bags from airport baggage claim areas as there is no real incentive (other than customer service) for airports to secure the baggage claim area. Instead, they mistakenly place all of their money and efforts into making people take off belts, shoes, taking water and other liquids from travelers trying to get into airports in often absurd attempts to make things more secure. Most US airlines are having a difficult time financially with the exception of a couple well run companies, but I have to wonder what airport profits are. If they focused more on the customer, making the environment more comfortable (free WiFi), ensuring that luggage areas are secure and making traveling more pleasant, it may become even more profitable.

The Intelsat facility outside of Atlanta.

Ft. Lauderdale.

Categories: Travel.

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