The Arrival Gate Fiasco

Last week I traveled to Fargo, North Dakota for the first time. In my mind it is a flat town on the great American prairie that is always cold. It is in the north, right? Well yes, the terrain is flat. However, it was beautifully green has they have had rain throughout the summer. The weather was mild and the skies clear. Definitely clean air.

The airport is under renovation so we had to work our way through the construction and the workers leaving our gate. My first impression of the people during my hotel van ride to the hotel and the hotel staff is that they are very warm and welcoming.

The purpose of this trip was to teach all day Friday at a National Alliance, Agency Management Institute. The group was comprised of mostly natives of the area with Scandinavian heritage. So my Texas accent was up for discussion and clarification about what ya’ll and you’all mean. But this group was indeed as warm and welcoming as those folks in my initial encounters. At one point during the day I had a few moments where my throat closed up and I couldn’t talk. Not very good for the person that is supposed to be speaking. Someone in the group said the problem was the clean air and that I was probably not used to it. We had good fun together.

Now while this seemed like a really nice town, I always have my doubts about finding good food on the road. Smaller cities always seem to be a challenge in this area. But I was pleasantly surprised. Especially on Friday evening when we went to WF Maxwell’s. Great ambiance, excellent service and outstanding food. So if you should be in Fargo, I definitely recommend this place. Reservations suggested especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

You can’t get home from Fargo late in the afternoon so it is necessary to stay over. Since I would be traveling on Saturday I chose to start early so I could have as much of my weekend at home as possible. What I forget when I made these decision is that to catch a 5AM plane you must get up really early. The good news is the airport is only 10 minutes from the hotel, doesn’t open until 4AM and there is no traffic or crowd problems. So off I go headed to Minneapolis to change planes. One hour between flights. Well, I arrive in terminal F and my departing flight is in terminal C. A good distance apart. There is a need to visit the restroom and secure breakfast food in addition to arriving at my departing flight before it departs. I was having to move way to fast for a Saturday morning, but all was accomplished and I arrived at the gate just at boarding time. There was some concern about actually being able to fly to DF/W. Due to hurricane Ike there was talk of DF/W possibly being closed due to high winds. But luck was on my side and our plane departed on time and arrived at DF/W just as the beginning arrival of the outer bands of Ike. So you think there are no more challenges from here. You would be wrong.

When our plane arrived at our gate there was no ground crew. So we spent a good 10 minutes waiting for them to show up. When they do we taxi to the jet bridge. Alas, no gate agent to drive it up to the airplane. We wait another 5 minutes. I was on the left side of the airplane and could watch what was happening. When the gate agent arrived the jet bridge was moved around several times but apparently could not be made to match up to the airplane’s door. I wished I had been outside and had my video camera running. It was a small comedy in action. Another 10 minutes. The pilot advised that we would be deplaning down the planes steps and then going back up the jet bridge steps. Now it is raining in addition to everything else. The steps are the regional jet’s steps that fold out of the door. They are very narrow and slippery when wet. Really dangerous for an old, tired woman. None-the-less, we all made it down these steps, up the jet bridge steps and finally into the terminal. Just another day of fun travel I call The Glamour of the Road.