Barely worth flying

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I went to Arlington, Texas, today for what turned out to be two hours' worth of meetings. It was a thirteen-hour trip all told.

Anytime I have to go to the DFW Metroplex, I consider whether it's going to be faster to fly or drive. Sure, it's only a 45 minute flight from TUL to DFW or DAL, but for an accurate comparison, you have to include the drive to the airport, parking at Fine, shuttle to the terminal, early arrival for check-in and security, waiting for baggage, waiting for the rental car shuttle, waiting to pick up the rental car, and then the travel time to the final destination. Then there's the flight schedule -- unlike a personal car, you can't leave on a commercial flight anytime you want.

Today it took me four hours to get from my son's school in south Tulsa to my destination in Arlington. I only arrived an hour before my flight. If I had obeyed the instructions on my boarding pass, I would have been there three hours in advance. The biggest delay was having to go to DFW's remote terminal parking.

It took me four and a half hours to get home, from the time I started out for the airport until the time I pulled into my driveway. Because I didn't know when the meetings would end, I booked a 7:30 flight to give me plenty of time to get to DFW and get through all the pre-flight nonsense. If I had left for Tulsa as soon as my meeting was over, I would have been home an hour earlier than I was.

This was a day trip, so I saved a half-hour each direction by not checking a bag. Originally, I was supposed to be picked up and dropped off, which would have tipped the scales overwhelmingly in favor of flying -- two hours saved not dealing with a rental car.

I haven't even added in the hassle factor of flying, and the pleasure of being able to turn off the Interstate, travel the old road for a few miles, and stop at a small town cafe.

Arlington is one of the few places in the Metroplex where flying is almost always quicker than driving, because of its propinquity to DFW and the lack of a sufficiently direct route from the north. No matter which way you go to Arlington, you have to go through half the Metroplex to get there. It's definitely quicker to drive to Plano than to fly and drive, since its on the side of the Metroplex closest to Tulsa. But it's almost as fast to drive to Ft. Worth, even though it's farther, because it's interstate all the way -- higher speed limits and no need to slow down for Stringtown.

The building where the meeting was has a good view of Six Flags over Texas. I told someone that it was strange to see the place in the grownup context of a business meeting, when I remember going there as a kid 37 years ago. The "skyline" of Six Flags has changed -- lots of roller coasters and drop rides -- but the big orange derrick is still there, albeit without the giant slide that I remember from '69 and '73. (Here's a collection of Six Flags maps from the past, plus a map of Seven Seas, the marine wildlife theme park that was where the Wyndham Hotel is now. We went to Seven Seas on our '73 trip.)

There were cranes in the air -- the new Cowboys stadium is going up, near Collins and Randol Mill Road -- being built by Manhattan Construction. I would love to see some aerial photos of the Six Flags / Arlington Stadium / Ballpark at Arlington area and how it evolved over the last forty-five years, since Six Flags' debut in 1961.

I will stop my rambling there. I'm on 1170 KFAQ tomorrow from 6 to 7 as usual.

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6 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

Kind of on subject:
I ride the bus to and from work every day. In the car its twenty-five minutes each way - on the bus its forty minutes or 15 minutes longer, both ways. A lot of people would say I was wasting 30 minutes a day, but I don't waste that time. I read, I meet new friends. I people watch. I can use my cell phone with wreckless abandon. I don't have to worry about hitting Paul Tay on his bicycle. You can't do any of these things in a car. What's more - I don't have to scrape ice and warm up my car.

michelle Author Profile Page said:

Think of how much easier it would be if there were a train going from Tulsa to Dallas/Arlington/Ft. Worth. You could do work the whole way, while watching the scenery go by.

Twatch said:

Not a problem, as long as you pick up the full cost of the ride or even pay a premium for the experience.

Joey Author Profile Page said:

Think of how much easier it would be if there were a proper highway between Tulsa and DFW. I've often wondered why there are wonderful interstates between OKC/DFW and OKC/Kansas City, but two and four lane roads between Tulsa and those cities. Reminder me - in what part of the state do our legislators meet to divide up highway dollars?

Paul Tay said:

Yep. I bet if Santa tried to board a plane, he'd get booted.

pinky said:

funny that you mention slowing down for stringtown along that nightmare 69/75 corridor. the following was just posted today:

WARNING!! TULSA TRAVELERS....

beware of speed traps. 69/75 corridor between tulsa and dallas. with the upcoming holidays, these small towns will be busy trying to fill their stockings!! don't let them fill their stockings with your money!!

SLOW DOWN RIGHT AWAY!!

they will even try to get you if you speed up and go over the limit BEFORE you pass the mph sign. DO NOT speed up until after you have passed the sign and begin slowing down before you reach the sign so that you are AT the speed when you reach it.

ALSO - rumours of radar readings 5 mph over what you actually are traveling. could it be?? why take a chance.

if you get stopped - ASK TO SEE THE RADAR READING. take a picture of it with your cell phone or camera.

when you get stopped - turn on a video cam or call your home phone or voice message system with your cell phone and RECORD your conversation with the cop.

don't let them get your hard earned money for "speeding". we prefer not to even turn over our money to those small town convenience stores, only stopping at one or two of the larger truck stops if at all.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 11, 2006 10:54 PM.

"One night when the moon was bright on a moonlit glade" was the previous entry in this blog.

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