Travel: December 2006 Archives

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.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Travel category from December 2006.

Travel: October 2006 is the previous archive.

Travel: January 2007 is the next archive.

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