Apparently, our vacation karma was confiscated by customs upon our return to the states. I have a travel tip for all of you. If you are given a choice between being sodomized by a rusty farm implement, and making a US Airways connection at Philadelphia International Airport, you are better off choosing sodomy. It is less painful, and will be over much sooner. If you do find yourself forced to traverse the circle of hell that encompasses the US Airways terminal at Philadelphia— and by forced I mean at gunpoint, as this is no fate a sane person would choose except at the threat of their own life or the life of a loved one— I have a few suggestions:
- Always allow at least six hours between connections. This way, in the unlikely event your connecting flight leaves at some time resembling its scheduled departure, you might just be able run across the terminal from your five-hour-delayed incoming flight in time to see it leave the gate.
- Of course, more likely than not, your connection will be canceled due to weather. This seems especially likely for Pittsburgh-Cleveland flights at times when the sky is clear and sunny in both Philadelphia and Cleveland at the same time. If you pack a toothbrush, a pillow, and a change of underwear in your carry-on you will make the resulting 24-48 hour stay in the Philadelphia Terminal more pleasant. Don’t expect a hotel room, they will be all booked by the time US Airways admits that the “standby” boarding pass they printed for the next flight that evening was just as much a sick joke as their departure schedule.
- Bear in mind that the job of the US Airways’ employees is to get you away from their desk as quickly as possible, and to do so they will sincerely promise that you have a “good chance” to make the next flight out. View these promises as the airport’s equivalent of e-mails from wealthy Nigerian economic ministers.
- Remember that driving a rental car from Philadelphia to Cleveland takes about 6.5 hours. Trying to use a standby ticket to get from Philadelphia to Cleveland will take you more than 24 hours, not including the actual two hours flying time. But at that point, what’s two hours? You’ll spend more than that standing in line at the US Airways customer service desk.
- Please try not to hold out any hope of seeing your checked baggage again. You’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.