Saturday, September 19, 2009

Los Angeles Airport Still a 1950's Relic Piece of Work

Last night I discovered there was no Bart train going to the San Francisco Airport early enough for my Virgin America flight to Los Angeles that left at 7:10 am. I had presumed a train would be available on Saturday morning prior to 6:00 a.m. in vain. So I was forced to hustle in trying to find an alternative which required I wake up at 3:45 a.m. to catch the appropriate shuttle bus. A taxi ride is around $40 to the airport these days so it was worth it, since the fare was only $3.50.

I arrived at the Transby Terminal in San Francisco at 4:45 a.m in the morning to discover homeless people sleeping in the terminal and hanging around wit
h cups of coffee. I got on the shuttle and arrived at the airport at 5:50 a.m. I walked on the entire other side of the airport to the gate assigned to the Virgin aircraft and got a cup of coffee. Luckily as I approached the security check line I discovered in time Virgin America, as usual, had changed gates last minute to the entire other side of the terminal requiring me to walk what would amount to several city blocks.

When I arrived Virigin America wasn't ready for the passengers. It took a long time to check us all onto the plane due to what they claimed was an aircraft change. We sat on the plane for another 35 minutes waiting for catering to finish up loading the plane with food. We were already 30 minutes late in the flight, then waited for the runway to clear about another 15 long minutes. Since I had a conference to attend early in the morning I was totally pissed.

When we finally arrived in Los Angeles LAX, we were 40 minutes late. I told the Virgin crew on my way out it was the worst flight I had ever had in my life. The airline hostesses were shallow and dumb and no one seemed to care how late they were to get us to Los Angeles. The pilot rarely checked in with us to update status on arrival time.

At LAX, the taxi driver they assigned to me at the terminal didn't even know where the hotel was I asked for.
He brought me to the wrong area and then delayed my arrival another 15 minutes. We drove and drove as is typical of LA getting nowhere and I was reminded why I had left; Los Angeles is pure hell! The driver used his special virtual dashboard map and was completely ignorant of where the hotel was I needed to go to.
Because Virgin America had limited flights back to LA, I had to leave the conference early, meaning I had flown all the way to Los Angeles for a mere 5 hours of conference time.

On the way back I met a very cool architect with his own architecture firm. He was sitting next to me and we talked about so much stuff from architecture to the economy.
Speaking of architecture, the LAX terminal hasn't changed since I last visited, it was a real piece of work. Apparently they were working on it again, but it still looked the same as the day I left LA in 1995. It looked just as it always had and I was shocked; utterly shocked LAX hadn't redesigned itself. The entire airport is outdated and pathetic.

I think SFO is one of the nicest airports in the world compared to some I've recently visited including Las Vegas and San Diego. SFO is thus far the nicest airport I've ever been too.
I think I'm going to go travel to Italy and Rome next.