Friday at noon I took off for Frankfurt, Germany to speak at the Fall Edition of the International PHP Conference (http://www.phpconference.com). The flight from San Jose to Chicago was decent and I spent most of the time talking about the state of the airline industry (more leaning towards security) with a friendly AA employee (think a pilot, but not sure) who was dead heading on the flight. Arriving into Chicago a half hour early (after leaving 15 minutes late), I had a decent layover so I used the time charging my laptop battery and to check email (interesting stuff going on at work on the mailing lists). Departing out of Chicago was when the trouble began.
I’m not exactly sure how much intelligence American Airlines has, but after that flight, I can fairly easily say it can’t be much. The plane was a Boeing 767 (which usually isn’t too bad), but because of the way AA had the seat configuration setup, I was never able to find a way to sit without causing extreme discomfort. I’m definitely not an overly large person by no means (6′1″ and about 225 lbs.) yet I couldn’t fit in the seats. I had to keep my legs widely spread apart because I couldn’t bring my knees together because the seat in front of me was too close. I also was tight against the sides of the arm wrests as well. I can quite easily say it was one of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat in on an airplane and that is coming from someone who has flown on numerous puddle hopping prop jobs and crappy airlines like Southwest and America West Airlines. I was rather gratified on de-boarding to learn I was by no means not the only one. There was a long line of people complaining at the gate counter as well as several complaining to the flight attendants as they left. It’s sad when you would rather give up your seat and sit in the bathroom because it’s significantly bigger than your seat.
Thankfully, the trip turned a lot better upon landing. My bags were one of the first to come down at carousel #33 and Frankfurt is nice enough to provide luggage carts for free. Breezing quickly through customs (one of the fastest yet) I went and found where I had to meet the hotel shuttle. I was happy to find that I only had to wait like 2-3 minutes before it arrived. The hotel (NH Hotel Frankfurt-Mörfelden) is pretty far from most of Frankfurt, but at least it’s nice and comfortable.
Later in the day I ran into some people who were also attending the conference. One of them was nice enough to loan me a plug converter so I could charge my cell phone. Sadly, I remembered the one I needed for my laptop, remembered the one I needed for my camera, but forgot the one for my cell phone charger (it requires a different style). Being tired as I was, I ate a Ciabatta sandwich at the hotel bar and then went upstairs to sleep. More to follow!