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Ted is glad to see you

Started: 2006-09-05 08:08:17

Submitted: 2006-09-05 08:42:45

Visibility: World-readable

These days, low-cost air carriers are sexy, so major airlines (should I say the "big five"?) feel compelled to join the party. Delta's Song didn't go as well as they hoped, but United's Ted ("as in Uni-Ted") is still alive and kicking. I've flown Ted once before (to my brother-in-law's wedding); last month I flew Ted again, once again between Denver and Ontario. (That's Ontario, California, part of the Inland Empire sprawling east of Los Angeles. The airport (IATA code ONT) is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, just like LAX.)

Sunday morning, 20 August 2006, I woke up early to drive to DIA to fly Ted to Ontario. (This flight, like every other commercial flight I've taken, is entered on my flight log. So far, it doesn't look like I'll fly more miles than last year, but it'll come in a close second.) I should have gotten a picture in front of one of the Ted signs, such as "Ted is glad to see you". The one downside of my sexy new digital SLR is it's harder to take self-portraits.

While walking across the bridge to Concourse A (where Ted's Denver operation is located for the immediate future, although it's moving to concourse B in a complicated deal with DIA, United, and Frontier), I stopped to look at the exhibit of fully-functional scale engines, mostly piston engines modeled from piston-powered aircraft. Inside security, I was glad to see that concessions were again selling bottled drinks; their absence last time I flew out of DIA appeared to be a one-day-only experiment. All liquids were still technically disallowed on planes themselves, although there was no additional screening to enforce it. (I'd complain about the implausibility of a binary liquid explosive, and the stupidity of protecting America through dehydrating terrorists, but it's really not worth it. If the TSA rent-a-cops won't let us bring factory-sealed containers through security, At least they should let us carry on bottled beverages acquired within the secured area, which (presumably) have passed a far higher security bar.)

The tug attached to the A320 next to the one I flew had a bumper sticker modeled after a Colorado license plate that read, "Ted is a native".

I sat next to what appeared to be the only empty seat on the plane. Before closing the cabin door, the flight attendants mumbled something over the PA about waiting for another passenger who might or might not make it to the plane in time, but after a few minutes they closed the cabin door anyway and we headed for the Inland Empire.

To be continued...