Travel Karma

by:  Michael Maso at 10/01/2010

Managing Director Michael Maso, from the train last night at 10:30pm:

In fairness and deep appreciation to all Huntington subscribers I would like to issue the following advisory: if you ever find yourself on a plane or train with me heading from NY to Boston, CHANGE YOUR PLANS!

Two weeks ago I was in NYC and heading back to Boston on the 5:00 US Airways shuttle when tornados (I'm not making this up!) hit Queens. As a result I spent 5 hours on the tarmac before finally taking off. Without drinks. They had water, yes, but not DRINKS.

"Wait," you say, "they can't do that anymore." What they can do is hold you on the tarmac for three hours, take you back to the terminal to let the most panicked and/or sanest among you escape, and then go out for another three hours of waiting. I got home at midnight.

Today I was back in NY with a shuttle reservation on the 4:00 PM shuttle home, and this time US Airways cancelled my flight 10 hours in advance. I guess that's progress. So I decided to get smart and booked an Acela Express. Yes, my friends, you guessed it. The 5:00, due into Back Bay at 8:30, was first delayed coming into Penn Station, and then "trees on the power lines" meant that our electric-powered train had to stop at Providence. So they put us on a diesel train to get to Boston. Problem? Only one. We have been waiting on the new train for over an hour waiting for a engine.

I'm not kidding. Our substitute diesel train has no engine.

It is now 10:30, and I do not expect to be home by midnight. I will tell you how this ended tomorrow. For now this puzzler: which is better - losing five hours to US Air or five hours-plus to Amtrak? The jury is out (I'm not home yet after all) but I'll give you a clue: on the Acela they have a bar.

In the meantime, the Huntington will shortly be issuing mug shots of me with this warning: DO NOT TRAVEL IN THE VICINITY OF THIS MAN.

- Michael Maso

UPDATE: The engine was found, and the train pulled into Back Bay Station around midnight. Michael was home in Brookline by 12:15.

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