Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Dumpster Diving & Fast Driving

How did you survive travelling during the holidays?
What about your luggage?

One of the quirkier stories between Christmas and New Years came out of Houston, where a ring of thieves working for a baggage handling contractor at Bush Intercontinental Airport snagged loads of luggage from nearly every airline.

The suitcase caper was uncovered when 68-pieces of luggage were discovered in a dumpster near the airport. This week, 90-more pieces of baggage were found in two other dump sites.

The quintet of sticky-fingered bagmen worked for Menzies Aviation Group, a company based in London which provides ground services and luggage handling at airports in the US as well as other parts of the world. Menzies people are cooperating with local detectives as the case evolves. We can assume the now ex-employees were told to (ahem) pack their bags.

Between the ridiculous airport security routines at check-in, and now the threat of having all of your stuff ripped off, are you finding it’s just almost more convenient to drive on trips that would take four hours or less by car?

For those of you reading on-line in parts of the world outside Texas—that’s how we measure travel over here. Not in miles or kilometers, but in increments of time.

In Dallas and Houston, especially, we don’t worry about the geographic distance between two points. We want to know the travel time.
I generally find myself factoring-in a one-hour drive time to anyplace I need to be.
No, traffic’s not that bad; I just hate delays and being late.

Houston to Dallas is 240-miles.
That’s four hours at 60-mph.
Nobody drives sixty on the interstate between Dallas and Houston; at 60-mph, you’re whipped and buffeted by the slip-stream of faster vehicles—cars and trucks—passing you like you’re standing still.

The commonly-adopted speed on I-45 I’ve observed has been in the 75-to-85 mph range. Easily.
Those in a hurry are doing 90+.

When I travel to the Metroplex, I generally leave from the BizRadio Network Broadcasting Complex & Deli on Houston’s northwest side. Doorstep to doorstep, it’s a three and a half hour trip to our affiliate offices in downtown Dallas. Less time if I leave directly from The Clanton Hacienda in the exburbs of Harris County.

So when the possibility of traveling to the Metroplex arises for me, I weigh the possibilities and costs in terms of time and money. I can still drive from here to there in less time, more cheaply, than to fly between the two cities.

And I don’t have to worry about my luggage being pilfered.

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