Last week/weekend I took a short trip to Las Vegas to see my Sister get Married. It was a beautiful ceremony, the hotel we stayed at, the MGM Grand was great, literally a playground for adults, and Vegas itself is just a crazy city. Fun was had by all. The less fun part is the eight hours or so it takes to get from Toronto to Las Vegas, spent in airports and on planes. In hindsight, we definitely should have flown direct, but I won’t get into the details of that experience.
One of the many things that stands out in my mind regarding the trip there and back is just how many battery operated devices travellers use, and how airports and airlines have come to accommodate that. On the two planes I was on to get to Las Vegas and the two planes I was on to get back to Toronto I’d say at least half of each plane had some sort of tablet, ultra book or laptop on for the entire flight. As soon as we reached above 10,000 ft the cabin was illuminated with the cool blue glow of screens. I elected not to bring my laptop (I had my BB with me so I could check my email) and was nearly bored for all six hours of flying time, there and back (I really need to pick up an tablet), if not for my iPod, I would have rather driven.
The funniest part was at the end of every flight, while de-planing, I don’t know how many times I heard someone say to someone else or just themselves “I need to plug in!” Which they could easily do as every airport I was at, Detroit, Vegas, Atlanta and Toronto all have many places for people to do just that. It was a general recognition of how dependant we are on battery operated technology. Ontop of that, every airport had Wi-Fi available as did every plane and I even saw a few credit card operated internet terminals in Atlanta. At the time, while de-planing, I admit I found this need to plug in by my fellow travellers a bit amusing, right up till when we missed our connecting flight in Atlanta.
We ended up in Atlanta overnight, my Blackberry was completely dead and I packed the charger in my checked luggage. My iPod, which is also my watch due to LunaTik’s Lynk accessory was nearly dead, also packed that charger in my checked luggage. One of my fellow travellers who had an iPhone had 9% battery left, guess where the charger was and the other person I was traveling with, just all together packed his phone and charger in, you guessed it, his checked luggage. We had no access to our checked luggage on our unscheduled overnight layover in Atlanta and without our chargers, it was like being stranded on an island, without access to water. We couldn’t check for other connecting flights, couldn’t contact our families, check email or pretty much do anything that has become part of your normal everyday expectancy of access. I turned off my iPod immediately hoping to preserve enough battery for the flight the next morning, like I was protecting my last bit of sustenance. At the hotel, all I could think about was all the emails I was not reading, or able to read till the next day (turned out to be 47) and all we had for media access was some basic cable on televisions from the 90′s.
Before that experience I never truly realized how much we depend on battery operated devices and how much these devices are part of our lives. I’ve read and written about the idea before but till I couldn’t turn on my phone, and had experienced the idea I may not have access to my music for two hours in a flying metal tube, it never really hit home. I sat in the airport the next morning, longingly watching as other travellers plugged in their devices and missing my access.
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