About 20 years ago, Bruce and I took the kids on a trip to New York on the Greyhound bus. We got companion fares for the kids, so it was super cheap. We went from Atlanta to New York city for $340 roundtrip for all 4 of us. The actual trip was fine, even though it took a full 24 hours. I remember how astonished I was at how horribly the employees treated the passengers and how uncomfortable the bus terminals were. That was the last bus trip I took until last week.
I was in desperate need of a last minute getaway. I decided to accompany my son on a driving casino trip to Biloxi for a couple of days. I needed to be back on Monday to babysit, and he was going to continue on and play casinos on a meandering path to New Orleans. I can fly standby on Delta and United, so I thought I would be able to fly out of Jackson, Mississippi, Mobile, Alabama, or New Orleans. As it turned out, as it often does these days with full flights, all flights from these airports to Atlanta were oversold. I thought about trying to talk my son into driving me back home, but that would have been an 11 hour round trip for him.
For a lark I checked Greyhound. There was a bus going from Mobile to Columbus, GA for $79, and best of all, it did NOT GO THROUGH ATLANTA! If I had flown, I would have had to fly to Altanta and take the shuttle bus to my house 20 miles north of Columbus. This way Bruce could pick me up at the bus station in Columbus. Another advantage of taking the bus is that I wouldn’t have to arrive at my departing airport before the crack of dawn. If you are flying standby, it is a good idea to try to get the first flight of the day out. And the best thing about taking the bus was that I didn’t have to fly standby! I really needed to get home! I booked the bus ticket online for pickup at the station.
Some things have changed for the better with Greyhound. The buses are a snappy blue and gray color. The bus I rode was clean and in good repair. There are power ports and free wifi on board. You can follow the route of the bus on the Greyhound website as you are traveling. The driver was very professional and kept us informed about stops and waiting times. One thing hasn’t changed though. The terminals themselves are dreary, lack services, and are in bad parts of town. We had a 30 minute stop in Montgomery Alabama, and most people walked across the street to get take- out meals from Kentucky Fried Chicken. I made do with a bag of almonds from a vending machine. Here is the picture of us passengers waiting to reboard the bus in Montgomery. As you can see, it is just folks riding the bus. No Delta Medallions!
The bus trip really worked out well for me. I made it home faster than I would have if I had flown since I didn’t have to deal with two airports. And the price was reasonable. I would do it again, but next time I’d pack a picnic basket. You know, like you have to do when you fly in the main cabin.