About twice every year, there’ll be a newspaper story about how Heathrow or some major metropolitan airport wants to add more runways. This story will be immediately followed by complaints from nearby residents’ group organisations about noise pollution. My typical thought used to be, “Get over it. We need more transport capacity, and I’m sure the noise is nothing double-glazing can’t fix.”

And so I kept believing this blithely until I got here in San Diego, and now live in a flat that’s directly below the flight path of F-18 Hornets from the nearby Marine base. These jetfighters will periodically scream over the canyon, creating a low rumble that cannot be avoided by any measures whatsoever and worst of all, last night they prevented me from hearing the punchline of a sitcom joke that looked as if it might be good. I’m already mildly annoyed about it, and that’s with perhaps at most half a dozen flyovers every evening. I can only imagine that it’s far worse for people living near Heathrow.

Of course, there’s not much to be done about it now for current residents. Hopefully in a few decades time this will be less of an issue due to current research in developing supersonic jets that will not produce sonic booms.

San Diego

So I’ve finally arrived in San Diego. The flight over from Manchester to Washington Dulles was surprisingly pleasant, perhaps because they had these incredibly nifty touchscreen LCDs in the back of every seat, which were playing about 20 video channels and countless Gameboy games. I was even more impressed when LCD screens started to fold down magically from the ceiling during movies. Unfortunately the plane arrived a little late and my mild worry about making my connecting flight to San Diego gradually grew large as the immigration lines crawled along. As soon as I got past the queue, I shot off to pick up my baggage and dump it on the transfer belt.

Now, while I’ll concede that in my (understandable) haste I might have missed a small sign, I don’t remember seeing anything that pointed me to where I should put my baggage for a connecting flight. As a result I had to recheck-in my baggage and endure more queues. Anyway, the upshot of the story is that had the plane taken off on time, I’d have missed it. Luckily (for me) it left the gate about an hour late, and then unluckily (for everyone) it spent another hour dawdling around outside due to thunderstorms.

No jet lag yet. First impressions of San Diego are: great weather. Big city. Still does that annoying thing where some places don’t include sales tax on their advertised prices.