House Call

I saw a very odd recent episode of House recently. House was in Baltimore to sort out some Medicare billing issues. I thought that this would be an interesting subplot, but it was dealt with in about 30 seconds. He then had to get back from Baltimore to the Princeton-Plainsboro Teachning Hospital to fix another patient. So far, so good. But how was he getting back? He was flying.

Thus a major feature of the episode was that he was stuck in the airport as snow delayed the flight, and had to offer sage advice over the telephone. Here's the problem: Baltimore is only 150 miles from Princeton. It makes very little sense to fly from Baltimore -- he'd have to go to Newark, I suppose, and then get down from there. Heck, he might just as well go from Philadelphia, it's about as close, and that's saving only 100 miles. Given that snow was a likelihood, and that there's all that hassle of checking in, why on earth would you fly? You can fly from BWI to EWR or PHL, on Continental Express for a sky-high fee, and it'll take about an hour.

But here's a thought: why not take the convenient rail option: for a significantly lower ticket price, you can take the train either from BWI or Baltimore Penn Station direct to Princeton Junction on Amtrak, and the total travel time is about an hour and half to an hour and three quarters. That's a heck of a lot faster, cheaper, and less prone to delay from snow than the flying option. And it gets him pretty much to the front door of his hospital.

I know that the show is actually made on the West Coast. I know that, for some bizarre reason they chose to set the airport scenes in the fictional "Baltimore Libery International Airport" instead of the more standard BWI. But you have to wonder, if they make the transport so convoluted, how many liberties are they taking with the medicine? It's probably a good thing I'm not a medic.

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