Monday, January 5, 2009
Almost Made it...
Yesterday was a typical day for the average person flying. An atypical day for me. As frequently as I travel, I have very rarely had delays/cancellations or a meteor hit the plane I'm on.
Yesterday was pretty terrible though. The story ensues:
I got to Durango Airport an hour before takeoff which is comparable to 2.5 hours at your standard city airport. My flight was arriving late even though the weather in Durango was clear and warm. Therefore we left a half hour late which immediately created a challenge. My itinerary allotted nary a stray step as I had a half hour to find my connecting gate out of Denver. Hence leaving later put me in a precarious situation.
After taxiing in Durango for 15 minutes (as pointless as getting a haircut when you're bald) we departed. The pilot, after making a hilarious joke (aka hilarious could be replaced with annoying, idiotic, predictable, lame, etc) said the flight would take only 45 minutes.
Yay, we we're going to pick up the pace.
I started to relax until I noticed I had my face pressed against the window for no apparent reason. Lost in texation (a daze of texting) I didn't notice the man next to me ate the flight attendant for breakfast. At 6'2", 200 pounds, I'm no slouch myself. But hey, 45 minutes, s@#$ I could endure a speech by President Bush. I'd make it through.
An hour later we were beginning our descent, I anxiously glanced at my phone, hoping I would change time zones or something.
I got out of the plane at 11:50 and my flight was scheduled to depart at 11:55.
There's a shot.
I booked it over to my gate listed on my ticket. Unbeknowenst to me, although I could've figured, they changed the gate sometime to make it easier for frantic airline passengers.
When I finally found the gate I was told I was five minutes too late. The ticket agent said I should go to customer service to find my options.
Because of my keen eye I noticed 40 people standing in line as I hustled my way to my gate. I asked him, if he could help me given the hour and a half line.
He told me the best he could do is put me on stand-by for the next (and last) flight out.
So, in other words, you're useless.
Yes he replied.
So I waited in line for an hour and a half to visit Ms. Pleasonton who greeted me with a smile that could kill Bambi. Sidenote: In line I met a wonderful woman from Trinidad and we had a great conversation to pass the time. We talked about how much safer we feel with Palin in Alaska than in Washington. Someone has to look over Russia, eh?
I explained to the ticket agent my situation, who flatly relayed that the best I could do was wait on standby for the 4:45PM flight, and the 7:15AM flight the following morning.
I asked her when I could be guaranteed a spot. She said the next day at 4:45PM. I said, I'll just take that, rather than waste my time.
She said sure, however I had to come back in two hours until it was 24 hours before the flight so she could print my boarding pass.
So I have to wait in this line again!!???
Yes she replied with the same dead smile, she reminded me I may in fact get on the afternoon flight anyhow.
So I waited. Or Aited (waiting with nothing to do so you eat).
To increase my good fortune I'd experienced thus far, the afternoon flight was delayed a half hour.
The flight was overbooked. I didn't get on.
Off i went back to the line I had waited in before, save this time without the friendly woman to chitchat with.
An hour and ten minutes later, I got to a new ticket agent who made Joan Rivers look real.
She told me that the flight for tomorrow afternoon I was previously guaranteed was full. I said, get me on the flight or let me speak to your supervisor.
She grudgingly obliged.
Almost forgot - during this debacle I remembered that I packed my phone charger in my checked luggage. Therefore I had to conserve phone power and called my Mom to explain to her my predicament. The angel she is, spent an hour on the phone with the airline on my behalf. Who, in essence, told her the same thing they told me.
Thanks anyway Mom!
Where was I, ah, after I received my boarding pass for the next day's flight I asked her which hotel they would place me.
She said none.
I asked her why she was so helpful. No, I asked her why not.
She said the cause of the delay was weather related and therefore the airline has no further obligation to me. Standard protocol she said. So a weather delay that had nothing to do with any flights I would be on prevented the airline for accomodating me.
As the feisty one I am, I demanded to know where the weather delay was. After all, it wasn't in Denver. Not in Durango. Where did the plane come from - Spokane???
She called someone and was told that there was no known info. on where the weather delay was. I was told it was weather and there was nothing they could do.
Fine. Where's my bag I asked.
No idea, she responded.
I was beginning to wonder if I was in a customer service line or hell, because the similarities were striking.
She said hopefully it's in D.C. and I can get it when I arrive.
I asked her to recommend me a place to stay and she gave me a sheet with a discount on it. I asked her to call for me because of my lack of phone power and she said she couldn't.
I smiled and walked away.
And called Mom.
Mom then spent 20 minutes setting up a place for me to stay for the night.
I scribbled the info. I needed from her on my Taco Bell receipt and headed out to the frigid Denver night. The shuttle runs every half hour.
No joke, I waited precisely 29 minutes outside, and it finally came.
At this point I was gnawing at my arm to alleviate the pain in my face.
I breached annoyance and was now laughing uncontrollably. The driver figured I was drunk and laughed along with me (he was pry drunk himself).
Now, I assumed that my Mom got a place near the airport. Because that seemed to me the smartest way to go.
But no, I was on the shuttle for half hour. Practically in Boulder, I checked into my room.
And it was a 5 star hotel. Usually I would be pleased with this. However, this added insult to injury as the pool and weight facility snickered at me for not having a change of clothes.
And here I am pitying myslef next to four big screen TV's.
Hopefully I get into D.C. tonight and my bag is there.
Bienvenidos a Denver.
A hell hole unlike any other ;).
Took a couple pics with my phone along with another one I found that seemed pleasant.