Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Me & the airport, sitting in a tree..


I do travel a fair amount - see, living 2000 miles from family means I spend a fair number of hours in various airports to go see the fam twice a year. Also, I travel a bit for work. Nothing crazy. Once or twice a year. I'm not the super savvy "I fly 5 days a week and twice on Sundays" traveler, but I do know my way around an airport. However, the airport and I are not so much on speaking terms. I have a fair number of horror stories I could tell you, and probably will at some point. But lets start with the most recent excursion to HOME.

Leave house at 5 am and head to the "airport". Chris and I packed light, i.e. carry-on only. THANK THE LORD! Our flight was at 6:45 am, the first flight of the day. Security, no problem. We are at the gate an hour before our scheduled flight. 10 minutes before our scheduled departure they tell us that the plane that has been sitting there ALL NIGHT just waiting to be checked over has a broken hydraulic pump. So we are going to be delayed. But they are getting one in from LA and it should be there in an hour. We groan. Unless they are flying a hydraulic pump here, there is no way they are going to make it in an hour. Whatever. They say that because Houston was having nasty storms and was delayed everyone would probably make their connections and if they saw someone was going to miss their flight they would call us up individually to re-book on another flight.

We chill in the airport bar and watch the World Cup game. No biggie. 2 hours later there is still no hydraulic pump and they have no idea how much longer it will be before it gets here and how long it will take to replace the old pump with the new one. So would all 300 of you please line up to get re-booked. YAY! So Chris and I take our places in line where it takes the 1 poor woman working the counter 45 minutes per person to rebook them on another flight. Multiplied by 300 people means that we were going to get out of that airport approximately the 12th of NEVER.

Jump ahead several hours and skip many angry phone calls to the airline 800 number and we finally got someone on the phone who could help. And help she did. She was awesome! It took a long time (~45 minutes) for her to get approval and get us booked on another airline but she stayed with us until we got on the new flight. At noon. A full 5 hours and 15 minutes later than when we were supposed to leave. Double Yay! There was also a minor skirmish with the lady at the new airline about whether we had checked bags (NO!) and she finally decided that she wasn't holding up HER flight and making it late to mess with us anymore and let us on the plane. Why would we lie about luggage? We would be the ones missing luggage...

So we get to Denver (new layover spot) and we have 4 whole hours to kill before our flight leaves. At this point we haven't eaten - it's hard to eat when you are waiting in line and trying to talk sense into people on the phone. So between the lack of food and the turbulence getting into Denver we are not in great shape. We found the first available table which happened to be at a little cantina on the 2nd level. We ate some chips, shared a soda and started to almost feel like human beings again. Human beings with another 3 hours and 30 minutes to sit in an airport. 3 hours and 10 minutes of thumb twiddling later - we are delayed because there is a wheelchair marathon in Denver on the 4th of July weekend and there are several people in need of wheelchairs on the plane that we need to get on that can't get off....because the airport was OUT OF WHEELCHAIRS! I'm sorry, what?!?! How does an airport run out of wheelchairs?!?!

Eventually wheelchairs were found, we boarded and made it safely to our destination. At 1 am. Yay airports! Since this is officially approaching novel status, I'll save the details of our trip and the return flight (more fun!) for later. Sheesh....

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