Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day One Non-Travel

Today, we have only put off travel for a day.

We panicked.
We checked our luggage.
We checked the house, and this sister's house.
We double-checked the plans; airport, hotels, car.
We called the airport to double-check everything else -- small airport bonus, we only need to check in an hour in advance. I called and asked.
We took the children out to eat so we wouldn't be sitting at home waiting.
Watched the season finale of Castle.
We took sister's car back to her house on the way to the airport.

But at her house, she got a message that our flight was late. 40 minutes.
So we wandered circles around her house, she goes online to see what it means for our schedule and connecting flight, decide that it's all still doable, just giving us a slightly smaller layover. We decided to stop for coffee to take up a little time. Because we stress.

We got to the airport at 6:05 for our, now 7:00 flight and I'm panicking again.
Who knew coffee would take so long? Sometimes it happens.

Another hiccup, online check-in hadn't worked for us so we had to go to the counter.
Another hiccup, self check-in didn't work, so we had to talk to a person.
Another hiccup, person behind counter slow as.... what's really, really, frakkin slow? Glaciers? He can't get the man ahead of us checked in. They wander around the counter doing this and that and some other thing and taking for-frakkin-ever.
Thirty minutes later, he finally gets to us. --Hey we're hearing final boarding announcements, what's going on? Oh, the plane got in on time after all and is getting ready to leave. Delayed flight call was more an advisory for possible wait times than an actual delayed flight. What. The. Fuck.
So he rushes us through processing as fast as glaciers can, but finishes only five minutes after the plane has gone away.
But he also doesn't tell us this, he doesn't get help to get us done faster or the other guy behind us dealing with the same issue or the thirty minute guy in front of us who had ALSO had the same problem.

So we go through security. We take off our shoes, put everything on the conveyor belt, talk to the most confused security check-in guy I've ever met, get to the counter and are told the plane is gone. Gone, gone, gone. No pulling away, no just missed it, but really really gone. No longer in sight of the airport gone.

Here, call this number for international flights. Maybe they can help.

The inside security guy has to open the door to let us out. All four of us. (Me, sister, the thirty minute guy, and the guy right behind us). He asks what's up on the way to the door, thirty-minute tells him. Security guy says "Delta? Yeah, they do that a lot."

Thank everything holy that Husband decided to wait until we boarded to leave -- small airport, remember. You can see boarding from the other side of a giant glass wall.

We go outside, call the number -- except I call the top number for inside-US travel accidentally. It looked familiar because I called it this morning when I verified our flight information. The machine gauntlet asked if it was international travel and I said yes, so I didn't realize the mistake for quite a while.

That's when super-bitch answered, told us that it was entirely our fault and if we wanted to travel we needed to buy new tickets.

Dear woman, I really hope you get a day like this. I hope people help you as much as you helped us. Your haughty tone and lectures really made a stressful day perfect -- especially since I called the airport to verify that we only needed an hour check-in and you're telling us we should have been there so much earlier; and repeating over and over the idea that we were going to lose $2000 for airfare that we certainly couldn't afford to re-purchase, the hotel and rental car deposits. That really made our day. You actually had me crying. Easier when I'm already stressed out of my gourd, but still not so easy.

Thirty-minute guy was on the phone with the correct number getting so much more help than we were, so random conversation with him (during his hold time) first confused us, then gave us hope.

I called the other number.

Herbie was excellent.
Herbie was enough to almost make me forgive Delta.
Herbie, if I had your address, I would certainly send you a fruit basket or a flower basket or a candy basket.
We're nearly to first-born child level of gratitude here.
Most of all, Herbie was nice and didn't tell us it was all our fault.
I'm willing to admit to some of it, but not nearly all of it.

He couldn't get us to Atlanta in time to make tonight's connecting and there are a limited number of international flights to Ireland, which I completely understand, but he could push us off a day and give us the same schedule, the same flight times, but for tomorrow.

So this is as far as we got. (This is Sister doing check-in for the Herbie-fixed flight for tomorrow on the automatic kiosk. We certainly weren't leaving that for Glacier to do. We wouldn't have this time if online check-in had worked. Thankfully it worked this time. We have boarding passes.)

And I gave myself a shot in the stomach for that. Frakking frakkity frack. So tomorrow I talk to the pharmacy about getting another shot to give myself for the real flight. Woo hoo. I get to do the whole twitchy stress thing again, another shot, and another trip through airport security.

And no matter what Delta calls to say, we'll be there for the original flight time.
And tomorrow the travel stress will happen and then it will be done.

This is my first ever missed flight.
I don't recommend it.


  1. Holy crap. Talk about a bad day! I hope tomorrow goes better for you and that you have such an awesome trip that it totally eclipses the memory of this day.

  2. Thats the good thing about the way I panic. I'm already better. I'm dreading tomorrow the same as I dreaded today, but I'm mostly over today's horribleness. I don't even wish bad things on the mean lady any more.

    I think she probably had a really bad day too. Maybe a really bad week. There's no other reason to be as mean as she was.

  3. Wow. [BIG HUG] I'm sorry that you had such a horrible morning (Thanks Delta). You couldn't pay me to fly at all right now. It's just too much stress for me to handle, so I give you kudos for flying. When I flew on trips regularly (some years ago), but just within the U.S., I always flew out of the international airports and used Continental Airlines. I too hope your entire trip is so FANTASTICALLY AWESOME that you don't even remember today. :)

  4. OMG. I'm so very sorry you had this experience! I'm glad you're only being delayed by a day, as opposed to not being able to get there at all. Rob would have done something that would have warranted being hauled away in handcuffs if that happened to us. But, we also would have arrived at the airport like 4 hours in advance of an international flight. And I wouldn't have protested a bit because I don't like his airport self. I just try to nod and agree and try to not say anything that would earn me a killing curse. :-)

    Tomorrow I will be attempting to check in online for a flight Friday morning. If online doesn't work, I'll be going to the airport at like 4am (rather than 5:30), just to get everything situated. I've missed planes before. It's a major PITA. Especially when your missed flight is actually a connection, and there's nothing else going out that night, and the only reason you're going in the first place is for a meeting the next morning. Not a fun day.

    Have a safe flight tomorrow! Get there early, and get your coffee at the gate. :-)

  5. Remember me saying small airport :) There is no coffee at the gate. I'm not sure anyone really realizes how small. ...I think there's only one terminal. Maybe two.

    Security uses a conveyor belt because that's what they do, but they don't open until 20 minutes before each flight and consists of two people, a metal detector and the luggage belt.

    They don't have a parking garage because they don't need one. The tiny plane (flight one, on which I threw up) has a total of 30? seats. Maybe 40, but I'm pretty sure there weren't more than that. You can really actually walk from the ticket booth to the terminal in 10 minutes (without security it would be 3).

    We've flown from Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa -- and have gotten lost in the hugeness of Atlanta. Gainesville isn't as big as one room of those.

    But we did get there early and used Sister's iPad and a handwriting app to talk to Husband and Children on the other side of the glass security wall. He didn't leave until we got on the plane :)

  6. Oy, that's small. I thought Kalispell, MT was small, but not compared to that description. They at least have a place to buy snacks past the security checkpoint.

    I'm glad you got there safely - sorry you were sick though. Smaller airplanes make me queasy too. I have to take dramamine for large commercial flights - those puddle jumpers would do me in for sure.

    Have a great time!

  7. The part I find odd but probably shouldn't since planes and drinking have been combined since there were planes, but there is a tiny bar inside the terminal. That is all though.