What I Learned this past Christmas
First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jeffrey, and I blog over at www.fartooimportantblog.
Like so many this past Christmas, I was trying to make my way all the way across the country in order to celebrate with my family. I live in CA, they live in NC so, of course, the burden falls on me to do the travelling. Unfortunately, I have terrible flying Karma. Which is why I was so surprised when I had managed to book a flight through Orbitz for relatively cheap.
LESSON #1: IGNORE ANY PHONE CALL YOU RESERVE REGARDING YOUR FLIGHT BEING LATE
I received a phone call the morning of the flight letting me know that my flight had been delayed 2 hours. So naturally since it was a red-eye flight, I hunkered down for another hour of sleep. Naturally, when I arrived at the airport at the time that the flight should have taken off, it was taking off. It turns out the flight had not been delayed.
LESSON #2: DURING NEGOTIATIONS, IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE
Now, I had to depend upon the mercy of US Air and my wrath at Orbitz. While I waited in line to see about another flight, I was on hold with Orbitz. When I finally got in touch with Orbitz, I explained to them what had happened at what mess they had gotten me into. Naturally, they claimed no responsibility and the woman actually told me "I'm sorry sir, but this is in God's hands now," and hung up. By this point, I was starting to get really cranky.
LESSON #3: WHEN THEY PUT YOU ON STANDBY, ANY NUMBER AFTER 3 IS USELESS AND MOST LIKELY AN ATTEMPT TO GET YOU AWAY FROM THE KIOSK. MAKE SURE YOU ASK THAT NUMBER AND DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME WAITING FOR A FLIGHT WHEN THERE IS NO CHANCE OF YOU GETTING ON IT.
They finally booked me on standby for a United Air flight with a connector to Charlotte, and I was so grateful I didn't think to ask what my standby number was. The flight was a few hours away so I got a sandwich and waited. When they finally began boarding, I was standing next to a man who asked me if I had a ticket. I said "No, I'm on standby." He asked me what my number is. I didn't know so I went to find out. Turns out, I was number 16! I was NEVER going to get on this flight at that jerk at the kiosk new it!
LESSON #4: NEVER BOOK A UNITED FLIGHT THROUGH US AIRWAYS.
Sure it sounds like a great deal, for some reason, to be able to choose from more flights and get your miles points or whatever. However, when it comes to United and US airways working together, they suck! Because US Air had given me a ticket to United, I know had to go through United to get a new ticket. Well United wouldn't do anything for me so I had to go back to US Air. If you know the San Francisco Airport, the United and US Air terminals aren't even in the same building. So I had to walk between the two about 4 or 5 times. Finally, this lovely woman took pity on me and managed to find me a flight at 11:00AM to Charlotte with a layover in Denver.
LESSON #5: EVEN WHEN SOMEONE MEANS WELL, YOU NEED TO CHECK BEHIND THEM FOR MISTAKES
Well, I managed to get to Denver, and I went to check in to my flight. It was here that I discovered that they had booked me for the right flight, just on the wrong day. In fact, the flight that they had booked me on had left 24 hours ago. You know how after midnight, it turns into a new day? Well, this is a foreign concept to United or US Air or whoever I was dealing with at this point.
LESSON #6: WHEN TRAPPED IN AN AIRPORT OVERNIGHT AND EVERYTHING IS CLOSED AND YOU HAVEN'T EATEN IN 8 HOURS, IT'S OKAY TO ALLOW SURVIVALIST INSTINCTS TO KICK IN.
Naturally, the flight from Denver to Charlotte was full and so was every other Denver to Charlotte for the next 72 hours! They put me on standby for every flight until I got on one. For the flight that night at 1AM, I was number 6. Remembering the lesson from earlier, I was prepared for a prolonged visit in Denver. Everything in the airport was closed except the bathrooms and all I had with me was a bottle of wine and some sourdough bread that I had brought for my mother. Luckily the wine had a screw top instead of a cork. Needless to say, I found a dark corner of the airport, hunkered down and began to find solace in the 2004 cabernet that had cost me 38 dollars.
LESSON #6: WHEN EVERYTHING GOES TO #@!!, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT MIRACLES CAN HAPPEN.
Halfway through the cabernet, I heard my name over the loudspeakers. I was so thrilled that I did the quintessential no-no of the airport. I left everything I own unprotected. Luckily, nothing happened with that. I managed to get a seat on the flight and it was 1st class! I packed up everything and boarded the plane. It wasn't until I was seated that I discovered that my wine was missing. Oh well, I was so happy to be on a plane for home, I didn't even care I was sitting next to a man reading "Going Rogue" by Sarah Palin.
So there it is over 24 hours after I should have been landing in Charlotte, NC, I finally landed. Naturally, on my way back, the drama was just as bad, but that's a story for another time.