Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Airline Travel, Easy Right?

Ok, back to my return flight home.

I get to the airport right on time, the standard 2 hours before. The flight before mine was very late. Chicago is having a brutal winter and the temps are dropping so planes are having issues because of the cold. I set my laptop up next to an outlet and watch a movie. I love being prepared, I brought Netflix movies, my ipod and food (okay my wife is a big part of this). At this point the earlier flight has not taken off and the gate is filling up with people, and it is becoming apparent that my flight is going to be late. I don’t care, I am suppose to get into Orlando at 11:30, what is the difference if I get in at 11:30pm or 1am, no one is going to be up (no lovin’ either way).
I have these awesome headphones and while I am watching my movie I can’t hear anything except my movie, it is great.
Flight before ours has left.
So the gate is starting to fill up and I notice they are starting to board about 90 minutes late. Remember, I am totally calm and in no rush. Typical boarding, everyone pushing through the door just to wait in a line in the jet way. Hurry and wait, be rude and sigh when someone else slows you down. Only to wait in the plane.
Okay so we finally push back from the gate. Our plane then gets in line to take off (hurry and wait), it appears like we are almost ready, we make the turn and then the pilot comes on the speaker. You are going to love this…
APPARENTLY, the pilot has had too many flying hours and he tells us that we have to go back to the gate and see if there is another pilot that could fly plane. WHAT?!!! Are you fricking kidding me? Isn’t anyone keeping track of this stuff. I am no genius but this seems like a pretty simple computer program for a multi-billion dollar company. I flew from Phoenix to Newark, that’s 5. Then I flew to Chicago, that 3 more. EASY.
I digress.
So we taxi on back to the gate only to tell us that now the flight has been cancelled. WHAT?!!!
They say, “Please exit the plane in an orderly fashion and see the nearest customer service representative.”

Now it is 10pm Chicago time and they have put us all on a 6am flight (I am pretty sure they just made up a flight and we just used the same plane, just a new flight crew that was on call, same gate and same plane).
They are going to put us all up in the Airport Westin. Now this is the only airport hotel that you have to get in a bus and drive (what seemed like) 10 miles to get to.
So if you thought people where rude before…now it is not even subtle. Now I am in a full on haul ass mode to get the hotel shuttle. I just want to get to a bed and away from people. The shuttle comes and people are running to it. I give the guy my carry-on bag to put in the back and he puts it in the bus, but by this time the inside of the shuttle is full. It holds 14 people and they have to shuttle 200 people to the hotel. So people started to jam on this shuttle. By the time we left there were at least 35 people in this thing. You know where it says “no is allowed past the white line”, well we had 7 grown men in front of the white line. Me being one of them. I was the one leaning on the door. Yes the door that swung out.
So I finally get to the hotel. I think it is 11pm. Of course you can’t just jump into bed. You are all jazzed up. So I take a shower, do some work and then get into bed. 12 midnight. I have a 4:15am wake up call.
We all get back to the plane in the morning. Just so you know at 4:30am you don’t have to get to the airport 2 hours early. We were the only people there. I mean there was about 50 TSA employees for about 10 customers. So, again I wait. I brought two movies so I start another one. Boarding is on time and goes as planned. Then we wait and wait. Now it is past the departure time by 15 minutes. Then the pilot comes on the intercom (I am not making this stuff up, it really happened) and the car that pushes back the plane (what do you call it the pusher backer) did not start because outside it is 3 decrees. Now we are in O’Hare international airport. I am looking out my window and I do not see another plane, 75 gates and we are the only plane. What do they only have one pusher backer? It is the second largest airport in the WORLD. Some how it takes ONE HOUR to push us back. I could only laugh. I am flying solo. Imagine the parents of the 3 kids going to Disney for the first time.
At 11am we finally arrive in Orlando (71 degrees, by the way), in one piece.
I get home at 11:45, exhausted.
Instantly, changing from world traveler to dad and husband. I like this a lot better.
Oh, airplane travel.
Easy, right?

Talk to you later this week

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