[amy] Planes, Pains and Automobiles

I'm back from Portland. Barely. If I thought my flights OUT to Oregon were crappy, my flights back were- What's worse than "crappy"? Let's just say there were a couple instances where I wanted to throw myself in front of something that would kill me. As I was blissfully crushed to death, I would smile and breathe, "Fuck... you... United... ggllkkk."

4:00 am: Get up, check out of hotel, go to airport. I'll be walking in my front door to my sweet, sweet boyfriend by 6:00 pm.

5:00 am: Find out at airport that my connection in Chicago has been cancelled due to weather. My new route is Portland to San Francisco to Philadelphia to Manchester. I should be home and in the arms of my darling boyfriend by 12:00 am. Leave message for Dollar.

6:00 am: Board plane. Will be in San Francisco by 7:45 am.

8:30 am: Arrive San Francisco after a "Waiting for Crew" delay. Run to catch my connection 8:40 am connection to Philadelphia.

8:40 am: See that my flight is delayed until 12:20 pm. Doing the math in my head, I see that this will mean I'll miss my connection to Manchester. ... NOOOOOO! Go to United Customer Service desk to see about a different flight.

9:40 am: After standing in line, I finally get to an unfriendly woman who says there are NO flights she can get me on. I should just go to Philadelphia and hope that my connecting flight to Manchester is delayed. I say, "And if it isn't? What then?" She says, "We'll put you up in a hotel if it's because there isn't crew. Wait. No, there's isn't any crew because of weather so, No, we won't pay for your hotel." So, I get dinged for weather by proxy? She gives me another ticket to Manchester in case I miss my connections. I leave the line.

9:45 am: Find a place to sit down and look at ticket. Says "Washington/Dulles to Manchester". What. The. FUCK. I'm not even FLYING to FUCKING D.C.!!

9:46 am: Commence tears of frustration. Leave hysterical message for Dollar.

10:00 am: Try to sneak into US Airways terminal with my United boarding pass. They catch me and send me back.

10:20 am: Don't see my delayed flight to Philadelphia on the TV monitor anyone. Wonder if it left without me. Start to hyperventilate.

10:30 am: Realize I was looking at the Arrivals monitor. Departures monitor still says 12:20 pm.

10:35 am: Go to the bar to start drinking.

11:00 am: No one comes to take my order. Fuck this. Fuck the world. Fuck everyone. I want to blow up the airport. Arrest me. Fuck you. Find somewhere at gate to sit and stare at wall.

12:00 pm: Board plane, have seat in 2nd from last row of plane. We're going to be a little late taking off because we're waiting for a pilot. Jesus fucking Christ. You'd think after how many years of doing this that United would have their shit together and be able to doing this thing that they advertise they do (FLY YOU SOMEWHERE), but it's just too difficult.

12:40 pm: Pull away from gate. Sit on runway.

1:00 pm: Sit on runway.

1:30 pm: Still sitting on runway. Crew serves drinks and starts movie.

2:00 pm: Crew tells us that we're going to take off. Please put trays, seats up and let them know if there's anything they can do to be of service. Girl behind me says, "Yeah, you can come out here and kill yourself in front of us." I laugh.

7:00 pm: I'm starving. Food cart finally makes it down to the tail of the plane. Would I like to buy a snack box? Unfortunately all the good ones have been bought by everyone else on the plane. Nevermind I have to pay $5 (fuck you) but now my only choice is the shit box because I'm all the way in the back of the plane. Fuck. You. I buy one and see what tasty treats are hidden inside. Sesame butter (tastes and looks like shit butter), tropical fruit cocktail (allergic), trail mix (shit mix) and a bunch of other shit I can't eat. Fuck, I'm so hungry.

8:30 pm: Drink cart. I get a club soda. I don't want a cup of ice with it, do I? Because she only has one cup left and since I'm all the way in the back of the plane (the butt of the plane), that means I get the butt choices and the butt leftovers and end up having a shittier flight that everyone in the front of the plane. I vow never to sit in the back of the plane again (if I can help it). Drink warm club soda. Cry quietly.

10:30 pm: Arrive Philadelphia. Missed my connection (duh), go to the United Customer Service desk (outside Security Checkpoint) to see about another flight. Girl there tells me there's a 12:50 pm flight. I should run and see if I can get on it. Oh, and since I'm outside Security, I need a special security clearance ticket to get through since all the security officers are gone for the day.

11:00 pm: Show guy at security checkpoint my ticket. He says he can't let me through. I say that the people told me- He says they told me wrong. I say please, I have to- He says sorry (but doesn't mean it). I get on the Airport info phone and ask to me put through to the United Baggage Claim room. Person on other end of the phone say that the United Ticketing Counters are close. I say that I know that- I want to be connected with the United Baggage Claim room, where I know there's people. Person on other end of phone says, "Whatever" and connects me to a phone that rings and rings and rings and rings. I'm sure they've connected me to the Ticketing Counter because they're stupid fucks and I fucking hate this airport. See a guy I recognize (who has the same bogus security ticket as me) with an official looking airport person. I finagle my way through security with this guy, go running to the gate.

11:30 pm: Ask to be put on standby for the 12:50 pm flight.

11:31 pm: Flight delayed until 1:30 am.

11:35 pm: Get booked (for sure) for the 8:20 pm (!!!!!!) flight the next day. I plan on trying stand by for every flight until then, but at least I have a ticket.

12:50 pm: Wait.

1:30 am: No one's boarding. I ask what the hold up is and the woman tells me that they're waiting on Crew (What the FUCK?) to go through customs. They're coming. I say, "Okay. Well, that's useful information. Do you thinking you should maybe make an announcement to everyone else here who's waiting?" She laughs at me and says "No."

1:50 am: Woman announces that the flight has been cancelled due to weather in Manchester. Crowd, who had been waiting patiently up until this point, revolts. They surge toward her, shouting, "I don't believe this!", "I don't believe you!", "Unbelievable!", "Weather in Manchester! How much you wanna bet weather in Manchester's fine!", "This is ridiculous!", "I'm going to rip out your heart, eat it and then piss into your empty chest cavity!" (That was me.)

1:55 am: Leave through security gate. At least I'm booked on a flight. I call the Airport Marriott. I ask about vacancies. Woman says they're booked. I ask about where there might be vacancies around the airport. Woman says all the hotels in Philadelphia are booked and hangs up on me.

2:00 am: Call Dollar, sad and crying, tell him I'm going to sleep on the floor of the airport and that maybe I'll see him at midnight the next day. Or never. So tired. Want to die. Go outside and see man in pink cast I recognize from the same missed flight. He says he and a couple other guys are driving to Manchester because it's just not worth it. Driving? I ask if there's a seat available in the car please please please please? He says he doesn't know.

3:00 am: Other guys return from renting a car (they said a riot was starting to break out and they were lucky to get a car). There IS a seat available. I jump in.

3:14 am: Good bye and fuck you Philadelphia. City of Brotherly Love my ASS.

3:15 am – 9:00 am: Drive with three married businessmen; we talk and get to know one another. By the time we reach Connecticut, I realize I'm in a car with three conservative Republicans at about the same time they realize they're in a car with a dirty Vermont hippie Socialist. I worry they might throw me from the car.

9:20 am: Pull into Manchester Airport. Say goodbye to the guys, run to my car, throw in the luggage, get on the road home. It feels so good to drive and be so close to home.

10:30 am: Pull in my driveway. I didn't call Dollar to tell him I was catching a ride, so this will be a surprise. Run inside and throw myself at him.

10:31: Shower.

10:35: I sleep now.

1. United Sucks Donkey Balls. No one wants to help you and no one gives a shit about you. They won't pay for a hotel for you to stay in because they're going to come up with some bogus excuse to get out of it. All the "crew" delays weren't sufficiently explained to us. They just said "We're waiting for crew, so that we're legal to fly." Well where the fuck was the crew? Why can't you get more crew?

2. Philadelphia Airport Sucks Ass. Everyone there moves at the pace of molasses (seriously) and no one wants to help you. Picture this: You're stranded in a city you're unfamiliar with, it's the middle of the night and everything's closed- Who can you call for help? Information? They'll hang up on you. I would have called 911 just to get someone to come talk to me face-to-face but I probably would have been beaten within an inch of my life just so they could bring me to an emergency room to spend the night.

3. Philadelphia Airport and United Should be Destroyed. Our flight got into Philadelphia so late that the shuttle between terminals was closed. The only way to get from one terminal to another was to leave security, go out, walk down and go back in through security at the other terminal. But guess what? The security people who check your ticket/ID go home at 11:00 pm and NO ONE AT SECURITY is authorized let you go through security. Bravo. That's top notch planning. The only way to get from A to B is to leave security at A but you can't get through security at B because everyone's gone home for the night. You guy deserve a fucking medal for being the world's #1 retards.

4. Everyone at Philadelphia Airport is a Motherfucking Retard. The guys who got the rental car said that the computer was down at Hertz and the women working there had to fill out forms by hand. There were taking forever, writing everything out in block letters, spending 30 minutes to get ONE woman hooked up with a rental car. One of the "Customer Service" people behind the desk apparently got up and said, "I'm going home. I've been here for 9 hours." All 30 people in line said, "But we've been here for 20 hours!" That's what customer service is: a fucking douche-bag who isn't going to help you because she doesn't feel like it.

Not one to be a Negative Nancy, I just wanted to post the bright side of my whole traveling fiasco: I didn't die. Oh, there were times when I wanted to (because it would have been the easy way out), but the planes didn't crash, the cars didn't crash and I made it home in one piece. There. There's your stupid bright side.


Christie said...

Oh my gosh, that's hilarious. I hate airports as much as the next gal, so I feel your pain, but ripping out her heart and pissing in her open chest cavity says it all. Glad that you got home safe and sound.

scully said...

You must be very good at maintaining your cool. I would be in a jail cell right now if this had happened to me. I only had one trip that even came close to resembling the hell you went through and it was still small potatoes comparatively. My condolences for what you went through and my applause for surviving. Especially the Republicans ;)

My wife and I just got back from DC and had our flight canceled (US Airways, we won't fly United), but we were lucky that our changed plans actually worked out better for us for picking up the dogs on time. Even if we did have to change planes in Philly.

Welcome home!

amy said...

I wasn't too good about keeping my cool. If you see business men who travel a LOT, they have this Zen-like calm about them from dealing with this sort of thing so much. I think their motto is: "There's nothing you can do about it, so just accept it and find a better/different way if possible."

Me? In San Fran, when I realized I was going to miss my flight to Manchester, I went through all five stages of grief: denial ("No. This isn't happening."), anger ("FUCK UNITED! FUCK! FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK!"), bargaining ("Please? Isn't there anything you can go? Fly me to Burlington, VT or Lebanon, NH?"), depression ("I give up.") and acceptance ("Whatever will happen will happen. At least in Philly I'll be closer to home than here.")

Dan said...

Wow, that's horrible, but funny! I don't think I coulda dealt with that myself either!

Mark Sasahara said...

Yeah, I think my head would've exploded and I would have gotten myself into some kind of trouble screaming, hitting, urinating into chest cavities, etc.

Glad you made it back alive. Great story, but sorry you had to go through it.

One must suffer for one's art. OUCH! Stop throwing shoes at me!

Cristina said...

that suuuuuuucks!! i feel your pain though....thats happended to me a couple of times and it makes you want to just KILL something.

Patrick said...

You left out the other bright thing about the fiasco, which was that those evil conservative businessmen actually gave you a ride and didn't pitch you from the car at 80mph.

Joel said...

Hey, not all of us conservatives are evil! :) Sorry about your trip, but what a fantastic story.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I just laughed myself to tears. I fly United all the time for work, and I deal with what you dealt with all the time. Nobody has ever verbalized the frustration of the entire experience as well as you have.

Bravo. Tears still streaming down my face.


Vicki said...

Completely needed to read this after my expereince yesterday. I wish I had your flair for writing....

When you are ready to form the revolt..I am completely IN!