Saturday, December 01, 2007

My day yesterday

Yesterday started off a decent day. Sure, I had to get up before the sun to be at the airport for a 7:00 am flight, but I had a delightful ride with my girlfriend and had time to grab a mocha and a muffin from the coffee beanery. I greeted a fellow Mizzou fan as we boarded the flight and I settled in with my ipod, Scene newspaper, and novel for the two hour flight to Houston on my way to Tulsa and eventually on to Joplin, MO where I'm officiating a wedding this evening. Oh, but not so fast, Renderings fans. After taxiing onto the tarmac, our pilot received word that there was low visibility in Houston, so we would be delayed by 30 minutes. Well, 30 minutes turned into an hour, and then, Mr. Pilot came back on to say that we would be returning to the gate, because it would be another hour before we could take off, again, because of bad weather in Houston. I'm realizing at this point that my connecting flight is scheduled to depart approximately 20 minutes before we're not schedule to leave Nashville. I stand in line with all the other "my connecting flight will be long gone when we get to Houston" folks. I'm assured that I will be on the next connecting flight.

Fast forward to 10:30, when our flight finally departs Nashville. I'm doing the math again and realizing that my new connection is supposed to be at 12:40 and this is a two hour flight. Yes, you guessed it, by the time we landed and I waited for my updated boarding pass, and made my way to Gate B84, the 12:40 flight was already boarded and taxiing away. Ah, but there's a 1:00 you can catch. It's in an adjacent terminal, but if you hurry, you should make it. I flash my half marathon running skills and approach the gate by 12:50 only to see on agent and a very dead looking gate area. "Oh," Ms. Escobar tells me, "that flight was moved to gate B84." "I was just there," I say. "They sent me here. The screen here says there's a flight at 1:00 at this gate." "The screen in wrong," Ms. Escobar says, "and that flight is now closed. We'll put you on the 2:30 to Tulsa." "Great" I say.

So, now I'm definitely going to miss the wedding rehearsal of the wedding I'm officiating. Great. I resign myself to the fact that I'm simply a victim of all this airline travel hullabaloo I've been hearing about. Frustrating, but what can you do.

Baggage issus: I arrive safely in Tulsa and make my way to the baggage claim and wait eagerly for my grey/blue suitcase to come sliding up the conveyer belt. Alas, the big metal beast stops, the screen reads "Last bag placed on belt" and my bag is nowhere to be seen. Perfect. I go stand in line at the Continental service desk (Continental is now on my "no fly" list by the way...more on that later). There's a guy in front of me who's in the same position I am. We've been standing in lines together all day, beginning in Nashville. "Well," the Continental agent says, "it looks like your bags came in on the 1:00 flight. They ended up being delayed and didn't leave Houston until 3:30, but it just arrived, so your bags should be upstairs now." Sure enough, there they were. Now, this turn of events makes me wonder how it is that I was turned away from the 1:00 flight at 12:50 if it didn't leave until 3:30, but I like to take some pleasure in thinking that I may have avoided another hour and a half on a tarmac by taking the 2:30.

Finally, I picked up my rental car, made the two hour drive to Joplin and arrived in time for a lovely rehearsal dinner. Yes 13 hours after I left my house yesterday, I finally arrived at a destination to which I could have driven in approximately 9 hours.

OK, so here's my Continental is on my no fly list. I get that there are delays and that you can't fly into someplace with zero visibility. Totally get that. But, I approached the counter to ask about my connecting flight, the agent didn't give me the new flight number or gate number. She simply said I'd be on the next flight out. Then, when we all got off our plane, you know, three hours late, there were absolutely no agents standing by to help us find our way. Then, when I finally wait in an eternal line and get to the front and hand my three hour expired boarding pass to the agent, do not condescendingly tell me that I missed the flight. Yeah! No shit I missed the flight. Your airline got me here three hours late! Fix it! Call down to the gate and ask them to hold the flight. And then, don't send me to three different places for a flight that was in the original place I looked. Communication people! I know you have stuff on your computer. Anyway, the delays can't be avoided. I get that. But when you have planes full of people in tough spots, don't treat us like the bad guys. Call in extra help. The only person who gets any props is Ms. Escobar and her supervisor who was standing there. They actually said, "We're really sorry for the inconvenience." A simply apology goes a long way in my book.

OK, enough ranting an raving. All is well here in Joplin. Looking forward to the wedding.

Happy Advent!


Craig said...

And that, my friend Alan, is why we are driving home for christmas. Well, that, and the $600+ we will be saving.