Monday, September 30, 2013

Travel is Not for the Weak

I thought I was so smart. I scheduled my flights so I’d be home by 7:00pm on Sunday evening, in time to read to Olivia, to snuggle with Alyssa and tuck them both into bed.

I got to the airport at 10:00am, one hour and fifty five minutes before my flight was scheduled to leave.

I thought I was amazing.

Except, my boarding pass wouldn’t print. Huh. That’s weird.

I went to the American Airlines counter and asked for help.

She helped me alright. She helped me right out of my self-righteousness and right into a pair of pants designed and fitted for an idiot.

I’d booked my flight for October 27. The date I was trying to travel was September 29. Seriously.

Sit back and let it sink in.

I’d booked my return flight a month late.

And there were no seats on the flight I’d planned to take home. Well, wait. Not home. There were no seats left on the flight to Chicago which would put me closer to home and allow me to catch another flight to Toledo.

A ray of hope glimmered when the airline employee told me she could put me on a flight to Chicago that left Washington, D.C. at 7:00pm that night. It would connect with a flight that would put me in Toledo at about 10:00pm.

That’s a little later than I’d hoped. The girls would be asleep but at least I’d be home. I forked over the flight change fee and settled in for a looooong day at the Ronald Regan Airport in Washington, D.C.

I was lucky enough to spend a little time with Julie and Mary while they waited for their on-time flight to Indianapolis. That helped pass the time.

For the record, if you pack an absurdly large pencil in your bag, they will want to investigate said bag. Just so you know.

By 6:15, I was so happy that our flight was going to be boarding in 15 minutes. Except, almost immediately after I thought this, an announcement came that the plane that would take us to Chicago was running late. It wouldn’t be in until 7:15, which was 15 minutes after we were supposed to LEAVE. Yikes.

We were all asked to gate-check our bags to speed up the boarding process. I asked what the chances were to making my connection.

The airport lady (I have no other label for her and yes, label her I must) gave me a small headshake. “It’s going to be very close,” she said glumly.

Sigh. I called Tom. I didn’t cry this time, like I did when I called to tell him of my very embarrassing scheduling issue. I cry when I’m feeling stupid and this time it wasn’t my fault the stupid plane was late, so no tears.

The problem with missing the connection was that the plane I needed to catch in Chicago that would take me to Toledo was the last flight of the night to Toledo. If I missed that connection, I would be stuck in Chicago, a mere three hours from my home, thank you very much, overnight.

It felt like the travel gods were out to get me.

Finally, we boarded at 7:10 and were in the air by 7:30. My connecting flight was supposed to leave two hours and ten minutes after we left D.C.

It was going to be close. Very, very close.

I asked one of the flight attendants on the plane bound for Chicago if he knew what time we would land. He snottily replied, “I don’t know what time we left but this is a two hour flight.”

Thanks for the non-information, ASS. Seriously, dude used a totally unkind tone with me. I don’t get it. I’m a perfectly lovely person and I asked very nicely. Well!

The girl next to me was very nice. The instant we landed, she turned on her phone and checked gate information for my flight to Toledo. See, flight dude, there is kindness in the world.

She saw that we were deplaning in concourse H and my Toledo flight was boarding in concourse L. She gave me directions and said, “Run.”

The lady flight attendant, also MUCH nicer than her male counterpart, asked all other passengers to please wait while those of us with tight connections got our stuff and got off the plane. I had to dodge a couple of first class passengers but I was the first one off the plane and dashing up the thingy that leads from the plane to the gate.

I quickly checked the monitors, saw that my nice neighbor’s phone had been correct about the gate I needed to get to and made a last ditch effort to make it there before the plane left, which was scheduled to happen ten minutes after we landed in Chicago.

I was fine running through H toward K. I knew, because I can say my ABCs, that L would be right after K. But damn, K is a freaking long concourse.

Did you know that losing weight through changing your eating habits alone does not actually improve your cardiovascular health? Because, yeah, it doesn’t. I was so out of breath I thought I was going to pass out. I did have to stop a few times and do the whole fast walk.

But guess what? I made it. I got to the gate, gasped, “Toledo, plane? Too late?”

The guy behind the counter said, “You have plenty of time.”

The lady said, “We haven’t quite boarded yet.”

I asked if I had time to use the restroom and she looked at me skeptically and said, “Hurry.”

I said, “I’ll wait.”

And then we boarded. And I started coughing like a fool. See, all that running had me breathing hard and that dried out my throat. See why running is bad! Bad, bad, bad.

The nice fellow next to me offered me a tissue and a cough drop. I tried to explain that I wasn’t actually sick, that I’d just had to run, like really far. He shook his head and told me he didn’t speak English.

Poor guy probably thought he was sitting next to patient zero in the next flu epidemic.

I think he must have gotten over that fear, though, because just before we landed, he tried to hand me his phone number.

What? I mean…really? I was flattered and confused and it was weird. Who does that?

Anyway, I made it home at 12:30am. Only five and a half hours later than I’d originally planned.

I spent over nine hours in an airport in Washington, D.C. I ran for a plane for the first (and please, dear God, last) time ever and I made it home to my sweet family. Though, guess what? My bag, the one I had to gate check in D.C.? It didn’t make it to Toledo. It is supposedly being delivered to my home today.

Thank goodness my car keys weren’t in that bag.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Love, love, love this post. I'm glad you are able to see the funny side. And the picture of you with the pencil makes me laugh every time.