Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Commoner Takes a 24 hour flight to No Where Part 1



I think I’ve previously written about my love of flying.  I think I may still love to fly -just not in the summer-and especially not on SouthWest.
If you travel in the summer, the prices are high and there are way too many people traveling.  There are storms all over the country which really throw off the airlines, their crew, their planes, their sanity.  Unless you go non stop you really should avoid summer travel.  
I’ve spent many hours in airports because of storms, I’ve also spent a night in Houston, and rented a car to get from LA to San Francisco rather than deal with a flight cancelled for a storm,  and now...I’ve done this route-San Jose to Vegas to Chicago to Vegas back to San Jose-IN ONE DAY
I hate Southwest.  I hate the way the flight attendants wear shorts and sneakers.  I hate the way they won’t give you food or a seat for that matter.  I hate the way there is no in flight entertainment or comfortable seats.
I really hate the way the flight attendants try to tell jokes.  Have you ever heard this one?  If you are traveling with small children pick the one you like best and give them an oxygen mask.  Everyone laughs I get pissed off.  That’s right I said pissed off.  The Commoner is cranky.
One of the residues of my long hockey career is that I had some left over Southwest miles to use.  I was invited to my cousin’s wedding in New York and this seemed the time to use them.  

When you use mileage in the summer it’s really hard.  There’s no way to really use them. The airlines don't release many flights for frequent fliers.

 When I booked the flight two months ago, I knew I would only use one part of the trip.  I knew that I couldn’t make the 6AM out of Laguardia to come home and that I would book a one way back on another airline and I did-Virgin-my dream airline and almost employer.
That left me with the 6:30 AM flight out of San Jose to deal with.  Up I awoke at 3:30 AM and off we went.  I knew the airport would be crowded I knew that I would rush for my flight. All of those things were true. 
I’ll admit I had a crappy attitude to begin with because I knew this day was going to suck.  So I wait in my first line of the day to check my baggage.  30 Minutes.  I was stumped by the new bar code reader they installed and new from the ONE Person they had working there and her attitude this was going to go badly.  

Through security-rush, rush, rush, to my gate, to the Stupid A line.  Then I found out the first surprise-I had a stop in Vegas but don’t worry no plane change.  Okay. I better buy some water to get me through this trip.  The lady in the shop says take a big one you are going to have a long day.  Boy she wasn’t kidding. PS there was no food at this shop.
We land and they say-stay on the plane if you are going to Chicago- we will take a count and then you can change seats.  Great.  Then they come on and say-oops we have to change planes so get off and go to Gate -really far away from where you are now.  I don’t remember the number. 

First stresser-I’m Starving and I don’t have a bording pass.  A bording pass is like a passport.  Don’t lose it , don’t give it away and here I was in vegas, no bording pass, no food, no time to play a machine. 

So you give them your name -show your id and they let us all on first- well after the people who have a blue card..  The TSA were there and I knew they were eyeing me.  Probably because at this point my deep hatred for Southwest was growing.  
So of course they stop me and say we are checking your liquids.  I say this bottle -yes THAT bottle-had not even been opened and I BOUGHT it in a terminal.  We know she says please open it.  She waved something over it which I’m sure was some kind of poison and said thank you.
 On we go-this plane was an hour late -but I don’t know or care about that.  I keep going.  I’m on and I have a seat and come to find out I also have five dollar wi fi and will still have time to get a sandwich in Chicago. Things are looking up I love Southwest afterall.  Not really but I hate them less.
This flight was a little trickier. The flight attendant was extra condescending but let’s face it her job really sucks.  I facebooked with my daughter and ate  Ritz bits and read email the whole flight.  That was cool.
One thing about Southwest is that since there is no assigned seating you have to be really careful.  You can’t make eye contact with anyone creepy because they will sit next to you.  Only look up at clean cut quiet looking people.
Sitting next to me was this woman who’s husband sat behind her.  She was reading Fifty Shades of Grey.  I have not read this book and have very strong opinions about this phenomena-I’ll spare you.  But the point is,  this whole flight I knew what she was thinking and it grossed me out.  I don’t need to know these things.

We pull up to the terminal and the flight attendant says okay you all can go and then she says wait-we don’t have a jet way.  We had to wait 20 minutes for that because I guess an airplane pulling into an airport in Chicago is a surprise.  One passenger got really irate and kept yelling at them to stop joking and apologizing.  I agreed with him but I’m afraid of jail so I shut up.
This is where things get interesting.  Really really interesting-it involves a dripping sandwich, Ben and Jerrys, long lines, lots of phone calls, snap decisions, and tears.  But you know what I have to make you wait commoners because you can’t take too much fun in one day-only the commoner queen myself can pull that off.