Monday, July 23, 2012

The Commoner's Flight To No Where Part 2

Last I left you commoners I had gotten off my plane into Chicago and was bee lining for the Pot Belly Deli.  I love that place and I was starving.  I couldn’t help but notice long lines of people, which isn’t good because that means one thing-missed connections. But that’s not going to happen to me-that never happens to me.  I don’t really know what that means.
I notice my flight is 2 hours delayed.  That’s okay I’m starving -sandwich, sandwich, sandwich, and then outlets to charge all my I equipment.  I upgraded to a large sandwich and the airport worker in front of me asked where I was going.  Where? New York The Big Apple The Big Italian Wedding you silly man. Get the big sandwich I work that gate it’s really bad.  He was the most knowledgeable and helpful person I would meet all day.
Next I get a text -3 hours delayed.  I sit on the floor by an outlet, and a garbage can-come on you’ve all done that-when i look down and see flight cancelled on my text.  What?  What does that mean.  That has NEVER happened to me.  Okay I’m calm-no problem-this happens all the time and I’m trying to get to NY -3 airports plus Philly, Hartford, Newark, any of those they all work.
I wait on a long line with a lot of people all trying to get to New York. If I timed this it was at least an hour.  There’s one person working the counter and she’s managing flights, answering questions, calling stanby, looking for passengers.  Her job REALLY sucks.  I guess it’s a surprise to South West that they’ve cancelled half the flights out of their hub and perhaps they may need to staff  more people-how could they know that would happen.
I knew this wasn’t going to end well because I”m pretty good at listening to other people ask questions.  There was a flight to Hartford leaving right there and I almost made a run for it.  Hartford’s close, I can drive that.  Oh wait-no bording pass.
When I finally get to the counter my first question is why is our flight cancelled when the next flight to Laguardia isn’t.  Southwest is shady like that.. If they have to they will cancel flights -for fake reasons.  She says it’s not the weather here it’s where you are going-so by that answer I know this isn’t going  to end well. Because they are going to the same place!! You got that right?
Here were my choices as presented by the lovely counter lady.  I could wait on standby the rest of today, tomorrow, and Friday, or she could book me on a flight Friday night..  Friday Night I say to her, I have to be at a wedding Friday Night, if I’m not going to a wedding there’s no point in going-are you seeing my problem?  That didn’t impress her. 

Do you  pay for hotels? She slaps some voucher thing for a discount basically through a  travel agent.  I know how that’ going to go .  Things are getting worse.  The clock is ticking people are waiting I’m stressing and I’m processing and like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz I say I just want to go home.  Send me back to San Jose.  
She gives me a ticket in the C group .  C group means that you will be sitting between two smelly people.  Really I say?  I payed for early bird and you’re giving me a C.  She has the nerve to tell me it wouldn’t be fair to the ‘other ‘ passengers if I didn’t get a C. 
I don’t argue at airports because they are police states and any little thing gets you sent to jail and placed on the do not fly list.
Okay deal done and the trip is over and I’m not going to visit my cousins, I’m not going to go to New York, I’m not going to the wedding, I’m not living at the airport for 2 days, I’m not spending a weekend in Chicago (I don’t even like Chicago-LONG STORY) I’m not even getting Dunkin Donuts..  I’m going back to Cali where we don’t have weather.  
But wait-there’s more..
Okay your luggage.  You have to take your boarding pass and go down to luggage services get your luggage and recheck it.  Wait -what -okay, I can do that.  Why can’t you do that from here I dare to ask. She says oh security.  I guess the TSA doesn’t trust Southwest to tell their baggage handlers what to do with luggage.  If there’s no  way of tracking luggage we are all in trouble.  Shady. And remember this paragraph-because this is later proved a lie.
As I’m taking the people mover through the terminal and down to luggage I notice a super long line at security.  This makes San Jose Minetta look welll -effecient.    I think to myself, I have to get this done fast because I’m not staying here any more than I have to.  Once you leave security anything can happen.
I get to luggage and they lady-her name was Pat-says okay.  Are you on a list.  At this point I’m sure that I’m on every list there is, but which list?  Didn’t the lady upstairs put me on a list?  No you have to do it.  It will take an hour and then you have to go back and check it.  And this list is HANDWRITTEN.  You see South west thinks it’s still 1972
Now I’ve lost it.  I’m famous for never crying-ever.  But what people don’t know is that when I’m tired I will cry, I’ve just cancelled a trip to NY , I’ve been up since 3 and I’ve been on lines all stupid day.  Plus I know that when you do cry, usually it works. It freaks people out.  I’ve seen this work for people all the time and have tried to hone this skill.
 At this point I’m having a total breakdown.  I’m either going to get my luggage or get put in the clinker.  I tell her that if I did all that I would never get home and I just want to go home, and poor you Pat you have to work so hard and are so understaffed and overworked.  And I’m crying and my voice is loud-but my voice is always loud any way.
Pat was actually nice.  She worked hard at getting a supervisor and promised she would try to have them find my luggage, but actually she couldn’t promise that it wasn’t already going to Laguardia-which is strange since I was told I couldn’t go to Laguardia.  
If my luggage didn't make it on this flight then when I got to San Jose they would have it sent from Laguardia-which means I may never see my luggage.  She basically was admitting that the plan they have in place doesn’t work and if I had done the process I wouldn’t have made my flight.  Gee where have I heard that before.  
This stupid girl next to me, who’s luggage was lost and was also trying to get to a wedding that she was going to be in says-you know getting upset and yelling doesn’t help anything.  Well you know what I wanted to do?  I wanted to punch her.  But I didn’t-police state remember?  I just glared at her instead.
So here I am on the plane back to San Jose.  I don’t know what will happen to my luggage.  And I wonder a few things-why was I on  the ONLY flight cancelled out to NY, why I didn’t really give standby a try, why I ever thought southwest was a good idea, and if I ever will see my running shoes again...and finally what will I do with all those gifts I bought for the people I was going to see in NY.  Party anyone?  
I’m a seasoned traveler, and I feel a little defeated. I was beaten for once, but honestly I just didn’t want to play with them.  When I do get my luggage I will be sure that South west sees this blog.  Then I will probably be reimbursed with a ticket, and I will probably NEVER use it, because free is never free.  Not for a commoner.
By the way-did I tell you we are going to Dublin Ireland for New Years with a stop in yes-wait for it-Chicago!