Saturday, April 11, 2009

Worst. Flight. Ever.

It was just supposed to be a happy little trip to visit family on Easter...

I drove 2 hours to Greensboro, NC yesterday after my class to catch a flight to Atlanta departing at 4:30 pm, then continuing on to Hunstville, AL to visit relatives for Easter weekend.

As soon as I arrived to the airport (I'd checked in online 24 hours prior being the savvy traveler I am), I was informed by the Delta ticket agent that my flight had been delayed up to 5:45 pm. She didn't give me an explanation why. So I made my way down to the gate, and I waited. My plane to leave Atlanta was due to depart at 7:10 pm, so I'd miss the connection. I went to the nice ticket agent lady named Elaine, and she promptly me put me on the 8:08 pm flight out of Atlanta so I'd be good to go.

30-45 min later, a man comes on saying the plane has a broken panel, and that it can be quickly fixed once the part is available. The part came around 6:15 ish along with another plane full of people from Atlanta, and the mechanics went to fix the problem. The update from the desk was that it'd be another HOUR before the mechanics could even update us. Haha, right? No.

So, by this time I'd have missed the flight in ATL at 8, so I get re booked to another plane leaving earlier to Atlanta and the last flight leaving to Hunstville out of Atlanta, so I looked to be in the clear.

God had another plan. The thunderstorms and tornadoes in Atlanta had temporarily grounded all flights to and from so we were stuck. I got a pizza and chilled out when all the sudden the gate agent came on "We must board now, we have a very narrow window so everyone needs to go quickly!" So we're excited, we get on board, they close the door, pull back from the gate, and by this time everyone's clapping and laughing thinking all's well because we had been cleared...

But wait...we're not cleared. Captain comes on and says we need to wait because Atlanta had grounded flights again. Then we would be updated in 30 minutes...Nope, we'd lost our spot to depart...so what else could happen? Well, our pilot informed us the crew had to be switched because they'd gone over the regulated time by the FAA, so then we had to wait another 30 min to pull into the gate and another 30 min to get a different crew all while sitting on board the aircraft the we got on around 7:15 ish...

Enter lovely Elaine, she was so nice to check everyone's ticket and see if they'd get to their connecting flights. My flight? It'd been delayed to a 12:30 am departure so I was in the clear. Phew...No more problems, right? Can we go now?

As all this is transpiring on the plane, this 31 year old dude ends up sitting next to me. He won't make much conversation at first and is obsessed with looking at Facebook on his blackberry even when he was told to turn it off for flying. He began to talk when all the aviation world was falling apart before us. He made small talk at first then began his idea of flirting by making jokes about holding hands with me and "hey, be careful not to rest your head on me if you fall asleep! Haha!" Ok, whatever Mr. Forrest. Yes, I know his last name because lovely Elaine had helped him in finding him another connecting flight. Anywho...

After the crew change, we waited until about 11 pm to finally get cleared to leave NC. Hallelujah! Woo! Before this was announced, a man in the row in front of me began cursing at our sweet male flight attendant, blaming him something out of his control obviously. He began taking Jesus' name in vain and the whole shebang... not good... a woman chimed in "It's Good Friday for crying out loud!" Why was he so irritated? On top of the lengthy delays, a Delta agent had come thru the cabin with free liquor cards. Yes, I said free liquor cards! Why not drink it up folks? What could possibly go wrong with a bunch of upset people drinking? Smart move, lady (forgot her name...).

So, we finally take off, everyone claps, and it's a relief. Once we can turn on our electronic devices, Mr. F (as I will now refer to him) next to me begins to tease me about everything and won't stop. He mumbled a lot and had a deep voice and wouldn't speak up, and I often had to ask Mr. F to repeat himself, and, much to my dismay, this didn't dissuade him from speaking to me non-stop. I'd try to just chill out and listen to my iPod, but no, he didn't let me. "You're not really asleep!" "Come on let's do something fun!" He switches our iPod earphones so we're playing music for each other. Yes, it's awkwardly bizarre, especially when he played me all songs about the birds and the bees like "Girls, girls, girls" or many a Babyface song or other fitting R&B tunes suited for that sort of things. I was trying to play him the most non-sexual songs like"Cotton-Eyed Joe" or "Don't Stop Believin"...Ugh... The entire time he'd talk to me, he'd find a way to graze his hands or his legs against mine. Then he proceeded to show me his "modeling" photos on his iPod Touch. Are you kidding me? "Yeah, look at that one." He has no shirt on in the photo. "Wow, is that like a whole Abercrombie thing you got going on or...?" "Haha. I didn't like it. There's no depth to modeling." Wow, yeah, thanks for the tip, Mr. F. SICK! He just wouldn't ever let up. That was until he found out that the time was later than he thought. My iPod said it was 10:45 so he thought he'd make his connection...my iPod wasn't on daylight savings...then he found out he'd missed his plane. He didn't speak to me after that. GOOD!

So, we pull up to the gate after a lengthy taxi in Atlanta (15 minutes at least), and I look across at this girl I met who was also on the same flight to AL as me...let's call her Bon Qui Qui. Bon Qui Qui and I had to JET to our connection because it was leaving in 10 min, and Atlanta is not a small airport so we had to run. She stops outside our little plane to ask the dude on the ground about gate changes. I'm thinking "Um...I gotta go...RUN!" So I'm crankin it as fast I can up into the terminal with slow people in front of me, finally I break into a sprint looking for a stinkin' Gate Info screen! Come on! Where is it? Finally after a good 25 yards I found that my flight to Alabama had been CANCELED. I've never had a cancellation in my life. It must have been canceled while we were up at 30000 feet. I look on the screen and see another flight to Hunstville leaving at 12:45! That gave me 20 min! "I can do it!" I sprint to the train to C concourse, and just make it before the doors close so I felt awesome, like I was in a movie. As the train pulled away, this little Indian man in front of me wasn't ready, and he basically fell in slow motion backwards onto me. Hilarious. I jet off the train to C-45, and it was about a good 3 minute sprint. I looked like a fool, but I didn't care. I get there, there's people sitting around, and I ask "Hey, are y'all going to Huntsville?" "Yeah, the plane keeps being delayed." No agent is at the gate. Hello? I look to my right and see a long line with over 50 people in it. I ask the girl in front of me what the line's for. A Delta employee says there's these machines that when you scan your boarding pass of the canceled flight, you're automatically re booked, and you get whatever the receipt printed for you says. The agents at the huge desk are for hotel reservations only, and the phones are for rescheduling flights for another day. Yes, it's scary. So I go to the scanner, praying I've been booked on an early flight out. My flight? The next morning at 11:11 am. WHAT? No freaking way. To borrow from George Costanza, "Julie is gettin' upset!"

In all this I'm calling my dad and uncle who's picking me up at the airport updating them to the situation.
It's insane. I feel like crying my eyes out. I'm tired. I'm angry. I almost got to the point where I didn't care anymore.

As I'm talking to my dad on the phone I see a Delta agent come out of the gate's jetway. I think "where the heck have you been the last 30 minutes?" I get up to the desk at the gate, first in line. He makes a PA announcement: "We're now boarding flight 5249 to Hunstville." I think that I'm totally not going to make it on board with all the people filing past me to get on. Then a woman, who looked completely worn out, came up and said that she'd originally been booked on this flight, but she was switched to the later one that got canceled (same boat as me). I had to find proof I was supposed to be on this flight. The agent back in NC TOOK that e-ticket from me and gave me revised itinerary, so I felt like crying because I had no proof. Then it hit me! My luggage sticker was on my 1st e-ticket! It has the flight # on it! Yes! I tell the agent what happened, and boom, there's my boarding pass. I got on the plane.

Then I made my way down the ramp, literally skipping along in happiness and saying "Praise God, praise God, praise God!"

Here's the kicker: Bon Qui Qui beat me on the plane. I get on, she's chattin' it up on her cell phone. She's 2 rows in front of me. I wave as I file past her. "How did she get on this plane before me? I RAN my guts out to get here! What?" Who knew the short, slow gal would beat me on the plane.

Isn't it ironic? Don'tcha think?

I didn't get my bag when I landed... it came about 10 hours later. :-)

1 comment:

rhett said...

Typical Atlanta. Typical Delta.