Monday, August 28, 2006

Thanks, Continental!

I guess I was overdue for some airline-induced stress. Until yesterday, air travel had been surprisingly painless.

Went to see my dad in Cleveland, OH, and I had a 4:50pm flight home to Atlanta on Continental (flight 2464, I'll not soon forget that number). I got to the terminal around 3:30. At about 3:50 the lady (Kristen... she was cool, and just as frustrated by the day's events as anyone) announces that the flight has been delayed to 5:35 due to mechanical problems with the plane in Richmond, VA. No big deal, more time to play Civ 4!

But then about every 20 minutes Kristen would announce another delay... 5:55.... 6:45..... 7:30..... at this point, she starts offering to put us on standby for the 8:55 Atlanta flight (which Lu was booked on for his trip home!). Then, a moment of hope... Kristen announces that the plane is finally fixed, boarded, and about to take off from Richmond! I'm going to make it home!

Just kidding. Kristen gets on the PA, just minutes after she had made our day, and kicks us all right in the nuts: Continental has cancelled the flight. Those on the standby list for the 8:55 flight can hang around to see if they make it, but the rest will have to catch a 6:30am Delta flight the next morning. Needless to say, I didn't make the 8:55. I watched Lu board and fly home, and I was left to deal with grouchy customer service ladies who, when I asked them for a hotel room for the night (the least they could do, right?), asked me where I had stayed the night before and why I couldn't just stay there again. Lady, with all due respect, please shut the **** up and book me a hotel room.

So now I had to catch the hotel shuttle, but first I had to go to baggage claim to pick up the bag that I had checked. The Continental lady had sent for it to be pulled out for me, but it was nowhere to be found. Upon further investigation, I learned that they decided to put my bag on the 8:55 plane to Atlanta (the one I was hoping to get on standby), even though they decided not to put ME on it. My toothbrush, deodorant, and "product" (the essentials) were in there.....


Got to the hotel (the Airport Holiday Inn!!), ate a grade-C chicken Ceasar salad in the dumpy hotel lounge, then hit the sack. 4:30am wakeup call, 5:00am airport shuttle, terrorist-level security check, a stale Cinnabon, and all of a sudden I was finally on a plane and on my way home to Atlanta. Of course, I had left my car in long-term parking at the Brookhaven MARTA station, so there was the 30 minute train ride, then 20 minutes to drive the rest of the way home to find my beautiful girlfriend waiting for me..... frantic because she has a chunk of mascara stuck in her eye.

What a trip.

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