Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Georgia or BUST! (my trip home from Vegas)

On Friday, February 8th I flew to Las Vegas for the ARA Show. It was a long week with lots of walking and lifting and selling and more lifting and more walking, but all in all a great week. Needless to say, when it was all over, I was all about leaving on that jet plane. 8 days in Vegas is 8 days too long!

So, on the night of Thursday, February 14th (with no Valentine's Day date) I packed up my worn out shoes, dirty undies and melted favorite slacks, took a nice long soak in the Jacuzzi tub (mmmm) set my alarm for 3am (oh yeah!) and finally laid my head on the pillow at about 11pm.
*BZZZZZ* 3am and I'm up, with no intention of missing my flight. About 4am I meet Chris in the lobby of the Luxor and we jump into a taxi and we're off to the airport. Checked our baggage curbside ($2 per bag...huh?!) and head to security. This is where I gave up possession of my favorite new lotion (B&BW Japanese Cherry Blosom) because I completely forgot I left it in my carry on.

On a sidenote...what the freak am I going to do with LOTION!?! Box cutter, scissors, pocket knife...sure, but lotion! *sobbs*

Chris and I continue on to our gate where we only wait just a few minutes before we board our plane. While Chris enjoys being pampered in first class, I cozy into seat 173A (okay, it wasn't that far back...but it sure felt like it). Thankfully I am so tired I literally lay my head against the window and close my eyes anticipating only opening them once we hit the Lone Star State (layover in Dallas). As I am just starting to find that spot, you know, that one...where you wouldn't care if the beverages where liquid gold...173B asks me to open the shade. I graciously oblige and let her know that as soon as we are in the air I will be closing it again. Then she was brave enough to ask if I wanted to trade her seats? Are you kidding...the plane is packed and I chose a window seat on purpose...just so I could fall asleep with my head resting on the wall...there is now way in he-double toothpicks I am trading you seats lady! She said something about how she likes to look out the window, but that was halted by an abrupt phone call to her boyfriend, to whom she was going to visit in Dallas. So yes, she lives in Vegas...and yet she wanted me to open the window shade so she could see the city she lives in...bother. I am almost in that place again when I hear her squealing in this shrill voice "Hi Gorgeous, I'm on the plane [pause] I can't wait to see you too, I'll call you as soon as we land[pause] love you Gorgy (yes, she called him GORGY) *kissy noise* *kissy noise* I love you [end of call].

Are you kidding me? This her mid/late 40's just blew kisses to her boyfriend after calling him Gorgy over the telephone...where everyone on the plane could hear her. Good grief.

Okay, so by this point I have closed the shade and am literally asleep when I hear the pilot come over the speaker. Something about a light that won't go off and mechanics are looking at it and he will keep us posted.

Still asleep I hear "Hi Gorgy [pause] baby we are still in Vegas [pause] oh, ok [pause] love you Gorgy [pause] I'll call you when I know more *kissy noise* *kissy noise* [pause] bye Gorgeous"
Pilot comes on again. "...mechanical difficulty...doesn't look good...keep you posted..." Me, asleep.

Pilot comes on again. "It looks like we are going to have to put this plane out of service. Please get your crap and get off. Go to baggage carrousel #3 to claim your luggage and see an American agent for assistance".

I really don't see what the big deal is...I have known people to drive around with their "check engine" light coming on & off all the time. We can certainly make it to Dallas!

I look at the time to see that we have been on that plane for 1.5 hours.

As I gather my belongings I hear it again "Hi Gorgy..." oh gag!

Inside the Las Vegas airport I am obviously having de ja vu - mostly because we just left this place - Chris was waiting for me, so we slowly found our way to baggage claim where we ran into some industry people we know, which helped to pass the time. Time, how much time you say? How much time do you need to take the luggage off the plane...luggage you just put on the plane...1 hour and 15 minutes, that is how long! No, I am not exaggerating...I have witnesses!

Thankfully Chris was in 1st class, so when we make our way back up to the ticket counter, bags in tow, we only have to wait for about 5 opposed to row after row after row of angry American Airline customers who either just got kicked off their flight home (me!) or where now missing their flight because those of us who just got kicked off our flight home are now in their line. Once we got up to the counter we found out they had booked us on different flights home. We decided if we were going to get stranded, we would prefer it be together (it helps that Chris has a company credit card and I do not) so a few clicks here, a new boarding pass and luggage RE-checked, we were off to go through security ONE MORE TIME!

"Oh, wait" Chris says...and he slowly reaches into his backpack...the one that he has had with him through the entire morning...and pulls out not just one, BUT TWO knives! We had used them the day before when we were dismantling our booth and he forgot to take them out of his backpack and put them in his checked luggage! Are you telling me that I just lost a $10 bottle of my favorite lotion because I left it in my carry-on bag and he had 2 KNIVES and yet no one stopped him! There is something seriously wrong with this situation.

Back through security and since it was no longer 4:30am and was closer to about 10am, we had to spend a little more time weaving our way through the line. This time we had the nicest guy at the screening machine and he even apologized for our troubles.

Shoes back on and we're off to gate Z99 or whatever it was. We get there to find our flight is delayed by 2 HOURS! We are so clueless that we even tried to board the earlier flight...too bad they didn't let us on. Our flight was supposed to leave at 10:30ish was now scheduled to leave at 12:10pm, which gave Chris and I some time to find a snack at Burger King (not exactly Weight Watchers approved food, but Chris said it would be okay since we were already having such a rough day) and then we ventured over to the chocolate store and yes, I bought some...and ate it!

Back at our gate, waiting for our flight Chris managed to fall asleep, but I couldn't handle the constant ringing of the Wheel of Fortune tune from the nearby slot machines! Yeah...I was just a little ready to leave Vegas.

Finally on our flight I am now sitting in an aisle row, ironically next to a couple who was also at the ARA Show, who happen to be a customer of ours. We chat for a bit and then once we are in the air (and I restrain myself from yelping for joy) I plug in my headset and enjoy The Bee Movie. I even laugh out loud without restraining myself. So did my row neighbors, so I figured it was more than fine if I laughed too.

For some reason it seemed like a really, really, really long flight to Chicago (another connection...why can't American Airlines fly direct?!) but I guess that's what you get when you fly from the west to the east crossing time zones.

As we land in Chicago I am more than elated and literally find myself smiling at the thought of making it home by about 9pm. As we drive around the outside of the airport we stop, but obviously not at our gate...we are not stopped at any gate. The pilot came on and announced that we were just waiting for a plane to leave the gate and it should only be about 5 minutes. 45 MINUTES LATER we finally pull up to our gate at K9 as I look out my window and see the plane Chris and I are supposed to be on, pull out of gate K5. With Chris in 1st class he ran down to the gate, but called me from there to confirm that it was indeed our flight. THE LAST ATLANTA BOUND AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT THAT NIGHT.

It took me another 15 minutes to deplane where I found Chris waiting and we slowly made our way to the American Airlines Customer Assistance counter...were we found 4 little red phones. They couldn't even give us real bodies to talk to...we had to get back on the phone.

30 minutes of hold music later, Chris and I are re-booked on a United flight that will leave sometime in the 9 o'clock hour, putting us into Atlanta sometime after midnight. Okay, fine, whatever. At this point I am so tired and my body hurts so bad, I simply cannot function. It is a good thing that Chris is so calm in circumstances like this, because I am not and I was about to lose it. We couldn't even find the United terminal in Chicago without asking for directions twice, it was insane. Chris found an "out" to go kill himself (a.k.a. smoke) and I found a bench near an unused security area. I passed the time by taking photos...see photos.

Once Chris was back we tried to find food, but everywhere we stopped was packed and so we settled on a Starbucks, where I had a banana and Chris had coffee.

Eventually we found a seat at our gate and began a friendly discourse with a United flight attendant who was going home to Georgia to see family. We chatted about our day and she shared experiences of her travels (not quite as horrible as our day, but still not fun) and as we were conversing we were interrupted by the gate agent on the intercom announcing that our flight would be delayed because the pilots just landed IN A DIFFERENT CONCOURSE and had to make their way over and do their walk around. At this point Chris and I just looked at each other and laughed.

Although a good 35 minutes late, we finally boarded our flight and thankfully Chris and I both had exit rows with plenty of room to stretch our legs. I know, I know...technically I don't need much room with my 5'3" stature, but after a day like this, I was ready to plug my headset into my laptop and fade away into the "The Lake House" and let that jet plane take me home!

Sometime later we touched down in Atlanta and deplaned to a virtually empty airport...which is hard to to at ATL. We made our way to baggage claim and waited a few minutes where eventually we found our bags. Chris's bags seemed to be fine, but mine was broken and as Chris pointed out "all wet". I didn't would dry.

To the shuttle bus.
To my car.
Thank you driver man for taking my bag to my deserved far more than the $2 I had left in my pocket.

2am...home at last!

1pm Saturday afternoon I wake to the panic of all I must do before days end. I walk into the living room where my bag still lay from the night before. Strange, it was still wet. I touch it...eewwweeewww! not wet at was oil, or grease or something. Totally ruined.

Someone please remind me to call American Airlines about that...


Cyd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cyd said...

Ho-lee Cow. American Airlines had better be pony-ing up to you, after a day like that! (Isn't there a movie with that exact plot? If not, there should be, and it should have Jude Law - or, you know, pick you hottie - playing an undercover agent of some acronymal agency who's trying to chase down some rumored terrorists who are either causing or just got caught up in the same bad travel warp you'r stuck in... who happens to keep getting the seat right next to you ALL DAY LONG. Totally a romantic comedy - with an up-to-date political edge! Awesome! Who do we sell it to? You ARE brilliant!)

American Airlines should at least get you a gift certificate for a massage, if they can't manage the international hottie. (Corporate bullies!)