At Some Point You Have To Laugh

That was said by the young woman standing in line behind me. Our flight to Charlotte should have left 2 hours earlier. Instead we had been in a slow moving line back out past TSA security waiting to find out if there were some way out of hell.

I am sure you are in no mood to hear another on of my travel horror story but as long as I have them I am giving you the opportunity to relive them with me. Another new reason to delay a flight.

After 14 hours in the office on Monday and a hectic Tuesday morning of emergency emails and calls I left for O’Hare. As it was I dreading the 5 hour two plane trio to Kingsport, TN. The only good news was that at the end of the travels I was to have dinner with one of my favorite clients. If only it had happened as planned.

Instead 15 minutes before the 12:30 US Air flight to Charlotte they announced a maintenance delay. 45 minutes later they announced that the part they needed, it took that long to figure out which part it was, they did not keep in Chicago. The part would need to be flown in. If it came, the plane might leave at 7 pm. The announcement directed us to go to the ticket counter on the dreaded other side of security.

This is one time where being a frequent flier screwed me. I assumed that technology could help get me on one of the three remaining US Air flights to Charlotte or one of the two United flights. Why not, I have high level status on United.

I worked that phone. US Air, United, Us Air again. Different answers each time. Mostly though it seemed as though every flight that day to Charlotte was full. After an hour I realized that I had no choice but to go to the ticket counter. More confusion. There were several lines and no one directing traffic. I stood in the wrong line until I reached the front in time to be told that the person behind that counter could not help me. Into the other line which had to be 50 people deep. Three people behind the counter. No good answers to be had.

If there is a deity with a master plan manipulating world events to the level of my plane travel I have discovered his/her master plan. The purpose of these moments is to provide an environment in which people who would never get the opportunity to converse mingle. People of all races, creeds, colors, and walks of life spontaneously begin sharing stories. They find things they have in common. Mostly what they have in common is their hatred of air travel and whatever airline is causing the day’s frustrations. Sometimes more. The older lady and her even older mother in front of me were on their way home to the city I was visiting. We chatted abut how crowded it got during race week (there is a NASCAR track nearby) and what a nice town it is. As a group we provide each other with solace and understanding.

Well, once it was my turn I was told there were no seats to Charlotte that day. I could have tried leaving the next day but any delay and I would have missed my business meeting. At least person behind the counter was competent. She found a United nonstop to Knoxville that would put me 110 miles away. I took it. I figured I would rent a car and at least be there that night.

On to the United terminal. Finally, a bit of luck, there were only 4 people ahead of me in the security line. But not so fast. I was not given a ticket but a receipt for a ticket the TSA guy informed me. On to another long line to haggle with another ticket agent. Back to security again where the line was now 40 people deep. As I reached my gate my admin called. No rental cars from any company in Knoxville. Hitchhiking was not an appealing option. Fortunately my client agreed to come get me.

For hours later, 11 hours after I left my house I was in my hotel room.  

As I have said before, as long as the plane did not fall out of the sky I can deal with it. Sort of.

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About 48facets
What you read is what you get.

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