"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Excuse Me, But Where's My Flying Car?

Aren't we supposed to have these by now? Wasn't that part of the 2001 Odyssey deal? Along with our silver, human-race uniforms with the fins at the cuffs? This would have saved me from a couple of headaches yesterday. My sister had a problem with US Air around Christmas, they took her bottles of wine meant for gifts (her favorite-Jarhead Red) and instead of allowing her to check them, they tossed them in the trash. (By the way, Jarhead Red has since sent her three bottles to replace the lost ones after reading her blog.) Anyway, yesterday we flew back from D.C. on US Air and we should have known during check-in that things were going to continue to go amiss for pretty much the rest of the day. The touch screens you use to check in froze us out twice, and in the morning, there's such a huge line behind you of people that you can't just move to another terminal without looking like you're cutting. And there were only two people working the computers behind the desk, and they're helping people who have already checked in successfully at terminals that actually worked. So we were standing there like idiots, trying to tell the agents that the terminals don't work but they don't care, they say they'll be right with you, but they're not. And you're standing there in check-in-limbo trying to hop in and use a terminal that works, and we got to another one, but that froze too! So one hour later during this process, we finally get a guy to check us in, but then he can't figure out why there are seats printed on the boarding passes, but the seats are still showing as "open" in the computer (which of course means our seats can be sold). So he says "fix it at the gate." And we proceed to security, where we figure out that there are two boarding passes with my dad's name on them and none with my moms. The security guy fortunately let us pass after we convince him to and I'm not sure if I should be happy about that or not. We get to the gate and see the flight's delayed for two hours. We can live with that. The guy at the gate fixed our seats. We went up a few more times to check the status on the tv screens. Another 1/2 hour delay. OK, getting a little nervous, but ok. My dad goes up one more time. Cancelled. Crap. My mother-in-law was watching Poops until I got home because my husband had to fly out on a business trip. So first step, I called my husband, who hadn't taken off yet and I had him drop off the car with the carseat in it and the keys to my mother-in-law, just in case I don't get back and there's an emergency, or just for the simple fact that I don't want them to be stranded. Meantime, fortunately we saw the cancellation on the tv screen about an hour before they announced it over the overhead and got in line before the line stretched all the way down the terminal like herds of cattle. My dad was in line over at another gate just to see if someone would help him there and I'm on the long "service desk" line, and we're dueling to see who can get to an agent first. He does. We get on a flight that puts us in at 5pm. That works. So there we were, at the airport since 8am, getting on a flight at 2:30 but hey, at least I'm getting home. D. C. is not that far away, but I've never felt so far away as I did when I was stuck in that airport with no flight, needing to get home to my little boy. Of course, the flight got us there, but of course, it didn't bring our luggage with it. So we waited in the airport for another hour and a half before another flight came and fortunately there were our bags. I wasn't as raging mad as a couple of the other passengers who I am quite sure will be writing letters. I didn't miss a meeting or anything like some of these other people. It was just an hour-by-hour never-ending frustration. I overheard some pilots talking about how US Air switched their computers over to another reservation program last week and this is the result. I'm none too happy about the situation aboard that airline right now, but what can you do when you're a slave to it. At least I got home, right?

5 comments:

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Pittsburgh used to be a USAir hub but I won't fly them anymore. Not after I got on a plane in 2002, I think it was, that was disgustingly dirty. I'm talking food on the floor, grease on the window -- I've stayed in nicer rat-trap hotels.

Now, I'd rather not go if USAir is my only option. Fortunately, the Tour Manager's good at finding ways to make sure I have options.

Sparky Duck said...

Brillant of USAir to switch computer systems to America West without, you know CHECKING THEM OUT FIRST. Big news here because Philly is a major hub. Wish us luck when we fly to Hilton Head in April

Sparky Duck said...
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Sparky Duck said...
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Robin said...

Hey, was there some smart ass over the intercom while you were waiting? I HATE flying out of DC..it is like a kindergarten cattle call. The guy was saying things over the speaker like "umm..do not go downstairs until WE tell you..if we catch you down there, even for a minute, you will be forced to sit and wait for the NEXT flight. You will not get snacks if we catch you down there.." etc. I thought that was the worst part. Plus that airport is super trashy. Good to be back in Florida, eh?