Monday, May 31, 2010

Travel Day Awesomeness

Father Dan doesn't want to travel with me because inevitably I have some sort of airline hassle. Consider today's adventures.

Spent two and a half hours on the taxiway due to thunderstorms in Chicago area. Finally the pilot's dispatcher sent him (and the passengers) back to the gate. We're hustled off the plane with our carry-on luggage, but nothing was done about our "valet" (tagged) luggage.

Flight cancelled. So I go to the rebooking station to start that process. I'm given a seat on tomorrow's morning flight and connected to to book a room. Airlines do not have to reimburse you for weather-related expenses or delays, apparently. The agent tells me I need to cancel by 4 p.m. to avoid a penalty. Great. I go back to the gate because I needed to retrieve my garment bag. There, the agent tells me I shouldn't wait until tomorrow but should instead book standby on the 6 p.m. nonstop to Huntsville. Fine. I call and am told I would have to pay for the night's stay. At which point I very firmly state that this was not what I was told by their agent, and argue the point. Finally they back down and cancel without penalty.

The gate is changed for the 6 p.m. flight twice in the course of four hours, but at least I got something to eat. Finally, around 5:30, I'm told the 6 p.m. flight is cancelled as well. Back to the rebooking station, and back to for yet another hotel reservation. I'm now booked on tomorrow's 10:40 a.m. flight to HSV...more time wasted.

Given that both primary flights that would get me (or my luggage) to HSV had been cancelled, I took the chance that my luggage might be retrievable. The garment bag was checked through to HSV, so by this point I'm down to a plastic bag full of miscellaneous junk I'd bought at ISDC and my journal. No joy at Baggage Services, which was understandably chaotic because everything flying toward the East had be cancelled, or nearly so. booked me at the Sheraton Gateway in Rosemont. It was not listed on the airport's standard list of hotels to call. I ask for an actual pay phone because by this point my iPhone was (and is) dead. A TSA agent directed me to some pay phones, whereupon I discover that most of them have been removed and are no longer in service (doesn't EVERYONE have a cell phone?).
I finally get hold of Sheraton, and after a 30+ minute wait, I get the shuttle to the hotel. Jeez. I'm a little frazzled. And yeah, Father might have a point: traveling with me IS a little more dramatic than it needs to be. Perhaps I'm a magnet for Bad Airline Juju? The Shadow knows...

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