Monday, January 22, 2007

THE DARK UNDERBELLY OF A VACATION

Everyone knows that you go, you get on a plane, you land, you find some sort of transport, you arrive, you unpack, you go to the beach, you order a Pina Colada, you eat till you can't anymore, you order yet another Pina Colada, somewhere you switch to a drink called a Maui, then you wake up the next morning with a slight headache and wondering where the hell you are.

Every one knows about that.

What no one writes about, no one dares to expose the not so pleasant aspect of travel and vacation. And God help me, if anyone I know in every day life (such as family etc) ..... I'm really making all this up just for fun!

Yea, that's it, I'm making all this up and writing for fun.

For fun, because I can't write another "What I did on My Vaca".

We left the airport of origin an hour late. We were flying into Dallas. All reports left us concerned because bad weather was sweeping through the mid-west like a howling bitch. Ice was covering the Dallas airport and there fore flights going in were going in slow.

We hoped we could make our connection with the assumption that if flights going in were delayed, so must the flights going out. Before arriving, the word was given via the intercom regarding all out going flights. I heard ours was still 10:30am. We were landing at 10am. into the "A" terminal, we needed to be at the "C".

We had minimal carry on luggage, so we huffed it to the Sky Link and boarded thinking we had plenty of time to make it. We looked around us and noted the many concerned faces also calculating the time it would take to make the gate.

Naturally, it took forever to arrive at the C terminal. We jumped off the Sky Link at 10:30 and headed towards the escalator and began two stepping down the moving stairs and hit the ground running! Rounding the corner we saw that our gate - Gate 20 - was very vacant and I began to feel that sense of disappointment.

A clerk slouched against the counter nonchalantly waving an International Destination form and looking amused at our plight. I looked above her head and saw our flight number....and the "delayed" message. "You all have plenty of time to fill these out," she pointed towards a bar directly across from us...."over there. You can keep an eye on us from there".

Oh Happiness! We had not missed the plane.

But wait! When is the plane leaving?

At One O'clock in the afternoon. Yes, indeed plenty of time to spend in the bar. Joe and I bellied up and ordered a brew to calm us down. A young man hopped into the bar stool next to Joe and began telling the bar tender his woes. His plane for Cancun was delayed! We began to chat and I asked, "Where are you from?"

(Now Joe and I had traveled to another town to catch a flight. Joe did not want to go to Chicago, because he hated the traffic there, no matter if it is day or night, week-end or not...traffic is scary. So we went east and found an Airport halfway between FW and Lexington, Dayton.)

"Fort Wayne" he answers.

Isn't it a small world?

Joe decided he would call our Airline and complain about the long wait to board and how it was eating into our vacation. They informed Joe that the plane which had yet to arrive at Gate 20 had mechanical problems they were working on and the departure time may not be 1pm. Could be later. Could be not at all.

Joe got us on another flight, this one leaving at 1:30 at Gate C-29.

We waste another hour or so before we are sitting outside C-29 waiting to board. Unfortunately I hear them boarding Gate-20! They fixed the plane! Now we were going to be leaving even later than necessary.

But wait, they won't even let us on the plane at Gate-29. I was not privy to the conversation between Joe and the supervisor of the ground Clerks. In no uncertain terms we would not be allowed on the gate-29 plane because we did not have our luggage with us. Our luggage can not arrive before us. Somehow this is one of those new 911 laws. No amount of arguing or pleading would make her change her mind.

"We are screwed." Joe say's, "lets just go back to Dayton."

WHAT!!! I feel tears of frustration and disappointment well up in my eyes as I follow behind him, not knowing where he is going but where else do I have to go.

Just at that moment they began to page us, by name, for the final boarding for the plane sitting in gate-20.

I really began running fast. For about 100 yards. "Run Joe Run, tell them to hold that plane!!"

We got on, got seated, got buckled, the engines were humming and the glow of success was upon us! "We're going to Mexico!!"

We waited and waited until we were finally told the plane had not cleared the inspection and would not be flying anytime today.

Off we went and all surround the counter like vultures waiting for the animal to keel over. The ground clerks pounded away on their keyboards trying to issue new boarding passes. Joe and I were the second in line to receive our new boarding passes.

When asked for his name, Joe respondes, "Vincent Fox". The clerk began to type the name in furiously and not realizing the joke Joe was trying to make. "That's the Mexican ex-president" Joe stated to the not happy and about to heave us out of the airport for .... oh I can think of a zillion reasons..."He's joking" I butt in , and tell the guy our real names.

My husband is very annoyed with me for not thinking his joke is funny and leaves me sitting at Gate-20 waiting for the new plane to be delivered.

I wait and wait and wait. Hubs never comes back. It's an half hour now. Once again over the terminal intercom we are directed to yet another gate. Only know its a Gate in the D terminal.

I begin to look every where for Joe. In all the bars, standing outside the bathrooms, wandering up and down the very long "C" terminal.

Finally I give up, I figure he has either gone back to Dayton or he has gone onto the D terminal.

I get on the Sky Link and realize Have my cell phone (it is turning into a very long day) and I call him. He answers. I can not hear him over the roar of the Sky Link.

"Gate D-18" I keep repeating into the phone until I loose the connection.

I rush to gate 18 thinking of how I can hold the plane until he arrives!

We are all lined up. I'm frantically looking for Joe.

"Sorry folks,we apologize. The plane waiting for you at Gate-4"

Where the hell is gate 4. Wouldn't you know it, in another section of the terminal. Another trip on Sky Link.

I'm frantic. Where is Joe. I'm calling and calling. He is not answering. He is probably on the Sky Link and can not hear it ringing. I stand on the platform and a miracle!! There he is on the arriving train.

"Don't get off! We have to go to the next terminal!" All of us Cancun deprived travelers jump and squeeze on the train and off we go.

Thank God, there is a Plane and we do board and we do get an aisle seat.

And we do arrive in Cancun, seven hours later than we were scheduled.

And our new friend from FW is also on the plane, he made it too!

And to make this even better.....our luggage arrived too!

(this is the longest entry I think I have ever written and it is unedited....yikes!)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

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trying2hide said...

I enjoyed this one! I have a "dark underside" to many vacations. It's the part where we get hot, sticky and on each other's last nerve and fight over something stupid until we can get some decent food and sleep.

Robbie said...

I really think the Cancun gods are telling you to not return for a third time. Your luck is running thin when it comes to that place. LOL!

Lisa :-] said...

Everything you have written here is precisely why I abhor flying. I could probably get over my white-knuckled fear of crashing or getting blown up, but the whole customer-unfriendly experience just leaves me cold.

ian said...

Your running-from-gate-to-gate bit reminds me of the part in the movie Airplane where they announce the flight is arriving at Gate one...Gate two...Gate three...

Ian