Sunday, December 28, 2008

The moral of the story is, don't ever, ever travel with me

I am the queen of the travel fuck-up.  If it can go wrong in the course of air travel, I have experienced it.  Massive delays, flight cancellations, missed flights because of gate changes that went unannounced, lost luggage, emergency landings because of equipment failures, you name it.

But I have never experienced anything quite as ridiculous as what caused me to arrive in Denver 12 hours later than I was supposed to.

My flight on Friday night was to leave at 11 pm.  So Jason was going to take me to the airport at around 9-ish, and we recruited a neighbor to come and sit with Zeke, who would have been asleep at that time.  We're sitting around watching the news or something at around 7 when all of a sudden the power went out.  

No biggie.  We were experiencing some weird weather, lightening and such, so power flickers happen.  

About half an hour later, the lights flickered on, but only at about half power.  

"That was probably someone trying to fix the transformer and getting fried," Jason observed.

Then the lights went out for good.  All over the island.

Perhaps you heard about it.  Seeing as how it made the national news and all.

We went outside, where the neighbors were all congregating.

"I bet your flight's cancelled.  Last time this happened, it shut the airport down," said Kyle, one of our neighbors who has the tendency to be the voice of doom.

We turned on the radio, which was broadcasting emergency information.  All grocery stores and convenience stores were closed.  Waikiki was in total gridlock and people were fighting in the street.  Everyone wondered how Obama was doing and whether he had power.

"It's going all Lord of the Flies pretty fast,"  I observed.

Another neighbor walked up and told me that he had heard that the airport was still open and that flights to the mainland were leaving from gates 14, 15, 24, 25 and 28.

"Did you happen to hear whether United flight 42 is still taking off?"  I asked, only half joking.

"Nope, they didn't mention that," he grinned.

After much back and forth, we decided to just go to the airport and try it out.  If in the meantime an announcement was made that flights were cancelled, then we would just turn around.

So Kyle stayed with Zeke and Jason and I left for the airport.  

When we got there, there was some hustle and bustle, though most of the airport was dark.  Jason dropped me off at the United terminal and I got in line.

The line didn't move.  Looking inside, you could see that agents were doing the agricultural check (you can't take plants in or out of the island) and security screenings by hand.  It looked totally chaotic. 

I kept checking the monitors for information, all of which listed my flight as still taking off, still on time.  A couple of other people in line did the same.  We all got friendly.

Finally, at about 10:25, a lady came out and announced that all United flights out had been cancelled.  She was a fellow passenger, and was making the announcement because the United agent inside refused to come out and tell anyone in the long line, which snaked around the building, what was happening.  He told the lady that he figured that if people wanted to find out what was going on, they would eventually make it inside.

Everyone started clamoring around the lone agent inside at the desk.  I called United on my phone, learned that the flight would be taking off at 10:15 the next morning, and called Jason to come and get me.  

A number of people have asked me if I was all pissed off and irate.  The truth is, no.  The one thing about constantly experiencing travel problems is that it's made me very Zen.  

At least I had a bed to sleep in, unlike the poor bastards who had to sleep on the floor of the United check-in area, which, like the rest of the airport, has a roof over it, but is otherwise outside.  

And I'm in Denver, safe and sound now.  I had 7 hours on a plane during which I didn't have to deal with a squirmy toddler.  The flight was largely empty, so I had an entire row to myself to lie down and read an excellent book from cover to cover.  Kathleen picked me up at the airport and we stayed up 'til late shooting the shit and drinking champagne.  

So really, it's all good.

1 comment:

  1. Well, there's something to be said for perspective. Whey lose your shit over something that you can't control, right?

    Good luck in Denver!