Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again

The trip to my parents' house last Thursday provided yet another example of why I'm either the luckiest or unluckiest bitch on the planet.

It's been a while since I've had a good travel snafu (or near mishap).  I guess I was due.

Our flight out of Denver was at 4:40 in the afternoon. I picked the kids up early from school and headed to the airport.  We got to the satellite parking by 3:20 and were at the Frontier check-in counter by 3:35.  Earlier in the day I had checked in online and paid for my checked bag, so all I needed to do was enter my information in one of their kiosk thingies, hand my bag over, and we'd be on our way.

Easy peasy, plenty of time.

Except that when it was my turn to go to the kiosk thing-y, it didn't work, and I got an error message telling me to find an agent to help me.  Problem was, a number of other people had had the same issue, so all of the available human helpers were occupied with other customers.  By the time someone was available to help me, it was 3:55.

The lady was grumpy.  She entered my information into her system, gave me a look like I was a complete moron and said, "you missed the 45 minute cut-off for checking a bag.  I can't check your bag."

I mustered all of my calm and said, "well, I've been trying to get someone to help me for 20 minutes. I was here with plenty of time, but the kiosk didn't work.  Can I gate-check my suitcase?"

"No, we don't allow gate-checking."  This statement was made with huffing and eye-rolls.

Game on.

"Then you're going to have to figure something out.  I was here in time, I've already paid for the checked bag, and the only reason there's a problem is because your system is incredibly inefficient.  Make a call or do what you have to do, but my bag is getting on the plane."

She huffed and puffed and generally acted like a brat, but she made a call and found out that there was still time for my bag to make the plane.  She checked me in and gave me my boarding passes, but not without a parting shot.

"They're not going to hold the flight, you know," she sneered.

I gave her the stink-eye, took Josie and Zeke (who was wearing a red Ninja Turtles eye mask) by the hand, and said, "come on, kids.  We need to rush if we're going to make the plane."

Josie got really nervous and was half-crying as we trotted toward the security line.  "I want to go to Mimi and Papa's!  I don't want the plane to take off without us!"

"Honey, we're going to make it, but we need to hurry.  Don't cry, sweetheart, just walk fast!"

We were taking off from the A Terminal, which is attached to the main terminal and has its own security line.  So we wouldn't need to take the train to a terminal or wait in the big huge security line that serves the B through E terminals.  That was a good thing.

Except that the TSA people working the A Terminal security line must have all needed naps, because while the line wasn't long, it moved slower than molassas in January.  I started watching the minutes tick by on the clock on the wall.  I was tapping my foot and imploring the agents that I was going to miss my flight, but they ignored me.  When we got into the security line, I had 15 minutes before the gate would be closing.  By the time we got through it, after I had to reach my arm all the way into the little covered area that the bags pass through after running through the scanner (but before they're easily grab-able - I was surprised nobody yelled at me), we had 4 minutes before the 10 minute cutoff when they close the gate.

I gathered up my tote bag, the kids' backpacks, and all of our shoes, and said, "kids, we're not going to put our shoes on.  We have to run.  RUN!  RUN!!"

We must have looked like lunatics.  I was barefoot and the kids were in their socks, and all three of us were sprinting over the moving sidewalks (those things HURT without shoes) and trying to get to the gate.  At one point someone yelled, "YOU DROPPED A SHOE!"  I ran back and picked it up.  We were all getting winded and feeling somewhat panicky.  "Zeke!  Go left!  GO LEFT!  It's A38!  Hurry!"

We finally got to the gate.  There was nobody there and the door to the jetway was shut.

At this point, all three of us lost our fucking minds.

The kids started hurling themselves around, practically rending their garments and gnashing their teeth, screaming and crying that they wanted to go to Mimi and Papa's.

Josie wailed, "NOOOO!  Don't let them take off without us!  I don't want to miss the plane!"

Zeke cried, "It's not fair!  IT'S NOT FAAAAAAIIR!  I want to see Mimi and Papa!!!"

I threw everything on the ground, yelled "GODDAMMIT GODDAMMIT GODDAMIT!" and proceeded to pound on the jetway door with both fists.

This went on for a minute or two.  BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG.  Crying children.  More banging.  More crying.  More banging.

A guy passing by said, "there's a customer service desk on the other side of that wall, maybe they can help you."

I rushed over to the desk and loudly said, "IS THERE ANYONE WHO CAN HELP ME GET ON THIS FLIGHT?"  I'm sure I sounded like a complete asshole.

The kids were still going nuts.

"HEY!" the guy yelled.  "They opened the door!  COME BACK!!"

We ran back to the gate and the door was open and an agent was standing at the counter.  I gathered up all of our stuff (we still weren't wearing shoes) and we went over to her.

Continuing the trend of utterly unhelpful and extremely snotty Frontier agents, she made a face at me and said, "I don't know if you'll get on the flight.  Your seats might be gone."

I figured that they wouldn't have opened the door if there were no seats left, so I held my tongue.  She picked up her phone and called back to the plane and asked if there were three seats.  I guess the answer was "yes," because she took my boarding passes, but not before giving me another lecture about being late.  I yeah-yeah-ed her and we ran down the jetway and onto the plane.

They had given away our seats together, but in the very back row there were 3 seats, 2 on one side of the aisle and one on the other, that they hustled us into.  The kids settled in next to each other and got out their coloring books and crayons.  I collapsed into my seat across the aisle from them.

I bought everyone DirecTV access and they watched cartoons and I watched the US Open.  The flight attendants were lovely, and when I thanked them, they thanked me for being so nice.  I gave them a confused look.  One of them said, "you could have pitched a fit when you got on the plane and saw that we had given your seats away."

I laughed.  "I pitched the fit to get on the plane.  Once I was on, I was happy to sit wherever you told me to."

They gave us free drinks and snacks.  Given that I was relieved not to have been arrested and/or missed the flight entirely, I was gratified by the turn of events.

When my parents picked us up at the airport, everyone was smiling and hugging and kissing each other.  Josie told my mom, "Mama threw a fit and got us on the plane!"  She sounded very proud.

Damn right, baby girl.


  1. Rock on with yourself. Sorry it was such a nightmare, but pitching a fit is necessary sometimes. Glad Josie appreciated it!

    1. I'm teaching her not to take shit from anyone. And she doesn't! :)

  2. Total "page turner"!!!!

    1. It was an insane afternoon. But we made it, so all was well.