So as you may have noticed from my cell phone blogged pictures, the last 30 hours have pretty much sucked. It went something like this-
9 am- arrive National airport, stand in line for 3 hours to get rebooked because my 10 am flight was canceled
12 noon- get no promises whatsoever that I can be ticketed anywhere, but get put on standby for the 4:30 flight
4:30 flight becomes a 6 pm flight
6pm- I easily make the flight to Phoenix, where I am told I have no problems making my 10:50 pm connection to SLC
Our flight ran out of food and toilet paper less than 2 hours into the flight.
9 pm- Pilot announces that we are landing shortly... in freaking Albequerque!!! There are thunderstorms in Phoenix and we don't have enough fuel to wait it out, so we're going to ABQ.
10 pm- We leave ABQ
10:45 pm- Crew chief announces that we are landing and asks that anyone who (and i quote) "doesn't have a prayer of making a connection" please stay in their seats, and let those who just might still make the Vegas or SLC connections run for it. Some people are very mean and did not cooperate. I get out and RUN across the airport. And it isn't a short run. Keep in mind I haven't had anything to eat in nearly 10 hours at this point and I am exhausted.
10:52 pm- Run up to my gate to see my flight to SLC backing away from the terminal. I do everything in my power to not cry.
11 pm- Wait my turn to see the customer service rep. She doesn't make me happy. She hands me a coupon for a discounted hotel room. Only $140 with the discount. Gee thanks. And when she sees my shaky hands (I'm a little weak from hunger), I get a $10 voucher for a meal in the airport. Never mind that everything in the airport is closed this late at night. She then looks up flights for me and says she can get me out on a freaking 2 pm flight on Thursday or a 5 pm flight on Saturday. SATURDAY????? I think not. And she asked this as if there was actually a choice. She books me for 2 pm, and gives me the standby options for other flights, telling me it is hopeless.
12 am- I decide my best options for the night will improve if I flirt with the TSA and Phoenix PD guys. This proves very beneficial, as one of them tells me where I can find a 24 hour bakery in the airport, and another one gives me a big hint that rather than sleep in airport chairs, I can sleep in the Starbucks. I point out that Starbucks is closed and there is a Tensa-Rope thing blocking it off. His response, "I'm security. Who's going to stop you?" Priceless. A full stomach later, I find this mystery Starbucks and claim a big cushy chair as my bed for the night, using a wooden chair to prop my feet up. (Being kind and leaving the other cushy chair for someone else to use later.) The Phoenix PD guy is even nice enough to move the Tensa Rope Barrier thing for me as my hands were full.
I won't lie to you. It wasn't the best night of sleep I have ever had. It pretty much sucked, but it was so much better than some of the other airport options. Needless to say, by this point my cell phone was completely dead and of no use to me. However, my knitting project I had been working on and finished earlier in the day came in very handy. A nice new scarf made for the perfect pillow!
I woke up around 4:30 am, thanks to time differences and floor puffing machines. I worked my way down to the US Air counter, hoping for good news on the 8 am standby. Granted, it was only about 5;30 am by that point, but I was bored. Well, it was a good thing I went down there so early. There were massive complications with my ticket. The genius from the night before hadn't really booked me on the 2 pm flight, and had somehow canceled my return ticket, and listed Phoenix as my final destination. Oh Joy. So she rebooks everything and gives me hope for the 8 am standby. I go and buy a new phone charger, and wait for the flight, praying the flight from Austin doesn't show up, and all those people miss their connections to SLC.
8 am- Austin flight lands. My hopes are dashed.
8:01- the El Paso flight is now delayed, I still have hope. They board the flight. It still looks good. They call my name. I'm first in line! But wait! No, there's a problem. The computer says there are 2 seats available, but the hand count says it is full. In cases like this they solve it by walking you down to the plane and doing a visual check. (All that freaking technology and this is the answer.) There's no seats left on the plane. Fighting back tears, I walk back up the ramp to the gate.
8:10 am- Freaking kid working at the gate informs me "I knew the flight was full. I rolled you over to the 11 am flight for standby already." Using every last bit of patience and energy I have to not burst into tears, I turn around and walk away. The kid yells at my back very sarcastically, "And you are so welcome." I turned around, fully crying, and said (not loud enough for him to hear) "Up yours."
I go and call my mom, sister and Juli. Some of them got the crying me, some of them didn't. At 8:30 I see that the Customer Service desk has a short line and I really want to complain about the kid and see if I can get another meal voucher. That is when I met the angel. Her name was Ann Marie Halvorsen and she was the Customer Service Manager for the desk. She looks at my tickets, asks how long I have been traveling, and I tell her the full story. She looks shocked. She asks why I wasn't offered first class yet. I ask her the same. She looks at my tickets again and gets concerned. Somehow, I am still not really ticketed for the 2 pm flight. She starts making phone calls. She smiles. I smile. She says to someone on the phone, "If you were here right now, she'd hug you." I take this as a good sign. She books me on the 11 am flight, first row.
I kill even more time in the airport.
11 am- they change the gate
12- we're still not on the plane. Something about mechanical difficulties.
12:45- we board the plane. Ground crew suddenly comes on board because we have a weight distribution problem.
1pm- we finally FINALLY take off. I nearly cry from joy (or is it exhaustion?). I sleep the entire flight to SLC.
3 pm- my sister picks me up. My luggage (in case you were wondering) arrived on a nonstop flight early on Wednesday. I am happily reunited with clean clothes and toiletries (and nephews and my sister).
4 pm- I get a much needed shower.
Now, it is time for the much needed full meal and a nap.
I'm finally here. Finally freaking here.
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