Saturday, March 24, 2007
My Wings Hurt
It took 28 hours to fly from Denver to Lexington, Kentucky. We could have driven it faster and gotten more sleep. It rained in Chicago; that is all it takes to upset the entire air traffic control system across the middle of the country. We checked in at Denver just after noon on Friday expecting to be home in bed in time to watch the late news. Within minutes the signs showed that the flight would be delayed (customer service didn't make an announcment until about two hours after the original departure time.) The flight was then delayed again; visits to the friendly customer service agents (more like agents of the underworld) and calls to customer service yielded nothing more then "it rained in Chicago, your flight has been delayed." Finally about 3 hours behind schedule we boarded the plane and taxied out, only to have the captan come on and tells us that the plane was broken and the cabin crew was "expiring" (I was starting to know how they feel!) We returned to the gate. Ten minutes later they decided that the plane might take a couple of hours to fix, and the flight attendents (there for your safety, like the paper band around the toilet seat in a cheap motel) had been on duty for 15 hours and were no longer legal to take off on another flight. Cell calls and long waits at the customer no-service desk rendered news that the flight had not been cancelled, but delayed, the 3:15 PM flight would depart at 6:00 AM. Shuttle off 20 miles to the convient "hotel" provided by the airline (stylyish in 1975, the last time it was redecorated) with instructions to be back at the airport for a 4:00 AM check in. Alarm set for 3:00 AM, taxi reserved for 3:30 AM(the "hotel" shuttle could not get me to the airport for the required check in at 4:00 AM, the desk warned my that by 4:30 the airport would be a "nuthouse" with all of the delays and cancelations. We finally leave Denver at 6:37 AM bound for the airport that puts the "dis" in disfunctional, O'Hare. If there are clouds in the sky or heaven forbid it rains sometime in the past 36 hours within 30 miles of the place, O'Hare becomes a huge waiting room for thousands of hot, cranky passengers and a parking lot for lots of pretty airplanes. At this point Airline A handed me off to Airline U; I guess they had heard enough of me. We were booked on a 10:26 AM departure (better then airline A's 8:10 PM flight that is nearly allways 2-3 hours late.) The 10:26 AM rapidly became the 12:12 PM, then the 12:34 PM, then the 1:45 PM, then the 1:46 PM, then we finally boarded, taxied out and waited for 50 minutes to take off (without air-conditioning; the APU failed and the flight crew decided that it was to risky to try to offload the passengers, the risk of un-armed revolt was far too high.) We finally arrived home about 28 hours after first checking in at Denver, we could have driven it faster and gotten more sleep.
More later, Denver was fun but my wings hurt.