I had a horrible flight experience today and to commemorate this and appreciate that it was truly my only really bad travel for 2012, I will bore myself and any potential readers with a travel story.
Seriously, travel stories are like dreams, no one really likes to hear about them. But here we go:
I overslept. To be precise, I told Siri to set my alarm for 5:30 AM. I always verify the alarm because she sometimes ignores me but I was so exhausted that I forgot. Did I mention I had a redeye the day before and then worked all day after landing in time for my morning meeting? Anyway, this morning, I woke up at 7:30. The time my flight was to depart from Columbus, Ohio, and discovered that Siri did not hear me because my alarm was not even set. Obviously, I missed the flight.
And this detail doesn't make any sense to normal people but is important for frequent flyers--I am not on my normal airline (Delta) but US Airways. I used to be on their preferred list but I never did like them. Now I am a Delta girl, all the way.
So the US Air people tell me in Columbus that it is unlikely I can even get out of there today and all flights from all cities are booked so they can't promise I will arrive in SLC until at least Sunday. They sent me to go to other airlines to ask about additional flights (what? awesome).
In the end, US Air did get me out of Columbus to Charlotte, but they had to de-ice the plane so we left 30 minutes late.
As is usual for bumpy bad weather flights, I contemplated my own mortality, particularly when, about 20 feet off the ground, the pilot suddenly pulls up and instead we do an angled, wild, and rickety circle around the airport. We landed so late that I only had 15 minutes to get all the way across the airport.
So I hop on one of those beepy golf carts and make friendly conversation with a fellow passenger who is blind and has a seeing eye dog. The golf cart stops us at the bottom of an escalator and tells us to take another golf cart to make it the rest of the way, but blind man says he will instead follow me since we are both headed to Phoenix for the next leg. I look at my ticket and see that it says C-16 and walk quickly over there while the blind man and his dog are trying to make it across several moving walkways and through thousands of holiday travelers, go carts, etc. It was a very stressful experience to go fast enough to get there but slow enough where he can literally blindly follow me.
We arrive to the gate finally, 5 minutes before the intended departure and I look at the gate which says "San Francisco", not Phoenix. Well, rather than trying to work it out at that gate, I grab the man's ticket and it says B3. B!!! That is all the way across the terminal again!
I race across the terminal with him madly following with his little doggy and I am on the verge of tears because know that I have ruined his holiday!! He is now going to miss this flight because I must have gotten the gate wrong, you know? So we arrive to the gate and it says Dallas, so then I start crying and explain to the gate agent that it was my fault that he missed the flight and she says "sweetie, the Phoenix flight is not leaving for another two hours, he didn't miss it you are fine."
And I am so relieved I cry more, and then realize that I missed my own flight and have reduced my own possibility of getting home today.
I should have just talked to the people at the gate like I would have if I had been myself. I didn't realize that he and I were on different flights! But what kind of person doesn't help the blind guy? I mean, after I have just searched my soul on the near-death airplane, I figure it is better to miss a flight and help a blind person than to selfishly run ahead, right?
So I go the bathroom and just start crying uncontrollably. Like, sobbing. What the heck, you know? A few ladies in the bathroom were worried about me, which was kind of annoying but helped a little since I realized I was wallowing a bit.
But here is the touchy-feely ending. I go to eat lunch (because now I have like tons of time) and eat dessert for the first time in months because I am just tired, so tired, and so frazzled. And I call Steve and I start crying again (so much crying!!!) Well, I go to pay for my meal, and the server tells me that the lady who had been sitting across from me felt sorry for my travel troubles so she bought me lunch and wanted to wish me a Merry Christmas. So what do I do?
Cry of course.
Can you imagine?
I am a chump.