Sunday, March 18, 2007

You are now free to sit in the airport forever...

Bad (ie, completely, utterly, wrong) directions from offsite car rental place delayed us almost an hour.

We still arrived in time to make our flight, except that:
1) weather in the Northeast was messing up flight schedules
2) it's Spring Break
3) some kind of strike on another airline
resulted in lines out the door and down the sidewalk at LAX (one for check-in, one to drop bags with TSA, one for security).

So we missed our flight from LA to Austin.

But they sent us to Pheonix, where we spent most of Saturday trying to get on a flight -- any flight -- to anywhere in the state of Texas.

Finally we were advised to return early in the morning.

We both have family in Phoenix, but we knew we wouldn't be able to see both sides, so we flipped a coin and called some of Camila's family, who picked us up, took us to dinner, took us to see other family, took us to the pharmacy to buy toiletries (which, in a sneaky move, they managed to pay for), gave us their bed, loaned us clothes, and took us back to the airport at 4:30am the next morning.

Then we started the whole process over. All the gate agents were friendly, but unable to do anything to help us.

I made arrangements to fly to Oklahoma City and drive (6 hrs) to Austin, but then they called us for a flight to Houston. We actually made it onto the aircraft, but -- oops, sorry -- they had miscounted and they were short one seat, so we had to get off again.

Then they put us on a flight to Dallas with stops in Albuquerque and El Paso. But when we got to Albuquerque, they pulled us off and made us standby again in favor of passengers who hadn't made the fatal mistake of not arriving 3 hrs before flight time. In Phoenix they had made us "priority standby" (which was how we got on the aborted Houston flight), but Albuquerque refused to give us standby priority over people already on the list

Southwest Airlines is very encapsulated. They do not share routes or flights with anyone. They will not send you to another airline, and no other airline will take their tickets. I was unable to find tickets on any other airline that stops in Phoenix.

So we're in a hotel in Albuquerque; we have a 6:30am flight to El Paso (be at the airport at 4:30am), eventually arriving in Austin around 2:30pm.

We were both scheduled to work Sunday and Monday. I will lose two days of consulting revenue; there's a decent chance Camila will lose her job. We have no cell phones because our chargers are in our checked baggage, which we hope is in Austin, but may be in Edmonton for all we know.

Anyway, Happy St. Paddy's day, a little late. May the luck of the Irish be with you -- there's bound to be some floating around, since I didn't have much* yesterday at the airport...

*Yeah, I know, nobody shot me or stole my laptop, we got to stay with family in Phoenix, and there are travelers with much worse stories. But that's not a very punchy way to end a blog post...


At Sun Mar 18, 07:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger Alan said...

I've had a few bad flights and hassles with the TSA, but nothing like this!

At Sun Mar 18, 10:43:00 PM PDT, Blogger si said...

wow, an airport saga -- what a novel post for you! ;-)

i guess since you're in airports/planes so much, the odds are very much on your side to have these lovely incidents happen to you. hope the financial implications are not as bad as you indicated.

look at it this way, it gives you fodder for blog posts (and you have our undying, sympathetic thots).

so if i don't see you at the end of the month in CA (again, in CA?), i'll just figure you're stuck in an airport somewhere between there and TX...

At Sun Mar 18, 11:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger si said...

just thot of this (the "s" in si stands for "slow-on-the-uptake"!) -- were you in LA for on-site work? just wonderin', cuz you know how someone is sposed to be 1st on your waiting list? or is it to-do list (let me clarify -- your NON-eva-mendes-TO-DO list)? :-)

At Mon Mar 19, 07:52:00 PM PDT, Blogger Erik said...

you can rent dvd's, you know. don't even sweat that, just kick back with some adam sandler, and boom! you're still in the airport, but adam sandler is doin' his thing. booyah!

At Tue Mar 20, 07:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

hi guys,

alan - until now, neither had i

si - negative on the onsite work. you know you guys are still my favorite client and still first on my list. :-)

erik - can't think why i didn't think of that -- i could have watched 50 First Dates as i ran from gate to gate getting on standby lists...

BTW, I actually shouted in the airport once -- when they called us for the Houston flight (that ended up not happening), the gate agent said "Torre, party of three to Houston." and i stood up and began to walk to the desk. Without even pausing, she said "Torre, going once, twice, gone." and I shouted from across the gate area "Hey! HEY! NO!" startling Camila awake and causing everyone from every surrounding gate to stare but I didn't really give a flying fig, as they say...


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