I’ve often wondered about those individuals you find sleeping at the airport. Often times, they are laid out like yesterday’s laundry taking up valuable space that could otherwise be occupied by several others. Even worse, are the ones on the floor using carry-on luggage as a pillow. What on earth would possess a person to do such a thing? Well (as you may have gathered by now) I know the answer. They were probably late for a flight (through no fault of their own) and were denied compensation by the airline and couldn’t afford a hotel so they were left to fend for themselves. That’s what happened to me – except I could afford a hotel. I just choose to spend the night at the airport. Seriously, by the time I found a hotel, took a shuttle or taxi and checked in I would have around 3 hours before I would have to get up and come back to the airport. Why bother? Besides, I’m just mad enough that I doubt I would sleep anyway.
I can hear by mother now, telling me this is just a “bump” in the road and there is a life lesson in there, somewhere, just for me (no doubt it’s that stupid patience issue). And I know, in the grand scheme of life, it is merely a blip on the screen but it’s my screen and I don’t like it dirty. I like things neat and orderly. AND ON TIME!!!
I flew to LA for the day, really for a few measly hours to attend a meeting. Sure, it was a long day but nice that I could go and come back in one day. YOU HEAR THAT, MURPHY? (Pretty sure I hear his evil laugh in the background.) This morning was great, awesome in fact. Beautiful day, sun was out and despite the onslaught of summer travelers (longer lines, slower lines, screaming brats who don’t want to be in line, you know what I mean) I was feeling good. No bag to check, premier lane at security was long but efficient and no line at Starbucks. Both flights were on time and the day flew by. Until I checked my flight status, which is kind of funny since it said on time yet I always click on “where is the flight coming from?” and what do you know, the flight coming from SFO to LAX going back to SFO was delayed. An hour and 15 minutes late (to be exact) arriving at 7:27 with my flight departing on time at 7:29. Because this wasn’t my first rodeo, I decided to keep an eye on it. Once my flight said delayed “30 minutes” I knew I was hosed. “30 minutes” for United always turns into an hour plus. This one turned into over two hours. To make it more interesting, once our plane actually landed and deplaned, there was an issue so they took the plane out of service. Lucky for us (United’s word, not mine), we just had to shift down 2 gates (which was the equivalent of 6 because of the restaurants and stores). So 200 people shuffled down to the new gate where this “new” plane was waiting “ready to go.” By this time, our 8:22… 8:23… 8:26… 8:29… 8:33… make it 8:53 departure (I kid you not – I have the text messages to prove it) was looking rather bleak. It was 8:42 and the crew was just boarding to begin their safety check (15 minutes) before we could board. Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. Now I know it’s out of my control, whatever will be, will be… yada, yada, yada but I wanted to get home and sleep in my own bed. I was amazed that boarding went rather quickly for a 757. But then… wait for it… the catering wasn’t delivered so we had to wait for that. Like we couldn’t fly for an hour without it. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Now several people are restless, wondering if they would make their connections. Finally, the catering dudes shut the side door and we let out a collective sigh of relief. It’s 9:10 maybe we’ll make it after all. At 9:20 we’re still sitting at the gate. The door to the cockpit is open and the flight attendants are chatting amongst themselves. REALLY?? Finally, the woman next to me asked what was going on and we were told our push back time was 9:25. I wanted to whine like the many children I saw today and ask “wwwhhhhyyyy????” but I refrained. It’s out of my control, right? Things could be worse, right? I could be sick, I could be poor, I could be without a job… whatever. I just wanted to go home. So sue me.
Miracles do happen. I believe! Wheels touched down at SFO at 10:25. Sweet Georgia Brown! My flight is at 10:45 and my gate is literally across from where we arriving. The flight attendant made sure that I was first and could head out the door. It was half open and I was out like a shot, up the ramp and through the door. I could see the monitor “Portland” and 50 steps I was at the door. Which was closed. And not a soul to be found as my plane pushed back. INSERT EXPLECTIVE HERE. I turned around and stomped down to customer service. The woman sweetly informed me I was booked bright and early on the 5am flight. Gee, thanks. Oh and “we’re sorry” but we are “out” of hotel rooms and meal vouchers. But I did get you upgraded to First Class. Wow, really? I was already in First I mumbled as I watched the plane taxi by the window. I really did want to throw myself on the ground and kick and scream but decided I needn’t make a scene. After all, if I’m going to be on the evening news, it’s going to be because I won the lottery not for being an idiot.
My most favorite part of my story is the part where I went to customer service inside the United Club and tried to get on an earlier flight and the nice gentleman informed me I would make my flight with no trouble so he wouldn’t change my flight. “You’ve got plenty of time!” I wish, more than anything, that I had his home number. I would love to call him right about now…
I really do get that this a nothing more than a minor inconvenience and there are oodles of people in the world that have real problems but everyone has those moments where they feel like the world is against them. I always think where there is a fire and a family loses everything, someone always says “yeah, but it’s just stuff.” Easy to say when it’s not your “stuff.” Sure, being alive is the MOST important but trust me, if you lost everything you owned in a fire it is no longer just stuff. Not that my day is anything remotely even close to a fire, accident or the like. But it just feels like a really BAD day and I can’t even lay down and go to sleep and wake up to a better one tomorrow. That will come later, when I finally do make it home. Fingers crossed that Murphy will pester someone else tomorrow. I’ve had enough “fun” to last at least the rest of the summer… You hear me, Murphy? Stay. Away.
At least I can cross “sleeping at the airport” off my bucket list… Oh wait, it wasn’t on there so I’ll just chalk it up to another one of life’s great adventures. Just kidding, I love my life. Really. No, really. I do. To quote myself “if you didn’t have a bad day now and again, you wouldn’t appreciate the good ones.” Bet you didn’t know I was so profound. Or tired. Whatever. Maybe I should quit whilst I’m ahead.