**Disclaimer – Courtney and I returned home from Oklahoma today, and we had a great week. We have absolutely nothing to complain about, and so much to be thankful for, and so many fun things to remember. However, the nature of this blog requires a certain amount of complaining. Therefore, I offer today’s article.
Saturday’s “Official” Itinerary, according to Orbitz:
1. Flight 465, Depart Tulsa @ 9:25 am CST
2. Arrive Dallas 10:40 am CST
3. Flight 2421 Depart Dallas 11:20 am CST
4. Arrive LAX 12:45 pm, PST
Saturday’s “Actual” Itinerary:
1. Drive from Muskogee to Tulsa, 7am
2. Encounter life-threatening thunderstorm while driving to Tulsa
3. Stop at McDonald’s anyway while driving to Tulsa
4. Arrive at Tulsa, go inside terminal and wait in line to check Courtney’s suitcase
5. Proceed to security, say goodbye to sister and bro-in-law
6. Pass security fairly simply
7. Get on plane, begin flight with no incident
8. Friendly pilot makes periodic announcements, about having “weather” near Dallas, and the flight may take a little longer.
9. Friendly announcements about “weather” become more frequent, and flight becomes longer.
10. Courtney, who is sitting 500 rows in front of me, comes to back of plane to ask me if we’ll make our connecting flight, gets reprimanded by flight attendant, responds – “I’m talking to my dad!!!”, I tell her it’ll be fine, and she returns to her seat 500 rows away.
11. Plane lands in Dallas about 15 minutes before connecting flight is supposed to leave.
12. Plane takes about 20 mnutes to get into position to let passengers off.
13. Courtney and I end up at a little desk, asking little airlines person how to get to L.A. today, and are told there’s no way.
14. Courtney and I are told we can, however, fly to Orange County, with a flight leaving in about an hour and a half. We agree happily, and are given “the best seats.”
15. Courtney and I travel a moderate distance to our gate, where she snoozes and I get food. She also receives numerous texts from her friend, making plans for tonight.
16. There is a plane, not ours, at our gate, running late and needing to get out of the way of our OC plane soon because we’re supposed to be using that gate soon.
17. Our plane going to OC arrives, and waits for the other plane to get out of the way
18. Much later, an announcement comes over the P.A. for the people going to OC to go to another gate, very far away.
19. At the other gate very far away, we are told that we need to sit and wait for a “few minutes,” and then we can board.
20. Approximately an hour and a half later, we begin boarding the plane headed for OC. Courtney continues to receive and send texts.
21. As we settle into our seats, a friendly pilot’s voice tells us that we’ll be delayed for about 15 minutes, because a guy needs to change one of the plane’s tires. Everyone laughs.
22. About 30 minutes later, we begin to slowly move toward the runway. A friendly pilot’s voice tells us there will be about a 10-15 minute delay, due to a line of planes waiting to take off. No one is laughing anymore.
23. About 20 minutes later, a friendly pilot’s voice tells us that his prognostication skills aren’t that good, and that it’ll be another 15 minutes “or so.” Many people are angry. An announcement is made that flight attendants will give everyone complimentary headsets by way of apology. I’m pretty sure the headsets are always complimentary, but I don’t bring it up.
24. To skip a few steps, our total waiting in line time is about an hour. We eventually take off for the OC, and watch “Elf” on the way. By the way, during this flight we see our only snow of the trip, which was not in the cold midwest, but in the mountains of California.
25. Arriving at OC, we go to baggage claim to look for Courtney’s bag, which we don’t expect to find. Our expectations are right, and the bag isn’t there. We wait in a line for over an hour, with other displaced bagless people, to see one person in a little room trying to help 3,000 people find lost bags, and we eventually ask about the bag. She does several things with the computer, and is soon able to tell us with absolute certainty that no one knows where the bag is.
26. After over an hour in the lost bag line, we fill out the necessary forms and proceed to Ground Transportation, where we give the guy our Super Shuttle reservation number. He points to a van and we get in it, excited to finally be on our way home. We have a hope that no one else will get in the van, which would give us a quick, direct 20-minute ride back to Torrance.
27. After a few minutes of waiting in the van, the Super Shuttle guy points another guy toward the van, and he also gets in. His stop in Anaheim is of course before ours, which makes our ride a little longer.
28. We eventually get to our house, and our van driver can’t seem to understand when we tell him to “turn right.” He seems determined that we in fact live across the street. After many creative efforts at communication on our part, we finally end up at our actual house.
29. Courtney gets ready to go to her friend’s house in Valencia, but the Mini Cooper battery is dead. She is mad, not only at the dead battery, but at the 28 steps that proceeded the dead battery. We call the Auto Club.
30. The Auto Club guy arrives, tells us we need a new battery, but starts it anyway. I decide to send Courtney on her way with my car instead, and I brave the trip to the grocery store in the Mini Cooper, without further incident.
31. As I pull up to the house, a guy is walking toward the neighbor’s house with Courtney’s suitcase (the same neighbor’s house where the Shuttle Guy was convinced we lived). I catch him and direct him toward our house, sign the thing, and bring the bag in.
Things I’ve learned from this blog:
1) Pilots are LIARS!
2) Flying requires a lot of walking.
3) Whether you’re going to be gone a week, a month or a year… pack everything into a carry-on.
4) Stopping at McDonalds is ALWAYS the right thing to do.
OH MY GOSH!!!! So happy and thankful that you both (AND the suitcase!) arrived home safely!!!! To quote Ed Sullivan when he had the “singing nun” on his show, “Let’s hear it for the Lord!” Love ya, my Brutha!! XOXO
Fr. Bonzo liked the original itinerary better, which didn’t cause him as many blood pressure points. He also thought that it would not be funny if the plane needed a tire change, why were people laughing?
I think that for all air travel, three good books or a stack of magazines are required. And some snacks in your purse.
sorry you had such a LONG day…I used to be frustrated also w/ airline delays..but now I realized a of it is out of the control of the airlines:
#8/9 It is for safety sake that planes need to fly around bad weather and only god controls the weather, so the pilot is being redirected to different routes (airlines don’t like it! it’s costing more gas and more time)
#10 Why didn’t you sit together? counter agents usually can correct that? or just a friendly request while on board for a little swap? f/a reprimand is usually for pax sake, they have encountered turbulances so bad that you hit the ceiling and not just once…so if flight is already bumpy…
#14 I thought you were going to say next that Orange county was cancelled because OC airport has a restriction that no more flying over due to Noise restriction after 8PM?!!
#16 Now Gate assignments also have some buorocrasy with airport authority, and you can’t just use any gate, it has to be paid for by your airline’s contract and the delayed flt might be delayed not due to airline control…ATC (air traffic controller) may not release it from the gate due to weather on the other end…like it’s destination Ie, NY having bad weather and closed some landing strip and do not want more airplanes headed its way.
#19/20 Well, a few minutes is a lie for sure because now the airplane needs to be cleaned and catered and flight crew needs to do security check and briefing so the fastest reasonable time is 1/2 hour after pax all deplaned and new crew on board and due to the gate change, catering probably didn’t go to the right gate, crew also confused..new pilot crew need to walk the outside of the plane for signs of wear and tear..after every flt. and good thing they noticed that the tire needs to be changed, that requires dispatchig spare from the maintenance facility, they don’t have pit crews like on race tracks you know. but always better safe then sorry.
#22/23 Every 2-3 minute a plane can take off..but ofcourse you have to consider landing planes also…so maybe he(the pilot) wasn’t good at calculating or..they stuck soome planes in front of your flight due to weather pattern change & those other planes have priority. and some airlines do give out “free” headsets like Frontier..but Continental do charge, it is now $1 but I think soon to be $5 because we are going cashless like all other airlines, and it is stupid to charge $1 !!
#25 You have the option of not waiting and calling the 800 # later to check on Courtney’s bag, they don’t know where the bag is yet because it hasn’t been scanned again since boarding the original flt.
#31 I am surprised you got Coutney’s bag so soon! usually it doen’t make it for a day or two..so god was watching out for you.
Hope all that lessened your perception of ineptness of the travel experience, and please forgive my spelling, it is not my 1st language. haha..my excuse still…