Monday, October 24, 2011

The day from Hell(-ta)

Oh, world.

Sometimes I wish I didn't have so darn much blog material.

Scratch that. Sometimes I wish DELTA didn't give me SO DARN MUCH BLOG MATERIAL.

Because. Oh, so much blog material.

You may already know this story since I basically tweeted the entire saga over the last two days, but today my brother called me and asked if I was making it up.

BECAUSE THE AMOUNT OF RIDICULOUSNESS WAS LITERALLY UNBELIEVABLE.

Jack and I spent Sunday morning and afternoon at Universal Studios Orlando, and our flight was supposed to be at 7:30 p.m. to Atlanta, with a connecting flight at 10:08 p.m. to Dallas. On Delta.

And see, that's where the story goes wrong. Because HOW DID WE NOT LEARN FROM LAST YEAR THAT DELTA IS EVIL EVIL EVIL AND NO GOOD CAN COME FROM FLYING WITH THEM?

So, non-Delta-related (and this will be the only non-Delta-related part of the story, by the way), we dropped off our car at the rental car line and headed upstairs, waited in a long line to check-in, and right in the middle of the line, Jack asked me where my ID was, to which I replied "OH SOMETHING-OR-OTHER" (I can't seem to remember the exact word I used; how odd) as I remembered that I left my purse under the seat in the rental car that we had just returned.

Under the seat, see. It's safer to leave it there because the burglars can't see it and won't break in to get it and ALSO YOU WILL FORGET WHEN YOU LEAVE FOR THE AIRPORT THAT WAY.

I literally ran through the airport toward the Enterprise counter.

"DID YOU FIND MY PURSE AND ALSO I LOST MY PURSE DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE IT HAS MY ID AND I NEED MY ID YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE ALSO DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE?" is about what I said to the lady at the counter.

No luck. She told me to go back down to the car, because it probably is still in there.

So I ran down into the parking garage to the Enterprise booth where we had picked up the car.

"DID YOU FIND MY PURSE AND ALSO I LOST MY PURSE DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE IT HAS MY ID AND I NEED MY ID YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE ALSO DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE?"

Nope. The cars don't live here, they live three parking garages over. Try there.

Running again. At this point I am so ridiculously pretty you guys, whatwith the shiny face and hair flying every which way and the disheveled clothing and the panting, OH THE PANTING. One of the guys working there already had the doors open and was searching the car since they had radioed ahead about the CRAZY LADY headed their way.

"DID YOU FIND MY PURSE AND ALSO I LOST MY PURSE DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE IT HAS MY ID AND I NEED MY ID YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE ALSO DO YOU HAVE MY PURSE?"

Nope. Nothing in the car.

Oh. Something-or-other.

I called Jack immediately and had him rifling through our bags while I checked and re-checked the car for the missing purse (AND ID! BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW YOU NEED AN ID TO GET ON AN AIRPLANE?) About ten excruciating minutes later, another worker guy emerged from the lost-and-found with my purse and I may or may not have offered to have his baby. (Actually, what I said exactly was "OH MY GOSH THANK YOU SO MUCH I WOULD HUG YOU BUT I'M PRETTY SURE THAT WOULD WEIRD YOU OUT.")

Weirded out anyway, lady. Weirded out anyway.

So, then I ran back though the terminals and back to Jack, who was still waiting in the line awkwardly and not looking all that happy with me. Can't imagine why.

But it was okay! Because now I had my purse, and my ID, and nothing else could go wrong, right? RIGHT?

Ha. Ha ha ha ha. Ha. Ha ha. Ha.

Our flight to Atlanta was delayed 40 minutes. Which meant that getting on our flight to Dallas would be pretty much impossible, seeing as how the first landed and the second took off right about the same time.

I'm not the smartest math-doer in the world (as evidenced by the fact that I just made up a verb called "math-doer" because I couldn't think of the real world... mathematician? Yeah, I think that's it. Mathematician. OMG this story is going to be long.), but even I knew that that wasn't going to happen.

No big deal, Delta! We're Jack and Mandy! Look how calm and cool and collected we are because we are soooooo easy-going! Just put us on the next flight, mmkay?

Except that there were no next flights.

Okay, put us on another airline straight to Dallas tonight.

Except all the other airlines were booked solid for the next two days (or so they said at the Delta counter and HOW CAN I BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY SAY ANYMORE?)

"The best I can do is two confirmed first-class seats on a flight out tomorrow morning at 7:14 a.m., from Atlanta, and we will cover your hotel in Atlanta for the night. I'll also leave you on the 10:08 p.m. to Dallas just in case you can make it."

Well, alright. It wasn't ideal, but at least they upgraded us to first class, right? Compensation for their crappy delays. We could deal with that. And! We might even make the connecting flight, right?

Yeah, it was that kind of false hope that caused us to run, nay, SPRINT, across two terminals when our flight landed at 9:40. We might just make it! My lungs are burning. It's possible! This bag of shoes is so heavy. I see the gate! I AM GOING TO DIE! We still have 10 minutes until the flight leaves, and we're here!

ANNNNND the doors were already shut, leaving Jack and me and our new friends with whom we had run, nay, SPRINTED across two terminals gasping for breath and looking SO INCREDIBLY AMAZING.

We limped back to one of the scanny things that Delta has everywhere that says "Missed your flight? Scan your boarding pass so you can get a new one on the next flight!" (there are a million of them in the Atlanta airport and I DO NOT WONDER WHY, DELTA) to get our meal and hotel vouchers for the night.

Hotel: Days Inn.
Meal voucher: $6.

You do it up classy, don't you Delta?

We headed to the Delta desk to find out how to get a shuttle to the hotel, waited in another 30 minute line, and talked to an agent that I swear was high (but VERY friendly!), who gave us several more $6 meal vouchers (score!), an overnight kit, and directions downstairs to the shuttles.

We stopped by baggage claim first to get our bags, only to discover that, SURPRISE SURPRISE, they were not there. And they would not be able to get them to us tonight. Because BAGS? YOU WANT US TO HANDLE YOUR BAGS TOO? AND, LIKE, DELIVER THEM TO YOU AFTER YOU LAND IN A NEW CITY? MY GOODNESS YOU PEOPLE ARE SO HIGH MAINTENANCE!

Fortunately, I had grabbed our pajamas, a sweater, and my makeup bag and deodorant in Orlando because, call me crazy, but I just didn't trust that Delta would get us our bags. Can't imagine why.

We hopped on the shuttle to the Days Inn, and after making a stop at another hotel and then another somewhat questionable stop at a gas station, in which the driver got out, went in, and then came back (?), we arrived at our at-least-it-has-a-bed-but-also-might-have-bedbugs hotel.

That's when the front desk guy met us as the shuttle pulled up.

"We only have two rooms," he said. Everyone looked around the shuttle. Three groups. Awesome. "So two groups can come in but one will have to go back to the airport and have Delta issue a new hotel voucher to another location."

Because, of course.

Fortunately, after Jack and I decided to be the "go back to the airport" group, the Days Inn manager said he would call to another hotel and see if they would take the voucher we already had. A few minutes later, he emerged and said that the Quality Inn across the street would take it. Phew!

When we unloaded our bags off the shuttle and entered the hotel, however, they gave us a blank stare at the front desk when we said "the Days Inn guy said you guys would take a Days Inn Delta voucher?"

"Who did you talk to?" they asked, surprised. "We didn't say anything like that."

Jack and I looked at each other. And then back at them.

"I mean, we'll take it, of course, we just didn't get any call."

EXHALE.

Jack seems to think they were joking about that, but I'm still not sure. What I do know is that we ended up in a not-as-questionable-as-we-hoped-but-I-still-checked-the-bed-for-bedbugs-and-roaches room that was thick with smoke smell, and it was the happiest place we could be at that point.

They had given us two menus of pizza places that still delivered at 12:30 a.m., so Jack called one of them up, determined to use ALL of our meal vouchers, partially because he hadn't eaten since 12 hours before, and partially since he was so set on "sticking it to Delta" that he wanted to be sure they paid for SOMETHING.

So he ordered two pizzas. And a meatball sub. And an order of hotwings. And two Dr. Peppers.

I'm fairly certain the people taking the order probably thought he was high. And probably most people ordering anything from them at all at close to 1 a.m. are.

An hour later, we got our ridiculous dinner. And by "ridiculous," I mean "ridiculously bad." It's the kind of pizza you eat going "oooh, we're gonna regret this," but at that point, what's a little food poisoning anyway? It might actually be nice to hand a Delta flight attendant a barf bag after the day we had with them. (Not really. There is no excuse for vomiting in public. NONE.)

So, we went to sleep at about 2. And got up at about 4:30. And we went up to the counter to get our boarding passes for our CONFIRMED FIRST CLASS SEATS.

And she said, "sorry, this flight is overbooked."

Sorry. This. Flight. Is. Overbooked.

She couldn't get us our confirmed tickets in first class. She couldn't even assign us the tickets in coach. And she really didn't want to talk about the miles/travel credit that I politely suggested on account of WHATEVER WAS SHOVED UP THE BACK OF HER LITTLE DELTA SKIRT.

"You'll have to see the gate agent," she said curtly. "I don't handle compensation and I can't assign you a seat either. You'll have to talk to the gate agent."

Who, of course, was not there. Because it was 5:30 in the freaking morning.

We sat around for an hour in an angry, sleep-deprived daze, occasionally bursting into fits of maniacal laughter. About an hour later, we finally got seats assigned (not in our supposedly-confirmed-first-class, by the way).

When we got on the plane, all of the overhead bins were full at the front so Jack had to walk our rolling bag to the very last row and put it in that one, so when the plane landed we sat and waited until every person got off before we could retrieve our bag from the back.

Perhaps regulating where people are putting their bags would help, yes? Like, if you're in the back, you have to put your bag above you in the back? I know, novel concept.

Anyway, it was fine. We were in Dallas. So excited to be almost-home. Yeah, we had to go to work on less than three hours of sleep, but it was over. No more flying. No more airports. No more lines, and never, ever, ever again any more Delta. EVER. MARK MY WORDS, INTERNET.

And then we went to pick up our bags.

And all the bags came out onto the little spinny bag thing.

And everybody on our flight picked theirs up and left.

And then they stopped the spinny thing.

And our bags were nowhere to be found.

Because, of course.

Cue maniacal laughter again.

After another 30-minute wait in line, we were informed by yet another Delta agent that our bags did in fact arrive and we must have just not seen them. We looked out at the empty carousel with the four unclaimed bags in front of it. None of them ours.

Uh, actually, no, they're not here.

Really? Not here? That's crazy, the computer says they're here.

Oooohhh! If the COMPUTER says they're there! Then it must be true. C'mon, honey, let's go home. The computer says we've already got our bags.

After some more evidence presentation that we did not, in fact have our bags (LOOK! SEE HOW WE DON'T HAVE BAGS WITH US?), she finally found them somewhere else.

18 hours after we started (which, again, is how long it takes to drive from Orlando to Dallas), it finally was over.

OVER. IT WAS OVER. Is this what Amanda Knox felt like when she got to go home? We want to lay down in a green field too!

With that, we shook the dust off our feet, and our twice-lost luggage wheels, forever.

GOOD RIDDANCE, DELTA.

No cheap fare in the world will ever be worth flying with you again.
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