Tag Archives: flight delays

on why united is the worst.

unitedYesterday, I flew home to Denver from DC’s National Airport. Things were looking up, at first: my dad had a voucher for a free flight, so I got to splurge and get a direct flight home (this was HUGE); I had managed to pack for 10 days into a carry on (ladies, I’ll give you a moment to let this sink in. 10 DAYS!!!); and I got to the airport on time, with a smooth trip to security, and with magazines, a Weeds DVD, and a Chuck Klosterman book to occupy myself.

I was pretty thrilled about all of this, but I should have known that it was just a tease. I settled into my seat in the waiting area, inexplicably surrounded by only Chinese people, and munched on some snacks. Then, I casually — innocently — turned to verify my flight time, and it had been bumped back a full three-and-a-half hours from 5:26 p.m. to 9:01 p.m. Now, I’ve had my fair share of flight problems. Except when compared to the people who plunged into the Atlantic Ocean a few weeks ago, you might say that I have some pretty damn bad luck when it comes to flying. And here’s the thing: typically, I stay calm. I sort of like airports, and I like being able to be by myself and read magazines and people-watch guiltlessly. For some reason, however, this flight delay REALLY pissed me off. My BBM fest with my sister indicates this:

Me: Of course things couldn’t go too smoothly…My flight has just been delayed by 3.5 hours
Me: Mother fucker
Me: I’m so pissed right now
Maddy: What?? Are you serious. Is there another flight you can get on??
Me: I don’t know…I can go check but I don’t know how this stuff works since I used dad’s voucher
Maddy: I would go ask and just see that is ridiculous. Why? Is it bad weather?
Me: Not even a little bit
Maddy: It must be from wherever the flight is coming from
Maddy: I would go ask
Me: I WANT TO KILL SOMEONE [Ed. note: Ah, first-world problems]

More chatting, more chatting, and then I take melodrama to a whole new level:

Me: Ha yeah I just want to cry because this is probably the first direct flight I’ve taken in 5 years and I packed so well and of course something has to go wrong
Me: [Four letter word I’m embarrassed to publish]
Me: Maybe I will move to Denver and never travel outside of driving distance for the rest of my life
Me: And now Sarah Palin is on the cover of Time magazine on the TV in front of me
Me: I might explode [Ed. note: At this point I had considered typing something about wanting to bomb the airport, but I figured that the C.I.A. or the F.B.I. or whatever probably, somehow, monitors text messages for mentions of bombing airports]

And later…

Me: Oh snap I’m boozing. I forgot I can drink legally

The rest of our conversation continues similarly. My flight did that fun thing where it got delayed ten minutes at a time until it was at 9:45 p.m., and by that time, I was calmed down, watching Weeds standing up and doing minor yoga poses. I also ate the largest, most delicious sandwich of my life. Thank you, Potbelly (and Camille).

Things ended up being oookay, and around 9:45 they moved our gate and were RUSHING us to line up and have our boarding passes, like, totally ready, and out, and also definitely don’t use your cell phone or talk because we are getting on this plane NOW. We’re all eager and ready, and then they drop the bomb: “By the way, we are waiting on this one flight attendant, and if she doesn’t show, your flight will be canceled. But don’t worry! You guys have been great!”

This is when minor anarchy breaks out and people start getting really pissed. There’s that classic loudly chatty lady who’s all “What is this, the twilight zone??” and everyone chuckles appreciatively. I find myself surrounded by drunk adults (and I was sober — Weeds and Chuck K. won out over wine, oddly enough). I felt strangely awkward around these drunk adults. Being around drunk people my age while sober is one thing, but drunk adults? I felt like I was observing a different species. There was flirting (gasp!) among people with spouses, drunk businessmen, and a really obnoxious lady who seemed to fancy herself a modern day version of Kathy Bates in Titanic. I observed and smiled and laughed and made sympathetic comments where appropriate.

Luckily, we did end up boarding, and that rogue flight attendant was found. They didn’t let us get too calm, though; they hurried us on the plane, saying, “Seriously people, if you don’t sit down in the next six minutes, our pilots will become illegal.” Um, awesome.

Aaaand then I passed out for four hours and woke up, alive, in Denver. Good story, right?

The thing about miserable flying stories is that they’re a lot like wacky dream stories. Chuck Klosterman (it should be clear by now that I’m totally and completely in love with him, or at least his writing) talks about the strange truth about dream stories in Killing Yourself to Live. Every single one of your friends has a bizarre, or hilarious, or terrifying, or physic dream story at some point, and they always want to share it with you. The problem is that most dream stories are only truly interesting to the person who dreamed them. But when someone says, “Oh man, let me tell you about this insane dream I had last night,” you can’t stop them. You have to listen, and be amazed, and maybe counter with your own only-interesting-to-you dream story.

It’s the same with flying stories. Everyone has miserable flying stories, because airlines these days (with a few notable exceptions) suck. And you guys didn’t really care to hear that whole story, but I told you anyway. This is what happens when you have a blog, and three hours to kill, and a glass of wine. You’re welcome!

P.S. Last night, I had this crazy dream…my teeth fell out, and I had to fight Michael Jackson for the insurance check to get them replaced, and…yeah. You get the point.

UPDATE: The comments indicate that I am sooo not alone in my hatred of United. Loyal reader Beth F shared this wonderful video, which puts our collective anger to music:

[Posted by Mallory]

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nothing like stone for the holidays.

A few months ago, I ordered myself a Rolling Stone subscription on some sketchy website using my super sweet student discount. I never saw an issue of the magazine, so I figured I had been scammed. Little did I know, the magazines were somehow coming to my home address, so there was a stockpile of them waiting when I arrived in Denver at 3 a.m. last night.

Flight delays are fun, huh? I checked into the airport in DC at 12:30 p.m. and arrived in Denver well over twelve hours later thanks to the clusterfuck that was the Boston airport. Not that I’m really complaining. I had Dave Egger’s What Is the What with me, which provided many hours of distraction along with the perspective check of, “Hey, waiting in a climate-controlled airport with plenty of food and water for half a day is not even remotely bad when compared to walking through the Sudanese desert for months, starving and half-naked.”

In general, I’m just glad I was able to get home last night and didn’t get stuck for a few days. (I’m also glad that I wasn’t in the position of these poor people¬†on a flight out of Denver last night.) Plus, my luggage never left Boston, so I’ve been able to justify not leaving my couch because, you know, I don’t even have any CLOTHES to wear in public.

Which leads me back to my real point: I love Rolling Stone. For starters, I always feel pretty damn cool reading it, a la William Miller in Almost Famous. But I really, erm, read it for the articles. I started with the oldest magazine so I could read them in chronological order (OCD, people. OCD), so I’m back in mid-November reading articles about the election and the bailout. Naomi Klein’s article on the bailout made me veddy veddy angry, and Matt Taibbi’s roundup of his favorite moments on the campaign trail made me even happier to be an elitist liberal. Take this quote, for instance:

“The collapse of the Bush administration left the Republican Party utterly bankrupt of ideological advantage. The Bush era made it impossible to sell the party as fiscally conservative ($10 trillion deficit), militarily superior ($12 billion a month fighting a handful of Arabs in sandals to a blood draw), or even as the party of ‘moral values’ (a raft of Republicans caught offering to suck off strangers in restrooms or texting little boys on the Internet).”

Politically correct, Taibbi is not. But still, GO BARRY.

So if you need me over the next few days, you can find me on my couch, in my high school pajamas, weeping into a Rolling Stone as I watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

[Posted by Mallory]

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blogging from the dnc, day 1.

So I wrote this yesterday, but couldn’t post it until today. Some live blogger I am.

So here I am, trying to live blog from the convention, yet I find myself live blogging from Boston Logan airport. Such is life. I was, however, lucky that my flight delay coincided perfectly with Michelle Obama’s speech (I only caught part of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s. What I did see, however, was spectacular). I was weeping openly during the video narrated by her mother. And her speech was just incredible. I think that if anybody had any questions about who she was, they were all answered. She gave us a poignant account of who she is and what she has done with her own life. Her brother spoke well when he said that they were proud of her not just because who she had married, but because she was an exemplary public servant in her own right. There was a wonderfully executed balance between showing us who Michelle is without losing sight of Barack. Ahh I love her.

As if you couldn’t already tell how I felt about M.O., here is my gchat gush fest with Caroline, college friend and the witty mastermind behind drunkinarowboat.

Caroline: SHE IS AMAZING
me: i am drooling all over myself
and weeping openly
Caroline: like she should be a movie star
me: i am a mess
Caroline: ive BAWLED LIKE FIFTEEN TIMES
me: her hair looks beautiful
Caroline: I KNOW
love the green
her in that orange dress and bow at age four???
me: oh my god i fell apart

Professional analysis for sure. CNN, yes, I will work for you. All you have to do is ask. Oh and the part with the girls? Perfect. I want the Obamas in the White House. Right. Now.

Once we got into the Denver airport (which is GIGANTIC), it was about 1:30 in the morning. Of course, there were no taxis or shuttles in sight. After calling two cabs and two shuttles, one cab eventually showed up and we finally got to the hotel around 4 a.m. (6 a.m. my time) Damnnnn.

I’m tired, but I’m fired up and ready to go. I will be just like Anderson Cooper (sigh) and let you know everything that goes on. I brought my camera, but not my camera cord, so pictures will be posted on Friday or Saturday. And I will be stalking George Clooney and all other celebrities like it’s my job. (UPDATE: I might be seeing Ben Affleck tonight!)

You know you love me. I love you back.
– Your SWTCTW DNC Correspondent

ps- In case you live under a rock:

[Posted by Kathleen]

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