|Airplane trip from hell...and an unexpected early Christmas present!
||[Dec. 9th, 2005|01:49 am]
Damn, what a day...
As I sit here recollecting all the myriad things that happened today, I'm realizing it's gonna be one hell of a long post. Brace yourselves.
So, I flew back to Indiana today from Texas and my grandfather's funeral. The day started out well enough, if a little sleepily since I'm not used to getting up at 7am like normal people, rather than going to bed then and sleeping until midafternoon. Nevertheless, I got up and was actually ready to leave on time. Go me! Anyway, all the adults decide they want to go back to the cemetary before we head to the airport, to look at Nana and Papa's burial site one last time. I kinda did and didn't want to go at the same time, since I did want to pay my respects, not knowing when I'll ever be back in that part of Texas again, but at the same time I'd hoped I had gotten all the tears for this trip out of the way. WRONG! I had hardly taken more than two steps on the grass before the tears had started up again, albeit not as bad as on the acutal funeral day. My mom let me pick out a rose from his flower arrangements to dry and keep, so that was nice. Still, a little more emotional start to the day than I'd wanted.
We then headed to the airport, only to find that our flight from El Paso to Dallas/Fort Worth had been postponed by an hour, and that my aunt and uncle's flight had been cancelled altogether. Knowing that I'd have trouble making my connecting flight to Indianapolis, I switched seats from row 19 to row 10 so I could get out of the plane faster. It's a good thing I did that and gave myself a fighting chance because on arrival to Dallas, I discovered that they had changed my connecting gate number to a terminal that was quite possibly as far away from my arrival point as possible. I had a little over ten minutes to get from one gate to another before the next flight was due to leave. Luckily, they were running a bit late and I made it, but it was way closer than I would prefer to experience again.
So the flight is pretty much uneventful until we approach the last 30 minutes or so. We had lots of turbulence, but I didn't mind that since I'm a roller coaster junkie and all that. We descended towards central Indiana and spent the whole of the final approach in the midst of a snowstorm heavy enough that I didn't see the lights of Indianapolis until we were very near the runway. We landed on what must have been an inch or so of snow on the runway and at least 5-6 inches on the unplowed areas, from what I could see. We didn't skid or slide much, if at all, and the pilot did a good job of intermittent braking; I could tell he was trying to imitate the effects of antilock brakes so we didn't start sliding like the unlucky flight in Chicago tonight that I just learned about a minute ago.
Here's where the real hell began. Once we had safely landed, I thought the hard part was behind us, but I was SO wrong. Visibility was bad and getting worse. Crews were busy plowing and de-icing and conditions were dangerous so they were holding more planes at the terminal, so there was no gate for us! We sat in the plane, on the airfield, for an HOUR and a HALF!!! AFTER we had landed! A packed load of people sitting there starving because all they gave us was a teeny little baggie of tortilla chips and a half a plastic cup of pop during a flight that left in the early afternoon and arrived well past dinnertime. I was desperately thirsty and they didn't even offer us any water. I was starting to get a bit claustrophobic and was almost willing to start walking to the terminal in the snow, dragging my luggage, if they would only let us off. Finally, we started moving and got to the gate. I met up with my friend's husband who'd come to pick me, and I was all happy.
BUT, the adventure didn't end there! Oh no, the misery was just starting...
So everyone on my flight wandered down to the baggage claim. And we stood at bag claim number 4, because the usual carousel number 3 was broken, and stood there watching the same 4 pieces of luggage go around and around for a good 35-40 minutes. Then carousel number 4 shuts down and a guy tells us it's jammed and they have to fix it. A service worker climbed up the chute and disappeared. The little alarm went off signaling incoming luggage and the carousel started moving again. Then it stopped again. Three more times. Still no luggage. 20 more minutes have gone by. A couple more pieces come out and we get all excited. A few lucky people leave but the rest of us are standing around. Then nothing for awhile until someone tells us there's luggage from our flight down at carousel number 2, which isn't even affiliated with American Airlines, nor did anyone notify us over the loudspeaker that they were releasing more of our luggage. Still, hopeful, we wander over there. Yes, number 2 is sitting there covered with unclaimed luggage from my flight, but my bag and at least 8 other people's is nowhere to be found. By now, I'm more than a little frustrated and I really am sick of airports.
Then we unlucky, the unluggaged, trooped back to the AA baggage claim desk and tell the girl that we still can't find our luggage. She didn't even know that luggage had been released in number 2, but she insisted that all luggage had been unloaded off flight 1566 from Dallas. We start to file missing luggage claims and provide our contact info about where we want our luggage shipped. She then tells us it might have gotten bumped back to the next flight arriving from Dallas, since we had all barely made our connections to start with, so maybe our luggage didn't manage that feat. Unfortunately for us, the next flight has also been sitting out on the airfiled waiting for a gate for close to two hours and she couldn't tell us when it would get to a gate. One more luggage came out of carousel 4, but none of it was from my flight.
I gave up, and Greg drove me back to Robin's house. Robin gave me a hug and some champagne, some pajamas I could wear tonight, and my X-mas present early...yay for friends! I am now the proud owner of a TiVo!! And it will be ever so handy for keeping up with Stargate, LOST, the Daily Show, and the Colbert Report, among many other things. Ah Robin (and Greg, for spending his whole evening in the airport waiting on me), my only bright spots in an otherwise miserable day...
Wish me luck tomorrow when I call the airport and ask if they found my luggage! *crosses fingers*