Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hell is an airport

I’m pretty sure I know what hell is like, and it comes in the form of an airport.

And airport in Atlanta.

See? Hotlanta, like hell is hot… whatever.

It really is perfect though. Think about it:
greasy food, constant gate switches, confusion, lines that never end, unhelpful workers, they get your hopes up then dash them again, rude people, exhaustion that never seems to end and no escape. Ever.

 That was my day, is my day… I’m still here.

It started out so well. My mom and I wanted to surprise my dad for his 35th work anniversary. The big boss of the company was flying in to take my dad and guests of his choice out for a nice dinner, wherever he wanted. When my mom asked him who he wanted to invite he said, me (except I live in Florida and they’re in Kansas City) and his parents (both are dead.) None of those seemed plausible. We knew it would be special for him if I showed up as a surprise, and he deserves it, so we planned the whole thing. I bought my tickets on HotWire, getting the cheapest I could, considering I don’t have that much expendable income, set up a place to stay until the dinner, it was perfect.

Then snowpocalypse (i.e. a regular snowy day anywhere else) happened.

That was two days ago, but yesterday they canceled my evening flight. I started to worry a little (read: a lot), but I got new flights for early this morning that would get me into Kansas City in plenty of time to get pretty and make it to the dinner.

My original flight for this morning was canceled right before I went to bed, I somehow miraculously checked it or I wouldn’t have known, and replaced with one an hour earlier, so I woke up at 5 a.m. to get to the plane on time. Everything was great, except they kept warning that some flights had already been canceled. But I was obsessively checking mine; it was fine, still “on time,” no big deal.

I landed in Atlanta. We’re still good, the other Kansas City flight scheduled for an hour after mine was canceled, I felt bad for those poor people, but at least it wasn’t me. I sat around, read, got some lunch, checked my flight again…. And there it was. Cancelled, in that red writing surrounded by other happy flights that still touted “on time.”

So, being someone that doesn’t handle the strain of giant plans changing well, I freaked out. I started crying, not going to lie, I wasn’t wailing or anything, but there were definitely giant tears rolling down my face. My lip was quivering, it was definitely a thing. I’m standing in line with these other people that have either just gotten to the airport with their bags neatly packed to see grandchildren or business people that think the whole thing is a circus and kind of funny (probably because it is a PR nightmare that has been handled terribly. I bet they were thinking, “Glad it’s not my company.”) There are people calling family and explaining they still aren’t coming home even though they spent the night in the airport, some of them were teary, so I felt a little better. My family and friends kept telling me to try to get a different airline, one that isn’t so… horrible? That’s a nice word. I’ll use horrible… or fucking awful, that’s a good one too. Some were telling me to be a bitch and stand up for myself, some said I should just try to fly home again.  

I got on the “help” phone with a representative; they had already rescheduled me to a flight the next morning, stupid considering I don’t have a place to stay in Atlanta. I asked her to put me on AirTran, they can’t do that, I explained that I need to get home by 6 p.m. (dinner time) and that I’ve been sitting in the airport for four or five hours already. Thank goodness she gave me a new flight for 4 p.m. Why I wasn’t originally put on that one, I’ll never know.

My mom told my dad about the surprise, since I was trapped in an airport, so much for that good deed (no good deed goes unpunished, for real.) He was grateful for the thought. It just isn’t the same, it could have been magical, that was all just completely ruined.

I picked a spot by the gate and tried to curl up in a way where my legs were over both my carry-ons, so someone couldn’t take them. Let me tell you, that’s not a comfortable way to sleep, nor is it restful considering you always think you’re going to wake up with a missing bag.

The gate changed once, then twice, then again, but I was going to make it to dinner at 6 p.m. I didn’t want to bitch too much, karma, you know.

Finally, it was time to board. I stress about everything and have anxiety about everything, so I kept thinking when they scanned my boarding pass it wasn’t going to work. Seriously, that kept going through my head.

It did work, but after the day I had already had, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

Boarding took forever, they hadn’t planned on so many rolling carry-ons and we had to wait for someone to come and check them to put below the plane. Poor planning, but again, I was sitting on the plane. Yay.

Not five minutes after sitting down we had to deplane. For real. I would not joke about this because first, it isn’t funny and second, I started crying again. You want to know why we couldn’t leave? Because we didn’t have a fucking pilot. I think those are pretty important personally, but what do I know, I don’t work for Delta. Oops, did I say the name of the airline?

Then we waited for another two or three hours for the pilot to come, and we had to switch terminals just to add insult to injury.

Are you sure you want me to share my thoughts?

So, here I am, still sitting, waiting to hopefully get to see my family. I wanted to congratulate my dad, and we are supposed to celebrate my birthday too (my quarter-life crisis is coming up… 25… that’s 25 if you’re confused.) But we’ll see. Maybe I got in a car accident on my way to the airport and this is really purgatory... or hell…. It could still be hell.  

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