February 26, 2003

The Adventure Continues:

We come from the land of ice and snow, From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow. The hammer of the gods Will drive our ships to new lands, To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming! On we sweep With threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore!

It took me 11 hours yesterday to travel, by air, from Detroit Metropolitan Airport to the Dallas suburb of Plano, Texas. This is because of sleet, ice, and 27-degree temperatures in Dallas. Now I travel a lot … over 40 trips a year … one of the top 500 flyers in the US Airways system.

Yesterday was classic. Some highlights: 3:00 PM EST: Arrive at DTW (Detroit) an hour ahead of 4:00 PM American flight to Dallas. Learn flight has been cancelled … this morning. Typically you’d get a notification from AA telling you about your options. This didn’t happen today, likely because the world was coming to an end in Dallas due to snow and ice. Book 6:00 PM direct flight to Dallas with 8:15 PM arrival.

3:20 Get “wanded” at the security checkpoint even though I didn’t set off the magnometer. This is because today is “Continual Wanding Procedure” day, where TSA subjects every nth passenger to a wanding. Wanding occurs with no difficulties.

5:30 Log off and shut down PC for impending boarding of flight to Dallas. Realize there is no “equipment” (read airplane) at the gate. Shake fist in frustration, this time at AA’s preferred customer telephone system.

This system is like any normal voice response unit, except that it actually uses voice response. So instead of typing in 1234 for the flight number, you actually have to say “1234.” Colleen Computer then confirms your entry, saying “Let me confirm that … did you say 1234?” To which you say, “Yes.” To which Colleen says, “Arrival or departure.” To which you say, “Arrival.” To which Colleen says, “OK … so let me confirm this … you want to hear departure information for flight 1234, right?” To which you say, “GET ME A GOD DAMN OPERATOR!” To which Colleen, who is not programmed for the finer arts of cursing, says, “I’m sorry … I didn’t quite understand that. Did you say you wanted me to repeat the information?” To which you shatter your cell phone on the floor in abject disgust and blinding anger.

8:30 Land in Dallas, 15 minutes late (for my second flight). Outdoor temperature is 27 degrees. Note that the ground, tarmac, off-duty construction equipment, and everything within view is covered with a thick layer of white, frosted ice. More freezing rain expected. Notice that the aircraft is not taxing to the ramp … rather, hold short of a different taxiway. Anticipate call from Captain announcing that our gate is occupied. Taxi to another part of the tarmac to wait. Note that female commercial airline Captains are always hotties.

9:28 Announcement from Captain Hottie – “The aircraft at our gate needs to start its engines. It can’t do this until someone clears the ice from its intake vents. No one is available to do this, because all crew are deicing other aircraft. I’ll keep you posted. I’m wearing a …” … oh … wait … imagined that last part.

10:20 Arrive at gate.

10:30 Arrive at rental car bus stand. Wait 15 minutes. Watch full rental car bus drive by … driver says “Please be waiting for next bus … this bus vedy vedy full.” Ultimately board rental car bus at 11:05.

11:25 Arrive at rental car facility and notice that name is not on #1 Gold board … presume demotion to #2 Silver and get in line at Gold desk.

11:35 Enter rental car. Prepare to drive 20 miles over ice-covered Dallas roads. Lose and regain control of steering.

12:40 AM CST Arrive at hotel. Learn valet is gone for night. Go back outside to drive car to garage. Enter room at 12:51 AM CST, roughly 11 hours after arriving at DTW.

Just felt like sharing. This morning Dallas is in total gridlock, and remains under a “Freezing Drizzle Warning.” It is possible I came here for a meeting that will be cancelled. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Posted by Avocare at February 26, 2003 09:27 AM
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