Wednesday, January 19, 2005

What a Long Strange Trip...part deux

So after the fun and all of the Summit it's time to come down and get back to real life. I've decided that Real Life is overrated.

So I hop in the van and ride back down the mountain, again about a two hour drive. I arrive at the US Airways check in, stand in line and tell the nice lady when she asks that I'm headed to Dulles, then Buffalo. Oh, you must be on a United flight, we don't fly to Dulles. HUH?!?!?!?!

See my itinerary at the very top reads US Airways but in the little print it says "Flight operated by United". Seems they have some kind of deal to swap passengers back and forth. Which is fine but guess where the United check in is? Who said the other end of the terminal? Give yourself a gold star! So off I truck. I get to the United gates and do the computer check in. The machine spits out ONE boarding pass, not the two I'm expecting. I ask the attendant. Don't worry you'll get one from the gate agent. Ok, weird but OK I guess. So off I go to security. Make my way through the line and "You've been selected". For what? Extra security screening! One of my companions suggested it was my Navy issue black watch cap that made me look suspicious (Thanks Brian!) So off I go to be patted down, hand wanded for metal, and have all my bags searched. For the record the security people were polite and clearly explained everything. Highest marks to the TSA. In fact they were so efficient that I came out just behind the folks who had been in line behind me to start with! We all had a good laugh. Rode the train to my concourse and waited for the gate agent. About a half an hour. She shows up and informs me (very politely) that I don't have an actual seat on the plane at that moment. Seems they're overbooked by 10 (the next gate over was overbooked by 26!) and they'd work on finding me a seat. Great! So I sat with Jon and Carla and just muttered for about 10 minutes. At which point, voila! I had a seat. YAY! Now I flip on my cellphone so I can call my lady wife and tell her. I have a message waiting. From her. It's snowing like crazy and could I just get a hotel room in Buffalo when I arrive? Otherwise we'll be on the road till about midnight in the lake effect snows. No fun. Meanwhile the gate agent begins to announce that they'll give a free hotel room for the night to anyone who wishes to take a bump. Plus a free airflight voucher. And I begin to laugh. I think Jon thought the pressure had gotten to me at that point. I explained and we all agreed I had to get bumped! So I went up and took the bump. I'll spare you the tedious details except to say that everyone was very nice and very efficient and I ended up at the Double Tree hotel about 20 minutes away. Had dinner and hit the sack.

Oh did I mention my flight the next morning was 6:15 AM? So my alarm went off at 3:45AM. Showered and went down to catch the shuttle. Ummm, why does the little sign say to sign up in advance for the shuttle? Turns out since I was alone it was no problem but for a moment my blood pressure must have spiked. Now the shuttle doesn't leave till 4:30 and it's a twenty minute ride followed by security with a 5:45 boarding time so this is do-able but a little tight.

Except the shuttle doesn't leave till 4:40.
And the first security gate I go to (there are two at Denver, at guessed it opposite ends of the terminal) is closed.
When I get to the other one guess what?

I GET SELECTED AGAIN!!!!!!!! I kid you not. And the line is longer than yesterday for some bizarre reason. (The cutest little girl, about 3 years old was being screened with her daddy right behind me. Standing there with her little arms extended out from her sides. She was very brave) Again very polite and efficient. And I'm through security!!!!!

And I realize I never checked what gate I'm at. And there are NO monitors on this side of the security area just the train to the concourses! AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGH!!!!!

THINK, THINK, THINK! All gates for an airline are together so check the concourse map for United.....YES!!!!!! Concourse B. Onto the train, off to the gate, onto the plane! YES!

Not quite finished though. There was:

Having gotten up so early I didn't get breakfast. And United was willing to SELL me a breakfast sandwich for like $8. Pay for airline food? I think not.

Then there was the near fight between two adult women about an hour into the flight. They simmered down.

And my seat was in the absolute last row. You know the ones that don't recline...right by the bathroom.

Then getting to Dulles with not enough time to stand in the rather long lines at the food places to get a meal before boarding time (good thing I grabbed all that junk food from the Summit and stuck it in my backpack!)

But in the end I got home, and was greeted by the smiling face I love the best. And my lady wife drove me home.

Where I had dinner and collapsed!

No comments: