Lots of traveling this summer so here are some stories from my wanderings:
I was sure that the problem would be Denver. If you've been reading for a while you know that I seem to have a travel karma problem with Denver's airport. A couple years ago I nearly missed a plane when one of the youth I was traveling with had to go through a security bag check because of a zip lock bag filled with quarters. Earlier this year I was chosen at random (repeatedly!) for a more thorough security check, then got bumped from plane (which had been overbooked by 30 seats!). I only seem to have this problem in Denver.
So when I saw that my trip to visit my brother in California stopped in Denver I just anticipated the worst. And was pleasantly surprised. Despite having to puddle jump across the country (Buffalo to Chicago to Denver to Burbank to Reno - don't ask!) the trip was simple if very long. Only one flight was even delayed and that was only by 15 minutes.
The trouble was on the way home. Now I wasn't worried because I wasn't even going through Denver on the return trip (Burbank to San Francisco to Chicago to Buffalo). Got to the airport bright and early, quick flight to SF, then the longer trip with a good movie (Madagascar - very funny movie)and into Chicago a little ahead of schedule. Now when you're playing leap frog on airplanes you know that the first thing you have to do is verify what gate you next plane will be at. They have this nasty habit of changing while you're in the air so you can't trust what you may have been told at the start of the day. I hop off at Chicago (O'Hare), find the departure screen, scan down for Buffalo...
No,no,no,no,no. Double check, must be some OTHER flight to Buffalo. Wait, there is no OTHER flight to Buffalo.
A few years ago this would have really rattled me. Not any more. I've never had a flight cancelled before but the drill is easy. Find the customer service desk, smile and and be pleasant (these people have to deal with WAY too many morons. You'd be amazed how treating them nicely greases your way), get scheduled for the next flight (4 hours later), and call home to tell my lady wife of the schedule change.
Then try to stay amused for 4 hours at O'Hare. Not easy. But it really makes you appreciate being home.
Of course there was my little flap in Cleveland. I flew through there on my way to EYE. When I checked in at Buffalo I got all the details, flight numbers, gates etc (this trip was easy, only one change). As we arrived in Cleveland I check the airport map for gate numbers and realize that I have very little time to make a one end of the terminal to the other run for my plane. Great. Thank God for luggage with wheels (seriously, my wheelie bag has changed my life traveling. So much less stress, physical and mental. Thank you Brian Prior!) So I'm off to the races! I arrive at the other gate and it's loading a plane for someplace I'm not planning on going. Not good. Up to the desk, ask the question, "Oh they moved that to gate such and so". Which is at the other end of the terminal from where I am now! Lovely. So back to the races, to discover that the new gate is RIGHT NEXT TO THE ONE I'D GOTTEN OFF AT! The airline employee informs me that I'm the last person to get on the plane. So I explain that there had been a mix up on the gates. To which she responds:
"Oh No, this flight's always been at this gate"
Lady I have a piece of YOUR airlines paper IN MY HAND that says differently. And no less than two of your co-workers told me differently.
But it's not worth having the fight. I just get on the plane and fly away.
Yeah it's been an interesting summer.