Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Guest Post: Lola's Fear of (Not) Flying

It's that time again! My good buddy Lola is taking over my blog. I have a month until my vacation when I get to fly with a toddler, so this is not the feel-good story of the year. And yet, totally relatable.

Hands up, who here has gotten seriously drunk on an airplane? Two weeks ago, I would have gasped in ladylike horror at such a notion. Maybe even clutched my pearls.

But not anymore.

I hope you will not judge me too harshly, I had a good excuse (old Lola: sure, that’s what they all say!). And in my defense, I did not start any arguments with the flight attendant, didn’t get the federal marshals involved, nor did I activate the inflatable escape slide, as giddy with drunken delight as I was. Come on, those things look like fun! Totally just one of those backyard slides, only with a freezing ocean at the end…

Really, Delta is to blame. Things started out innocently enough with my first flight landing on time. I casually strolled out, determined to hit a few duty-free shops during the four-hour layover. But first, I needed my boarding pass (for some stupid reason, I was only issued one for the first half of my trip).

So I casually moseyed up to the counter, even letting a nice elderly couple ahead of me, that’s how good of a mood I was in. Finally, it’s my turn. The check-in lady fiddles with my itinerary. But instead of handing me a boarding pass with a beaming smile and sending me on my way, she furrows her brow.

Wuh-oh.

But I’m telling myself to stay positive. Maybe all this means is that I won’t get a window seat. She keeps at the keyboard. Clickety-clack. Okay, now I’m getting REALLY nervous. Finally, she looks up and tells me with a nice Dutch accent that my flight is almost done boarding.

Um, excuse me?? I have four hours! Oh no, no, she tells me. My flight leaves in 20 minutes! Oh, and my bag is already on board.

I think I am going to throw up on her nice counter. She picks up the phone and starts chatting away to someone in Dutch, which is when I hear the following message over the PA system: “Lola, you are delaying the flight. Please board immediately, or we will proceed to offload your luggage.”

Dear God, this harkened me back to the time I was paged to the principle’s office over the intercom in sixth grade. Only now, my precious luggage is in just as much trouble, is probably getting suspected of containing a bomb, possibly getting sniffed by police dogs and getting rudely kicked off the plane. A plane it wasn’t even supposed to be on because THIS IS NOT MY FLIGHT!!

And the Check-in Lady of Doom? Still chatting. In Dutch.

Finally, FINALLY she hangs up after what felt like three hours. “Well, I managed to move you to the five o’clock flight,” she tells me wearily. Chatting in Dutch can wear one out, I hear. “It leaves in four hours.”

Yes, the flight I was SUPPOSED TO BE ON!

Of course now, my thoughts turn back to my bag. She assures me the bag was taken off the departing flight and will make it to the later one. I remain skeptical. I mean, if Delta can’t even keep their passengers on the right flights, what chance is there for humble luggage?! Even for pretty, dark burgundy luggage that’s probably getting abused by luggage handlers as we speak.

Still, I clutch onto my hard-earned boarding pass and walk away. The whole time, I feel like it’s going to get snatched away. I keep checking the boarding time over and over, afraid that I didn’t read it right or something. I even show up at the gate an hour early just to make sure I’m going to be on the right flight.

Finally, it’s time to board. The flight is, of course, full. And one row down from me, something ain’t right – an older woman in a cardigan is arguing about something with a young Asian guy. Then flight attendants get involved.

Apparently, both of them have a boarding pass for the exact same seat! Gulp.

A little while later, poor Cardigan Woman gets loaded off into nowhere – as much as I’m straining to hear the conversation, I can’t quite tell how they managed to mess up the flight manifest this time.

Of course, this throws me into total panic mode for a second time. I keep waiting for someone to show up and claim my seat.

Somehow, I don’t think “I was here first!” is going to cut it. So I eye each passenger walking up the aisle with psycho suspicion, chanting to myself: “keep walking, keep walking, keep walking.” The nice German gentleman next to me is probably thinking about switching seats. I can’t blame him.

And then, they finally close the doors.

Thank you, sweet Jesus! I’m GOING HOME! So yes, in celebration, I proceeded to get exceedingly tipsy. Can you blame a girl?

How about you, what’s your awful travel story?

324 comments:

1 – 200 of 324   Newer›   Newest»
Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

Wow. I don't have one that awful. Wait a minute, there was the time my 3 year old peed and soaked herself on the plane and I was without a change of clothes for her, so she wandered through the airport with a plane blanket wrapped around her loosely, somewhat flashing everyone who walked by. I should tell that story.

Anyway did your luggage make it home with you?

KLZ said...

We missed our honeymoon flight because....you know what, I don't want to get into it. But it was totally the airport's fault.

Good luck traveling with a toddler!

SmartBear said...

Wow...you are right. I would have ordered the drinks to keep coming.
Worst flight pre-tot? Coming home from grad school in Detroit, the plane in Chicago decided to leave early and was already on the tarmac. I had not seen my boyfriend in 3 months and proceeded to have a big hissy fit when they told me they could fly me out the next day.
They turned the plane around and back to the terminal. People actually applauded me when I got on board. Well...the ones that weren't pissed.
Worst post-baby? We had to wake up our 3 year old at 4:30 a.m. to catch our first leg on a Carribean vacay. Standing in line in security, they would not let us through. Despite the fact we had arrived in plenty of time, they would not prioritize folks who had flights leaving earlier vs. the other flights. We watched in horror, helpless as the plane boarded and took off. We had to wait another 3 hours to get on a plane. With a VERY tired tot!
Best,
Tina

Sparkling said...

I cannot believe they turned a plane around for you, SMARTBEAR! My aunt just got stuck for HOURS on the tarmac and the best they could do was go back to the jetway and allow a few passengers to go stand on that. They would not let them in the airport because if they did, they would not have been "authorized" to let them back on the plane!

Remember when flying was a breeze? You could show up minutes before you left, wearing all manner of shoes and metal things and just waltz on? Even with someone else's name on your boaring pass? They seem light light years ago!

Aleta said...

That's what scares me about flights. We almost had an issue with a cruise, where they were sending our luggage to another ship. I was planning on having to buy all new cloths while on vacation, but the luggage was brought to us, late, but it made it.

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

My flight was delayed and I almost missed my connecting flight. I ran and ran and made it. Luggage didn't. I had no luggage for nearly 3 days. I was so stressed and bummed and had to go shopping for boring stuff like toothpaste and underwear. Luckily the airline compensated me for it all.

Mama Spaghetti said...

I don't blame you! That's enough stress to make anyone want to get tipsy.

Counselor Musings said...

I just posted a recent flying story today! You can check it out here:
http://counselormusings.blogspot.com/2011/07/one-time-i-was-pushed-by-passenger-on.html

And yes, it involves wine as well:) And being pushed around by a passenger.

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