I don't want to be perfect, just better...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Adventures in Traveling - US Airways, the Gate to Hell and more

When I left home yesterday morning for the airport. I was dressed comfortably - jeans, tennis shoes, white wife beater and a plaid vest.

I had packed my suitcase within an inch of its life. Weight at the airport scale was 45 pounds which leaves me room to buy stuff for the kids.

We stopped at the ATM for cash.

I breezed through security. Normally, I set off the machine twice and have to get a secondary screening.

I should have known that something was wrong right then. (I was oblivious) No matter how careful I am with jewelry and clothing I set off the machine. Normally, my underwire bra is the culprit. The male TSA agents always think I'm smuggling something. The women when I explain the underwire let me right on by.

I get to the gate. I call 35/35A the Gate to Hell. If you have ever flown US Airways out of Reagen National Airport. Then you know the chaos that 35/35A produces. Most airline gates service one plane. You get to the gate wait around , they call your flight. You give the gate agent your ticket walk the gangway/boarding ramp and you are on the plane.

Not 35/35A. Multiple flights leave out of 35/35A. US Airways has several flights leaving out of this gate so multiply the number of people hanging around from one flight (100-150) to five - eight flights (400 - 500+). You can imagine the noise from that many people, the lack of seating, the obstacle course of feet and luggage to navigate to find an empty seat.

When your flight is called at Gate to Hell/35/35A,  you take an escalator down to the ground level. Hand your ticket to a gate agent. Board a bus and get driven to where your plane waits on the tarmac. Then you walk from the bus to the plane, climb the stairs and board the plane.

I did all of this because I have done all of this several times. I know what to expect. The plane takes off. We land in Philadelphia without issue.

My flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles is called (US Airway Flight 39). We board. We take off. We seem to be on our way. I fall asleep. About an hour and a half into the flight I awaken. Just in time for an announcement from our pilot. We will be landing in Philly shortly.

WTFHH (what the f&#ing holy hell)?

My problem besides the damn near two hours lost in flight is that the pilot nor the flight attendants tell you what is going on. They only announce that we will be landing back in Philly. But we know something is wrong because a uniformed pilot is leaning over me to check something on the wings. He is signalling the flight attendant who is on the phone with the pilot.

DON'T lie to me and say everything is okay. WE know everything ISN'T okay because we are landing back where we started from!

We land in Philly. That is when they announce that something was wrong with the flaps. We wait on the plane about half an hour before they let us back in to the airport. We can feel the mechanics working on the plane underneath us the whole time. They send us back in - telling us that they don't have enough meals and recommend that we get something for the rest of our six hour flight.

After we deplane to get some dinner. They won't let us reboard. We are held at the gate. The agent there says we will be allowed to reboard at 5:30. (Warning, danger, alarms)

At 5:25, they cancel the flight and are only allowing people to go collect their belongings that were left behind. I scoot to the customer service desk. I am number 15.

I finally get to the customer service agent and let her know it is imperative that I get to Los Angeles. Not take the next flight on which I would be on standby or wait until the Sunday morning flight. She sends me to United Flight 849? I get to LAX at 9:15. Only five hours after my original flight was supposed to land.

I wish I could say that the United flight was uneventful to make up for all the drama US Airways put me through.

Can we say ambulatory but non verbalizing loud toddler in the seat behind me and parents who were zoned out. Every time I tried to doze said toddler would begin crying. Can we say how many times this child of (insert expletive) and a rabid monkey kicked or hit the back of my seat? Four.

Can we say that the large man in front of me mistook his airline seat for a Lazy Boy and tried to recline to the horizontal position while I had my tray table down and my computer on it?

Can we say that they Asian guy next to me took off his shoes. You know the smell of rotting cabbage? Yeah that was the smell of his feet.

I spent an additional hour running from Terminal to Terminal searching for who may have had my bag and who would be responsible for bringing me my bag whenever it arrived.

Then I had another hour on the SuperShuttle. Waiting for the driver to drop me off here at the hotel.

Of course, I make it here in time for the conference but I can't partake in the festivities because all of my clothing is still in Philadelphia or in transit.

I am waiting for my sister in law @totallybougie to call me back. She works in retail and will hopefully be able to steer me to plus size clothing store close to my hotel so I can pick up a dress until my suitcase arrives.

atgirl Utility Bag! In it I have an extra pair of underwear, deodorant and other needs. I recently switched from toothbrush and toothpaste to the Colgate Wisp Peppermint, 16-Count (Pack of 2)which I picked up in Dollar Tree for a dollar rather than the almost three dollars in the regular drug store.

Have you had a travel nightmare? Ever had your luggage lost? How did you get through? Share cause right now my options are go buy something (shop in a strange city) or wait for my bag to arrive ETA unknown at this point.


  1. UGH! That sounds horrible! I have had some bad trips, but I think an hour and a half flight to go no where is worse than anything I've experienced!

  2. What a scary flight you had! Back when I traveled for work I would stuff everything in one duffle bag to avoid checking baggage all together. Waiting for bags to arrive annoys me too much.

    I can totally relate to your cabbage feet and crying baby story. I was once on a packed bus with no spare seats. Guess where the guy in the stained clothing who hadn't bathed in eight months sat?

  3. @SavingDiva That was the biggest waste of time ever! 90 minutes to end up back in the same spot should require compensation, I just felt lucky to get a flight that day. Many people had to wait until Sunday morning to fly out.

    @ Iamtheworkingpoor Before this I've only had my bag lost once. I would rather check my bag than schlep it through the airport. I rarely ever have a direct flight.

  4. @ Iamtheworkingpoor That guy sounds nasty! Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.