Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Pogo Sticks, Razor Scooters, and Vespa Parade

PanAm

Sorry for the delay in posting. The real world can be such a bother. Work deadlines on top on vacations on top of creative-juice-drought can lead to such post ideas like:

– Space is weird, you guys

– What bread is best?

– Spice up your life with novelty socks!

So, for at least a little while, I thought I’d spare you. Though to be honest, I’m still trying to catch up on life, but the progress of a whimsical blog waits for no grumpy twenty seven year old masquerading as a person! woman.

I did a lot of traveling this past weekend. And by a lot, I’m comparing it to the zero traveling I was doing before.

The plan: Fly to Chicago. Fly to NY. Grab a family member or two. Drive to Boston. Then the whole family drive to Canada.

What happened: NOT THAT.

Before I start my ramble, keep in mind, this is not one of those rants. This is not one of those “I’ll never fly United again! And I’m bringing down the hammer of justice through my fanciful blog!” speeches. I live in a pretty small town, and United is one of two airlines I can take. I can make every effort, but I will probably be flying United again.

This is one of those rambles where I just want to point to an experience and say, “can we all agree that was the opposite of what everyone wanted??! And perhaps it was avoidable in a very real way with some basic customer service?!”

Delays happen. I get that. When you have a connecting flight, they are less fine, but still, when you crunch the numbers…fine. Especially in this instance when the delay was caused by equipment problems. I am most cool with a distinct lack of crashes. But when the plane finally arrives, your connection still well within the realm of “this is going to happen! As God as my witness, this is going to happen!” and there’s no gate agent? And after 45 minutes of a plane sitting on the runway and its passengers sitting in the terminal and there’s still no gate agent? Because the two workers who run the ticket desk are also all the gate agents? And the best way to describe their attitude towards work is “does not care”? And once one finally arrives, we have to wait another half hour because they didn’t have the proper baggage carts for the gate checked bags from the last flight?

That rounds down to “not fine.” And of course, getting on the plane, I see I’m in the very last row beside the bathroom that smells like distress. But that is just icing on the horrible cake.

This is a quick flight that I’m on. Madison to Chicago. A lot of people drive it because, in many ways, that’s easier. I’m telling you this, because everyone has a connecting flight. 90% of passengers fly to Chicago from Madison to then connect somewhere else. Which made my next encounter the most laughable one. Because I hear ten rows away the following exchange:

Passenger: I have a connecting flight at 8:45. Can you make sure people don’t crowd in the aisles so I can get out first?

Flight attendant: well I think a lot of people have connecting flights actually.

Passenger: I’m not people. I’m a Fulbright scholar.

Surprisingly, this did not garner her the support of the whole plane. Not surprisingly, I plotted tripping her on her way off the plane. In the end, I think she missed her flight. Just like one of us people.

I’ll give Lady-Fulbright this, I basically laughed at her for the next hour. From the customer service desk, getting my hotel reservation for the night. I laughed my way down to baggage claim. I even laughed my way on the walk to a different terminal because United dropped us off in a different terminal from our bags. I stopped laughing when I met Otis. Otis worked in the baggage services office. Otis is to helpful what a Russian nesting doll is to a spaceship.

“I missed my flight, and I’d like to pick up my bag to take to the hotel for the night.”

The response: Silently shaking his head while looking at me over his glasses.

“I have my baggage tracking ticket right here.”

The response: Silently shaking his head while looking at me over his glasses.

“There’s seriously nothing you can do?”

The response: Silently shaking his head while looking at me over his glasses.

I don’t love Otis. I didn’t love the cab driver who seemed flummoxed by my taxi voucher and also me. I also didn’t love the man ahead of me in line at the hotel who, if you asked him, was hilariously asking the front desk staff about the adult channel selection. And again didn’t love the bag of cooler ranch doritos and slim jim I ate for dinner. Some perspective: It could have been worse, but it most definitely could have been better.

The next day, armed with the mentality, “I don’t have a connecting flight! The world isn’t so bad” I headed back to the airport. Now is the part where I lay off United, and say, why can’t we all just be cool? Airports are not relaxing places, but should you really openly, loudly, and rudely, critique the speed of the TSA agents checking boarding passes at security? Is an airport gate the best place to explore your loogie potential? Should you really snap at me for putting my bag beside me instead of on the ground, and then proceed to place your bag right beside you (where my bag was)? Be cool guys. Be cool.

In light of recent events surrounding air travel, I am very aware that things could have been worse, but is that the best we can expect out of commercial air travel? I left from point A and can take comfort in the fact I still have all my limbs at point B? Seems so.

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