The Plane Ride From Hell

Here is our GET OUR ASSES BACK FROM MARYLAND THROUGH A HAIL STORM IN DENVER ADVENTURE. It wasn’t pretty, and it sure wasn’t fun.

1. At 2:30pm, Aunt Heidi drops us off at the BWI way early for our 5:00pm flight. Don’t want a repeat of security debacle on the way to Baltimore, do we?

2. There are exactly 2 people in front of us at check-in. (So much for long lines). The United dude promptly tells me that my flight is 1 hour late due to weather in Denver. OK, now we have three hours to hang out at the gate.

3. We head towards the ever-famous always-heinous security line at BWI and wait exactly 5 minutes. FIVE MINUTES.

4. We wander around BWI aimlessly for about an hour.

5. We get McDonald’s and a burping Shrek doll.

6. We annoy a bunch of self-important college students with the burping Shrek doll.

7. We watch movies on my laptop.

8. We notice our flight is now moved back to 7:00pm. People are starting to grumble, but I am totally calm. Better than missing a flight, right?

9. We finally get on the plane. I notice we have been seated in Economy Plus for free (although I did pay for it for the 1st leg of the trip) and I wonder if there really is a God because at least he put a shining moment on one part of my day. Other than burping Shrek, of course.

10. Declan promptly falls asleep. God bless the child, too.

11. En route, the captain informs us that he is going to have to fly around the storm over Denver and come into DIA a different way, thus adding about 45 minutes to our flight time. Screw the captain.

12. We land. And sit. Apparently every delayed flight landed at that exact moment and they were all doing rock-paper-scissors to see who gets a gate, and we lost. We sit on the tarmac for another half hour. The natives on the plane are restless. Very restless. I wonder about when they are going to have their heart attacks. Like United is responsible for hail, lighting and gale force winds over Denver?

13. We finally get off the plane and it is 10pm, 12am by our East Coast internal clocks. I carry my half-dead child to the Happy Train – the shuttle between concourses at DIA that sings a happy little tune for you when you arrive. Except it is not arriving. And the maintenance guy frantically working on the other side of the tracks is literally dripping in sweat as he tries to fix the problem. We wait and wait till the terminal resembles a can of sardines. Luckily Declan and I are at the edge of the sardines and are able to slip on when a train actually did arrive. Although I was prepared to fight my way on, if I had to. I’m German and I am tall, dudes.

14. We get to baggage claim at 10:30pm, Carousel #16, just like the big board told us to. We sit and wait under the lights that blink “United 1241 Baltimore” as all the sardines arrive from the Happy Train and fill the baggage claim area. We wait. And wait. Declan gets out his crayons and draws on the floor. Suddenly, “United 1241 Baltimore” disappears. OK, now I am starting to get pissed.

15. We gather all our shit and trudge back over to the big board. Yup. United 1241 Baltimore, Carousel 16. We trudge back to Carousel 16. We sit. We wait. Everyone is waiting. And simmering.

16. Another 15 minutes pass. We trudge back over to the big board. United 1241 is gone from the board. NOW I AM FUCKING PISSED.

17. I look for the United representative’s office and the line is at least 50 people long. Fuck that. I call 411 and get United’s 800 number. I jump through a very cumbersome and complicated not to mention inefficient phone tree and finally get a real person to talk to. In India.

Here is where I go all un-PC on y’all. IF a company has to take American jobs and send them overseas, they should at least have the decency to train their new employees on how to speak clearly, with a semi-American accent. Because WHEN I AM CALLING FOR CUSTOMER SUPPORT, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FUCK THEY ARE SAYING. You know, so they can SUPPORT me. And nothing pisses me off more than generic customer service rhetoric spouted back at me in an accent I can’t fucking understand. At 11:00pm at night.

Basically, what I got out of her was that I had to get in the line with the representative.


18. Bryan calls, worried about where the hell we are. I tell him I am about to just bail on the bags and worry about it later, because Declan’s eyes are rolling back into his head.

19. At that exact moment, I recognize someone from my flight, a lady in a wheelchair who is rolling out the door. With. her. bags. I hang up on Bryan and run over to her and ask her where our bags are!?!?!

20. Carousel 14.

21. I drive home reminding myself how smug and superior I was earlier about other people’s blood pressure.

22. We walk in the door, I flop face down on my bed and mumble indiscriminately in the direction of our son. Bryan takes that as his cue that he is now in charge of Declan. It is 12:30 am, 2:30am East Coast time. Declan is alternating between maniacal laughter and hysterical crying.

Me too.

This article has 5 comments

  1. Meghann

    Hey it could have been worse, you could have been flying Jet Blue!

    *ducks to avoid whatever it was you just threw at me*

  2. joansy

    Someday I hope to earn enough money to hire someone to get my bags so that I can go directly home after long flights. That’s it – I don’t need a fancy house or any more cars, but I want that person. I’ll loan him/her to you as soon as I am able to swing it.

  3. Sarah

    that is unbelievable!

  4. Anonymous

    you should complain about the baggage part!

  5. Tanaya

    Airline travel = modern torture. First class is just a step up to painful. Sorry about the hassle. Good or bad, all things are amplified with the addition of a small child.

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