Last week, i had another trip to the east coast. As if the forces of meteorology are synched with my frequent flier accounts, there was yet another snow-pacalypse in Washington, DC. What was supposed to be a ‘day trip’ – 6am flight out, 6pm flight home – led to another round of “Escape from an Airport”.
i am 3/3 on the “Trip/Stranded” ratio just for the month of January. This shit is getting seriously old.
Fortunately, my travel mate for the day was a delightful young scientist, AU*. Extraordinarily smart as both a scientist and human, this made the ‘stuck’ times far more bearable.
But it still sucked gangrenous ‘nads.
We made a good travel team as we both worked escape plans. Heavy, wet snow was blanketing the region. AU was booked on 4:00 pm flight to Atlanta**, and was texting me from the plane, which was still at the gate being de-iced. i was hoping to catch the 5:30 pm flight – which was still showing “go”.
When his flight pushed back, the gate agents prepared to board our flight. Anxious travelers gathered near the door, hoping to board soon. But when i got the text from AU “We’re coming back to the gate. Word is canceled”, i walked over to the desk, and leaned casually against it… which would put me at the front of the line when the rebooking dance started.
Sure enough, the airport closed, and that familiar chaos ensued! i was rebooked before AU deplaned, and i snagged coupons from the gate agent to get us nearby accommodations! Score! We went to the bar for dinner (table near an outlet, of course), and relaxed for a couple of hours. i’d been given confirmation numbers for two rooms at a Doubletree hotel near the airport. No rush.
Leaving the warmth of the airport to catch the hotel shuttle, we were a bit shocked to see crowds of people at the bus stops. Word was that traffic on the local highways was gridlocked, and hotel shuttles were stuck. i called the hotel, and was told that the driver had been en route for an hour – and wasn’t near the airport. The hotel? Only 10 miles away.
The taxi line – for non-existent taxis – was four hours long. Rental car option? We weren’t entirely sure we could get through – not knowing the traffic situation. We had to wait. And AU only had on his suit – no coat, hat or gloves. Did i mention that it was snowing hard?
Two hours later, we were finally on board a hotel shuttle, along with other relieved travelers, and headed to a hotel. Seeing dozens of abandoned cars, our shuttle driver navigated dicey roads with steady confidence. Tow trucks were in ditches! This was some serious shit! It took a half hour to go 10 miles, but we made it!
Needless to say, when the gentleman at the hotel desk informed us that they would not be honoring our reservations, as they had no record of it in their system – and had no available rooms – i was a bit stunned. And lost my shit – for the first time since my travel headaches started this month.
daisyfae (loudly): So we’re – what’s the word i’m looking for – “fucked”? Yes, that’s the word! “Up the ass without a courtesy spit” fucked? There are NO rooms for miles, and we couldn’t get there if there were… We’re going to be sleeping on the couches in your lobby. Maybe you can bring blankets and pillows, eh? i’ll try not to stink it up too much…
We went to the bar… Scouted online for other hotels, but there was nothing. Nowhere to go, we scoped some comfy couches in the bar area, and figured we could settle in once the bar closed.
Around 11:30 pm, AU thought to ask about roll away beds. Returning from the front desk, he had good news – they thought that they’d have some no shows, and would probably be able to get us rooms. Relief…
i found myself apologizing to AU for my rant at the front desk. Probably a little embarrassing for him…
daisyfae: That’s probably the worst public outburst i’ve had in a few years. They used to be a helluva lot worse… but it was still pretty bad.
AU: Gaining control or losing your edge?
daisyfae: Great question. i don’t really know… i think it’s mostly because i’m tired. It’s not worth it to yell any more… too much work.
* i’ve written about AU before. He’s a gem…
** For what it’s worth? Your BEST chance to get out of an airport during a weather ‘situation’ is on a bigger plane, generally to a hub city. The airlines can maximize the number of non-stranded passengers this way, and the regional jets are most frequently canceled in such circumstances.
isn’t it supposed to be a “la nina” winter?
also, thank you for using “helluva,” i think that just made my night.
It is a La Niña winter. If you want mild and dry, you’re probably thinking of an El Niño winter.
and yes, it’s a bad La Niña. i’m ready for summer.
hi ian – welcome to ‘the park’… in my corner of the world, ‘helluva’ is a word. said quite fast, too!
Daise, you are beyond due for a break! Here’s my plan — you hit the lottery, quit your job and go to flight school and then open the Trailerpark International Hellport (abbreviation: FKT, just because) in which you are given eminent domain over your least favorite neighbors in order to lay the tarmac through their front yards, and your jet (s) are all equipped with sleeping berths and individual wet bars. You’ll make even more millions. Better yet, if we can bribe someone at PowerBall, the fix’ll be in. All I want is my 15% manager’s fee. And maybe a Christmas bonus…
“FKT” is brilliant… and i did catch a break. the storm this week hit BEFORE i left for the airport. home in my jammies. not leaving all week. goodbye january! i will certainly put you on the management team. christmas bonus? easter, too!
I’ve ranted for so long that I sort of consider myself a connoisseur of La Rant, and I’ve gotta say – that was the best rant ever! “Up the ass without a courtesy spit.” Oh, man. I love it!
So sorry about this airplane torture. I’ll kill a sacrifice at the alter of Weather Man for you.
i borrowed that line from a dear friend, but i’ve used it enough to claim it… but this was bad. there were people in line behind us. a little embarassing. see if you can sacrifice a virgin weather man. maybe that would help.
jaysus, i could almost hear that, sugar! LOL (and i am so stealing that line!) xoxoxo
go for it! i borrowed it. AU suggested that i could get full effect by just saying “not even a courtesy spit?” in which case the listener either gets it, or doesn’t. and isn’t offended if he/she can’t figure it out…
Boy, am I glad I’m not a desk clerk! The roll away bed idea reminded me of something you could file away for future reference if you encounter a booked hotel. (Although with smaller hotels it may not work.) I was booked into the JW Marriott on Westheimer in Houston, TX one time (across from the Galleria) and they were overbooked/oversold or some such. They put me up on a rollaway cot in a Hospitality Suite for the first night until a room opened up for the rest of my stay. It was no charge. Of course, it’s not as comfy as regular guest room, but I imagine it’s beats sleeping on a bar sofa where untold numbers of patrons pass gas.
that’s not a bad plan. getting the rollaway bed parked in a meeting room, or hospitality suite, would be manageable. they also have ‘staff’ rooms for when the weather is so bad, staff can’t go home – but the staff rooms were taken as well… oh, and the bar sofa was FAR more comfortable than the floor of the airport. probably a lot cleaner, too.
It’s true that travel expands the mind, but that’s probably from the additional pressure inside your skull.
i am happily NOT traveling today. those guys on the east coast who were expecting me to show up and perform will have to manage on their own… yay. less cranial pressure for sure.
Occasionally when someone offers me a job where I would have to travel 2000 hours of the work year, I ponder it for about 11 seconds and then think of all the shit that accompanies said travel. I politely thank them and turn my attention back to my just-barely-enough-travel to make MVP job and am thankful for that small amount. Snow and roll away beds are not a good combination.
it has its moments. went through a stretch where i WASN’T traveling at all and missed it. and in the summer? no worries – just thunderstorms. this has been a rough year for air travel. hoping it lets up soon….
“But it still sucked gangrenous ‘nads”
And I would have paid good cash to see the outburst. I like a good outburst I do. Except this morning, when I burst out, but then had to apologise, because it turned out to be my fault.
yeah. those ‘oopsie’ moments are a bit of a problem. i’ve done that, too… perhaps where i learned to manage the outburst a bit along the way. but this situation was aggravating. i HAD confirmation numbers. just not with the hotel… it was the third party room broker. either the hotel sold the rooms out from under us, or the room broker fucked it up… grrr…
I remember being stranded in Mytilene with you two. weren’t we too busy eating and drinking and scoping out ferries to do any ranting?
yes. it was different there. the sun was shining. i was acompanied by two beauties, and i could have cared less if i ever got home…
It’s road warrior stories like this that make me glad I’m chained to a desk.
why am i enjoying the visual of you being chained to my desk?
“So we’re – what’s the word i’m looking for – “fucked”? Yes, that’s the word! “Up the ass without a courtesy spit”
I uttered very close to the same words about 5 years ago.
However, I was traveling with my 2 boys at the time.
I believe THAT outburst won me “Mommy of the Year”.
Get thee to an island soon … you deserve it with all the frequent flier miles you’ve racked up!
i have said “Lick my sweaty ballsack” to other drivers when my kids were in the car – but i didn’t start that until they were well into high school. i think. i like the ‘island’ plan. that is what i shall work on…
Man, why don’t I get to say stuff like that? Oh, yeah…I never go anywhere. Nevermind…
well, you could always unload a rant on the cat… they tend to take it better than desk clerks…
Sans courtesy spit how rude – on their part that is.
Ya had me rolling in the aisles with that line.
thanks, sausage… i guess we all know what it means.
Weather permitting, my girlfriend’s flying into Boston on Friday. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the word if she were stranded here …
timing is everything, isn’t it? here’s to a well timed bit of snow and ice… y’all have had PLENTY of it this year. What’s another foot or two?
Good lord, I would have lost it quite a lot sooner than you did!
i really have rolled with a lot of punches this month. methinks this blowout had as much to do with “everything” as it did with failure to successfully procure a reservation at a hotel during a snowstorm…