Buckle Up, You’re a Traveler.

Last week I took a long weekend to travel up to Buffalo, New York to visit my better half’s family.  It was his Dad’s 80th birthday.  There were enough candles on the cake the wait staff actually brought in fire extinguishers…..just in case.

Had Dad had extra long eyebrows or nose hairs, we would have had some serious issues.  The dancing flames of flamenco dancing would have had all new meaning to the clan.

The joys of traveling.  A necessary evil.  Luckily we’ve been able to bypass the stagecoach nowadays.

A first for me was having to find a boarding place for our child.  I wasn’t going to bring her with me and while she’s 11 years old, she’s too young to stay by herself.  After asking around I found a highly recommended boarding facility about 45 minutes from our house. The morning of departure I packed her up and we traveled to the cottage.  The entire time in the car she pitched a fit.  Wouldn’t stop telling me how unhappy she was for all kinds of reasons:

  • She didn’t understand why she couldn’t go with me.
  • She was unhappy that she couldn’t stay by herself at home.
  • She’s never been to the new boarding place.
  • She was worried about making friends.
  • She was pissed she couldn’t see out the window.
  • She wasn’t happy about having to travel in the car while zipped inside a bag.

Needless to say, Liggy, was one pissed kitty upon arrival to the Country Cat Cottage.  After dropping her off at the feline spa, I raced home and threw on my dress and grabbed my suitcase.  I was off and running to the airport.

Yes.  That is correct.  I wore a dress.  On the plane.  With heels.  For one main reason: I wanted to see if I got treated better dressed up.

What do you think?

Remember years of yore when people actually dressed up to travel on the airplane?  Sunday best attire, hats and gloves?  Now everything including pajamas are acceptable.  It’s ridiculous.  I think there should be a little bit of a dress code to fly.  Honestly, there was a hooker on my return flight!  Forgive me, a working girl.  A gentleman’s lady.  An escort.

Seriously, she was a lady of the evening.  I saw who checked her in at the Delta kiosk.  That wasn’t her father.

Another reason for dress codes on the airplanes is because seats are now so close together that you pray the person sitting next to you doesn’t cross their leg….resting their ankle on their knee closest to you.  Chances are they’re wearing inappropriate shoes, right?!

Of course.  Flip flops.  Toes that haven’t been tended to in months.  Nails so long they’re leaving snags in the airplane carpet.  What is that tapping noise?  Oh, that guy’s toenails hitting the tray table.  Lo and behold, if you looked close enough you’d probably spy moving fungi between the toes.  Oh, wait up….that was jam.

What’s even worse (you’ll want to mentally prepare yourself for engaging your anti-gag reflex) the people who play with their toes or pick their nails and then put their fingers in their mouth.

Good grief….disgusting.   Miss Manners would be horrified.  Forget Miss Manners – I AM HORRIFIED.

Being this was my first time to the Fort Lauderdale airport as a departure contestant (think Fear Factor contestant) I drove around the entire complex TWICE before locating the proper exit for parking.  I can’t say it was a scenic drive as I was too busy trying not to be run down by the taxis.  The first parking garage I drove around and around and around was – full – of course.

There was a sign for Valet, which I actually considered as I was beginning to panic about finding parking, but couldn’t actually locate where the hell the Valet people were stationed.  Everything here in Miami has valet.  Seriously:  malls, restaurants, movies, bars, strip clubs, doctor offices…you name it there’s a valet.  You would think the airport would have a blazingly bright neon sign screaming, VALET.  Or at least a random homeless person with a sign around their neck with a big arrow saying, VALET….this way.   Nope, this airport is like Pandora’s Box.  Good luck with that shit.

Finally, I find a spot to park Norman….in a second parking tower.

Since the complex is so enormous, I actually took a picture of the garage parking map where it said, “YOU ARE HERE.”  At least I’ll have a general area of where the hell Norman is when I return.

I race down 6 floors to the ground level where I see a sign for a shuttle to the terminals.   The airport fairy sends the tram car and I hop on.  The gentleman in the back car smiles and gladly takes my carry on luggage.  Score one point for my test of dressing nicer for service.  I advise him of my airline and off we go.

Now, I am sweating, not because of the heat (well mainly because of heat) but I’m now later than I wanted to be walking into the actual airport.  I have a little over an hour before departure.  My time has been wasted trying to find parking and then taking the tram to the actual building.

This is ridiculous.

In my haste to get to the airport, I completely forgot you have to take your shoes off at security.  There I am BAREFOOT in the airport.  The best I could do was try and keep my little piggies up off the floor.  Most people wear socks right.  Wrong.  I look around and 99% of the people going through the security gates are sockless.   Walk on your heels.  Don’t walk on your heels – they’ll think you’re mental.

Finally, I make it to the gate only to learn the flight is 25 minutes late.  Great.  There goes my connection in Detroit.  The gate agent assures me it won’t be a problem, there’s a tail wind and all connections will be made just fine.  I try to think positively but in my heart I know this is going to be a mess.  You know like when your gut tells you not to open that piece of junk mail but you do it anyway and it turns out to be a virus.  I felt like that.

Once on board the silver bullet we take off and the pilot comes on to announce our arrival time into Detroit.  Oh yeah, by the way, we’re still going to be 30 minutes behind schedule.  Luckily I am in the second row of steerage so I’ve formulate a plan.

As soon as the “double-ding” occurs I am up and out of my seat heading towards the door.    I race up the gangway and leap out into the terminal like a ninja.  Where’s a monitor?  I need to see the monitor!  (No.  Thanks Delta, but you were’t able to provide gate information coming in for the landing, you didn’t care I had a connection and there was nobody at the gate to assist.)  We’ve arrived into terminal A – and my connection is in terminal C.

YOU MUST BE KIDDING.  With 10 minutes before departure, I give it a solid try.  My feet have already been contaminated so what’s it going to hurt?  I yank off my high heels and begin sprinting through the terminal like OJ Simpson.  The exception is I’m shorter, pulling a wheeled bag and I’m barefoot.  AGAIN.

I’m following the big C signs with the arrows  and come up short when I realize, there’s a  shuttle to the C terminal!  I hurl myself into the car as the automated announcement tells us the doors are closing.  No shit, really?  The gentlemen next to me asks about my connection, I tell him it’s to Buffalo.  A Delta employee is sitting there and says, “Oh, they shut that gate 7 minutes early.”

The doors open and I weigh my options.  Continue like a crazed nutter and hope the guy was lying or put my shoes back on and stroll up to the counter?  Yep, you guessed it.  The Nutter won.  I continue sprinting along the long hallway, which obviously must be under an runway as it went on forever.  My little naked feet are pounding against the moving walkway as I keep praying silently to myself, “I will not get foot fungus.  I will not get foot fungus.”  It was like being in a horror film….running down one of those long hallways that you never get to the end of….and Jack Nicholson is chasing you with an ax screaming “Here Comes Johnny!”

As I’m dashing down this hallway, more like a character from a Dr. Seuss story than a long distance runner I notice with horror one thing.  I’m loosing my panties.

My under ware is falling down.

By the time I get on the escalator going up to terminal A, I realize half of both cheeks are exposed.  Well, how the hell am I going to pull these up?  Thank god for the person who invented the pockets.  My dress has pockets.  Insert hands and pull up panties.

Good grief.  I’ve never.  Ever.  EVER.  Had a problem like this before.  What’s next?

Finally I get to the counter and there are THREE Delta agents there.  Nobody making eye contact with me.  Oh so sorry, that flight is already gone.  We’ve already booked you on another flight this evening, here’s your ticket.  No seat assignment?  Oh, we can’t do that, you have to go to that gate.  Alright fine.

I walk away, sit down on the bench and burst into tears.  Now I know how people feel on American Idol.  You give it your best shot, do everything in your power and you still loose.  My cute dress didn’t even help me.  They can’t even give me a seat!

Finally I pull myself together, wipe the sweat and melted eyeliner off my face and walk to the departure gate.  I have about 90 minutes before the next flight.  I ask the agent if they can assign me a seat.  Nope, they are not dealing with my flight yet and suggest I come back in about an hour.

Are you kidding me?  There’s computers and technology sitting all over counter.  You’re telling me you can’t assign me a seat?  For real?  OMG.  Where is the customer service?  Not at Delta Airlines.

Don’t worry, it gets worse.  Trust me.

I get something to eat and head back to the gate.  They assign me a seat and while I still have 30 minutes to kill before boarding I wander the terminal and make some phone calls.  I stand across from the gate, while I’m on the phone, waiting for the flight number to read “now boarding.”  All of the sudden the gate number changes.  WTF?  I rudely tell my friend, “I have to go!  The flight is now departing out of B terminal!”

Once more, I ponder my situation and decide, in order not to miss the possibility of this next flight also leaving early, I better take the heels off again.  I dash through the airport, pulling my purple wheel bag and praying to God my panties don’t end up around my knees.

Again, they get so bad that I seriously consider just stopping and yanking them off.  I don’t care at this point.  But then I think to myself, “what would you do if you fell and didn’t have anything on underneath?  You’d be embarrassed….”  So instead I stopped and pulled them up three times on my run to the next terminal.  What baffles me is they were cute new roos.  How could they not fit?  Good grief.  Leave it to me.

I finally arrive and sling-shot myself into the counter in B terminal.  The agent tells me I have plenty of time, not to worry.  So I decide to use the restroom, wipe the sweat off all exposed areas of skin and secure my panties.  I’m not just misting or glowing, I look like I’ve been enjoying myself on the slip & slide.

Pulled together once more, I walk on to the tiny plane.  It’s one of those with 2 and 2.  My seat, last one, by the bathroom and it’s a window.  Of course.  Nothing like being a nervous flier stuck by a window, in a seat that doesn’t recline and enjoying the aromas of the freshly used toilette.  Love it.  Sign me up to do this multiple times a day!

I get to my seat and the guy on the aisle is very nice.  I figure it must be the dress.  I get my ear plugs out and a piece of gum.  Departure time comes and the Delta crew tells us they’re waiting on a few connecting flights that just landed, giving those folks time to catch this flight.  Fuckers.  You didn’t wait for me, you sent my plane early!

Really though, it was a lie.  Nobody else joined us on the plane.

20 minutes later.

30 minutes later.

45 minutes later.

60 minutes later.

We’re still sitting at the gate.  Trapped in this silver bullet.  Waiting to go to Buffalo.  It was a mechanical.  It was paperwork.  It was the dispatchers. It was the hokey-pokey.  I don’t know exactly which excuse it actually was but just be honest.  While you’re at  it….  offer us something to drink for crying out loud!  This was the first time that I didn’t travel with my Quart Size Bag filled with alcohol bottles.  Yes, I am the only person who actually  uses those bags properly.  Had I stuffed it with my little bar bottles, I could have made a fortune on that plane.  $5 a bottle.

70 minutes into our collective meditation on the lack of service provided by Delta and we’re on our way.

Ahhhhhhhh…….

Had a great time with the family.  Lots of laughter.  Met new faces.  Ate the same thing for lunch two days in a row….the sub shop is AWESOME.  Bought hosiery cause I can’t find any in Miami.  Wandered through the village.  Went to the zoo.  Chased little kids.  Played one hand of some sort of card game (I don’t like cards….too many numbers.) And ate a steak for the first time in months!  Was also the only one who didn’t get sick after eating at the weird taco place….

I would like to say on my return, I did not wear a dress.  It obviously had put the hex on my customer service experience.  Upon arriving at the Buffalo airport I had plenty of time to get to my gate.  Once on board I relaxed and happily anticipated enjoying an adult beverage from the cart.

We push back from the gate and guess what?  Delayed.  AGAIN.  Trapped like a sardine.  AGAIN.  Are you kidding me Delta?  The people around me immediately start balking.  Their flights before this one were all late and now this one is leaving late.  Connections are going to be missed.  It’s a fiasco.  Previously, I had a 2 hour layover in Atlanta.  Now, I have about 60 minutes, which is fine.  Not a problem.

The real problem however was when we landed in Atlanta and I walked to the next gate for my flight to Fort Lauderdale.  Yep, you guessed it, my last flight of the day….delayed!  Honestly, they should consider renaming Delta to Delay or maybe just Delete.

Things I learned from this experience:

The dress didn’t make a damn bit of different.

You can’t drink alcohol in the Buffalo airport before noon on Sundays.

Never to work for Delta, let alone fly with them again.

Always travel with your own bar.

Oh and yes in case you were curious, I threw out the panties.

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Buckle Up, You’re a Traveler.

  1. JB

    I know what you were thinking when you had the panty difficulty!!!! Just woke up the small person because I was laughing so loud!

    Reply

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