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Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Day at the Bluegrass Airport (or ISTE Better Be Worth this Nonsense)






As someone immersed in technology on a daily basis, the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference is one of the few that I feel I gain knowledge by attending. This year, I booked my flight to San Antonio excited for all I'd learn.
About a month before the conference, I got an email from Delta letting me know they had changed my flight times. The times were later in the day, which meant I wasn't getting to San Antonio until about 10 PM, which was why later than I wanted to get there, but at this point, what are you going to do? Flight was leaving Lexington at 3:00pm, four hour layover in Detroit, leaving Detroit at 8:00.
Today, I got a phone call from Delta explaining that the flight was delayed 45 minutes. They offered to rebook me, but as this really only meant my layover in Detroit was shorter, I decided to stick it out.
By the time Megan dropped me off at the airport, the delay was over an hour, which meant I had way too much time on my hands, because it takes approximately 2 1/2 minutes to get through security in Lexington at any given time.
After eating a late lunch/early dinner, I waited semi patiently for the flight to begin boarding. We boarded the plane, and much to my surprise, not only was the screaming child who I experienced in the waiting area far away from me, but former UK basketball player Wayne Turner was two rows in front of me, and the seat next to me was empty. My luck was turning around!
Approximately 5 minutes after being on board, the captain came over that loudspeaker and informed us all that all flights to and from Detroit were grounded, and we had to de board the plane. At this point it's about 4:25 and they told us at 5, we should be able to re board. All passengers (including Wayne Turner) whose connecting flights were affected were rebooked immediately. They didn't even talk to any San Antonio people.
At 5:00, guess what? It's still raining in Detroit, and we can't board. The next possible time for us to board is 6:00, meaning at this point nearly everyone on the plane is missing their connection. They begin to call the passengers up one at a time to look at other options for travel. And, as always with things alphabetically, Miss Waggoner was the last one called. Several people around me were also going to San Antonio for various reasons, and I had overheard their conversations with the Delta employees as they each went to the front. I couldn't make out everything that was being said, but I could make out the words "I cannot get you into San Antonio tonight."
When my name was finally called, my list of options was interesting to say the least. I could go ahead and fly to Detroit, and possibly get out of Detroit to somewhere in Texas tomorrow, but not San Antonio. I could leave Lexington tomorrow and Fly to Atlanta, but again I couldn't fly to San Antonio. They could get me to Dallas, Houston, or Austin, and I would have to rent a car to drive to San Antonio. At this point, I was wondering if I had left my young child at home while I went on vacation, because I felt like the mom in Home Alone.
The rental car was possibly going to be an issue for me, because as this is a work trip, Jessamine County schools had not authorized me to get a rental car. I really didn't want to get one if I couldn't be reimbursed for it, so I had to make a few phone calls up the chain of command at work to see if this would be okay. I was told they'd figure a way to work it out, so I went back to the counter to book the flights through Atlanta. When I got there, the Delta employee who I had been working with got really excited because a couple of seats opened up on a flight to San Antonio tomorrow. However before she could book them, they were gone. Now, I had moved from Home Alone to The Amazing Race. I told this to the girl helping me, and leaned in and said "I need to get to San Antonio as fast as possible! Get me on a flight that gets there before any of these people in line behind me! This is important! We are in a race!" (Which was a big hit, really, and you know how much I love to make people laugh!)
The next thing I know, the Delta girl is asking me if I can make a flight that leaves Lexington at 6 AM tomorrow. Knowing I would never ask my dear sweet friend Megan McCarty to get up that early to take me to the airport, I say yes, and figure I will just drive myself. She does a little typing, tells me she can get me into San Antonio by noon, and prints my new boarding passes. She comes around the counter to give them to me, and points to a couple of words I have never seen on one of my plane tickets before: FIRST CLASS. She then tells me that because I was so nice, she has made an exception, and she will get me into San Antonio by noon tomorrow. She said the first-class might not stick, but having a first-class ticket means that they can't bump me, because the flight was overbooked.
At this point, Megan is already on her way to get me from the airport to take me back home, and it is about 6:15. After my boarding passes are squared away, she calls to get my bag off of the plane and sends me back to the Delta ticket counter to retrieve it. I get to the ticket counter at 6:30. And I wait, and I wait, and I wait. I think the guy was scared I was getting really pissed, because he kept apologizing over and over. At this point, I was over all of it. (In fact, Megan said how calm I was being was actually freaking her out.) I figured it's not like I'm stuck in Detroit, I'm going home to sleep in my own bed. And if for some reason my bag was on its way to San Antonio, I would just pick it up at the airport tomorrow. Thirty minutes later, my bag appears, and my chauffeur takes me home.
So, I'll be up at about 4:30 in the morning to try this all over again.

Damn, this better be a good conference.





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