June 29, 2011

An Open Letter to American Airlines (both employees and fellow travelers)

When I purchased this delicious chai tea latte at 5:00 PM on June 24, in Terminal D of the Miami International Airport, I wish someone could have told me about the next nine hours of my life. Cause I would have gotten a venti instead of a tall. Or maybe two lattes. Either way, there would have just been more caffeine in general.

Oh Starbucks, how I missed you.

The day began at 4:30 AM. A time when no one's day should ever begin. Ever.

Anna and I left my apartment, locked it up for the summer, and headed to the airport. "Are you willing to fly tomorrow for a $300 voucher in return?" was the first question an American Airlines agent asked me. I should have known it was all downhill from there.

And no, I am not going to accept $300, less than HALF the price of a Cali-Minnesota plane ticket, to fly tomorrow. Offer me a full round trip ticket and meals, then maybe I will think about it.

We checked in, went through security, saw about 20 people associated with my school, including two current students, two former students, one teacher, one principal and a whole bunch of others. Then we proceeded to Miami. We might have giggled our way through two hours of The Justin Bieber Experience on the plane. Yes, it pains me to admit that.

Miami customs, security and baggage drop happened un-eventfully, so Anna and I celebrated our return to US soil with sandwiches, french fries and delicious American beer at Chili's. From there we went through security to get back into the American Airlines terminal. Can you just tell me right now what the requirement are to work for airport security? What are the interviews life? If you use the phrase "I hate everyone and everything, ever" is that like an automatic guarantee you get a job? Do the interviewers for the DMV and airport security pull from the same exact pool of applicants? How does it work? And why on earth is it always such a rush? They tell you to get to the airport early, and most people do, so why are we all whipping off shoes, throwing belts into little plastic bins, slamming laptops down in the same plastic bins and holding our breath until we are safely on the other side. Airport security would be so much less stressful if everyone would just calm the hell down. Like, right now.

At the gate I said goodbye to Anna and made my way to my one-hour delayed flight to Chicago. This is after I tried to get on the earlier flight but couldn't because it was against policy to switch someone with checked bags. Even if said person offers to pick up their bags at the airport the next day. Awesome.

Finally on the flight to Chicago I settled into 17A next to 17B. Looked a little like a 65 year-old crazy college math professor so I figured he was a pretty normal dude. Turns out he was a clear-his-throat-every-five-minutes-while-reading-Chelsea-Handler's-My-Horizontal-Life-on-an-iPad dude. WHAT? So it was a fun flight. During which I missed my connecting flight to Minnesota.

Chicago to Miami at sunset.

Midwestern sunsets :)

Arriving in Chicago around 8:30 PM I expected to get on the later flight to MSP. The airport was almost deserted by 9 PM and I got a bit nervous walking through the empty terminal where I landed. No worries. Upon arrival at the American Airlines affiliate (American Eagle) terminal I found a slew of other delayed passengers. Kind-hearted, Midwestern people who also chose to fly this airline and who were also confused why NO OTHER PLANES WERE DELAYED expect those with American.

Around 10:15 PM they delayed our flight by a half an hour, scheduled to depart at 11:00 PM. Around 10:20 PM they delayed our flight another hour, scheduled to depart at 11:55 PM. I made my way to the counter to inquire if our flight might actually depart sometime that night. The agent told me she had "the highest hopes we would leave that night". Helpful. When asked why the plane was delayed she told me our pilot was not scheduled to arrive in Chicago until 11:30 PM. So to clarify, prior to 10:15 PM our pilot was going to be in Chicago in time to leave fifteen minutes later, but six minutes later we discovered he will not be there for another SEVENTY-FIVE MINUTES?

Around midnight our plane backed away from the gate to prepare for our departure as my seat-mate in 16B screamed loudly into her cell phone trying to communicate what terminal we were due to arrive at. I might have shed some tears before settling in to finish 41 minutes of the Grey's Anatomy season finale.

Thank God my friend Liz was there, high heels and all, to greet me as I arrived to the MSP baggage claim at 1:30 AM. I have never been to happy to feel the Minnesota ground beneath my feet.

This is home.

Let's get started summer 2011 :)


sts said...

i think the best part is the old man reading chelsea handler. sorry it was so crazy.

Bethany said...

I have to admit I laughed at the Chelsea Handler reader as well. Too funny. I'm glad you made it back to US soil safely! :)

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