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'I've taken this boat many places. Miami. Tokyo. Denver.'

I had a whole lot of stuff to write about my wonderful trip to San Francisco (a bajillion years ago) and the not-so-wonderful travel in order to get there, but there's just too much to say and not enough time to write it all. I will try to do it bit by bit rather than writing it all in one go, and return to the land of the blogging. Jday, you win!

Thursday, March 20

I set off for the airport several hours early, with the idea that as long as I was going for a long drive to the airport, I could make that drive a little longer and do some shopping. In case you haven't heard already, I live in a cornfield and the nearest mall is about 45 minutes away, so any time I am going anywhere near The Big City of Cincinnati or Dayton, I like to take advantage of shopping opportunities.

It was a good thing that I left myself so much time, because as I was driving in a vaguely airport/shopping-esque direction, my car started shaking and shuddering and my check-engine light started flashing on and off. I pulled the car over to the side of the road, shaking a bit myself, called AAA for a tow truck, then waited and speculated about how I would get to the airport, got stressed out, cried, and waited some more. Finally the tow truck came and I asked to be taken to the closest garage. At the garage, I explained my situation and asked to use their Yellow Pages, and called the first number under "airline shuttles."

"Which day would you like to go to the airport?" they asked.

"Um... now," I whimpered. They couldn't do it. I stressed out some more. The guys at the garage mentioned that there used to be "this old colored fella" who drove people to the airport but they couldn't remember if he was still doing that or what his number was. Do people still use that term? Apparently in Middletown they do! And apparently in Middletown your race is relevant to your airport-transportation abilities. Whatever. I didn't have time to fight that battle, especially when my car's life was in their hands. My dream self would have been disappointed in me for not standing up for my beliefs. Anyway, the second number I called said that they could come pick me up in 25 minutes. 35 minutes later, I called again and they said they'd be there in less than 10 minutes. 15 minutes later they arrived: a man and a woman in an unmarked van, who asked for my $70 cash (good thing I'd gone to the bank!) up front. After I got into the van and paid my cash and was informed that they'd take back roads rather than I-75 because it was faster to get to the airport that way, I started thinking, "Wow. I just got into an unmarked van with these people (one of whom is all beardy and looks like a kidnapper) and no one knows where I am. Hope I don't die!"

I didn't die, and I even made it to the airport on time. I flew from Dayton to Denver, which didn't look anything like I expected it to.

I expected Denver to look like this:

What I Thought Denver Was Going to Look Like

But it looked like this:

What Denver Looked Like

As we were pulling into the gate and they announced that cell phones could be used, I overheard the girl in the seat in front of me talking to her uncle about how her flight to San Francisco had been delayed.

"Are you on the 6:00 flight to San Francisco?" I asked.

"Yeah, but I just heard it's been delayed until 8:30," she replied.

I thought, 'That can't be right! That's a really long time!' She had never flown before, so we joined together to navigate the airport and fight the system. Sure enough, the Departures screen listed the 6pm flight as delayed until 8:30. Meanwhile, the 7pm and 8pm flights were untouched! We went to the desk for the 7pm flight to ask to be changed to either the 7:00 or 8:00 flights, and were informed that we couldn't be moved because we'd checked luggage. This was around 5:30 or so. Around this time the flight was further delayed to 9:30. We went and had some dinner, then got in the Customer Service line to see what we could get out of the delay. Once we finally got to the front of the line, we found out that the actual policy was that you could only be moved to another flight with 2 hours notice, so we could have been moved to the 8pm flight when we'd asked about it before 6pm, and that guy was just a jerk. Yeah, thanks, United! We were offered meal vouchers but we'd already eaten, so we got $50 travel certificates instead. Yawn. I would like to say "Well, that's not of any use to me, because I'm NEVER FLYING YOUR AIRLINE AGAIN!" but the truth is, that's the sort of treatment and service I expect from any airline nowadays, and I'll always fly whoever's cheapest.

Anyway, I finally got to San Francisco around 11:30pm, thereby missing the delicious dinner plans Cari had made. Fortunately, she arrived with a strawberry cream puff for me, my first introduction to the delicious Bay Area cuisine that was to be the main focus of the trip!

srah - Thursday, 3 April 2008 - 5:30 PM
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Comments (6)

gravatar Amy - April 3, 2008 - 6:36 PM -

I'm glad you made it! That story was even worse than what I imagined from what you mentioned at lunch.

gravatar Cheryl - April 4, 2008 - 8:42 AM -

That United man was a liar. Who cares that you checked baggage - it wasn't just that you were trying to get on another flight just because, you were trying to get on another flight because they were stupid. You wouldn't have gotten your luggage immediately, but you would have gotten there!

Also, I have used the "I WILL NEVER FLY WITH YOU AGAIN THING" before. In fact, I like to. :)

gravatar srah - April 4, 2008 - 8:51 AM -

They claim that they can't let you fly on a different flight than your luggage (unless it's their fault because they lost/misplaced, I guess), Because Of Terrorism. Because Of Terrorism is a very handy excuse.

gravatar jday - April 4, 2008 - 3:50 PM -

Yay for winning (and having something to do at work!) I lurve new posts...

gravatar Noor - April 4, 2008 - 6:06 PM -

We did a similar thing with the fitster crew when we flew united home from Montreal. They made us leave the secure area, talk to an agent, that agent called somebody or something and moved our luggage to the earlier flight, we went back through security, and then flew standby on the earlier flight.

It is possible just a pain in the ass if you checked luggage.

More reasons why I avoid checking luggage.

gravatar moe - April 8, 2008 - 12:15 AM -

I was in Denver once. I did NOT see the appeal. Brown grass and brown brick houses and people walking around in puffy jackets with chapped faces. I don't remember it being FLAT but that was a long time ago and perhaps the weather has eroded it, or something. MORE DRAWINGS. They are most edifying. Did you get to Oakland on your trip? Will you be posting about it?

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