Bad Days

The big travel day yesterday, it turns out, wasn’t already complicated enough. When Pippa and I got to Delta’s check-in kiosks at Logan, we noted that our flight was delayed, and we were instructed to go to Kiosk Assistance. At Kiosk Assistance, the booking agent explained to us that, No, our flight had been cancelled and there were no seats on routes to Raleigh-Durham until Tuesday morning. After some quiet beseeching and some telephonic consultation with other agents, we settled for tickets to La Guardia at 10:30 Monday morning, and from one Delta terminal to another (“My daughter does it all the time, it’s only ten minutes”), thence to RDU departing at 1:15. We were rescued from indigence by the saintly Taylor-Coolmans, who picked us up in the cold rain and dropped us off this morning… in more cold rain.
 
After Boyd dropped us off, we made our way into the terminal, where we hunkered down till our gate agents announced time to board. Forty-five minutes late.
 
We landed in La Guardia and scooped up our luggage (can’t check it through), asked the baggage manager to call the other gate to let them know we were racing to get there. She declined, but offered the advice to take a taxi (“It’s just five bucks”) rather than wait for the bus (which bus presumably takes ten minutes terminal-to-terminal — once it gets to you to pick you up). We ran out to see whether the shuttle was there (it wasn’t), and I dashed over to the taxi stand to point to where poor, tired, miserably uncomfortable Pippa was standing with the luggage. “I can’t send a taxi over there,” the taxi agent said; “I’d be responsible, if anything happened.” I staggered back to Pippa, explained, caught my breath, and was about to invite her to head back to the taxi queue with me, when a stray taxi drifted over and gestured that we could have a ride.
 
The ride did take about ten minutes, maybe a few more because of the traffic, but it cost ten dollars rather than five. We were within a half-hour of scheduled departure. We checked our bags at the curb, ran into the terminal, tried to get boarding passes — and the kiosk directed us to Kiosk Assistance. Pippa stepped up to the line, while I sought out a line agent. He looked over our paperwork and explained that we could get into the security line with what we have, that we’d get full boarding passes at the gate.
 
The security line at La Guardia. . . (I’ll omit description, for Lovecraftian reasons).
 
The security line agent gave us a peremptory gesture and pointed off into space. I begged, “Our plane leaves in fifteen minutes; is there any way we can get through faster?” She snapped, “You’re getting in everyone’s way!” Then, as I asked where I ought to go, she steered us into the “Expert Traveler” line. That was not the very slowest, so I was partly grateful.
 
About sixteen minutes later, Pippa and I got out of the security tangle and sprinted for our gate, me with my sneakers in my hand. We got to the (crowded) gate, and the agent assured us that the plane would be boarding momentarily.
 
Fifteen or twenty minutes later, we descended to tarmac level, took a bus to the plane, boarded the plane, only to be told that our runway was about a half-hour drive away from our gate, and that the flight would be ninety minutes. Although both Pippa and I were entirely worn out and aching, we regarded this as the best situation we’d been in for more than a day.
 
Oh, yeah, while we were waiting, I got an email with some unwelcome vocational news.
 
Our bad luck streak eventually ended; the plane did arrive in Raleigh, and our wonderful friend Sarah came to pick us up so we didn’t have to get a taxi. About an hour and a half ago, we opened the door and greeted Beatrice. I’ve taken a really long, hot, shower. Pippa had a lie-down. I’m counting on feeling better tomorrow.

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. oh, akma, i wish i had something more useful to say to you than “this, too, shall pass” or even “all manner of things will be well”…but then there’s no reason for me to remind you about advent, is there. i do know, even when we know that it will pass, how difficult that waiting is and even so can only remind you anyway, fruitlessly.

  2. The romance and adventure of air travel are things of the distant, and growing more distant each day, past.

    Sorry for your troubles, AKMA. I absolutely hate to fly, and it has nothing to do with fear of flying. It’s perhaps the most de-humanizing thing we do to ourselves voluntarily.

  3. I echo Dave. I remember as a child dressing up to fly, being carted around so that I would never be late, taking a peek in the cockpit and shaking the pilots’ hands. I remember when flying was not like taking a poorly scheduled shuttle bus to some backwater place no one has heard of.

    I am glad that you did eventually arrive home safely and in one piece.

  4. Thanks, friends. Part of my discomfort derived from the bug that Pippa had passed on to me — I went to bed early last night, and sweated out the fever and aches, and am feeling a little better this morning. I could use some food, though, and it will take a lot of persuading to get me to fly Delta again.

  5. I sympathize, I really, really do. I am just glad I didn’t have the cold rain y’all had, and am really glad you made it home in one piece, if tired.

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