Saturday, August 15, 2009

My 48 hour trip to nowhere- part 3 NY city, a turn of events

AUGUST 6

5:50 pm
The American Airlines supervisor led me to a more private ticket counter. She took me to a clerk and began to speak to her in some sort of ticket counter code. The instrucctions were short, mean and confusing. There was a short squabble in true New York style that also left the clerk in tears. She was tougher than me, though, since none of her tears rolled down her face.

As she typed away at her little screen I began to collect the clues of my destiny. The airline was going to send me home, but not immediately. She asked if I wanted to spend the night in New York or in Dallas, since I would not be able to fly in to Mcallen that same day.

I had always wanted to see New York, but not like this. It was scary to be stranded in one of the worlds most important cities without having a single clue as to where I was going, how I was going to get there and how to pay for whatever I needed.


Being much more familiar with Texas (location wise and culture wise) I decided to fly to Dallas spend the night, and fly out to Mcallen in the Morning. Besides, it wouldnt be the first time an airline has sent me to spend the night in a Dallas hotel due to a missed flight. It happened once before, when I missed my anniversary with Isaac, but that's another story entirely.


As she typed and typed, more clues to my future were revealed. I was to have courtesy meals and courtesy taxis.


Taxis?

Yes. I asked that too. My flight to Dallas left from New York, but not from the same airport. I was to catch a cab to an airport called "La Guardia" and zoom directly to my gate in a near miss schedule.

The clerk handed me about a million tickets and vouchers and pointed me in the direction of a cab. The redness in my face was already fading and my eyes were finally dry. I thanked the clerk wholeheartedly and she gave me a very short, but tearful smile. She knew I really meant it.

"You see," the supervisor shouted halfway across the room "I'm not really that mean!"




7:05 PM
With my new tickets in hand I walked the streets of New York for a second time, only this time with more confidence. I stood and waited for the cab that had been ordered for me by the airline.

7:10 PM
I began to wonder if I was standing in the right place. Not having one minute to waste, I decided to dash back in and ask if I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. As I walked through the sliding doors a man in front of me pointed down at the floor

"Look!" he said, as he and his suitcase rolled away

I looked down and saw a bunch of dollar bills rolled up. A closer look revealed a hundred dollar bill, neatly tucked inside.

"Hey!" I called out to the man, "that's a lot of money!"

He turned back with a look of "WHAT THE CRAP DID I LET GO" and continued to rush forward. I looked around to see if anyone was looking for missing money, but everyone was hustling about. I picked up the money and turned to the security guards. They too, were in their own world. I looked around for the candid camera crew. There was nobody. Nobody to claim the money. Nobody looking for money. Nothing.

I put it in my pant p0cket and hurried through to get the information I needed. It turned out that I was in the right place.

7:12 PM
I hoped in a cab and headed off to La Guardia airport. With a moment to finally look, I took out the money from my pocket and counted it. I had $135 dollars in cash, a ticket to go home and meal vouchers for the time in between.


It was a joy to see the streets of New York from a cab. I felt like such a strong, independant woman- regarldess of the baby I had been thirty minutes ago. I was a New Yorker, if only for half an hour.

Yes. I believed it.

7:45 PM
I arrived to the airport and headed straight for the security checkpoint. After the routine groping I darted off to my gate. I arrived with twenty minutes to spare. For the first time in a day and a half- I HAD A MOMENT TO SPARE!!!


I headed straight for the bathroom. A BATHROOM! HA! Next, I bought myself a sandwich. It was mozzeralla with basil and tomatoes. I even had a coke, something I have ditched since my weightloss plan.


Yes. It was glorious.





8:20 PM
A boarding call was made and I was actually THERE to hear it. I picked up my beat up carry one and went straight to the line. I was getting closer to home.




Stick around for part 4, because YES- this story keeps getting weird.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My 48 hour trip to nowhere- Part 2 Stranded in New York


AUGUST 6


5PM

I started looking for a way to go back home, but American Airlines was my original flight. The problem was that they had connected me with Delta Airlines from LA to New York and Berlin (eventually). After speaking with four clerks and one supervisor, I was instructed to LEAVE the terminal so that I could get on a "sky train (glorified name for some outdoor trans system)" and head to the American Airlines ticket counter.

The airport was humongous and I really got lost in it. As I circled and ran through the airport, I kept receiving calls from Isaac, all the way from Berlin.

"Honey I'm so sorry this is happening! How are you feeling?"

Well, it only takes a couple of words from a caring husband to make me bawl. He kept asking me for the latest information, too. All I knew was that

1. I was lost.
2. I was deliberately leaving my plane and now-
3. I was crying.

I eventually found the street that led to the "sky train" and crossed it like a total idiot-not knowing the designated crossing zone. I boarded that and headed to the American Airlines terminal.


5:40Pm

I arrived to the American Airlines ticket counter, where after much deliberation I was directed to the supervisor. She was a woman of African or Caribbean dissent. Her face looked like a stone carving.

I proceeded to tell her my story, about all the flight messes and how I hadn't slept or eaten in 24 hours, and how now I had a death in the family and needed to return. She looked at me with hard eyes and tight lips and a face full of mockery

"AND?!"

"um.... I just told you my story. I need to go home. I need the airline to fix the errors and send me home."

"Your flight got changed 'cuz of weather. The airline is not responsible for that."
"Yes. But I was sent to Los Angeles and left to sleep on the floor."

"That was YOUR choice," She said unmercifully. "You CHOSE to get on that plane and now you have to deal with the consequences of your decision!"

"But I was given eight minutes to run across the airport and catch the flight! I had no further information and I had to run to make it before the gate closed!"

"AND?!" Again with the mocking look.

I was already on the emotional edge, and Isaac's phone calls had made me very vulnerable. I broke. I cried.

"Why are you being so mean to me? I need a solution! I have to go back and I cant buy another ticket! I need a refund or some other way. Im not even going to Berlin anymore."

By now the other workers began to tease the supervisor.

"You're mean!" they chanted right in front of me "Look! You made her cryyy!"


The supervisor's eyes circled around at her coworkers. Her gaze finally fell on me. She had a different look.

"Come with me," she said.



And yes, it gets- WEIRDER. Stick around for part 3

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My 48 hour trip to nowhere

This is a narration to my disastrous trip to "Berlin (haha)"

August 5

5PM

I arrived at my gate and waited for my flight from Mcallen to Dallas Texas to start boarding.

6 PM
An announcer informed us that severe weather in Dallas would delay our boarding time half an hour.

6:30 PM
Add another half hour to the wait

7:00 PM
Boarded at last.

7:45 PM
As we flew in circles above Dallas, the captain announced that we would circle for 45 minutes more. The airport was having issues. My connecting flight to London was going to board at 8:30. By now, I was sure I missed it.

9:00 PM
We finally arrived. Too late for me. Chaos all over Dallas airport. Everyone was running, yelling and crowding. All the employees were surrounded by dozens of panicked travelers.

9:30PM
Finally got to talk to an employee. She didnt want to help. I asked her to please look up my international flight, since it was nowhere to be seen. She grudgingly typed the info on her screen.

"Dallas to London ALL DONE! GONE!" she shouted at me and left me there to rot.


10:30 PM
I finally got another employee to help. She told me that I had been re-routed to Los Angeles and that the flight had been boarding for five minutes already. I had only 8 minutes to get halfway across the Dallas airport and reach my gate before the plane took off. With no time for questions, I raced in a panic.

10:39 PM
I got there as they were preparing to close the gates. They let me in and flew me three hours in the opposite direction of my destination- Los Angeles. I discovered that my next flight would not be until the following morning.

11:30PM (LA time)
I arrived and everything was closed. I was thirsty as heck since Dallas (from all that running), and there was not one store open. I also hadnt eaten all day.

12:00 AM
I texed my sister who lives in LA. I hadnt seen her in 3 years.

I said "whatcha doing?"

She responded "working"

"Oh man, that sux. Im here in LA for 7 hours"

She freaked and moved heaven earth and sky to come to the airport and see me.



AUGUST 6


12:10 AM
Looking for a source of water, an airport employee decided to take up my cause and help me get some. He took me into a store that had already closed and demanded they sell me some water. They strongly denied, saying the register was closed. Both got really agressive with each other and fought really ugly as I just stood there.

"Dont worry, Ill just drink from a fountain. I think I saw one out there," I said.

But they ignored me and continued to fight about me. Finally, the manager agreed to sell me her own bottle of water for three dollars (it was a huge bottle). She had her name writen all over it, but it had been unopened. Her name was DITA

1:00 AM
I looked for a quiet corner to sleep. When I had made myself at "home" some employes arrived to vaccum. I forced myself to sleep through it.

2:45 AM
I awoke with a call from my sister. She was there. I jumped out of there and left the secure area as I met her downstairs. We walked for nearly an hour looking for a place to eat. Nothing was open so we ended up at the baggage claim and caught up on years of each other's lives.

5:00 AM
Back through security and headed to my gate- LA-New York. I made a friend. She was a local from Berlin. The interesting part is that she was also from Taiwan, but had lived in Berlin for quite a while. She and I talked and talked about family, culture, and of course, Berlin. We even went to the bathroom together.

7:00AM
Boarded for New York.

4:40 PM (NY time)
As the plane taxied I turned on my phone. I got a call from mother in law. She told me her mother had passed away. Mother in law was going to take care of Katy through my trip in europe. She asked me if I wanted her to take Katy with her to the funeral or if I wanted to come back. (of course I would come back. She needed to be free to mourn her own mother)


.... to be continued.... It gets weirder and weirder.

Monday, August 3, 2009