Saturday, March 03, 2007

Delta Delta Delta...

...couldn't help ya, help ya, help ya.

We (the goofball consultant and I) worked back-to-back 14 hour days on Monday & Tuesday, just to ensure getting out by 5:00 PM on Wednesday. We were successful. I hit the back roads of rural, western South Carolina at 4:50 PM, and pointed the rental car (2006 Ford Taurus--for us--it's an American car--I remember that slogan) towards ATL.

Due to a series of unfortunate events, namely the striking ability of coffee to spur my bladder into overdrive, causing an otherwise unnecessary stop at a rest area on I-20, I arrived at the vicinity of the Atlanta airport at 8:00 PM. No chance of returning the rental car, taking the shuttle to the airport terminal, clearing security, and attempting stand-by for an 8:20 chance at all. So, it was straight to the Marriott: park, check in, and collapse in Room 111.

Thursday, I awoke at 4:45 AM, showered, dressed, and double-checked the room for any remaining unpacked possessions. Checked out, filled up the gas tank on the rental (Taurus--for us--it's an American car), filled up my "gas tank" at Waffle House, and had the rental car (Taurus--for us--it's an American car) dropped off by 6:15 AM.

Things continued with smashing success as I was shuttled almost immediately over to the terminal, checked right in and handed my boarding pass, cleared security without a hitch (I'd remembered to pack my "BUSH SUCKS" t-shirt, as opposed to wearing it), and worked my way to Gate Ctwentysomething before 7:00 AM. My flight was scheduled for a 9:18 AM departure. Life was grand.

Three delays of "estimated departure time" (to 10:08, 10:43, and 11:44, respectively) and two gate changes later, my flight was canceled "due to lightning strike." It was 11:15 AM. I was directed to go to the Delta phone bank at C24 (I think it was C24), and get my rescheduling processed. I was placed on standby for the next available direct flight at 2:43 PM. I had lunch at the airport Chili's.

The 2:43 PM flight underwent 3 gate changes, but was only delayed until 3:00 PM. Oh, on the downside, they were "unable to accommodate" standbys. Those motherfuckers. Back to the phone bank--I was now scheduled for the next available flight, then showing as an 8:43 PM departure. I was promised that I had a seat assignment (seat 10B to be precise). Now, it was just a matter of avoiding those dastardly lightning strikes.

No gate changes for the 8:43 PM flight!!! However, there were plenty of delays: 9:20, 10:11, 10:25. They finally boarded us at 10:30 PM. Then we sat...and sat...and then finally backed out...and sat...and then moved forward about 20 feet then stopped...and sat. The pilot was kind enough to finally offer the following explanation: "Folks, this is your captain speaking." That part always reminds me of the old Grand Funk Railroad song (I'm your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...). "Very sorry about the delay, but we're working our way up one of two main approaches to this runway for take-off. Counting lights, I'd say we're behind about 20 to 25 planes. Air traffic has slowed things down to one take-off every 2 or 3 minutes. I suppose you can do the math on that, and say we have another 45 minutes to an hour before take-off." Gasps of shock, horror and/or indignation were clearly audible throughout the cabin. The captain continued, "Not sure why they've slowed things down. Most of the severe weather has moved south and east of here. All the planes on this side of the airport are headed north and west. Totally out of our hands, though." Gee, I guess storming the cockpit is out. Actually, I didn't even think that. I just this very minute had an irresistible urge to type "cockpit."

The lady next to me said, snottily, "This flight was supposed to take-off at 8:43." Mentally, I bitch slapped her with my I've-been-in-the-airport-for-16-hours, exhausted and limp dick. In reality, I forced a polite grin and nod (perhaps a slight grunt of solidarity). I prayed for some leftover Waffle House gas with which to anoint her all-too-entitled nostrils. Alas, none was forthcoming.

Eventually, we did take off, and the flight was uneventful enough to allow for some Haahnster cat naps. The approach to our final destination was somewhat adventurous, however. The wind was so strong that upon final descent, we were buffeted about like my aforementioned limp dick during the running of a nude marathon. Ms. Entitled, seated next to me, screamed, "What's the deal?!" The fear of an inevitable crash and subsequent exploding ball of flames was palpable. My thoughts were "just land or crash, but for chrissakes, don't divert."


Blogger Grant Miller said...

Thank you for mentally bitch slapping that lady. I'll do the same.

9:56 AM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Anyway, that's why Hartsfield is a veritable shopping mall.

12:24 PM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger haahnster said...

GM: Excellent! She richly deserves it.

OL: It felt more like a homeless shelter to me, as everyone tried to stake out their own precious few square inches of real estate, dragging all their worldy possessions behind them every step of the way, including into and out of the bathrooms...

1:37 PM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger Beth said...

If only you had called, I could have taken you to some amazing food spots in my town ...

5:08 PM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger haahnster said...

Beth: I did call. But, as I do not have your number, I was reduced to merely calling out your name (Beth...Beth...Behhhhhh-th) throughout the airport.

Pitiful, really.

5:30 PM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger Beth said...

None of the airport folks directed you? Bastards know my number; they're used to the calls.

Oh, and ... TAGGED!

7:04 PM, March 05, 2007  

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