It all started on the evening of Thursday May 10th, I boarded my flight (United 0509) from
The 3 hours with Judy on the LGA tarmac caused me to miss my connecting flight in
My quest for help did not go well. I couldn’t find an information booth with anyone manning it and the United ticket counter was a ghost town. I decided to call United but the only number I had was for reservations where a nice Indian lady told me that she could not help me with anything other than booking future travel with United. Since I couldn’t imagine willingly purchasing another United flight anytime soon and since sleeping on the cold tile of the airport baggage claim area was fast seeming a likely scenario I asked to speak to her supervisor who offered to transfer me to customer service. I agreed to this and was greeted with a message informing me that United lets their customer service reps go home at 7:00pm (much like all of their American employees it would seem – I imagine you too were snug in bed or out at some late night haunt drinking away your troubles). I’m a latte drinking east coast liberal so I’m all for workers rights including letting everyone go home in time to spend an hour pondering how Ian Zeiring turned into such a hunk-a-roony while watching Dancing with the Stars (seriously, Luke Perry can eat it, I’m signing up for a hearty dose of Steve Sanders booty.) so I tried to suppress my anger, but by this point even a heavy dose of Paxil wouldn’t have put me into a mellow mood. I decided that I was defeated and had no choice but to go to a hotel and return to the airport in the morning. I located the bank of hotel phones and started dialing… 3 calls in I found out that a huge convention was in town and all hotel rooms were occupied. This is when the last vestige of my optimism jumped ship. Because I am, perhaps, a bit stunted in my emotional development, or because I am just lucky enough to have been born with awesomely supportive parents who totally want me to call them when shit like this happens I decided to call my mom. In retrospect this may have been a bad decision. I think I would have been able to resist bawling in the middle of the deserted baggage claim area if I had not had my mom on the line telling me how angry and worried she was for me. Once I got off the phone and stopped my crying I was able to locate one lonely late night United employee in the lost baggage department. She gave me a voucher for a discounted hotel stay and pointed me to the courtesy phone where I found out that the only hotel with an opening was in some town called Parker 30+ miles away and did not have an airport shuttle. Despite the sign above the courtesy phone claiming rates as low as “$37/night” I would be paying $89+tax.
I found the taxi line and began my long journey to Parker Colorado with my Kenyan cabbie friend who did not speak much English but was able to inform me that there were no cabs in Parker so come morning I was going to be screwed (again). Luckily he offered to come back at 5:45am. After about 45mins on the road we arrived at the hotel where I shelled out my first monetary payment for United’s travel fuck up.
CASH LOST SO FAR: $75
This was, of course, quickly followed by paying for the hotel room – unsurprisingly “discount” in United speak means “still very expensive.”
CASH LOST SO FAR: $175
I slept for 5 hours before the cabbie arrived 30mins early and called me. I was annoyed but I tried to be nice since he was kind enough to drive back out to the middle nowhere to get me to the airport. So back we went and again I paid an insane amount because United is incapable of providing me with the services that I paid for.
CASH LOST SO FAR: $250
I did finally make it to Vegas and was rewarded with some good times. Lest you think that I am a dirty dirty sinner bound for Vegas to further bring down the moral fiber of America let me assure you that I was headed there to visit family, not to gamble, drink and paw at strippers. The picture on the left should serve as proof of this claim – I’m on the right wearing my bathing suit. I look pretty hot but can hardly compete with the insane cuteness of 21 month old Delanie. After my very bumpy transportation experience the trip was a success. My dad fed money into poker machines for me and I managed to win $50, I tried Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy ice cream for the first time and declared it too busy but still ate the entire scoop (for it is a great sin to waste ice cream), my cousin Miquela successfully graduated from UNLV and I successfully completed two crossword puzzled while marveling over the speed at which the sign language translators had to move their fingers while signing the names of over 1000 graduates. All too soon I was back at the
The May 13th morning flight from
I sometimes worry that as I’ve grown older I have less and less control over my tear ducts. As a teenager I used to laugh at my mother for crying over burnt dinner, cute babies and Kleenex commercials but lately I suspect I might be able to beat her in a sob off. I tried to be tough when talking to the customer service rep, I tried to look angry and mean and important as I demanded compensation for my being stuck in
I had hoped that my overnight stay would at least allow me the pleasure of getting to know
CASH LOST SO FAR: $260
You would think that a Super Walmart would have something worth snacking on. Some cut up fruit perhaps? A salad bar? sushi? Nope, nope and hahahahaha. I was also hoping that Sam Walton would provide me with access to some booze, unfortunately
CASH LOST SO FAR: $273
At the hotel I learned a lot about the evils of Paris Hilton from CNN and Nancy Grace who were devoting an entire hour of programming to talking about how ridiculous it is that the media devotes so much time to talking about Paris Hilton. After a couple of much too sweet alcoholic limeades I decided it was time for some Asian dinner. The restaurant would only deliver orders of $12 or more so I was forced to get an appetizer (steamed pork dumplings) and an entrée (kung pao chicken) both of which were uniformly awful –I do not recommend unspecific ethnic food purchased from strip mall restaurants in the middle of the country. I do however, recommend the gin and tonics available at the Red Roof Inn in
CASH LOST SO FAR: $286
(In the spirit of good will I’ve excluded the gin and tonics from this tally)
It’s Monday evening now and after a day of working from the desk in my hotel room (the tuna was surprisingly edible) I’m finally on a plane bound for New York City. Assuming we don’t crash or get diverted back to