14 hours in Hell

Does it matter who said we had the guest house “all day”? No. But when we found out check out was at 10 and our flight 10 hours later, my man scrambled into action and found us an earlier flight within minutes. We barely had time to say our goodbyes before we were sitting at gate #5. I’m not a nervous traveler but I became one when our boarding time 11:15 turned into 11:35 and our young, friendly but obviously inexperienced customer service rep said there was something wrong with our tickets, made us wait until the standby’s were ALL on the plane, told us she had to close the door and then  watched our plane disappear. I have to give her props for coming back through the same fucking door that was between me and this purgatory of an airport, to see four very pissed off travelers

shocked that the plane was gone but we weren’t. We walk the 200 yards back to the ticket desk, looking for the bleached blonde black woman who sold us out tickets and she’s conveniently “on break”. My new friend Michele and I watched as our spouses fought valiantly for some kind of satisfaction. We barely got an “I’m sorry” from any of the four, yes four, agents who matched the four of us. We got tickets for the next flight to…Chicago!

Boarding time 4:15, 4:30, 4:45 comes and goes, no plane. 5:00 here comes the plane. It’s a small, 50 seater. We’re in the last seats next to the toilet. 5;15,5;30,5:45. We’re still on the tarmac. It’s getting hot. I’m making my fellow passengers laugh and all seems ok. But not for my man. It feels like someone just turned up the heat, we’re at the back of the (air) bus and it’s 1959. There’s no AC because the pilot was late and we’re last in the queue for gas and we can’t get any AC cause the battery needs to be recharged and then  my man who’s somewhat claustrophobic, is ripping off his jacket and struggling to breathe, is having an anxiety attack.

We arrive at O’Hare at 7:15. Our connecting flight is at 7:40. We’re still on the plane at 7:50. We get to the gate, next flight 8:45. It is what it is. We get something to eat, have a drink and pay $67 for the privilege. Same gate number, different airport. Flight delayed 60 minutes due to bad weather.

You know when you’re in the grocery line and you see an opening and you switch lines then something goes wrong and it’s too late to switch back to your original line? Life lesson #468: don’t try to change a future you can’t predict. Stay in your line.

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