The Trip to the East

I had two and a half hours to wait for the flight that was to take me part of the way home. The original departure time was 2:27PM PDT. About 1:30PM I stopped reading my book and began staring out the glass where the plane should be but was not. The American Airlines employee who had checked me in about two hours previous came up the outside access to the jet way eating an ice cream cone. She was almost finished with it when she came through the door.

When she got inside the terminal she logged into her terminal and poked at it. As happens in every airport I have ever been in three or four people queued up to ask questions that she could not answer. I listened to one gentleman complain about a probable missed connection that was going to happen in DFW (Dallas-Ft. Worth). She assured him that they would probably be okay but if they wanted to change their flights they would have to go to the customer service desk. She could do nothing there at the gate.

I listened to another young woman complain about not being compensated for not being able to back in time to work the next day. This is something I would never think about complaining to an airlines employee about. Perhaps she was very junior in her company and was trying to prove her toughness. As she told her story it became apparent that she had changed her schedule at the last minute and since there was no plane actively boarding she and her companion were going to have to go to work with two hours sleep. This was an unimportant nuance and the gate attendant cleverly passed that ball off to customer service. She did not reply with – you should have stuck with the earlier flight, dimwit – like I might have done late in the afternoon of a long day.

My phone made its little text message noise. This was there:

My first thought was, you can’t fool me. If I accept your challenge to reschedule my flight I’ll be in the same boat and out on a limb with the young woman going to work with two hours sleep and I am retired. Besides, being the seasoned traveler that I am, I had a change of underwear in my little duffel bag I carry when traveling. Many years previous I had the unwanted experience of being trapped in Nebraska in January 150 miles from the airport waiting for my bag to catch up with me. It did eventually and no harm no foul but for awhile I was going to get two days out of the clothes I had on me. I told myself, never again. For ever after I had a change of clothes in my briefcase when traveling. Later, my briefcase became a backpack because it doubled as my laptop case but you get the idea.

And DFW has a hotel built into the terminals. It is a Hyatt. The plane did land a little after 2PM and the ground crew did turn it around in about 45 minutes. Off we went to DFW maybe 35 minutes behind schedule.

After three hours of reading my book and a scrumptious cheese and fruit plate chased by a Coke in first class or business class (Did I mention I sat in the front of the bus the whole trip?), I chatted with the young woman in the seat next to me as she finished her third vodka tonic. She let me out to find the head and when I returned I chatted with the cabin steward who had taken the time to learn my name before asking me if I wanted a turkey sandwich or a cheese plate. I told him that I probably would miss my flight to CVG. He said he would check for me and find the gate before I left the plane. At least I would have a fighting chance of getting to the gate for the plane to CVG. About 20 minutes later we landed.

I awakened my phone to report my cross country progress to my daughter. Then came:

When we pulled up to our gate, there was no one to drive the jet way over to the plane. After about ten minutes a duel trained gate attendant appeared to drive the jet way. DFW was having a bad day.

As I left the airplane, Alex told me my next flight was delayed so I should be okay. I thanked him for his great service and left to ride the mini-train that transports you around DFW. As one can see the flight was delayed a second time and they had to find a different gate. This reminds me of a different story about DFW in the early 1980’s. In a different life I was coming here every week for about four months. It seemed like we often had to wait for a gate to open up or the pilot drove to a different gate.

Eventually we boarded and went to Cincinnati. As we landed there the guy across the aisle complained to me that the steward and stewardess were chatting too loud and he was unable to enjoy his movie peacefully. I suppose lots of things will annoy you if you let them. I suppose his earbuds did not fit tight enough or he was ticked off because Amanda got them to put their shit in the overhead because they were in a bulkhead seat like I was.

My wonderful son, Scott picked me up at the airport.

About 2AM I got home.