Saturday, February 16, 2008

the joys of air travel

My cousin Amber and I flew out to Utah together for Grandpa's funeral. Because we bought tickets at the last minute and they were one way tickets (we flew into Vegas so we could be in St George for the Funeral and out of Salt Lake so we could be there for the burial), we were apparently a high security risk. In order to pass through security in Philly we had to submit to a pat down and a close inspection of our bags. Other than a little bit of a wait, it wasn't too bad. The flight to Las Vegas was pretty standard and no problem..
However, on our way out of Salt Lake we discovered the true joy of flying. Honestly, I think the airlines get a perverse sense of enjoyment out of making it as complicated as possible for us. I received a call at 5am the morning we were to return to Philly. The message on my phone informed me that our flight had been cancelled and that we would be flying on Delta instead of USAir on a later flight. Ok, no problem. So when we got to the airport and checked in at Delta, after waiting in a really long line, they had no record of us and no tickets. They sent me back to USAir to have them reprint the original tickets so Delta could issue us our new tickets. This was fine except it meant I had to leave the terminal, go outside, and walk to the other terminal to find USAir. Oh Joy! It was only like 15 degrees outside.
Anyway, we finally resolved the ticketing issue (we were now flying through LA instead of Phoenix on the way to Philly) and then came the security check in. At security, after we survived the gargantuan line, we presented tickets to the guy and he let out a little laugh. "Oh, you two are special. Just go over to the guy in the purple sweater and he will show you where to go for the body cavity search." I let out a little laugh, hoping he was joking. The guy in the purple sweater sent us through one of those air puffer systems (the only other one I have ever encountered was at the Statue of Liberty, but whatever) and another guy went through our stuff. He tested my shoes, camera, wallet, purse, and bag for bomb making materials. He flipped through the pages of my books (all 6 of them), pulled everything out of my purse, went through my wallet, and searched through my jewelery bag. Basically anything that could be unzipped or rifled through, this guy did it. And this was AFTER my bags had been x-rayed. It was almost comical how thorough he was. It made me glad that I had checked my bag that held the empty bullet casing from the 21 gun salute at Grandpa's funeral.
The Los Angeles Airport was its own kind of nightmare. When we arrived we could not find our flight to Philly listed on any of the monitors. Our tickets said Delta on them. Nobody in this entire process thought to tell us that when we got to LA we would be switching back to USAir. Anyway, once a Delta rep explained that to us in condescending tones she explained that we had to leave the terminal and take a shuttle bus to terminal 1 for USAir. That meant another trip through security as well. Oh goody!
Luckily, we survived security with no special treatment, were able to find a sandwich for under $10 (it was $9.95), and get to our gate on time.
I think next time I will fly Southwest.


PA Wakefields said...

This is very big incentive to stay home or drive :)

Danielle said...

Look at the bright side-at least you didn't have to do that all with your kids!

yamsey said...

So true! I enjoyed laughing, sympathetically, at the predicaments some of the parents' on our flights were suffering through. I'm glad it wasn't me!

International Tease said...

Indeed. It's amazing to me that flying has become much more expensive and infinitely less pleasant in the last couple of years!!! It's gotten to the point that post-holiday gatherings seem to ALWAYS include airline horror stories of some sort...