Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Delta... Our FAVORITE Airline to Fly!

Today GB and I are off to sunny (I hope) California to see by my bro, bbum and his fambly. Top of our morning, my first look at the weather situation…..90 minute delays on the east coast; 3 HOUR delays at San Francisco. Lovely. However, our flight isn’t until 7 pm this evening so with any luck….

I putter the day away, doing laundry, packing, re-packing, wondering what I’m going to forget because I ALWAYS forget something, re-packing….it’s really better for me to fly early in the day – not that much time to over-think everything. Must admit, though, that this is the first time traveling – ever - I’ve actually gotten a good night’s sleep. When your flight leaves in the evening, it gives you all day long to worry, so you don't have to during the sleepy hours.

Our driver drives us to the airport. It’s maybe a 39 mile drive from our house. We leave 3 hours before our flight; after all, it’s the metro area, rush hour and winter break for every school in the tri-state area. We fly along the interstate until we get about 8 miles from the airport….dead stop….30 minutes for the last 8 miles – but HEY, we were expecting that!

During our drive, I call Delta to find out if the west coast delays have improved. It’s all auto-voice as one would expect these days. I am asked our flight number. I speak it. “I’m sorry,” comes the disembodied voice, “I don’t think I understood what you said.” (These voices always strive to be warm and fuzzy, don’t they?) I repeat myself and am finally told that all is well in the entire universe and our flight is taking off on time. I then say “HELP” as I have another question and that’s what the voice told me to do in the beginning of our ~conversation~ if I did. Voice then comes on giving me three options: "Please say your flight number (did that), or say the departing city (won’t do that – redundant) or PRESS THE # KEY TO END THIS CALL." At that point, of course swearing a blue streak under my breath, I start pounding on the “0” key. Voice finally comes back: “I’m sorry, I wish I could help you. I will now connect you to the next available agent.” (Coulda done that 10 minutes ago, THANK YOU!)

Live agent: “Your flight number please.” (Do you really believe it’s not right there in front of her on her dang computer screen??) Me, sweetly: “I know my flight number, I know it’s on time, I just want to know what the weather is right now in San Fran. and if there are still flight delays.” Agent: “I can’t tell you that without your flight number.” Me: “Ok, it’s 768.” Agent, perkily: “Your flight is leaving and arriving on time!” Me: “______” (speechless) Agent: “Are you there?” Me: Yes – you work for Delta and Delta is flying me to San Fran. Since your airline is flying me to San Fran., do you think you could tell me what the weather is like and what the Delta traffic delays might be now?” Agent: “Why, your flight is on time.” Me: “_________” (speechless…again) After regaining my composure; Me: Please, you MUST know what is going on in San Fran!!” Agent: “Oh no, sorry, my computer only gives me flight information and that is all.” Me: “_________” CLICK. Agent is gone gone gone! My phone would have been as well but the car window was rolled up.

GB and I have a seamless check-in, (that should have clued us in that things would soon be going further downhill), and are walking to the gate when I hear him mutter under his breath, “Damn! I forgot my magazines at home!” At that precise moment I can clearly see the two paperbacks I bought specifically for the 6 hour plane ride sitting on our kitchen table. We go to the ONE AND ONLY KIOSK in the ENTIRE Delta terminal. It is tiny. It only has between 25 and 30 book titles to choose from, the majority of which are some kind of self help stuff. I do not need to learn how to be a beautiful, self-fulfilled bajillionaire for the next 6 hours at 36,000 feet. I need to be entertained and I’ve already read all the gossip mags. Eventually we both find reading material and go to check out. There is ONE PERSON checking everyone out and the credit card machine is broken. Think sloooow. Oh. My. God.

GB hates airline food so I suggest we go to a restaurant, as there's still plenty of time before we board. Aside from Starbucks there are EXACTLY TWO RESTAURANTS in the ENTIRE terminal, and one of them is Burger King with a line at least 30 people deep! We opt for the Sam Adams pub – it’s not as busy so reason it will take less time. Silly us! GB orders a pizza…they are out of pizza. Well then, how about the quesadilla? Sorry that’s out too, and so are the crab cakes and the chili. He becomes totally disgusted and decides to return to the kiosk and buy a dinner of candy bars. (This really isn’t a hardship at all for my GB.)

In the meantime, I order lime-grilled chicken. Time is ticking...and ticking. I still hadn’t gotten my chicken. I overhear the bartender tell one customer the pulled pork takes 25 minutes and another that a take-out salad would be 30 minutes. PEOPLE!! WE'RE IN AN AIRPORT!! THERE ARE PLANES TO CATCH!! THIS IS NOT A FINE DINING EXPERIENCE!! (Point well proved when my insipid chicken finally arrives. It was hot so I ate half of it. Desperation does that to me.) As soon as I gulp it down, I join GB at the kiosk. He is at least 10 people back from the check out. We finally have to give up and leave without getting anything or we would have missed our flight - which we were the very last to board.

We get on, and thankfully the flight isn’t full so we have three very narrow, with no leg room, seats across. (Didn't Delta hear about that customer perk where they remove every third row of seats to offer more LEG ROOM???) Ahhh...It's announcement time. First we're informed that the ventilation isn’t working very well and we might be a wee bit toasty during our flight (MentalM, are you all over that??). Oh yes, the movie screen isn’t working either...matter of fact, the head phones seem to be on the fritz as well...Oh yes, and did we mention there’s an average 55 minute circle time over San Fran. once we get there? Finally? You must purchase anything you want to eat or drink tonight. (Do ya think they should have offered each of us at least one free cocktail??) My God! Nothing was working!

And just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get worse……

“GB, do you hear a cat?” GB looks at me like I’ve gone completely around the bend, never to return. “Yeah right, Ann, I hear a cat!” “No, listen, it’s a CAT!” A look begins to steal over GB’s face and it’s that look we better halves all love so much... That “O sh*t, she’s right!” look. He turnes to me, “And we have to listen to that for six hours???” Ahhhh…..the joys of traveling...you get so much for your money!


P. S. It’s amazing what a little hunger will do to you. GB, because he was famished and the power bar I so generously supplied him with did little to abate his starvation, actually ordered and ate Delta Chef, Todd English’s “Roast Beef Steak Cobb Sandwich”. I nearly fainted when he said it was as good as any sandwich he’s ever had at a deli. He must have been delirious with hunger.


P. P. S. It’s hotter than hell in here!


  1. LOL, please, please don't tell these stories when I'm headed out there on Sunday!!!

  2. Annie-- I am exhausted from reading that. Luckily, we are flying Continental on Sunday on our excellent adventure....And the hot plane? Money back or mutiny, baby. Ain't no way.

  3. "Thank you for flying Delta ladies and gentleman...Just sit back and enjoy the ride"...not!
    Good luck on the flip flop!

  4. It's Friday now and I'm looking out the window at our non-sunny California weather. Hopefully after the experience you've just relayed, the sun does come out for you!

  5. Bwahahahah. I hate flying with hubby. He flies all the time with his job so he goes into guerrilla airport commando mode whenever we get there. Recklessly cutting into long lines if someones lolly-gagging. That's his word and he believes that's a valid excuse to step in front of someone if they don't close a gap within .12 minutes of the gap opening. I endure the entire experience with a "I'm so sorry - he's not usually this rude" look plastered on my face the whole time.


    I can so relate to your airport tales. Soooooo relate.

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