Some trips go very well.  Like the time that Roxy and I pulled into the long-term parking spot next to the bus stop, the plane arrived early in San Diego, and the hotel clerk said, “I’m sorry, we don’t have your room ready yet – no, wait, I can put you in the presidential suite.”  We went to ComicCon, took Roxy to camp, and happened upon the San Diego Glider port where, for a reasonable fee, I rode a hang-glider off a 35-story cliff and landed on a nude beach.  That was a good trip.

So far, this trip to Atlanta is one of the other trips.  Even after a death-march security line in Philadelphia, I was sure I would make the plane.  Suddenly, five AirTran flight attendants jumped in front of me, “Excuse me, excuse me,” they said as they ran back to get more buckets for their belongings.  “Some of us have planes to catch,” I said to the oblivious perps.  At last, I was through the metal detector, and the TSA lady identified the threat of my portable photo reader, so she ran it through again.  You can’t be too careful.  Finally, I hurried toward the last gate in the terminal, passing the line-crashers shopping for gum.  Arriving at the gate with 10 minutes to spare, I was greeted by a line of people that AirTran had locked out of the plane.  The next one leaves in four and half hours, and it’s overbooked.

I resolved to find the best restaurant in the terminal, have a good breakfast and work on a design project.  The best restaurant in the Philadelphia airport is an Au Bon Pain that, in the French tradition, demands that its customers submit a form to obtain their breakfast delights.  The form contains a line at the top for your name, so that the woman behind the counter can incessantly call out, “No name, no name, your sandwich is ready.”  She called my name and said, “We don’t have cholesterol free eggs and croissants.”  I know – I thought they would cancel each other out, but it seemed I had checked the wrong boxes.  I filled out another form with the name, “Noman,” and checked off a pre-packaged breakfast sandwich.  “Noman, we don’t have those bagels,” the woman said.  “Why don’t you give me whatever you have?” I requested.  Off I went to pay for my cuisine.  The au bon cashier sneezed into her right hand, handed me the cash with the left, and helpfully dribbled the change with her sneezy hand.  Mmm, special sauce with that?

Some experiences are like giving birth:  they’re painful, but you forget how painful and try them again later.  Flying AirTran is one.  AirTran makes ground transport look compelling.  Bus companies could advertise, “Why have a snot-infused breakfast in a third-class airport when you can be whisked away from one of our urine-soaked bus stations?”  Thank you, AirSpank.  I’ll try to remember next time.


Scheduled ATL Depart: 11:30 pm Estimated: 2:15 am From Gate: C22 
Scheduled PHL Arrival: 1:28 am(next day) Estimated: 4:13 am To Gate: D14

Me:  I hear you’re selling upgrades to Baltimore.  Is it possible to get onto the 11:30 Baltimore flight.
Agent:  Yes, there’s a $75 change fee and the $50 upgrade fee.
Me:  Well, you’re two hours late to Philadelphia, and I’ve got to rent a car to get from Baltimore to Philadelphia.  Do you think you could let me onto the Baltimore flight?
Agent:  I’m sorry.  I don’t have any power here.
Me:  I give my customer service people the power to satisfy our customers.
Agent:  I used to do that, too, when I was in charge, but they’ve got us totally regulated now.  It’s $75 more to go to Baltimore.

I wonder what Southwest would do.  I just booked two tickets for my parents from Atlanta to Philadelphia on Delta for August.  Total for 2 round trips at  $298 including taxes and fees — less than $150 each!

3:51 a.m.  AirTran loaded the plane about 3 a.m.  We sat there for a while, and then they announced that the crew had “timed out.”  We have de-planed and are waiting for the new 6:30 a.m. flight.  Which circle of hell is AirTran?  I should have paid to go to Baltimore.  As Bob always said, “The first loss is the cheapest.”  I could have paid to get away from these idiots, never to see them again.


Published in: on July 24, 2009 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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