Friday, July 18, 2014

Fun with Southwest...

I don’t fly a lot. But in the past year or so, I’ve done more than my fair share.
And there’s been some positive and some negative experiences in that time. Of course, the most positive experience had to be the longest of the flights, the flight from Boston that took me to the Olympics. I flew from Boston to Paris, Paris to Moscow and Moscow to Sochi and there was not one single delay. Every flight was either on time or early. Keep in mind there were hundreds if not thousands of athletes, media members, coaches and spectators making their way to Russia for the Games.  This boggled my mind for a few reasons.
First and foremost, just a week before I left for Russia, I made a quick trip to Los Angeles for a Survivor event. That flight had me going from Manchester to Chicago, Chicago to Los Angeles and back the same route. Before I even left Manchester, the flight back from LA was cancelled due to anticipated weather. Then the flight out of Chicago coming back was cancelled. And then my fight from Chicago to LA was delayed by an hour. So out of the four flights I needed to get back and forth across the country, three were either cancelled or delayed. I ended up changing my flight, sending me through Philadelphia, where I ended up waiting a few hours.
Then came this weekend.  And this weekend topped it all. It was the most unpleasant travel experience I’ve ever had. Yes, I haven’t traveled much, but this was just ridiculous.
My plan was to fly to Nashville on Tuesday afternoon/evening and drive to Paris, Tenn. to cover Cody Symonds and Wyatt Stockman in the national bass fishing high school championships. I was planning on seeing them on Wednesday and Thursday before heading back to Nashville on Thursday afternoon and flying out on Friday afternoon after spending some time in the city on Friday.
As I made my way to the airport on Tuesday, I got a text message from Southwest that my flight from Manchester was delayed by a half-hour. As I got closer, there was a message that it was delayed by two hours, meaning I would not be able to make my connecting flight at BWI that evening.
I called the hotel in Tennessee and the gentleman I spoke with was able to refund one night of my stay, which surprised me. I used that money to get a hotel in Manchester for Tuesday night, since the next chance to get to Nashville came on Wednesday morning at 5:30 a.m. That also meant that I would miss the launch on the first day of competition for the tournament, which pissed me off.
However, I was at the airport bright and early on Wednesday morning and through a connecting flight in Chicago, I was able to get to Nashville about 12 hours behind schedule. I got in the rental car and hauled it to Paris to catch the weigh-in for the first day.
After seeing the kids off on the second day and then seeing them back in, I made my way back to Nashville and did a little sightseeing on Thursday night and Friday morning. I then made my way to the Nashville airport for the return flight.
Before I had even checked in at the gate for my flight from Nashville to BWI, I had a text message saying that the flight from BWI to Manchester was delayed to 12 a.m. After double-checking that with the ticket agent (yes, the three-hour delay was correct), I boarded the flight to BWI only to find I was sitting in front of three or four kids who didn’t shut up the entire flight. I had my iPod as loud as my ears could take and I could still hear them. But that’s a story for another day.
I got to BWI and checked at the gate. The agent put me on standby for a flight leaving at that moment, but at the far end of the terminal. I went as fast as my out-of-shape legs could carry me, but I got there just as the door closed and the jetway pulled away. I then tried getting on standby for a 10 p.m. flight to no avail. So here I sit, still waiting on my flight when I should be landing in Manchester and heading home.
And to think, I have the Granite Kid Triathlon tomorrow morning. At this rate, I may make it just in time.

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