I’m at the airport, happy me.

Oh I am traveling today and there are many people I’d like to thank.

I’d like to thank the gate agent. Your ineptitude at doing your job is legendary. Thanks for screwing up the paperwork.

Thanks to the FAA and their ridiculously ineffective rules. Why is there paperwork anyway. We are in a computer age, shouldn’t the flight manifest go to the cockpit electronically? Why are we still using paper from dot matrix printers.

Thank you to the airline industry for your utter contempt for your customers. You work really hard on it and it shows.

Thank you to the loud talking jackass in seat 6B. Learn to read you self entitled pompous idiot.

Thank you to the big guy sitting next to me who is picking his teeth and hogging the whole armrest. Stop reading over my shoulder.

So this morning I get to PVD around 5:45am. I head over to the security line and wait for Old Jack to shout, “Form 2 Lines, there are 2 lines people.” Old Jack must say that about 250 times an hour. I don’t know what his real name is but I have dubbed him Old Jack. He’s got a thick Rhode Island accent and is about 75-80 years old. He is always directing the security lines too. It is comforting to see and hear Old Jack even though he is repetitive and his voice is grating.

I got through security and then went to my gate. I pulled out my iPod and watched many of the remaining episodes of Best Night Ever. I have 2 to go. My flight was to board at 6:50am. At 7:00am there was still no gate agent. I was using American Eagle for my flights today. I have 3 of them to get through today.

The gate agent came down to gate 14 at 7:05am, she futzed with the computer and found that the printer wasn’t working. That meant she would get all frustrated throw up her hands and run back to the ticket counter. She makes no sort of announcement, just storms off.

When she returned she doesn’t make an announcement but goes to gate 12 and then announces the boarding of the flight. Gee thanks, great customer service. Then she wrote down all the seat numbers to check us in because the computer wasn’t working for her. I foresee a request for missing airline miles in my future.

I finally get on the plane at 7:30am (mind you, wheels up time was supposed to be 7:20am). Then was sit and wait for a last minute passenger. What! You are now 15 minutes late for the departure of a flight not 15 minutes late for the boarding of the flight. No way, you were late, way late, why do we have to wait at all for you?

Then the captain gets on the ridiculously loud PA system to tell us that the paperwork is not in order. We have paperwork for 38 people but have 39 on board. He wasn’t sure what happened but you could tell he was frustrated about it. He must have been new because he still retained the ability to care about the customer.

So about 30 minutes late we finally take off. The flight was scheduled to land at 9:05am Central time at ORD. My next flight was to leave at 9:45am Central. We land on the ground at ORD at 9:22am. Then we begin to taxi to the gate But wait we are herded over to the planes without a gate parking lot to sit and wait 5-10minutes for our gate.

We sit for about 15 minutes. Then we get the go ahead sign to go to the gate. We stop about 10 feet from the actual gate because there is no ground crew. This adds another 10minutes to the wait. Finally we park at the gate, my bag is on the exit ramp and I grab it and go. We landed at gate H3B and my next flight was leaving from K4. This was good because I only needed to sprint up two gates for the next flight.

I get to gate K4 and the flight is delayed till 10:08am. And that happened to be the time it was. So I jumped in line and got on the plane.

I had a First Class ticket for this flight from ORD to DFW. I was pretty excited. I round the corner of the doorway and see that someone was sitting in my seat. I had a ticket for seat 6B. I made my way to 6B and politely ask the person in the seat if his ticket was for 6B. I figured that because of the screw ups at PVD my seat may have been given to someone else. I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt. Well, his ticket was for 5A. 5A! and he was sitting in 6B. I felt like telling him that I had a friend, Peggy, who could teach him how to read.

I stowed my carry on and took 5A instead. Illiterate pompous guy was going to move but I did not want to hold everyone else up any longer. So I am in 5A next to an armrest hogger who is picking his teeth. I meet the most interesting people.

We taxi out towards the runway and then turn towards the plane parking lot, what is going on? The captain comes on the PA to tell us that one of the engine instruments is not working. We are returning to the gate to get it fixed. It should be a quick fix but he’s not promising anything.

the captain just got on the PA system to tell us that whatever the problem is it is more involved than anticipated. It is now 11:20am and things are not looking good. One of the flight crew just got his bags. That is not a good sign.

I was correct. That was not a good sign. I am now standing in line to get another flight to Dallas. It is 11:45am Central. The plane is going to the hanger for maintenance. So I am in line to get another seat on another plane. I’m also in the back of the line. I waited in my seat for word from the captain. When it came half of the plane was already in line. I also discovered that the guy who was sitting next to me didn’t wear a belt. I know this because as I turned to get up I was faced with a pasty white ass crack. Lovely, Glad I haven’t eaten yet today because that would have been a vain endeavor.

I am in another line, nope, I am now sitting down. I was in a line and an announcement was made that the new gate assignment would be K9. So, as a collective group we turned around and headed to gate K9. At K9 I saw a gate agent freak out and say, “They sent them all!”. That was not a good sign. She then made an announcement that the plane (this new one) was out of service too and to please sit down and she will announce the gate of the next flight.

While I was in the original line I called work and they put me in the 5:40pm flight to get into my final destination at 10:50pm. I was scheduled to arrive in Lubbock, TX at 3:00pm about 2 hours before Mike. Mike is going to do the demos this week and I will be observing him. I am also supposed to pick him up when he lands at 5:00pm. So I tried to call him and as I was leaving the message the announcement about gate K9 happened.

It looks like I’ll be leaving here at 5:10pm and getting to Lubbock at 10:05pm. I’m at the ORD Chili’s enjoying a nice margarita on the rocks with salt. While at Chili’s I ran into three guys from work. I ended up sitting and chatting with them while I ate. Now I’ve transferred the rant from my Treo to my laptop and I’m searching for a power source so I can charge my laptop and iPod. I’m thinking about getting online too. At least then I can get something done. I have about 3 hours till my flight. I should do something constructive with my time.

Update: 11:00pm 2/5/07 – Here are some additional things.

The travel continues. I am on my flight to Dallas in 1st class. So my flight changes didn’t make me lose that one good thing of the day. I connected to the internet to get info and my e-mail and post a bit.

I took a walk to see a huge cloud of what I thought was smoke in the hall in terminal H. It was a busted water pipe and the air outside was below 10 degrees. So this mass of freezing cold mist and fog was blowing into the food court.

Someone does not want me to get to Texas. My 5:40pm flight to Texas was heading down
the runway. Not taxiing to the runway, actually getting up to speed to take off. When we suddenly slowed down and pulled over. We are at the plane parking lot waiting to go back to the terminal. The reason you ask. A warning light for a cargo door came on. It is off now but we have to have maintenance take a look at it. It is 6:22pm. It looks like I might be missing flight #3 of the day since I am sure this latest issue will not be a quick fix either.

It is now 7:00pm and we should be heading back to a gate very soon. Guess what gate is will be. Gate K9. I seem to think I have been here before, hmm could it have been 7 hours ago? Nah that would be too crazy. Too coincidental. Too sad.

We are at the gate K9 and so far about 7 people have given up getting to Dallas and have gotten off the plane. We are still waiting on the visual inspection of the cargo door. We are also supposed to get more fuel. We may lose our crew too because of how long they have been on today. The good thing is that I am now caught up on all of my Best Week Ever Episodes. I can start on some other Podcasts I have.

So it is 7:40pm and I am halfway through the Comedy Central stand up shorts I have on the iPod. The door has been check. A maintenance guy came over looked at the door said, “Ah yep door’s closed.” Then we set about waiting for the fuel truck to fuel the plane one straw full at a time.

It is 8:11pm and the plane is finally in the air. I am on my second flight of the day. And the layover was a scant 10 hours. How delightful.

I do have to say that the things that have made this bearable and haven’t sent me lurching for anyone throats is the fact that I was in first class. I had a loaded iPod an I had my iGo charger to keep everything powered. I am also reading Iris Johansen’s Final Target. It is a decent and interesting read.

I don’t understand where the hot towel thing in 1st class came from, but I like it. It is one of the best parts of traveling 1st class.

I have landed in Dallas. It is 10:00pm. I have no idea if there are any more flights to Lubbock tonight.

there are no more flights to Lubbock tonight. I have been rebooked on a morning flight and have a night at the super 8 ahead of me. I am waiting for the courtesy shuttle to take me there.

I’m on the courtesy shuttle headed to the Super 8 in Dallas. I contacted our travel department to make sure I still had a car and a hotel for tomorrow. The car might be difficult. The travel department emergency service is decent and nice but I had a real ‘Here’s your sign” moment. I asked about the car and and they told me I was supposed to pick it up today 2/5/07 at 3:00pm. Really, no kidding I should be in Lubbock right now. I am in Dallas. “Did your flight get canceled?”

“Nope, I just like airports and try to spend as much time in them getting on and off planes that don’t actually go anywhere. It makes me chipper.”

There are quite a few people who are in the same boat or rather, on the same bus. I see the Super 8 sign. I should be in bed soon. Famous last words. I was last off the bus so I am in the lobby on the wireless and putting up this update. I hope there are still some rooms when the line dies down. I know I’ll get a smoking room. I just know it.