Kurt and I traveled to Raleigh a couple weekends ago to visit Jen and Joey. Please indulge me in this rant of a post,because it was one of the most comical travel days I've ever had. It was truly ridiculous. Delta is still on the shit list with Kurt and me (after this debacle) so they definitely had to make it worth our while. Our delays were partially self-inflicted, so I can't completely blame the airline for the mess that ensued...
So, whenever this guy and I fly and are semi-flexible on our arrival time, we try and get a bump (i.e. give up our seats when the airline overbooks the flight). You may think that is crazy, but they give you a free flight, people!!! Living in NYC and not having a car means we fly pretty much everywhere we travel, so this is invaluable. Plus, hanging out at an airport for a couple hours isn't the worst way I've earned a few hundred dollars :)
Kurt and I had a Friday afternoon flight out of La Guardia. The airport seems to be constantly under construction and we had to switch terminals once we passed through security. Thankfully I got us to the airport with plenty of time to spare, so we casually mosey up to our gate to inquire about a bump just as they are making an announcement that they need volunteers (I've never seen airport employees so happy to see me!). Turns out they needed two people to switch flights, so Kurt and I start working with the gate lady about our alternate options. Ideally we wanted to be on the same flight and not arrive crazy late so Jen and Joey wouldn't have to make a midnight run to pick us up at the airport. After lots of typing and what looked like slim prospects, she found the perfect flight that got us in to Raleigh just a couple hours later than our original flight and we would each get a $300 voucher. Too good to be true? Well, there were two catches: the flight was out of JFK (remember, we were at La Guardia) and one seat was in first class while the other was in coach. The pros seemed to outweigh the cons so we took the chance and ran out of the airport to get a cab to head to the airport on the other side of Queens.
The timing even worked out so well that we had time for a celebratory beer at JFK before our flight boarded. Kurt and I took this time to debate about who would take the first class seat. Neither of us had ever flown in such style, so alcohol was deemed the deciding factor. I knew Kurt would take more advantage of the "perks" and would have a better chance at sweet talking the flight attendants to bestow some first class kindness on me back with all the commoners in coach.
We finished up our beers, used our meal vouchers to get frozen yogurt, and made our way to the gate. "Hmm, that's odd," we thought. "Why would there be four other flights listed at our gate?" Oh, because Delta had the bright idea to load five flights through the same gate at the same time. It was complete chaos for a little bit but miraculously everyone found their way onto the right aircraft. Kurt settled into his cushy first class seat while I headed to the back of the plane.
The crew goes through the motions of flight prep when the pilot comes over the speakers to say they are having some computer issues that might cause a short delay. His solution? Turn the plane off and turn it back on. What?! That's what I do with my iPhone when it is acting up. Somehow I hoped there would be some more highly technical answer to our issue. Nope. Unfortunately, the flip of the switch didn't quite resolve what it was supposed to which wasn't discovered until we had already taxied out to the runway. The pilot came over the PA again and said we would have to go back to the gate, deplane, and have a maintenance crew work on the problem. Sigh. Everyone got off the plane and headed back inside the terminal. Kurt and I chilled out for a little while, keeping our fingers crossed that our flight would make it out sometime that day.
After a surprisingly short wait, they loaded us back on the plane (luckily our gate was less crowded this time around). We found the same seats we left earlier and prepared for take-off again. As we taxied away from the gate, I tried to study some structures material but couldn't focus and decided to take a nap instead. Granted, I fall asleep narcoleptically quick, but I was able to take a decent snooze and when I woke up, we were still on the ground. I swear the pilot was trying to find the highway and drive us to Raleigh.
After about 45 minutes of tooling around on the tarmac, the pilot came over the loudspeaker again. You could hear the grumble from the passengers thinking you've got to be effing kidding me. The pilot regretted to inform us that because of some troubling weather between NYC and Raleigh, air traffic control wanted to take us about 200 miles out of the way to avoid it. And guess what? We didn't have enough fuel for that long of a flight (I suspect we burned it all off driving around JFK). Back to the gate we went!
Thankfully, all the passengers were good sports, although pretty exasperated by this point. (Just an idea, Delta, free booze is a fab way to soothe mutinous thoughts...) After a quick fill up we were finally on our way! Kurt thoroughly enjoyed first class. I have no idea how he managed to consume three drinks in the span of our flight time but I am thankful he sweet talked a flight attendant into bringing a glass of wine back to me. I was the envy of all of coach :) In the end, we arrived in Raleigh many hours late but with vouchers for free flights in our pockets. Plus, arriving to see dear old friends who immediately took us for delicious food and beer made the day end on a pretty good note. I promise to have Raleigh recaps soon! (Only fun stuff from here on out!)