It is currently about 5:33 PM Eastern Standard Time, and I am writing from my room back on campus at DePauw. This is after sleeping the day away in one of the most draining travel experiences in my life. To put it into relative terms, myself and the other members of my choir tour expected to land in Indianapolis this morning at midnight, maybe a bit later; we didn’t touch down this morning in Indianapolis until 5 AM.
We left our hotel in New Orleans yesterday to go to the airport at 3:15 PM Central Standard Time, getting out of town basically in time to avoid all the craziness that was the NFC Championship game. We arrived at the airport at about 3:45 and waited to check in. I was checked in at about 4:30, only to see that my ticket said that our departure time was at 4:35. Seeing this, I went over to the security checkpoint and rushed over to the gate, only to find out that our flight was delayed until 6:20 PM because of inclement weather in Atlanta, where we were getting a connecting flight to Indianapolis. I believe it was at that point that someone said our connecting flight in Atlanta had been delayed until after midnight. So, 6:20 comes around and we board the airplane. However, because of passengers on the plane with PDAs and iPhones, we find out that there are further delays in Atlanta, and that we’re not taking off…and we know this BEFORE THE PEOPLE FLYING THE PLANE DO. Five minutes later the pilot announces we have to deplane because there are further delays in Atlanta, and that we won’t be heading out until about 9 PM. After eating and lounging around the New Orleans airport, we board and fly out of New Orleans just after 9 PM, just after the Saints clinched their first ever Super Bowl berth.
We land in Atlanta at about 11:30 Eastern Standard Time, only to taxi on the ground for about an hour. By the time we finally get to a gate, we get off the plane and see our connecting flight at the gate just across from us. It said departure time was at 12:35 AM, so we figured we didn’t have long to wait…until it said 12:45, and 1:00, and 1:15, and 1:45, and 2:00, and 2:15, and 2:45 and then finally 3:00. This lengthy delay turned out to be because of a lack of a co-pilot; I’ve heard many ridiculous stories about exactly why we had no co-pilot in the first place, but I won’t even bother starting with that. So, at about 3 AM EST, we are waiting to board the plane when we find out that they can’t let us on because the computer says that there’s a different plane outside than the one that is actually there. Now, why they didn’t notice that while we were waiting for a co-pilot for three hours is beyond me. And, for some reason, they started letting on standby passengers before people who were actually supposed to be on the flight. Both of these lead to an announcement that seating on the plane will be open seating to get everybody possible on the plane before the crew time is up and our flight is cancelled. Luckily, people kept their heads about them and we all got on the plane. The pilot started off before taking off by apologizing for all the, and I quote, “crap” we had to deal with. He also said that they were going to fly as fast as possible as safely as possible for our sake. We finally took off from Atlanta at 4:00 AM EST.
We touch down in Indianapolis at 4:59 AM EST and are off the plane at 5:05. Because we had driven in cars to the airport to cut down transportation costs, I and a few others made a much needed Starbucks stop at 5:20. I was at the luggage claim at about 5:31 AM only to find out that none of our luggage was there. In a great twist, it was just our trip that had no luggage. So, we sat there and filled out claim forms for our luggage to have it shipped to DePauw; our last form was filed at 6:30 AM. We then hopped on the shuttle to economy parking at 6:42 to head to our cars. On the road to Greencastle by 6:55 AM. At 7:29 AM EST, my van arrived back in Greencastle and my four passengers and I made a morning breakfast stop at the Monon restaurant. I retired to bed at 8:30 AM and woke up at 4:30 this afternoon.
(My luggage arrived in Greencastle at about 2 PM today, thankfully).
What a ridiculous end to an altogether great trip. In fact, before we skipped town yesterday, we went to New Orleans’ own Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait and the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Fun time at both; it was a nice ending to a fun trip. Then Delta airlines decided to rain all over our parade.
You need to figure out a system where you quickly get a back-up co-pilot, so people don’t have to wait three hours for a flight. Also, during said three hours, have your people look at the computer to see if what the computer matches up with what plane has been sitting out there the whole time, rather than wait until a restless crowd of people are contemplating mobbing you and your lousy seven dollar food vouchers that you can only use at a restaurant that’s closed. Finally, if you have passengers that have connecting flights, you should come up with some sort of system where the luggage follows the passenger to their destination; especially if that luggage was in Atlanta and sat there for the same three hours your passengers did and yet somehow didn’t end up on the same plane they did.
Basically, you suck.
Hopefully a less jaded sarcastic recap of the trip will be up soon. 🙂