Thursday, March 14, 2013

Definititely an Experience: Travel Mayhem

at 9:11 PM
So once you hit a certain age, and have certain things going for you (like paying your own car insurance and registration, your own job, apartment, bills, loans, etc...) you tend to think you're a *real* grown up and try to do things that real grown ups do, all on their own. make travel plans.

This past weekend was Tabitha's Bridal Shower.

Tabitha and I, together, booked my flights. Due to prices, we ended up booking through Overstock. My flights were through Delta and the Star Alliance. Fine. Also due to prices, we booked my flights from SFO to PHX.

Now, I have a lot of airports to choose from, living where I do. I live right near Monterey, which has an airport, but then I would have had to figure something to do with my car. Going back to the Bay allows me to leave my car at my parents.

The idea for Friday was to catch a ride to BART, take BART to SFO, and fly nonstop to PHX and get picked up by Tabitha. We'd drive back to SV (about a 3 hour drive), blaring country music the entire way.

The shower was at 2pm on Saturday. Diana and I had been mutually crafting decorations, games, favors, etc for the party for the past month.

First, my ride was late. I called him 15 minutes after he was supposed to show up and he said, "shoot, I'll be right there!" So I waited. I ought to have driven to BART or SFO at this point, but I thought I had time. BART from Fremont to SF only takes 45 minutes. However, BART from Fremont to SFO takes about 75 minutes.

I ended up getting on the BART an hour and a half before my flight. As I'm sitting in the train, waiting for it to start, I had a serious spazz out moment where I almost jumped off the train, took a cab home, and drove to SFO. This would have resulted in me paying for long-term parking, and after I made myself calm down enough to do a serious assessment, I realized I wouldn't be saving any time (unless I sped WAY over the limit, and I couldn't afford a ticket on the bridge...)

[...For those of you in Arizona reading... a speeding ticket in AZ is about $65. A speeding ticket in Cali is about $400.]

So I sat on BART, content in the knowledge that I couldn't change anything ...or trying to be. I was texting up a storm to T and Mich, and just about everyone else I could think of, to keep my mind off my situation. (For those of you who don't know me, I'm not good at handling when plans go awry)

I managed to convince myself that I was going to make it, though I was ready for the necessity to bolt from the BART to the baggage check.

Until the train came to a complete stop ...under the bay. Now, BART sometimes stops randomly. But this time it stopped long enough that I noticed we were sitting still and started to freak out, right as the intercom came on.
"It appears an outside door is open," the driver announced. "Please stand away from the doors. I have to get out manually and check."

Riding on mass transit underground always reminds me of the King Kong ride at Universal Studios. I went there as a very small child and I still remember the musty smell as you sit in a subway train and watch King Kong smash the train next to you into halves. The whole train shakes like an earthquake.

These are the thoughts that go through my head whenever I'm on the BART underground, but knowing that we're stuck under the water only adds to my nervousness. Yet, the realization that I am going to miss my flight, is what really gets me.

I almost missed my flight home from Vegas for Daine's wedding in January. Airlines ask that you check your bag 45 minutes prior to boarding. Spirit Airlines told me they would check my bag but had me sign a waiver stating that my bag might not make it onto my flight.

This was my assumption of what would happen today.

Well, Delta doesn't think the same way Spirit does. They just don't let you on.

So I missed my flight. And had to rebook. I held it together until after booking a later flight to PHX. Then I locked myself in a bathroom stall and called my mom in tears.

Back track three hours... Meanwhile, in Arizona... Tabitha started driving to PHX. This is a 3 hour drive for her. During this ride she is in a horribly windy dust storm.

Fast forward. After calling my mom, I called Tabitha. She knew from the sound of my voice, and the fact that I should have been on the plane at this time, that something was wrong.

I tell her about the change of plans (the new flight doesn't get in until 11pm) and she says she'll find something to do until then.

I pull myself together and get into the security checkpoint line. And my phone rings. Tabitha's mom is calling me.

I leave the line and go back to the check-in desk. I ask to switch to the flight that's going to Tucson today. That one leaves earlier from SFO, but has a 5 hour layover in LAX, and gets into Tucson at 12:30am.

The switch is fine, and I actually heard the lady call down to baggage and tell them to switch my bag to the correct plane.

Tabitha drives back to Tucson in a thunderstorm. On the plus side, she went to the mall and bought a cute outfit for the shower! She also got to have dinner with her brother.

Tabitha's mom booked us a hotel room via points. When T showed up at the hotel, they claimed there was no reservation. T called the other hotel in town from the same chain, still no reservation. Also, no openings. In tears, Tabitha calls her mom and she booked us another room at a different hotel.

T gets to this hotel only to be told that she can't check in without her dad, whose name the reservation is under. Despite having the same last name and the same address, and telling them that her dad was on a flight (which was true) and would be there later (not true), the guy refused to let her in until more tears ensued. Not wanting to cause a scene in the lobby, he finally gave her a key.

I showed up in Tucson as planned. However, my bag ended up in Phoenix.

The Delta bag claim attendants were very helpful, called PHX, and assured me my bag would be on the first flight out in the morning.

Stopping at gas station for contact solution and tooth brush, we get to the hotel and crash.

The next morning, I call the automated number Delta gave me, to check and make sure my bag is on the flight. After listening to the annoying automated message and getting annoyed, I hit the 0 key. "I think you want me to transfer you to a person, but first listen to my options..." I finally get a guy who doesn't speak English well, and we think he tells me my bag is on the plane. Then we go back to sleep.

At 11 we make it to the airport to check on my bag. No luck. Again, Delta went above and beyond to help me, but they transferred my bag to United Airways and they didn't put it on the flight.

There were two more flights coming in before 1pm, when T's dad was flying through. So we left for SV and asked him to pick it up on his way in.

We get to T's house in time for her to get dressed and do her hair. Stephy takes me to Ross to buy a dress and stockings. We pick up the food and made it to the shower.

Despite my bag full of goodies not showing up, the shower was still adorable! Diana did an amazing job, and everything went smoothly and everyone had fun.

After the shower and dinner, we were sitting around the house. Their friend had come over to borrow a suitcase for a trip, so when one of the kids yelled, "suitcase!" noone reacted at first. Then, "Outside!" "Outside? Suitcase? OH." My suitcase made it!

The end.


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