Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hello Charlotte! Got any Hotels?

 This is really more of a vent then a blog post. Please feel free not to read this
or to stop when you get bored. Thank you and enjoy the ride.

I am in middle of writing a post on travel, but I’m going to put that one on hold for a little so I can write about my adventures the past 15 hours.

I had a really nice weekend in Columbus Ohio. I went in to spend some time with my Kallah and her family for Shabbos and the last couple days of Chanukah. My parents drove in from Chicago as well. It was the first time that my parent s met her parents and it was really nice. B”H. (We even got legally married on Sunday!) Friday night we walked outside to a gorgeous display of snowflakes falling from the sky, beautifully covering the streets and sidewalks. Now, I happen not to like snow. Growing up in Chicago, I learnt to deal with it, but being in Miami for the past 7 ½ years made me appreciate not having it. But despite the fact that I don’t like snow, it is a site to see when the night is black and the snow is calmly and peacefully making its way down softly untouched covering the blacktop with a thin sheet of heaven. Then you walk outside feel the cold and the euphoria is over. Meanwhile, while I was soaking in the flurries, the northeast was getting hammered by a foot of snow or more. Schools were being cancelled, flights were getting delayed, people were stuck inside their homes, but we knew not of anything of the sort as Shabbos in Columbus was beautiful. Sunday night came so quickly but before I knew it we were on the way back to the airport to all go our own ways. My parents had pulled out just a few hours before to start their drive back to Chicago. While Leah’s flight was delayed as Baltimore was still trying to dig out, my flight read on time all day. When I arrived at the airport and looked at the monitor, it said delayed, no specific time. My flight was going to take me through Charlotte, NC on my way to Fort Lauderdale. Being the fact that the weather was great and it wasn’t snowing in Columbus, Charlotte or Fort Lauderdale, hoped for the best. My flight was scheduled to depart at 7:50 and arrive a little after 9. I then had about 1 hour to make my connection in Charlotte at depart at 10:10 to fort Lauderdale. When I got to the gate they said that the plane was late arriving and is scheduled to land at 8:30. Being that it was a small load the turnaround would be really quick and we should hopefully arrive in Charlotte at 9:50, a mere 20 minutes before my next flight. The plane connection was in the same concourse as the landing flight so it wasn’t so crazy far. The lady went as far as switching my seat to the front row so I can get off as fast as possible. I asked her what would happen if I get stuck in Charlotte, she said they would put me up in a Hotel. Well, we hit the ground in Charlotte at about 9:45. I was ready to jump grab my stuff and go as soon as that fasten seatbelt sign turned off. The plane then stopped on the tarmac and the Captain got on and said that there was a plane at our gate, but don’t worry, ground ops said it should be gone in about 15 min. Uh, my plane leaves in 13 minutes. At this point I just started to laugh. The guy next to me had a connection at 10:15 he wasn’t going to make it either. That is unless the flights were delayed. When the plane finally pulled out of our gate at about 10:12 we started to pull up to the gate. We were pulling into gate C3 and my Fort Lauderdale flight was at C17. As we pulled by C17 I saw my plane pull out of the gate. To add insult to injury, the crew that backed the previous plane out, left and we had to wait for a crew to come over and pull the Jet way up to the plane. After I got off the plane to confirm, yes, that was indeed the Fort Lauderdale flight that had pulled out of the gate just a few minutes ago. I went over to an agent to see what he can do and was informed that the entire next day was booked up solid to Fort Lauderdale, Miami and West Palm Beach. Not a single seat available. The can rebook me for Tuesday morning at 8:00 and put me on standby for Monday at 8:00. I then asked about the hotel and was informed that they don’t give hotels for weather and that the supervisor never put it in my notes and I would have to go to the Customer Service desk to see what they can do. I went over there and probably don’t need to describe to you the scene. Mayhem and madness. We’ve all seem to have been through it at least once. There were hundreds of people that just had no place to go. I waited patiently for my turn in line and when it was my turn I walked up to the desk and smiled. She asked me my name and I said “How’s your day going? I’m sure it’s been rough. I know you are really busy and I don’t want to take up to much of your time, I am sorry but I hope you can help me. I then proceeded to tell her my story how I’m stuck until possible Tuesday and the lady in Columbus said I would get a Hotel room but apparently didn’t put it in the notes. She didn’t say anything, punched a few things into her computer and said, here is your Hotel voucher. Be here by 7:30 tomorrow morning, hopefully you can make it on standby. Have a good night. Wow! Thanks a ton! I proceeded to my room for the night and sat and my bed and pointed out a few things to myself.

1. Thank G-D for the peanut butter and Jelly sandwich that my Mother-In-Law (remember, we are legally married) made and packed for me.

2. When people are mad and screaming, try extra hard to be nice, you’ll stand out and get a lot further.

3. Jelly Bellys aren’t nearly as good when you’re not fighting anybody for the good ones.

4. There is nothing on TV at 1:00 on the morning.

5. Being nice and making people smile goes a long way. (The lady next to me from the same flight was screaming and yelling for a room and they didn’t give her one. I left with my room ticket while they went to get a manager brought over.)

6. Technology, when used properly, can be a really great and helpful tool. (Like I didn’t know that already.) I had sent out a text message to around 15 people as well as updated my Facebook and Twitter page saying the following: “Hello Charlotte, NC. Got any Hotels?” By the time I got to my room I had a few different places to stay at; the local Chabad, someone’s cousin, and a friend of a relative to name a few. I also had people offering to make phone calls to find a place for me for the night.

7. The Jewish community is really nice and extensive.

8. Thank G-D I have a Kallah that I can call to talk to her about my travels. It’s so great to know that you have loved ones who are concerned and care for you.

9. I was really tired. Zzzzzzzzz……….

I woke up a little after six this morning to get dressed, daven, pack up, eat some free oatmeal and take the 7:00 Shuttle back to the airport. I arrived back to mayhem and madness to a security line that was a good 30-40 minutes long. The monitors in the airport told me that the second flight out to fort Lauderdale had already been cancelled, but the first one was on time. I NEEDED to make this first flight. I was told the night before that my chances of making standby for the first flight were not really that bad as many people are missing connecting flights so there would potentially be seats that open up due to no-shows. The only problem was that it was 7:25 and with a security line like this there was a large chance I wouldn’t be able to get through security on time. I quickly walked down to the next concourse and saw the security line was quite a bit smaller, confirmed that I can get to my gate from here and proceeded through security in a mere 15 minutes. (Of course they needed to run a bag check to make sure those windshield wipers were legitimally windshield wipers. They were.) I ran over to gate D1 where they were boarding. I was informed I was number 8 on standby with only 2 seats open before no-shows. Baruch Hashem there were a lot of no-shows and I got on the plane without incident save for the massive verbal fight that the gate agent had with a traveler. I’m just happy that I made it back to Miami without a really crazy story. Thanks for letting me vent. I’m impressed you are still reading.


Unknown said...

Ummm, you had family before you got engaged. I would have listened to your travel travails as well!

Unknown said...

Despite your illustrious alliteration, had I called you up at 12:30 when I was settled into the hotel you would've been upset for waking you up. And had I called during the day you would've had to take care of the twins.

Unknown said...

Not true. I am almost always up at 12:30. And i always have time for you during the day. You know that.

Post a Comment