Monday, August 01, 2005

The neverending business trip

I was exhausted after all that conferencing in Reno, but my Sunday afternoon was going pretty well. My flight to Denver was right on time, so after an hourlong layover and another 3-1/2 hours of flying, I'd be home.

Or so I thought. As it turned out, my flight out of Denver was cancelled.

Oh, I mean really cancelled. I'm not talking about the kind of cancelled where they put you up in a hotel room for the night and then get you on a plane first thing in the morning. Friends, my flight doesn't leave Denver until Tuesday morning.

The airline is comping my hotel bill for tonight, but I'll be on my own tomorrow night, which is part of the reason I'm not giving these people any points for customer service. They were supposed to line up a shuttle to get me here (I was to pay $30, round trip), but that promise was as empty as several others that were made to me this evening, so I had to improvise. This hotel is right on the edge of downtown Denver, which means my cab fare, with tip, was $48.

Not that I cared. By the time I rescued my bags it was nearly midnight and I would probably have offered my firstborn son (sorry, Tristan, but Mom has had a very trying day) to anyone willing to take me away from that airport. After waiting two hours on a sick plane that the maintenance guys weren't able to resuscitate, I'd had to stand in a customer service line for two more hours. After that I felt downright British as I queued up yet again, this time for the privilege of waiting 90 minutes before earning the right to take my luggage to the hotel with me.

I made it to the hotel just after midnight (and got a "smoking" room, which I'm bummed about because I suffer from chronic bronchitis). I hadn't eaten dinner, so as late as it was, I dropped off my bags and returned to the lobby, where I managed to score a great chicken sandwich from the bar. I felt a lot better after that, especially when a sympathetic server named Diana (I meant what I said, Diana, so be sure to e-mail me) fixed me a tall, icy Coke to bring back upstairs. Then I unpacked my stuff and sat down in front of my computer to blog about my awful evening and drum up some sympathy from you people.

But I think I'll stop whining now and go to bed. I'm planning to sleep late in the morning, and then I'll write all day tomorrow and half of tomorrow night. I might check in with you tomorrow, but I'm making no promises. So until . . . whenever, friends, everyone stay safe, do good work, and don't fly United Airlines.


Anonymous said...

You poor Baby, I thought I had it bad when I had a 3 hour layover there once. try to make the best of it ,

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with United. I am a teacher and was chaperoning a trip to California, from New York. We had to stop in Milwaukee for refueling, only the pilot didn't log it, so the airline just decided that all 32 of us had dilly-dallied in the bathroom or some such nonsense. Therefore, they refused to put us up in a hotel in Chicago when we missed our connecting flight. We came very close to having to spend the night in O'Hare with 28 teenage boys and 4 adults, me the only woman. Thankfully, our principal answered her cell phone and approved the one-time-only use of our school credit card, which we had to pay back out of funds not budgeted for. Then, upon arriving home, they had lost almost all of our luggage, and for some strange reason, diverted it to Pittsburgh. It took 2 days to get here, and when it did get here, it reeked of cigarettes, most likely from the chain- smoking man smelling strongly of alcohol who drove it down in a van. We've refused to use their airline again, and I personally avoid them like the plague. Bah to United Airlines!!!

K J Gillenwater said...

I have had a similarly unpleasant travel experience with Delta, connecting through Detroit. I won't give all the gory details, but how did the Delta employee expect me to carry a carseat, diaper bag, huge carry-on, lunch for three, and keep track of two children (4 and 1 1/2) without any assistance or shuttle service between two concourses???

Thank God for strangers in airports who take pity on moms traveling with kids. Airline employees seem to forget they are in the customer service business!

Anonymous said...

Ack! I've been hearing nightmare stories about just about every airline. I've got four trips coming up this fall, and I'm feeling edgy about them because of stories like yours. Hope you got some rest. Glad the conference was a good one for you.


upwords said...


Sorry about the flight and all the inconveniences that went along with it. God bless Diane for serving up that cold drink. Praying that the smoking room won't bother your breathing. Some great writing might come out of this though... LOL
Mary G.

Anonymous said...

awww that sucks Brenda. (((hugs)))

Robin Bayne said...

Doesn't sound like fun! Glad you are keeping your sense of humor : )


Anonymous said...

Look at that time she posted . . . 3:50 a.m says it all. Ugh. I live here in Denver, and wish there was something I could do; I feel I know you from your blog but you no doubt wish to be left alone to wallow. Nothing quite as dispiriting and grubby as a canceled flight and all the attendant hassles and woes...You'll be home in a wink. I am reading your book. I said I would. A report soon.

Anonymous said...

How awful, Brenda. I just hope it's turned into unexpectedly good writing time. Have a safe trip the rest of the way, and thanks for giving us a wonderful view of the conference.

Take good care!


Brenda Coulter said...

Laura, my computer is set to Eastern Time, so it was "only" 1:50 AM in Denver when I posted. But, yeah, it was a long day.

Thanks for the sympathy, everyone. And thanks, Laura, for reading my book.

Jaynie said...

well that sucks big fat dogs titties - guess you'll be flying with a different airline next time.