February 13, 2014

The snows of Charlotte, Part One.

If you watch the weather you know the southeast got whacked with severe weather this week. I had the joy of flying into Charlotte on Tuesday evening. My flight in was delayed several hours as the plane was late, then the delays put too many hours on the crew.  We then had to wait for qualified pilots. I am OK with waiting on qualified pilots.  Who wants the baggage handler guy or red wand waving guy flying the plane?

When I was getting off the plane, my phone rang with the notice my return flight, scheduled for Wednesday evening, had already been cancelled. Shitfuck. I did a quick scan of the board and all flights back to Indy on Tuesday evening were cancelled. So was almost every other flight at the normally busy airport. The line at the airline service desk snaked down the concourse. I headed for the  rental cars.

The rental car bus dropped me off at the super secret elite frequent rental car driver drop point. The sign board directed me to stall 51. There, white paint gleaming under the sodium lights, was a shiny clean Ford Mustang. Yes, in the face of one of the worst ice and snow storms to ever hit the area,  I was given the only real-wheel drive car on the lot.  These same people upgraded me to a SUV on three straight trips late last summer and fall. This time I get the sports car. I headed to the hotel, that old I'm-going-to-get-stuck-here feeling left me depressed.

After a quick dinner of chicken wings and a couple of Yeunglings I called my super secret elite frequent flyer number. I was put on hold to wait the next customer service rep. After 1/2 hour on hold I used the hotel phone to call the general airline customer service number. I was put on hold. I now had dueling on-hold messages and music playing in both ears, one on speaker, one on a receiver glued to my head. Tick tock. Tick tock. I tried to play a few games on my iPad. Finally, after nearly two hours on hold I heard a real live voice on the cell phone  "Hello Joseph..."  I hung up the hotel phone and grabbed my cell off the table. In my haste to turn off the speaker I accidentally hung up the phone.

Then I cried.

At least inside. I also cursed myself vigorously.

I checked availability of flights on-line. It looked like Friday was my next opening. I made a half-hearted attempt to call the airline back and left the phone on hold for another 40 minutes before giving up, ready to try again in the morning. I turned on the local news and watched the grim weather forecast. I called down to the front desk to see if  I could extend my stay. The clerk said that may be a problem. He said a lot depended on the number of cancellations they got on Wednesday. I said to put me on the list.  I decided on the spot to hold back the Mr. Asshole routine and did not even trot out my super secret elite frequent hotel sleeper diamond status card. I decided to wait and see what bad news Wednesday would bring.

to be continued...


Ed Bonderenka said...

Wow. Travelling sure sounds exciting!

Anonymous said...

We in the south don't do winter well.

James Old Guy

Ed Bonderenka said...

get a moment James, I'm gonna blog about the sow storm in Sumpter S.C. in 1974, where I was a twenty year old airman in charge of a township, delivering fuel oil and groceries, rescuing travellers and flying on Nixon's helicopter.

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