Friday, May 27, 2011

Tina Flies - Transportation Woes

I used to have the coolest t-shirt. On it, there were scores of winged women soaring around above the earth, and underneath it said, "Women fly when men aren't watching." I expect that everyone who liked that shirt connected to the idea in their own way. For me, it was having lived through Women's Lib and before, when women did their best work when they didn't have to worry about doing too well or bruising an ego. We were free to do our best when we were not watched by men.Early morning concourse at Harrisburg Int'l Airport, overlooking
Three Mile Island cooling towers.
However, in recent days I was flying in a different sense.
My friend Karen Mallinger of All Goode Gifts in Negaunee MI has been nagging (no, I am not exaggerating) me for years to go visit her. She's got acres and acres of wilderness and hoped I could identify some of the plants. I've been doing local weed walks for decades, so it seemed a reasonable expectation.
At the same time, I've been nagging her to open a brick and mortar shop in her area. A couple weeks ago everything banged and clanged together with her offering me transportation to go help her put a shop together for a few days and wander her woods.
Monday of this week I was to get on a plane and start my trip to her place.
I have never flown anywhere alone before.
Now I feel almost like a pro.
Monday evening after getting through security without a hitch I saw that the flight was delayed, but there was still time to make my connection in Detroit. I started chatting with the women next to me who were worried about missing their connection to AZ. You want to know how naive I am? I said, "Well they HAVE computers, right? They KNOW we need to make connections - they'll make it right."
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Go ahead. You laugh too. It's okay.
Eventually I joined the other passengers in the long line and rescheduled our flights because it was pushed back again, and there was no way I wanted to sleep in the Detroit airport. Why was it delayed? A stewardess didn't get to work.
9:30 on Tuesday morning we start again. Again there was a 2 hour delay, but I had a long layover in Detroit. I didn't arrive in Marquette until nearly 5pm, losing an entire day. The soap class took place right on schedule at 6:30 on Tuesday night, with the only crisis being that we forgot to grab the hot plate during our 2.5 minutes at the house before heading out for the class. Karen's hubby Michael brought it over for us.
The visit that followed will be another entry.
Thursday we had pre-printed the on-line boarding passes, and Karen had also obtained a voucher from the airline after writing them a well-worded missive about the trip. We head back to Marquette so that I can start out again at 5:00 ish.
The trip from Marquette to Detroit was a high point in the traveling portion of the trip. My seat-mate was a writer/reporter on assignment from a major publication traveling around to the various subjects of his assignment. We had such a pleasant and amusing conversation that I was sorry the flight was over. It was truly the last enjoyable part of the trip.
For the next 4 hours, I schlepped my luggage and myself to 3 different gates as the flight that at first seemed to be on-time joined the long list of delayed flights. I was very worried that it might join those that were canceled - especially after my daughter called to let me know there was a tornado warning at home. The weather was violent and dangerous in many parts of the country last evening, and I believe that our plane might well have been one of the last leaving the airport. The last half hour or so of the flight reminded me of a kiddie ride at an amusement park, but I was so tired and so eager to see my family that it just didn't bother me.
So that was all the excitement I need for a while.
It wasn't as bad as I expected, yet it wasn't as good either. I had no trouble winding my way through the chaos, but the airline was not nearly as professional as they used to be. They don't care if you have a bad experience.


lemonverbenalady said...

I feel your pain, Tina. I started at 4:30 AM this morning in Vancouver and finally got home at 8:30 PM to Pittsburgh. Both of our flights were on time in fact early, but I have experienced your woes. The zipper on our bigger suitcase broke and I'm not sure we will get any money to replace, because I didn't notice it was broken until we got home. Welcome to the new world of airlines! It used to be a happy time to fly. Now everyone is unhappy and the airlines are making money like bandits! It's just bad!

Tina Sams said...

I remember the good old days of competition, when airlines worked to make customers happy. No more of THAT! Still, it was a fun trip. I'll get to that blog tomorrow :-)
Hope you were having fun too (but traveling over Memorial Day? You're BRAVE)

Laura said...

Oh honey! Sounds like a crazy rollercoaster ride, but I'm glad you blogged about it - especially the part about women "taking wing." Liberation, baby! We gotta make sure we keep it!


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