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I am famous for missing planes, I do it all of the time, but yesterday it wasn't my fault for once! That overturned truck fucked everyone up. Have you ever missed a plane?
-- Kymm Zuckert (email@example.com), January 03, 2001
I have. And the last time, I still simmer over.
Summer of 1998, Paula and I were flying to Spain for two weeks. Trying to save money, we'd shopped around online for low airfares and finally booked ourselves thus: two roundtrips between Raleigh/Durham and Washington Dulles, on USAir, and two roundtrips between Washington Dulles and Madrid on... a Spanish airline.
The flight out of RDU was scheduled for something like 10:30 am, and the other flight out of IAD was scheduled for something like 5:30 pm. I remember we should've had something like 4 1/2 hours in Dulles between flights, which we'd scheduled in because these were wholly separate arrangements; the airlines had nothing to do with one another.
We made it to RDU, and checked in, in plenty of time. But even then, our flight was showing a delay.
The plane was delayed in Charlotte.
And I didn't worry, much, at first, since we should've had plenty of time to still make our flight to Spain.
But we kept waiting.
Eventually, still without a plane in Raleigh, they predicted an arrival time at Dulles past the departure time for Spain, and I asked them to help us get to Dulles and get on our other plane.
I suppose they tried. They checked the other airlines for available seats. They even found two.
One apiece, on two separate flights. Shuttle flights, an hour apart.
I put Paula on the first shuttle, and told her I'd see her (at Dulles) in an hour. Plus, I asked her to let the other airline know I was on my way, since my arrival time was cutting it awfully damn close.
When I got to Dulles, I went to baggage claim (because we weren't going to Spain for two weeks without any luggage) and tried to call the other airline's ticket counter from right there within the airport.
Did you know you can't do that sort of thing? I wanted to let them know I was in the airport, at baggage claim, trying to make the flight. Alas.
Eventually, Paula's and my bags in hand, I got to the Spanish airline's ticketing/check in counter seconds after they closed the flight. Paula was there. They didn't let us on the plane.
I didn't know who to be angry at first. I wanted on that plane. It was still at the gate, it hadn't gone anywhere, I wanted them to put us on that plane.
The ticketing agent maintained the flight was closed.
I asked to speak with a manager; the ticketing agent, who was pregnant, by the way, maintained that there was no manager, everyone there held an equal position. I maintained that I wanted to speak with the senior representative on duty. We went 'round like that a few times.
I made the pregnant woman cry.
Not on purpose.
USAir, meanwhile, got treated to me approaching at their ticket counter asking what they were going to do for me considering that they'd cost me a day's vacation in Spain.
Considering that I wasn't flying them to get to Spain, they told me there wasn't a lot they would do.
They spoke with the Spainish airline and got us on the next day's flight to Spain, and they put us in a hotel for the night. Oh, plus, they paid roundtrip cab fare between the airport and hotel.
And that was it. 13 days in Spain, not 14, and a night in Reston, VA.
Like I said, I still simmer over this. Should I? Is it worth it? Should I get over it, let it go?
I don't care. And I don't fly USAir. Ever.
-- Michael (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 04, 2001.
Only once...since I'm pathologically punctual when it comes to getting to the airport.
Last April I was returning from London, and somehow [idiotically] misread my return ticket as saying 11 pm--when it was actually 1:10 pm! When I got to Heathrow [early I thought] at 8:30 pm, and chedked the monitor, the horrible truth dawned on me. I threw myself on the mercy on British Airways, and since the next flight [10:25 am] wasn't full, the agent let me use my [non-refundable] ticket on it. When I got home, I checked the fares, and it would have cost me around 900 *pounds* to buy one at the last minute. I shall love BA forever!
I'm trying to forget the cold night I spent in the airport. [The agent at the check-in desk wondered why I was checking in for a 10:25 flight at 6 am].
-- Joy Rothke (email@example.com), January 05, 2001.
Have I ever missed a plane! And the day I missed it, it wasn't my fault.
On the Wednesday night before last Thanksgiving, I arrived at LaGuardia Airport only to find out that my 8:10 PM flight had been delayed an hour. It was of concern because my connecting flight out of Raleigh left at 10:45 PM and there was a possiblility that I'd miss the connection. But I was assured by the oh-so-helpful ticket agents that they'd hold all connecting flights. So I waited at the gate. The flight got delayed again. Instead of leaving at 9:10 it would now leave at 9:40 PM. That plane did not leave LaGuardia until after 10- over two hours late. It didn't get to Raleigh until nearly 11:30 PM. And guess what? The connecting flight had left an hour before. I was stuck there-on Thanksgiving. The experience still gets me angry. Fuckers.
-- Vena (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 05, 2001.
I once almost missed a flight and I'm sure everyone on the plane thought that I was a complete asshole. I boarded at the last possible second -- they had to hold the plane at the gate for me -- then wandered around looking for a storage bin empty enough to hold my barely-within-FAA-regulations-for-carryons roller suitcase. I ended up having to rearrange other people's stuff and hastily crush bags together. I swear that ordinarily I do check this monstrosity, but I was running late. Afterwards I found some tiny Asian lady occupying my window seat.
"This is my seat," I tried to explain. "You're in my seat." I was sweaty and flustered and she didn't speak the language and was cringing from me. I pulled out my ticket to show her and realized that she was in HER seat, and I was actually supposed to be in the row in front of her, next to the window. So I had to make the people in THAT row all get up so that I could get in, and they all gave me filthy looks for harassing the poor woman aft of us (although I apologized several times, she was still traumatized enough that when the attendant came around to ask her to stow her bag for takeoff, she started insisting, "No move! This my seat!", sure that another interloper must be attempting to usurp her.)
Then I realized that my mobile phone, which was in my suitcase, had been left on. I sat there debating whether I wanted to continue the spectacle I'd already made of myself and eventually, having visions of the landing gear failing to retract or something equally horrible due to some mysterious interaction with my phone, unbuckled, pushed my way past the people in my row, popped open the overhead bin, and tried to wrestle my suitcase back down. The flight attendant came back and started hissing at me to sit, sit, sit, because we were about to take off at this point, so I unzipped the front pocket just enough to extract the phone and slammed the bin shut again, then returned to my row, shoving past these poor souls for the third time. I set the phone on my lap, fastened my seat belt, glanced up, and they were both looking at me in horror -- I realized they must have thought that I'd retrieved my phone so that I could sit there and yap on it while we were taxiing or something, since that would be perfectly in line with what they'd seen of me so far.
At that point I just wanted to die. Instead, I smiled wanly, turned off my phone, and pretended to read until we landed, where I stayed put until the plane was practially empty so that when I got up I wouldn't have to face anyone.
-- Kim Rollins (email@example.com), January 05, 2001.
Hi, Kymm- nope, I'm not dead. Just unwriterly, these days...
I've never got to the airport late under my own steam and missed a plane, oh no. But I *have* missed because the airline screwed up with connecting flights. When you fly to Nova Scotia, the main hub is Halifax, and little turbo-prop commuter planes all fan out from there. Some years ago I was flying home to Yarmouth to see family, and my gran had sprung for a ticket straight through, changing in Halifax of course.
So there we all were in Toronto waiting for the first plane. No sign of it. Delay. Seriously late. Then a tinny announcement that the "incoming equipment" (um, the plane?) had some mechanical difficulties that would necessitate us being transferred to a later flight. About twenty suddenly concerned passengers rushed up to the ticket desk, immediately concerned about the connection to Yarmouth...
And here's what happened: we were a whole 10 minutes late for our connecting flight. They didn't hold the plane for us. No... they got a bus. Everyone was issued a box lunch, and what would have been a 20-minute flight turned into a five-hour drive. You see, the airline only promised to get us to our destination... they didn't guarantee how, or so we were told. (Nowadays I'd be making all sorts of fuss and they'd be handing over coupons and such, but back then I didn't know from squeaky wheels.)
The happy ending is that it was a gorgeous day, a beautiful drive, and all the other passengers were cheery and kind. So it wasn't so bad, after all.
-- Cameron Perry (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 08, 2001.