http://havanatranquility.com/daeso/3122 June 18th. The Travel Day from HELL!!
http://www.sru-lika-gospic.com/plemjanik/gigabet/3417 Here it is, almost the longest day of the year. I haven’t slept but about 3 total hours in the last 24, and it’s time for me to close the luggage and get in the shower for what’s going to be a nice day.
I leave the ground at 9:50am local DC time, change planes in Dallas (DFW) and land in Vegas (LAS) at 12:45pm local time. I’m flying First Class to Vegas today, life couldn’t be better!
There’s a glow on the Eastern horizon, which is telling me I have no time to sleep, and that I need to get my ass in the shower and get out the front door to the train.
Something happens, I get behind. So we’re late taking me to the Metro. No worries, that’s why you get to the airport 2 hours early. Cool, no worries. Well, since I’m flying First Class I knew they’d be feeding me breakfast on the plane, so I elected not to make a big fuss about having breakfast at home. Since I didn’t eat, as soon as I see the Sun glaring through the windshield of the car on the way to the Metro, BAM! I start getting a Migraine. I start going blind from it, and it begins to progress. This, and this is an understatement of all understatements, is BAD. Me and Migraines when traveling don’t mix. I get Vascular Migraine Headaches. Diagnosed when I had my first one when I was 14. I go blind, see spots, go numb, fall down, and then I start to vomit profusely. Then, about a half hour later the Pain Train comes to my brain, for 8 hours. Sometimes longer, but no less than 8.
Yes, as you may have thought, I do have medication for it. I have a little white Fiorocet pill I take immediately when starting a migraine. I can stop the migraine in it’s tracks and prevent it from getting worse. It can put a stop to a very long day of pain and agony. So I eat one. We get to the Metro station and I get one out and take it immediately. Now I’m in freak out mode because I’m having a migraine AND I’m late. I got meds on board, I eat a Clif Bar for something to eat. It’s a neat little trick I’ve learned from traveling, where you wake up in a hotel room, you may not have direct access to food right away, so you take a box of 6 Clif Bars with you and eat one for breakfast, or when you get home early/late from EDC and you haven’t had food in forever.
We get through the entrance to the Metro station, get up to the platform, and there’s almost nobody there. SWEET! At least something is going right today. A minute later we hear on the PA system that there was a split/broken track early this morning and they had to fix it, and it’s on the Blue Line, MY line to get to the airport, and there will be at least 20 min. delays.
Over the next 20 minutes the platform fills with people going to work. I mean, within that 20 minutes, a couple thousand people showed up to get on this next train.
So now I’m another 20 min. behind. This next train, because of the delay, will be packed!
It shows up, it’s slammed inside the train. The doors open, like 4 people get out. 6 of us jam in there. Me with my luggage and big laptop computer backpack. I’m like this huge bulge of mass just taking up space. Nobody is happy with me. Not to mention my girlfriend is with me to see me off and she’s basically playing “Guide Dog”, because I’m partially blind due to the migraine.
I’m trying to look at her and keep a positive attitude and I’m thinking “tell me it can’t get any worse?”
She reassures me that I’ll be fine and we’ll make it to the airport fine.
She’s right. We get there, we catch some attitude from the crowded train, but hey, I don’t give a rat’s ass, I’m having a migraine and I’m going to Vegas.
We get inside to the airport. My migraine is dissipating, great news! I’m starting to get my vision back and my brain isn’t going to be fried. Problem is now, due to the Caffeine from the meds, I won’t be able to sleep on the plane. Which sucks, but hey, I’ll get there before 1pm, I can nap. And it’s Wednesday, I’m not doing anything tonight anyway. So when I get to Vegas I can just chill and relax.
I get through security in 5 minutes. Amazing! This is unreal, the airport isn’t busy at all, and I get sent through the TSA Pre line, where you don’t have to take off your shoes, belt, and pull your electronics out of their bags. SWEET! There’s not even any Gray plastic bins to put your stuff in. You just put what you have on the belt and send it through the machine and then walk through the Metal Detector. Done. I get my bag, cruise down to the gate, and have a seat.
I look at my ticket again to verify my seat. I’m in the first row. I get seated first. It’s why they call it First Class. I have to say, if you CAN go First Class, you DO go First Class. It’s pretty spectacular, because you don’t pay for food or booze. Of course, you’ve already paid for it with the high price of your ticket, so you pay for it anyway. But it’s NICE. It’s so nice, they bring you a tray with a cloth over it with your meal. You get REAL metal silverwear to eat with. They give you little jars of stuff, like Ketchup, Mayo, Mustard, not that plastic-semi-metal packets of stuff you get from a fast food joint. Nope. You get the real deal. Your food doesn’t come in plastic containers. It comes in real China bowls and plates. They ask you what you would like to drink, meaning alcohol… or whatever you want that they have. And as long as they have it, you can keep asking for it. They will give it to you freely until it’s gone. If the people in the back don’t get any, well, that’s too bad, they’re just out of it.
We board the plane. About 8 of us get seated, and then the flight attendant comes over to us guys in the first row, asks us what we want to drink, dude next to me asks for a beer, I get water. Booze and Migraine meds don’t mix, so I’m just gonn’a wait until we get our meal before I start drink’n.
They stop boarding. The pilot comes into the front of the cabin, tells us that while doing his walk around of the aircraft he noticed a “dent” or indentation in the Vertical Stabilizer, also known as the “tail”. He says it may be nothing, but he made note of it and the proper staff are going to look at it, measure it, and make a decision if we can fly on this aircraft or not.
Ten minutes later, they have us exit the airplane. Great, now we’re going to be late. No worries, this is why I traveled on Wednesday instead of Thursday when BASSRUSH Massive is. JUST in case.
After we deplane, we hear a voice on the PA system in the gate area, they tell us that the plane will take about 45 min. to get looked at and have a decision. I’m standing in the gate area, looking at the tail section of the plane, and I can visibly see the small dent in the leading edge. I’m about 150’ away, and I can see it. It’s about 4” across. It looks like a Bird strike. The mechanics come out on a lift. Some managers come out, some officials come out, they’re all standing around with a clipboard and paper work. It looks like a flip card type of set up with plastic covered pages with big metal rings like a 3-ring binder, only this one is for mechanical procedure for just this sort of thing. I can tell it’s been used before so obviously these guys know what they’re doing. I’m not concerned.
Some time later they tell us on the PA system again that they’re taking the plane out of service and we all need to get Re-booked on a new flight.
THIS SUCKS! – Ok, Don’t Panic, I know exactly what to do. Instead of getting in this 150 person long line for just getting an 800 number to call, I go into my folder of paper work with the American 800 number. I call them up, tell them what happened and the lady on the phone tells me that if I want to stay First Class all the way to Vegas, I have to go through Chicago (ORD).
I also don’t get 737-800’s all the way. I now have to fly MD-80’s, which sucks, but hey, what are ya gonn’a do right? I’m not a fan of the very narrow, loud and gas guzzling MD-80/83. They actually call them “S80”s now. They’re like a pencil with wings. I dislike them as they’re old now.
I agree immediately with the woman on the phone, who was professional and helpful as she could possibly be. She was aware of the call flood starting with other passengers from that flight. She was awesome and did what she could to help me. I was very thankful and we got me the flight through Chicago to Vegas. Now, my next flight was just after 1pm, about 2 hours from when I’d be touching down in Vegas. It sucks, but it’s the best thing I could get.
A couple hours later I’m dragging. My ass is ready to pass out, but I can’t. I can’t possibly find a place to sleep, pass out, and then miss my only shot at getting to Vegas today. So, I get food, get some water and sit down with my laptop to play online while waiting for the clock to tick off hours.
Eventually, the time comes where it’s time for me to head to the other gate, which was nearby. I get over there, verify my seat and that my luggage will be on the flight. The staff calls downstairs and assures me my luggage will be on the flight with me. Cool.
Eventually, they start boarding the plane. I get seated, I get a drink, the guy next to me orders a Bud Light, and we begin to chat. As soon as he finishes his beer, they tell us we have to deplane again! Seriously!?!? Aagain?!?! This… this is bullshit. There’s bad weather in Chicago. Of course, what else can go wrong!?
Back in the terminal again, we hear on the PA system, AGAIN, that there is bad weather in Chicago, and they’re not accepting any planes to land for some time. So they can’t put planes in the air that are heading there until they get the all clear. This is because they only launch planes with enough fuel to get to the destination, plus 1-2 Hours of extra fuel for diverting, which they really don’t want to do. So because of that, if the weather looks really bad, they just don’t bother to allow the plane to take off. So, they tell us 30 min. dealy.
30 min. later, they tell us, it’s going to be another 30 min. 30 min. later, same thing. Now we’re 90 min behind schedule.
By this time I’ve been IN this airport about 7 hours now. I’m sick of being here. I should have already been landing in Vegas, having my IN N OUT and getting a nap. But no. I’m stuck in Va. Can’t even get off the ground… This is bullshit. I’m about ready to tell them to just rebook me for Thursday morning, so I can go home and SLEEP. That’s all I want to do right now. Sleep. I can’t even tell you how angry my brain is. I’m just out of it now. I’m so tired that I’m starting to hallucinate. I’m starting to see little things moving around out the corner of my eye. Sometimes I’m seeing little “animals” moving about here and there between people’s carry on bags. I know they’re not real, but still I’m disturbed about it. I’m just done.
A few minutes later, right before I’m about to accept defeat and ask to be rebooked, again, they tell us they’re going to start boarding again.
Yay!.. meh. I just want to get on the plane. I have some more water, pep up a little bit, and head to the line. Get on the plane and sit down next to a nice gentleman. We start to chat, nice guy, and we have some jokes. I tell him of my day so far and he is sympathetic. We enjoy First Class, again.
So, I’ve been boarded on two different aircraft, and deplaned from two different aircraft in the same day, and I haven’t even left the ground! By this time I’m in “Fuck It!” mode. I don’t even care what happens any more. I just hope I get to Vegas. I’m delirious. My care level is now below 2%. Again, I just want to go home and sleep.
The guy next to me on this flight is a nice guy, conversational and a saint compared to the first guy earlier. He can tell I’m totally lounging, and he can tell I’m tired. I look like shit. I’ve spent 7 hours in the airport, and been boarded and deplaned twice, and haven’t left the ground. He’s cool about it. He gets his second beer. He finishes it before we get our push back. Finally, the door is closed, however, more bad weather in Chicago, and we can’t leave. We sit in the plane for what seems like an eternity. Finally, 20 minutes later, we get our push back and everyone on the plane is happy to be leaving the gate. You could hear and feel a collective sigh of relief.
We get out to the runway, I have my cellphone out to record the take off. I almost always do. Just in case something happens, they’ll hopefully have some record of it. I also do this from a QA perspective.
YAY! I’m somewhat happy, we’re on the way to Chicago! Of course, due to weather, we have to take our time in getting there, so more delays. the flight attendant comes to me and says, “Hi, so It looks like you’re going to miss your connecting flight to Las vegas… it’s leaving the ground at 4:30.” I say with a smile “Yup! I’m aware. I knew from all the delays that I wouldn’t make the connecting flight. I’m not worried, they’ve been really cool about rebooking me.” I tell her it’s OK that the flights will all probably be delayed anyway and I might still have a chance. She agrees and says that if the flights are delayed enough I could still get to it and make it on time.
As soon as we touch down, she’s out of her seat with an update telling everyone their new gates and times for their connecting flights. She fails to mention mine. I guess I’m the ONLY one on the plane going to Vegas in First Class. As it turns out, she can’t mention the Vegas flight because it’s late, but there’s actually not enough time to get to it, officially. They’re supposed to have 45 minutes to allow you to make it to boarding on time. At the time the flight hasn’t been delayed enough to allow for 45 min. As it turns out there are actually several people on the plane going to Vegas, and EDC. Before we get off the plane she tells me new info, that they haven’t started boarding yet and that the Vegas flight is very late, and we should all make it to the plane without issue.
Great! I get off the plane, my phone is on Death’s Door. I’m trying to stay in communication with my girlfriend and keep her up to date on what’s been going on. I’m even more tired now, I’ve been up since 3:30am EST after only 3 hours of sleep. I don’t sleep well on the day/night before a travel day. I’m too excited. So I’m always tired all day when I travel. However, this day is by far the worst I’ve felt, ever. It’s like I can actually feel the molecules in my brain cells breaking down and being destroyed. It’s an ugly feeling. I don’t want to feel it any more. I just want it to go away.
My phone is off, and I start looking for a place to charge my phone in the terminal. I have to stop and ask someone at a gate for directions, the guy is Indian or Pakistani, he laughs at me. Apparently they’re everywhere, you just have to walk far enough to get to a station. They don’t actually have “stations” like in other airports with newer facilities. There’s this wall, where public phones used to be. It has a bunch of outlets on it. People in far better condition than I, are sitting there watching movies and shows and facebooking on their Pads and other devices. There are chairs mashed together end-to-end to create a short “bed” of sorts, and a couple people sleeping in them. There are people everywhere. The weather has this airport jam packed because nobody can leave. I asked someone at an American counter, in my stupor, where I can find out if my flight is on time or delayed. They direct me to a rebooking area, and after a few minutes of trying various phones, finding they’re broken, a guy hangs up in disgust, he’s stuck until tomorrow. He’s not from Chicago. He’s as screwed as I am. Probably worse. I get to his phone, the PA system sparks up with some foreign guy mumbling incoherently into the mic so nobody can understand him, and he keeps repeating what he’s saying over and over. I can’t hear the rep on the other end of the phone. I manage to determine that my flight is delayed and I can still make it to the gate. SWEET! I go to the gate, find out the plane isn’t leaving for at least 45 min. So I find a restroom, drop one, and then get back to the phone charging area where I have to nimbly work my way through the horde of lounging people to plug my phone in. I figured I could get about 20 min. of charge and be good for the flight, because these old MD-80s don’t have charging ports on the planes. They’re so old they don’t even bother to upgrade them. Some of them have WiFi, but it sucks. This is the reason I love the newer 737-800s that American has been steadily upgrading with. They said that they’re also upgrading all of their MD-80’s with Airbus A320s. Which is awesome! A320’s are a little wider and a bit nicer than the 737s. A320s have TVs in the backs of seats and 100 channels from DirecTV.
They also have a ton of music channels, however, I’m not on one of those yet.
I sit down, go through some stuff in my pockets, try to organize things, and try to take some notes on this trip. I begin to doze off, some lady nearby sees me and gives me a smug and knowing smile. I don’t think she’s been awake as long as I have.
Oh, I almost forgot… Those Migraine meds I took a LONG time ago? Yeah, the medication in them that stop the migraine in it’s tracks, not the Caffeine, puts you to sleep. So, now I’m fighting that as well on top of normal sleepiness and exhaustion. My brain is angry, but is subdued because of the migraine meds. So I’m in this stupor, like I’m drunk, but I don’t feel drunk. I wish I was drunk, then maybe I could sleep on the plane all the way to Vegas.
https://www.orthodonticpartners.net/mirtyew/1242 20 min. later I jerk out of a doze. Shit! What time is it!? How long was I asleep? Where am I? Did I miss my flight? SHIT!.. I look down at my Gear2 Neo watch. Oh, it’s only been 1 minute since I last looked at my watch. Whew… Ok. That little adrenaline rush gets me going again for a moment. I see that it’s time for me to go back to the gate area to board the plane. I jump up, head over to the wall, swerve in and out of people again and excuse myself while I grab my phone cord out of the wall and my phone off of the small ledge where a gentleman is watching a movie on his huge Pad. Normally, just from seeing a movie for a few seconds, even if I haven’t seen it, I can pretty much guess exactly what it is. Nope. Not today, not in this condition. I don’t even care. I didn’t even really look at it. My brain is just not able to process anything beyond the stress of getting to my gate and sitting down in my seat on the plane.
Now, everyone is in my way. I’m agitated. It’s a function of the brain when you haven’t slept. It’s just part of the downward spiral that is lack of sleep. I find myself making faces out of suffering and anguish. People are looking at me weirdly, or so it seems. My perception isn’t the best right now. I push on to my gate with 30lbs. on my back, laptop and power cords and such. My phone is at only 26%. I think it’s enough to get me to Vegas.
http://hongrie-gourmande.com/frensis/5629 I get back to the gate and oh, look at this, they’ve JUST started boarding. I cruise right up into the line, since they just called for First Class passengers first with the other memberships and so on. I pull the boarding pass out of my cargo shorts pocket in one smooth natural move, like I do it all the time. Nobody notices I pulled it out of no where like, “Yeah, that’s right, I travel efficiently, and I’m in First Class. People are giving grudging glances like they’re butt-hurt that they don’t get to board the plane right now. It’s ALL about them. Personally, I don’t care, we’re all going to get on the plane eventually. My dad used to like to be the last one on the plane. Either because it allowed him to have a smoke before several hours of flying. Usually it was a 5 hour flight to Hawaii. Back then I learned to appreciate being the last one on the plane. Now days it seems like if you’re the last one on the plane you’re an asshole because you’re holding us up. That’s not the case, but that is the general perception.
http://biblioteka-chrzastowice.pl/marysja/8875 Board the plane, get a water, and we sit. We get our push from the gate, and we sit there for about 15 min. while the captain tells us that we’re one many planes in line trying to take off right now while the weather allows us to. Currently the weather allows planes to take off, but the weather around the approach lines to land isn’t letting planes land. I look out the window and at every runway are between 15 and 20 aircraft lined up on the tarmac. I’ve never seen this many planes lined up before. I see out the other window a plane lands, on my right, another plane lands. Turns out they are the last two. Then we see planes launching off to both sides. They’re not even stopping, they’re doing what’s called a “Turn & Go”. The tower tells them that as soon as they make their turn onto the runway, they can start their take off immediately. This is both good news and bad news. Good news if you’re in your plane ready to take off, bad news if you’re still in the terminal. Because they’re trying to get everyone off the ground that they can before they shut it down again.
i loved this We’re 5th in line. I count the planes taking off to our Left, that’s where our runway is.
Finally we get there, we turn, we pause for a few seconds, and then woosh, we feel the push and hear the roar of our engines spooling up.
I LOVE this part! Thrust is the most amazing thing in the world! Yes! Lets get to Vegas!
I see the clouds, broken and crumbly looking, then off in the distance a HUGE wall of gray water falling from sky to ground. We’re rolling and speeding up. Feels good!
Finally we rotate upwards, to the sky! I’m smiling. I look around really quick and nobody else is as impressed about this as I am. I’m like a kid in a candy store with a $50 bill. I get my camera out as I begin to see Sunlight. I realize it’s close to Sunset, somewhere around 8:30ish? I can’t remember. But I know there are going to be some premium opportunities to take some nice pics of clouds.
the Captain tells us our flight time, somewhere around 3 hours or so, and our flight level is going to be 28,000 feet. (We may go higher later on, but at least for a while it’ll only be 28k ft. which is kind of low, but it’s because we’re flying around weather. Pretty soon, our captain has us slowly turning and dodging clouds, I see the Sun cracking above the horizon out there beyond the Gray.
I get my phone out and begin to snap pictures. Over the next 20 minutes my phone is growing closer and closer to Death’s Door. I manage to get a slew of amazing pictures of the Sunset and gorgeous Orange and Yellow and Purple and White vertical cloud formations. Giant plumes and pillars of fluffy formations. One in particular is especially well placed outside my window and I take some amazing photos as we pass by. We pass quickly, around 500 mph. the captain gives us a wonderful view of this formation. It’s like he knew I was taking pictures and chose that one to fly around perfectly for me to photograph it. I am thankful and feel accomplished.
Later on the drinks come, and then the “dinner”. I eat the food, can’t even remember what it was. I think it was a small piece of meat, about 4 bites. Some veggies. Now I’m ready for a nap.
I get the blanket out of the plastic bag and I begin to fold it up so I can lean on the window and hopefully pass out for a while.
I wake up a while later, only having been asleep for 20 min., I get up to pee. Back to the seat and back to sleep. I wake up again sometime later, it’s almost fully dark outside, my neck aches like a bitch! I stretch out, get my wits about me and I feel a little bit better. I wonder if I’ve been snoring at all and I look to see what time it is. Apparently I slept for quite a while, I’m guessing an hour and a half? After a few minutes of waking up, the Captain comes on and says that we’ll be landing in about 45 min. Tells us the local time will be about 9:38pm. Great, I was supposed to be here 9 hours ago… wow.
I usually take video of takeoff and landing. At this point, I don’t even care, I just want to get on the ground and get my car and get to my room and pass out.
eflora cream ranbaxy price We land, gracefully, with all the lights of Vegas glowing brightly through my window. I’m back baby!… and I am going to NAP!
I get out of the tram to the baggage claim, and there are people EVERY WHERE. This is the most crowded I’ve ever seen Vegas. Sure, I know EDC is this weekend, but there are way more people in town than I had expected to see for a Wednesday. Our baggage claim fills up with 2 flights worth of people.
I pull my phone out, turn it back on, and tell my boy Jeff I’ve landed, I tell the girlfriend I’ve landed, and I tell someone else I’ve landed. I check facebook really quick and post something.
Eventually my bag shows up and I head for the Rental Car bus line.
I remember that my big phone charging battery thingy is in my luggage, I dig it out. head out to the line of people. 15 minutes later I finally get on the bus to the Rental Car agency terminal.
I get there, go to check in, and I can’t get a car. I get redirected to someone else out where the cars are in the garage. I’m almost there…
I get there, the guy behind the counter tells me that I can’t use this card (Debit Card) as a credit card, and that because of the kind of card it is, I can’t pay for the security deposit. Their system kicks it back and doesn’t allow it. So I’m screwed. After a few minutes of heated conversation, I explain that this was all set up days ago and there shouldn’t be any problems. I call my girlfriend who set it up and we talk to the guy. He explains to me that it’s the system kicking it back, that it’s not his choice, there’s nothing he can do. Neither of us knew this was going to be an issue and we weren’t set up to handle it. After more conversation I determine that I just want my money back and I’ll deal with it later. They cancel my reservation and now I have to wait several days before my money gets put back on my card. It could be up to 5 business days… great. that’s money I won’t have to get around since I now have to take Cabs everywhere… this is bullshit.
I’m pissed, but what can I do? I get a text from Jeff. He asks what I’m doing and where I’m at right now. I tell him my situation. He calls me. Says don’t worry about shit, I got this. He comes and scoops me up, like a fuck’n Hero. He says, don’t worry dude, that place (the rental car place) is about a mile from my house, just come over to my place, get a shower, get ready to go out, we’re going to go to club LIGHT at Mandalay Bay. (It’s a club I haven’t seen yet but wanted to last time I was here, but missed.) Jeff has to meet a high roller there to walk him in. Jeff doesn’t have time to take me to my hotel, wait for me to get ready, go home and get ready and THEN come back and get me. So we agree that it’s more efficient if I just wash all the Airport and Airplane gook off me at his place. He’s got a spare room and an unused bathroom so I’m good.
10 minutes later Jeff rolls up, I put the bags in the car and we head over to his house.
I’m exhausted. My day is over. I just want to sleep.
But Jeff has other plans.