Saturday, October 17, 2009

Travel is Hell

For those of you on the facebook (or speed dial on my cell) you've probably heard all this already.

The day I left for Orlando started out bad and only got worse.

The night before I dreamt about puking and then the next day while I was walking the Brompton we almost actually walked through puke!

When I got to airlines parking, there was NOWHERE to park! I am way back against the back fence where I am sure I saw a Morlock eyeing me from the woods!

When I got to the airport, the line to check bags was a mile long! Was it a Columbus Day sale on flights? Then I discovered I was in the wrong line after about ten minutes of waiting. I moved to a shorter line, but this one wasn't moving at all. Only one person checking people in and her computer wasn't working!

Finally I get my bag checked (just discovered they gave me the wrong person's receipt, hopefully I still get reimbursed for that!) and security was a breeze since I left my laptop at home. I check the boards and see my gate is A68. Board the train, get there and see the departure from A68 is NOT my departure. I check the boards again. Gate is now A12! Board the train again, get to the gate. Do not have time to get some food. Nothing nearby appeals to me. I'll get something in Orlando. We land at 6:17pm, dinnertime!

Get on the plane. No one near me speaks any English. German beside me. Japanese behind me. Can't tell if they're talking about me or not.

We sit for 20 minutes. Captain finally tells us there is a safety light issue but it should be fixed shortly. I watch as they load a large box into the cargo hold labeled "Human Remains." Whee.

30 minutes later, its fixed. We back away from the gate and hear 6 loud booms. We go back to the gate and hear the turbines have stalled. Better on the ground than in the air. But we sit for another hour and a half when they finally tell us the plane is fixed but we have to get off now because the crew is over work time and we need a new crew. My phone is ringing off the hook. One is Curt from Charlie's Talent asking if I can come in on Wednesday and read for the role of a flight attendant. I tell him I am already living the dream, baby. And also I can't make Wednesday. Wah wah.

Finally we get back on the plane an hour after we should have arrived in Orlando. Back on board we wait another hour before we can leave because the plane loses power four times! Should we even fly on this plane?! Is the dead person messing with us? We take off close to 8pm and arrive at around 10:40pm. I watch as they unload a puppy from the cargo hold and cry a little for the poor guy having been down there so long. I vow never to take a pet on an airplane if I can help it.

We rush to baggage claim. I haven't eaten anything since 11am and I am shaking and cranky. We wait 20 minutes at the only working baggage claim. Suddenly people are casually saying our baggage is on the other side of the building. No formal announcement is made over the PA for another 5 minutes. I rush because the hotel shuttle is waiting for me.

Luckily I get there just as my bag is going by and I rush to the shuttle. The driver tells us we are waiting for one more passenger. We wait 15 more minutes. Then we ask if the passenger we are waiting for might not be the guy who had been standing in front of the shuttle since before we got there. It was! Sigh...

We get to the hotel and I check in quickly. The clerk asks me for my credit card for "incidentals, I guess." Then he gives me a bag of treats for being a rewards customer!

I see Sammy is yelling at his clerk. It turns out they are charging us for our rooms! Not incidentals! The whole room!

We explain over and over again that we were with Chrylser but it didn't matter. We try to call our manager but she wasn't answering her phones! It is now midnight. I am starving and tired. I tell Sammy just put your room on my card. He says no. This is ridiculous. I ask the clerk to get the manager.

We explain to the manager. Manager eventually gives in but says he will "come and find us" if we were lying about Chrysler paying for our rooms. We say, "you do that."

Do people try to steal rooms at the Mariott like that often?

Sammy and I plan to walk across the street to TGIFridays, but his room key doesn't work. Finally we get to Fridays (told the next morning there was a gator in the pond we walked so close to in the pitch black!) and it takes 20 minutes for our orders.

I get back to my room and open my suitcase. My conditioner had exploded...sigh...clean that up. Now I am too nauseous to eat, so I just put the food in the fridge and turn the light out at 2am, without the shower I so desperately needed. I had to be downstairs and miked by 8am!

The morning audience was awesome. Good thing or we wouldn't have survived 6 hrs of meetings.

The next day we get to the Orlando airport. Hurray! Curbside check in and Southwest doesn't charge to check bags! Boo! Security takes me aside and pats me down throroughly. The lady could've at least complimented me while she did that.

I make it to the gate a couple of hours early so I can buy a soda and a magnet.

Southwest doesn't have assigned seats so you just grab the first seat that appeals to you. I sat next to a friendly golfer from Maryland. I saw beautiful ocean water and maybe even a whale! I was invigorated by the comfortable flight.

We get to the bag claim. Everyone's bags arrive. Except mine. I was the FIRST to check my bag in!

My manager finds a rep who takes my info and promises to have my bag delivered to the hotel. I don't believe them, of course.

The rest of the team is antsy to leave without me. They wanna eat and go to the pool. I want to cry.

We rush to the hotel, check in. I have a two room suite all to myself. Why would I need THREE sinks?!

I wander around the beautiful hotel.

I call the airline. They have no way of tracking my bag. But I could have it by 7pm! It isn't even 11:30am!

I go to lunch with the technical producer. My phone rings. My bag is here! It had definitely been rifled through, but nothing seems to be missing.

I go to my room and watch GET SMART, the movie. I laughed out loud. I did.

I go down for happy hour with the gang. Apparently all well drinks are FREE from 5:30 to 7! The gang is anxious to see the prude get drunk. They got their wish. After four zins, the stool I was on was way too tall for my liking.

We take off to get some Cuban food. I can eat none of it, but it was tasty! My stomach just wouldn't allow the extra customers in at that time.

I fall asleep back at the room and wake up the next morning with a bit of a headache. My manager loads me up on aspirin. I make it through the 6 hrs of meetings and impress everyone with how much free food I shove into my craw. They think I never eat! Ha! They just don't know me!

We get to the airport to go home. This flight appears to be delayed due to a police situation on board the incoming plane. But somehow, leaving late, we still arrive in Detroit early!

I am so glad to be home, but know I will be doing it all again Monday when I leave for Atlanta. Course, this trip will be better, cause I get to hang out with Laura on Monday night!!!!

Wish me safe travels, please!

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