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View Full Version : Why I Love Flying (A Sarcastic Commentary on the State of U.S. Airtravel)



rexnom
12-21-2008, 11:47 AM
Let me preface this tale of mine with the key "take-home" points of my experiences:

- NEVER fly Continental. Not only do they take you to newark - or as I like to call it "The ****hole of the Eastern Seaboard - but they are truly terrible airline, especially compared to the international big ones. Over the past few days, I've caught myself repeatedly wishing that the financial crisis had taken them out
- If you are flying abroad, NEVER connect domestic, always connect abroad in Paris, London, Dubai or wherever. The rule is to always get out of the U.S. And the upshot is that you don't have to re-check your luggage on return either.
- Blackberries are amazing, and incredibly helpful for situations such as this.

Now for my story...(Editing note: this has to come to you in chunks...thanks to it being typed on a blackberry)

So I live in Washington dc but a chunk of my family lived in Stockholm, Sweden where I return every winter for the holidays.Although the flight over is always a hassle (like last year when I missed a connection to Stockholm and was forced to fly through Lisbon, Paris, and Copenhagen before getting there) but this year has been a disaster.

I was sleeping over at friend's on Friday night before my Saturday flight. I thought my flight was at six but when I checked her computer as soon as I woke up - at 12 - I found that my flight was really leaving at 3. So I hustled back to my aprtment and left for the airport in a hurry. Fortunately my flight was at Reagan, which is in dc proper and metro accessible.I made it to the airport, disheveled and all, at one, only to find that my flight to Newark had been delayed to six, which was a slight problem since my flight from Newark to Stockholm was leaving at 5:30. I was ****ed.Yet somehow my troubles were only beginning.

They booked me on another flight from Newark. This one leaving at 8:30 to London from where I would find a connecting flight to Stockholm. After a few hours and more delays, they started boarding the plane at 7. I didn't want to leave dc just to get stuck in newark, so I asked me if they thought that I could make the london connection. They assured me I could. So I left dc and got to Newark. Because of various mishaps at the airport (aka just another day at the office in new jersey) we arrived at 9. I ran to catch my other flight only to find that the gate had closed. The plane was still there (the London flight had also been delayed - huge ****ing surprise) but they refused to board me.

Looking for other solutions, I tried to get on the last two international flights of the night - paris and madrid - just to get out of this godforsaken hellhole but alas they were both sold out and full. So I turned to the customer service center. After waiting in line for almost three excruciating hours, they decided to close up shop at around midnight. I was the next person in line and they literally closed the door on me. And so I went to baggage claim - the only human beings left at the airport - to get help. While in line, I waited to speak to continental's help desk on the phone, only to be told that the changes to my ticket had to be made at the airport (thanks jackasses-can I have the last hour of my life back, please?). After three more hours of waiting, the people at baggage claim told me to come back in the morning when international ticketing was open, which was at sixish on now sunday morning (by which time I should have already been in stockholm by the way).

After a hearty helping of coffee, I returned to waiting in line at international ticketing. Somehow, by the time I got there, a huge line had already formed. What's that? They opened at four am? They baggage claim people had no idea what they were saying? Wonderful. After three hours in line, I was given a choice of three options - standby to stockholm, upgrading to first class, or waiting until the 27th for an open economy seat. I chose standby.

So that's where I am right now. Sitting, waiting, wishing for a flight at Newark. I hope you guys have had better luck flying for the holidays.

count55
12-21-2008, 11:54 AM
Let me preface this tale of mine with the key "take-home" points of my experiences:

- NEVER fly Continental. Not only do they take you to newark - or as I like to call it "The ****hole of the Eastern Seaboard - but they are truly terrible airline, especially compared to the international big ones. Over the past few days, I've caught myself repeatedly wishing that the financial crisis had taken them out
- If you are flying abroad, NEVER connect domestic, always connect abroad in Paris, London, Dubai or wherever. The rule is to always get out of the U.S. And the upshot is that you don't have to re-check your luggage on return either.
- Blackberries are amazing, and incredibly helpful for situations such as this.

Now for my story...

enthralling...;)

(My rule for travel in the US is never fly through Atlanta.)

Hicks
12-21-2008, 12:40 PM
I guess he didn't make it.

rexnom
12-21-2008, 12:44 PM
enthralling...;)

(My rule for travel in the US is never fly through Atlanta.)
Haha. Ok, check now. And yeah, Atlanta is pretty bad. I get that the south needs a hub but why the hell do they now reroute international flights there too?

rexnom
12-21-2008, 12:47 PM
I guess he didn't make it.
Although I loved no country for old men, I'm not about to have my entire story unravel "off-camera."

idioteque
12-21-2008, 01:39 PM
AMEN on the always do your connections through Europe. All US Airlines are a joke compared to KLM, Lufthansa, hell even British Airways. My best experience was actually on the Greek Olympic Airlines.

In 2004 I flew to France for vacation and had a great time. I flew from Indianapolis to JFK to London, hung out in London for awhile and took the chunnel to Paris, then took the train down to Avingnon and proceded to lose a bunch of money in Monaco. On the way home I was scheduled to fly from the Nice airport to JFK to Indianapolis. Nice to JFK worked out just fine, and were were supposed to take this small plane from JFK to Indianapolis. Well, they boarded us on the thing and we sat on the runway for about an hour and a half only to learn that the flight was cancelled. Now mind you I just got off of a plane for about 9 hours, am just getting over being incredibly hammered when I was in Monaco, and have been awake for about 24 hours. So all I want to do is get back to Indy and sleep.

I go to the airline kiosk and of course they can't get me to Indy for the rest of that day (I got to the airport at 8am) and the best they can do is get me to Cincy from Newark (please tell me why they put a major airport in that dump) tomorrow. They offer to comp hotel rooms for my sister and I at some crappy Ramada Inn right outside of the airport. So I take a cab to the airport and of course it takes forever to get to the front of the line at the hotel because there are a million people with comped rooms trying to check in. I get to the front of the line and they tell me they can only give me one room with one bed for me and my 17 year old sister. Uh, no. So I pay for the extra stupid room so my sister can sleep in her own bed. My sister and I go down for dinner only to realize that the meal voucher they gave us doesn't even cover half of the glorious Ramada Inn salad buffet.

So we end up spending one dumb night in NYC, taking a cab to Newark, and flying back to Indianapolis. I've never been so happy to see Indy, and usually I'm not incredibly thrilled to be back there after hanging out in Europe.

I fly out to Indy on the 23rd from Reagan to IND straight shot, but for some reason I have a bad feeling about getting a delay this year. My recent flights have just been too smooth and I know I am due for one.

DisplacedKnick
12-21-2008, 05:32 PM
Got my first Newark experience over Thanksgiving. As always, any airport without free wi-fi sucks as a matter of general principle and Newark has a lot else not going for it. We only left an hour late for Indy though so I feel lucky.

Still like it better than Cleveland but I wasn't going International either.

kester99
12-21-2008, 05:39 PM
Out of the ten times or so that I've been thru the Newark airport, I think my flight back to ATL left on-time maybe twice. The last time, they had to evacuate the Delta concourse for a gas leak. Three hours waiting, outside, on the tarmac. Couldn't go to another concourse to wait, because that was toward the gas smell.

count55
12-21-2008, 09:10 PM
Haha. Ok, check now. And yeah, Atlanta is pretty bad. I get that the south needs a hub but why the hell do they now reroute international flights there too?

Well, hoping you get out of Newark. I used to do Continental day trips when I worked for Macmillan (office in Manhattan). I never had any trouble, though I was one the last plane to take off in a snow storm, so I just got lucky.

Flew in-Monday-out-Friday from LaGuardia for 10 weeks in Sept-Oct 2000. That completely blew.

I have no international stories, but I've actually driven to Indy from Atlanta, from Charlotte, and from Louisville because of **** ups in Atlanta.

rexnom
12-22-2008, 03:11 AM
Btw guys, I just made it to Stockholm. I got on that standby flight...only delayed for 24 hours...

kester99
12-22-2008, 03:53 AM
Enjoy, rexnom.

ChicagoJ
12-24-2008, 11:15 AM
Haha. Ok, check now. And yeah, Atlanta is pretty bad. I get that the south needs a hub but why the hell do they now reroute international flights there too?

Atlanta is a lot smoother when your client IS the big airline. :tongue: The answer is pretty simple, though: DL is the largest transatlantic airline, but to get the planes to high enough capacity to cover the expensive fuel cost of taking off, they have to gather all thier international passengers in one place (ATL) and then board the plane.

BTW, I understand O'Hare is doing much better this winter with the new "third" runway.