June 12th, 2008

storyteller doll

Made It Home

Getting back from Colorado Springs proved a bit challenging.

I was relieved that my rental car was not one of the vehicles that was broken into in the hotel parking lot last night. That was probably the high point of the day.

The flight to Denver boarded on time, then sat on the tarmac for over half an hour due to air traffic control delays into DEN. This is why one should always book long layovers, so it wasn't a real issue. Except, of course, for being wedged into a regional jet for more time. (These are the least comfortable planes flown in the U.S. and are tolerable for brief puddle hopper flights. United is increasing their use. Beware of the 3 or so hour flights on them. Next thing you know, airlines here will start buying Russian Yak-40's, which are the least comfortable planes on the planet.) Also, this was the most turbulent flight I've been on in at least a decade. I actually like turbulence (yes, I'm strange), but this enough to make even me feel a bit queasy.

So we get to Denver and everything looks like it's going okay. I didn't manage to get an upgrade, but that's hardly surprising these days and I do, at least, have an aisle seat in Economy Plus. We're about halfway through boarding when the pilot announces that there is a mechanical problem with the plane. We get off the plane. Since there is some uncertainty about whether there will be a replacement plane, I go to the Customer Service desk. But then I realize I have my cell phone with me, so I cleverly call Customer Service while waiting in line. And have this conversation:

Me: I'm on flight 918 which has just been taken out of service for mechanical problems and would like to see if I can get on another flight.

They ask my name and I tell them.

Them: There's a 12:49 flight at gate 38. Just go to that gate.

I naively interpreted this as them having switched me onto that flight. So I went to gate 38 and waited in a long line, only to discover that, no, they had done no such thing. They were basically just telling me where to go to try to get on standby for another flight.

While I was there, they announced that there was a replacement plane for my original flight (which had been scheduled to leave at 11:59) and it would go at 1:55 p.m. I decided that saving an hour didn't merit the likelihood of being stuck in a middle seat, so I went and got lunch. (There is, by the way, a very good wrap place at the Denver airport. They should open a branch near, but not in, the Colorado Springs airport.) Back at the gate, the flight time gradually drifted later and later. We eventually left at 2:30 or so.

On the plus side, enough people had gone standby on the earlier one that there was even an empty seat next to me. And, of course, I'd much rather they find out about mechanical problems when we're on the ground than in mid-air.

I was very glad that I had stopped at a bookstore last night and picked up a kakuro book.

But this is the 21st century. I am reasonably sure that I was promised teleportation by now.