fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Weekend in Vegas - The Travel Trauma Part

Presidents' Day weekend is a good time to get away for a short excursion. My top priorities were: 1)a chance of decent weather and 2)somewhere with a Volksmarch event that would count towards the baseball special event program. I found an okay airfare to Las Vegas, so that was it.

I was concerned about the impact of the weather since getting a decent airfare meant flying from BWI. Getting to BWI was not as horrible as I thought it might be, Both the metro and the MARC train were running fine. Just as I was boarding the train, my phone beeped with a new voicemail. I discovered that I couldn't check that voicemail since I had forgotten to top off the phone and my number was, therefore, out of service.

I was pretty sure the voicemail was from United, so I spent the train trip stressing out that my flight would be cancelled. I got to BWI and found that it was just delayed. But it was delayed enough that it meant my connection (at IAH) was risky. Asking at the ticket counter, I had them protect me on an IAH to LAS flight the next day. I also asked about the cause of the delay and was told the issue was "weather (low ceiling) in Houston."

I had plenty of time, so I attempted to find somewhere to buy a Virgin Mobile phone card. Should you find yourself in this situation at BWI, don't bother - there is nowhere to get one. (I should note that this is a cheapie pay as you go cell phone. I use it because I spend a lot of time in places I can't bring a cell phone into. But I do need one for things Like traveling. One needs to add minutes every 3 months to keep the number alive and that's what I had forgotten to do.) You can add minutes on-line using a credit card, but I am leary of using a credit card over an unprotected public WiFi network. That public WiFi is, however, acceptable for checking flight status and I found out that the the ticket agent had outright lied to me, as United was showing the delay as due to aircraft maintenance. I really do want them to fix mechanical problems with planes and about all I could do was stress out. In the end, we left just about 2 hours late.

As I was getting off the plane some 10 minutes after my connecting flight was supposed to have left, the purser announced that they were holding the Las Vegas plane for connecting passengers. The part they didn't bother to mention was that one of the people making the connection was actually the pilot, who was also flying the IAH to LAS flight. Had I known that all along, I'd have been a lot less stressed. This may be a rare positive out of the merger. Prior to the Continentalization, one of the ways United met on-time targets was by never holding planes for late connecting passengers. I am usually irked by being one of the people stuck on a plane being delayed for them, but this time it worked in my favor.

So I got to Vegas just under an hour late, took a taxi to the MGM Grand, checked into my room, and all was well. In the morning, I stopped at a drugstore and got a Virgin Mobile card.

The travel home (to IAD, via LAX, and, yes, that is out of the way by normal person standards but it earns more miles) went considerably smoother, other than the part where I missed the Washington Flyer bus by about 3 seconds and had to wait a half hour for the next bus.

I will write about the actual weekend after I get some sleep.
Tags: travel

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