Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Labor Day Weekend travel woes

IF I EVER get The Funions back together, I'm writing a bunch of songs and releasing a new album called "O'Hare Anguish." Actually, "O'Hare Anguish" might be the name of my new band.

I'm going to think long and hard about flying out of there again.

We have a new carrier from Quincy to O'Hare, so I gave it a shot and the trip to Phoenix last Friday was painless. They printed both boarding passes right at the Quincy gate and I had to check my bag for $25, but it arrived as promised, even with a tight connecting flight time in Chicago. Also, Quincy uses United and in Chicago it was American.

The way home wasn't good. American Airlines wouldn't print both boarding passes, so I had to leave my bag with my brother since I presumably wouldn't have time to get my bag in Chicago, then fight my way through security and back into the terminal.

A storm blew through Chicago mid-afternoon Monday, and it delayed flights and fouled everything up. None of us realized how bad it was until much later. The be fair, there is nothing you can do about weather and it's not the airport's fault, but we sat on the plane in Phoenix for almost three hours. Then when we finally landed in Chicago we taxied for 45 minutes because there wasn't an open gate. You could tell the chaos was getting to the captain too - I give him and the crew credit, because there were some ticked off passengers.

But what are you going to do?

When I landed in Chicago, I knew I'd miss my connecting flight, and then I found out my 8:30 p.m. flight to Quincy had been canceled anyway. The next flight out wasn't until 3:30 the next day. That's the danger of flying to and from Chicago - if you miss the last flight out, you are screwed. I wandered around in a daze, and finally got in line at the United counter to get my boarding pass for the next day. I thought about driving home, but the rental car places were closed and I was dead tired from three days of fun in the Phoenix sun.

So I waited for 90 minutes in line. There were only four harried United workers processing tickets and dealing with frustrated passengers. I finally got in, got my ticket, and they gave me a coupon for hotels at a discount. But when I called, the hotels using the coupon were full.

I managed to ask about 20 people how to catch the shuttle to the Quality Inn. It was $100, and not all that great. Didn't matter - I slept like the dead, then got up and spent another quality five hours in O'Hare yesterday. Airport People Bingo is fun, people!

Sheryl thankfully took care of cancelling and rescheduling all my lessons, and I must have walked 10 miles with too much time on my hands. I finally asked myself, "What would Aunt Scary (my awesome sister-in-law in Phoenix) do?" She'd get a massage and drink a beer or glass of wine, that's what she'd do.

So I did. It was glorious, horrendously expensive and worth every overpriced penny.

I finally got back and I even made it into the Whig last night, begging out of there about 11:15 with zombie-like symptoms. It's always nice to crash and burn in your own bed.

Chicago is great because the Quincy flight goes right there. But St. Louis is only two hours and change away. I can deal with the ride to and from Lambert.

Traveling is the great adventure, and I survived, and it's back to bidness as usual today.

I still feel great from the massage .....

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