Friday, July 29, 2005

I'M BACK (OR, HOW I LEARNED TO HATE FLYING AND AMERICA WEST AIRLINES). I crawled into the house about midnight last night after 12 hours of waiting in airports and flying from Montana. However, it was the trip from dallas-Fort Worth to Montana that was the worst flying experience of my life.

We did not make it to bed until almost midnight on last Sunday night. We had a flight at 8:45 a.m. Monday morning on America West for the first leg of the trip to Montana. Around 12:30 a.m., the telephone rang. Fortunately, the Little Woman awoke enough to tell me to answer it. Otherwise, I might have been too groggy.

I picked up the phone and heard "Hi, this is Kevin from America West. Your flight has been delayed, so we put you on American flight such and such. It leaves at 7:30 a.m. Oh, and you need to come to the airport at least 2 hours early so you can go first to America West and get your tickets processed, then go to American Airlines, which is in a different terminal. Thanks and good night." (We figure there was no delay, the flight was 8 hours away! They must have canceled the flight for lack of sales and booked the passengers on other airlines to save money or something.)

I was just awake enough to write down the flight number and time. I told the Little Woman and she said "Well, what about the Baby?" I had been too sleepy to ask. I got up and called American West to check. They said, oh they should have called you. She is booked on Delta. I said no, we need to go together since this is such a long trip. After an hour or so, we finally got her on the American flight with us. Thank you to the nice lady for accomlishing that.

However, we still had to make the trip to two terminals.

I slept about 2 hours, got up, and headed to the airport. We went to America West, had to explain the problem to 2 different people, and finally got our tickets processed. For some reason, they could only generate a boarding pass for the Baby and not for the two of us. We got on the shuttle and traveled at 2 miles per hour around to the Terminal for American Airlines. We went to ticketing and explained the problem to a lady there, who printed our tickets and boarding passes. Even though we got there 2 hours early, we were at boarding time and still not through security.

Then we went to the security line, which had 50-60 people in it. When we got to the front, they said our tickets were flagged for security, probably since we had switched flights at the last minute. Of course, we had only switched flights under duress, but nonetheless, they pulled us out of line, went through our suitcases item by item, wanded us, patted us, and finally let us go. Ironically, they confiscated the nail file from my set, which was an American Airlines gift set.

We finally got on the plane as the last ones on. We could not get our bags in the overhead container because the searchers had messed up our packing and made the bags wider. We got no help from the flight attendants. We finally took stuff out and crammed it in the Little Woman's carry on and everywhere else we could.

When we arrived in Phoenix, we had to deplane, go to yet another terminal, and check in. They could not print a boarding pass for the Baby this time on America West. We waited about 30 minutes while the clerk disappeared to work on it. We finally got it, then had to go back through security.

When we finally arrived in Montana, we were totally exhausted. I wanted to jump out of the plane and kiss the ground I was so glad to get off the plane.

The trip back was fairly uneventful. The Kallispel (I know that spelling is wrong, but I don't want to look it up right now, sorry.) airport is nice, though small compared to DFW, clean and efficient. However, they did go through our bags, even though we checked them, and opened things, as we could tell our bags were rearranged and both had things leak that we knew we had tightened. When the bags came out at DFW, the handle of the Little Woman's suitcase was broken. Interestingly, almost every bag on the flight came out upside down. Everyone was wondering what pervert took pleasure enough in that to go to the trouble.

I don't know that I ever want to fly again.
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