I went away on a trip. There's no details here, but you can find them over on Scrutiny - I'll do my darndest to get them finished up in the next day or so. I'm not allowed to talk about it here, due to the guidelines of the Blogher Ad network. This fiasco of travel has no boundaries, though, and I'm genuinely curious to hear what you all have to say about this beaut of a situation I was embroiled in today.
I arrived at the airport in plenty of time. I got on the first of two (United airlines) planes in plenty of time. I sat on the plane - for plenty of time. My 45 minute window for my (United) connector ticked away, and finally the pilot spoke. "Ladies and gentlemen, it appears that we have too many people on this plane. This should not be, so we will be checking i.d.'s and boarding passes. Please be prepared." The gate attendant appeared on our plane, and zeroed right in on an elderly Indian couple, two rows ahead of me. She asked for their i.d.'s, and it became apparent quickly that they did not speak or understand English. Finally, an interpreter was called - in the form of the co pilot. Apparently, they were on the wrong plane - AND the incorrect airline. Instead of being on the UNITED flight going to Dulles, they should have been on the NORTHWEST flight going to DETROIT. And they didn't get it, and they didn't want to get off the plane. Finally, finally, they got off - and the correct United passengers got on - who were also Indian, with the same last name. How in the WORLD does that happen? What are the odds that they would have the same last names, but more importantly, how did the two incorrect passengers get by the gate attendant with the WRONG boarding pass for a totally different airline?
That mess finally straightened, the plane pushed back from the ramp, thirty minutes late. At which point a man stood up, grabbed his bag, and bolted to the front of the plane, demanding to be let off. He was having a panic attack and unable to fly - so the plane was stopped and he deplaned - but his wife STAYED ON the flight. I can't imagine why she didn't deplane with him, and then my imagination ran away with thoughts of what he might have left ON the plane, and yadda yadda.
We arrived in DC at 12:05, with my connecting flight departing at 12:22. We were directed by the flight attendant - there were five of us - to make our way from gate C something (the number isn't important, only the terminal) to A2. We ran down the escalator, jumped on the shuttle, and waited. One minute, two minutes, three minutes. Three minutes is a long damned time when you only have a few. Finally, finally we pushed off and went across to A terminal. I bolted off and ran - hey, what do you know - I'm not medically cleared to run yet, but it didn't hurt! - all the way to gate A2. One of the other ladies was unable to run, for medical reasons, and the shuttle crew asked her name, presumably to call ahead and let the gate know to hold the plane. So we all BOOKED IT as fast as possible to gate A2.
Where there was NO ONE. Checking in with the gate agent, I was told that the plane already left - 5 minutes early - from gate Dsomething. Did you catch that? A TOTALLY different terminal from the one we had been directed to. Auugghh. So I missed my flight, and it was not weather related, or due to my own incompetence - but just the incompetence of the gate attendant, who let passengers get on board with the wrong boarding passes. When the security level is orange, how does this type of stuff happen? I genuinely want to know.