Monday, August 14, 2006

Tell me there's not Air Travel Karma

So as not to completely destroy my already TERRIBLE air travel karma, I'll tell you now about our trip out to San Francisco. We are here safely now and are glad to have made it at all, albeit a bit late. We had a 6:30am flight out of DC National to Atlanta, connecting and arriving in SF at noon-ish Pacific. Not a bad deal all in all, and I can easily manage the kids schedule to avoid unnecessary jet lag. We get up at 3:30am and arrive in the terminal at 5am to learn that our flight has been cancelled and we are on a 6:30 PM flight. O.K., we'll still make it to the luncheon on Sunday. We go home (live 10 minutes from the airport) and sleep for three hours. We wake up, grab lunch, run a quick errand and head back to the airport at 3:30pm. Our flight out of DC to ATL is fine (we're all exhausted from getting up early, but we sleep some on the plane). We actually arrive EARLY into ATL and we're happy because we have a short (40 min) layover and three little kids - and have to change terminals. But, we sit on the tarmac for about 40 minutes and now we have about 15 minutes to catch our flight. They tell us that they will hold the plane but to run - three little tired kids in tow. We get to the gate and not only is the plane not loading, it hasn't even unloaded from the flight before. Big sigh, but again, not a big deal. We're still getting on the plane. They finally load the plane which was supposed to leave at 9:40. Still in O.K. shape - that gets us into San Fran at 11:45 PM (2:45 AM our time). But, we sit on the plane for an HOUR while they looks for 30 bags that are missing (this part is important so remember that I mentioned it). They find the bags but now have no driver for the tug to move the plane back from the gate. They find a driver but haven't gotten their paperwork back yet, but we eventually leave - 1 hour behind schedule. It's now 10:30 Eastern and we have a 4.5 hour flight ahead of us. That means that we will arrive at 3 AM our time. So, we try to get the kids to sleep as quickly as possible and nap ourselves. Tom goes to grab the boys' jackets for pillows for them (AirTran has no pillows - just blankets and we already have three of those) and discovers that they are covered in OJ. Apparently we didn't get all the juice out of the sippy cups and the pressure changes spit some out...a lot out. Another big sigh. But again, not a big deal - we're still almost there.

We get off the plane and stumble into the baggage claim to realize that they are missing one car seat. Three kids - two car seats. Fill out the forms and wander off wondering what to do. Fortunately I rented a Caravan that has the seats built in so we are fine and head to our hotel. When we get there we realize that something in our luggage leaked all over my and Tom's sweatshirts - thank goodness it isn't very cold out today. They dry and we go about our business. Still haven't heard from the airlines about the car seat and can't get a hold of anyone there. But, we're here, we had a lovely luncheon, and now we are going to play tourist.

I've got to say that separately these events are not bad. Not one of these thing made me mad or got my goat at all, but looking back this has to be the absolute WORST plane trip that we've had ever. And not only was it a bad plane trip that got us in 14 hours later than expected, but I was up for more than 24 hours with only one short three hour nap. I can't say that anyone in particular didn't do their job or was impolite, but the karmic world of air travel really got us this time.

The really funny part is that Max (who just turned 6) is telling everyone that AirTran is the best airline ever - that they are very good. All this because they flew in the dark. Ahhhh, to be 6 again and have that perspective. So, I sit here now, not particularly put out (weird, but true.). I guess there's peace knowing that we got here in time for the luncheon, spent the day with family and friends that love us, and that we are flying Delta back home...

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