Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fun WIth Airports

Today started out so well. I woke up, got packed, jumped in the car, and headed to the Boise Airport to begin my voyage home. Little did I know that by the middle of the day I would find myself typing this entry in a Red Roof Inn in San Francisco.

Things started to go awry almost as soon as I got out of security at the Boise Airport. I got McDonalds and wandered to my gate, happy to be going home. As I was munching a McMuffin, a voice came on the loudspeaker and announced that my flight was going to be delayed due to fogginess in San Fran. Okay, no problem, I have a bit less than two hours so I will still be okay. Wrong. My plane ended up taking off over an hour late from Boise.

By the time I landed in San Fran, I only had fifteen minutes to make it to the international flight terminal to board my plane. They rushed me through the building and radioed ahead to my gate to let them know I was running to get the flight. All of the rushing was to no avail and when I got to the gate the guy at the counter said the plane's door had just been closed and could not be reopened for me. I told him that there was five minutes until take-off and they still had the dock up to the plane and that I could quickly get to my seat. "Nope, the door is closed." I got this from him a couple more times as I tried to explain the situation and eventually, I walked away from the counter before I said things to him that I would probably regret later.

After my episode with Gate Guy, I went back through security and made my way to the counter for people with issues with their flights. There, a super nice lady named Inja tried very hard to find an alternate route for me. She found one that would be a pain to deal with but doable if I could be put on standby for a plane that was leaving in less than twenty minutes and I was again rushed through the security line to a special line for people in a big hurry.

This line was pointless. Since I was escorted to the line, the TSA people needed to make sure that this was no conspiracy to blow up a plane and insisted on scanning my bags and then swabbing every electrical device with chemicals to make sure they would not go boom. After waiting in this line for ten minutes, I asked the security guy next to me if there was anything that could be done to speed this up. I explained to him that I knew it was not his fault and I knew he couldn't control the situation but if there was anything he could do, that would be great because if they did not hurry, I was going to miss the flight that I didn't even have a 100% chance of getting on to begin with. He was cool and told me he was calling his manager. I was then hurried through the line and two people went over my stuff for me. Both of them were speedy and very friendly which shocked me because most TSA employees make me want to punch babies.

After security, I ran for the gate for my flight I could hopefully make. This also ended up being pointless because they had no room on the flight and finally told me that I wasn't going to be able to get on after I asked them to stop wasting my time and theirs' and just tell me if I had any shot at getting on the plane.

After failed attempt #2 I headed back to see Inja and see if she could help me again. They started to close her line but she told them she had dealt with me earlier and to let me stay. I had to wait for a bit while she helped another customer but finally, she was able to help me. The best that could be done was getting me on a 6am flight tomorrow to Vancouver and then to Osaka from there. She also provided me with a discounted hotel room for the night. Since my delay was weather related, they couldn't give me an entirely free room but I consider myself lucky because she was so helpful. She even made it to where I didn't have to uncheck my baggage and can just come to the airport and quickly board my plane. Overall, it was kind of a sucky situation but there was no one to really blame so I kept my cool and was friendly and patient to everyone I talked to and I think my good attitude helped me in my interactions with all of the airport employees. If working at Costco taught me anything it is that nine times out of ten, when dealing with an employee, your problems were not caused by them therefore, there is no reason to get mad or frustrated at them. I think having that in mind may have saved me a lot of trouble today.

Today is going to end on a good note though. I just got off the phone with Ben who lives pretty close to my hotel and we are going to be able to hang out for a while. Anywho, he is on the way so I am going to end this post and hope for the best tomorrow.


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