Thursday, March 24, 2011

Travel Woes... Can't Get There From Here: Making The Best Of A Bad Situation

I have a well-tread theory that if you fly to a destination without a great deal of drama, you're destined to be utterly screwed trying to get home. Once again, my mantra proved to be ominously true. But let's be honest: Wouldn't you rather get where you're going on time, stress-free, holding tight to vacation memories (for instance, temps of 79 degrees today in Miami), when you're fucked haplessly, hopelessly, striving to make it back?

To be honest, I might have brought this upon myself, wishing that my time in Miami could endure, so I wouldn't have to return to New York's wicked, ever-enduring winter. Well, I got my damn wish. At least halfway.

Wednesday night, apparently there was a dastardly fire at Miami International Airport that decimated six tanks used to refuel airplanes. Because the inferno was nowhere near the runway, news reports claimed that while numerous American flights were canceled, most other airlines were potentially delayed.

Apparently, Delta neglected to inform passengers that the fire was impacting a bunch of its outbound flights, too—naturally, the one that I was on, scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday eve.

I didn't learn about this until 4 p.m., when I got a cheery email from Travelocity saying, "Oopsy, we've rescheduled you, buddy..." for a 4 p.m. flight. Uh, too little too late.

From there, I spent 40 minutes with a nice man named "Steve" from India, who went back and forth with Delta, finally informing me that I was being re-routed for a Friday morning flight, but had to pick up a hotel voucher at the airport. Natch, when I got to the airport, the Delta rep told me, "Uh-uh, it wasn't our fault, no voucher for you."

She was able to put me on a flight from Miami to Atlanta leaving at 7 p.m., with a connection heading to New York at 10:55 p.m. Thursday. Surprise! As soon as I got to the gate, the flight was already delayed 30 minutes.

By the time we lifted off, we were 45 minutes late and I charged, in an undignified panic to make my connection, only to see the gate door close after I had traveled 750 miles from one terminal to another to make the fucking flight.

This time, the Delta agent was more accommodating, offering a complementary hotel voucher at a Best Western near the airport, along with a meal voucher. Shuttle service to and from is also free. So here I am holed up for the night in a perfectly tidy room on the outskirts of Atlanta, making the best of a bad situation.

The most depressing part: It's 46 degrees in "Hotlanta." That's 30+ degrees colder than Miami. Meanwhile, it's 35 in New York. See, it could always be worse.