Only If I have to
Published on December 15, 2006 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Travel
I am now not looking forward to my upcoming trip in January. At least not the flying part that is. We are to fly into Florida to catch a ship to cruise into the Bahamas. The warm weather, the sand, the water...all sounds great. But to fly the not so friendly skies....nope. Not looking forward to it. Not one bit, especially after what happened yesterday and today.

David was to fly into our local airport which tends to be pretty pricey in contrast to the other airport that's twice as far away. But to be helpful to his parents, (isn't he sweet?) he booked the nearest one to us and I was to pick him up yesterday at 5:30. Right from the get go in Roanoke he had a delay due to fog. Because of this delay, he would miss his connecting flight from Philly to here. He wasn't too worried because there was another flight an hour or so after his original one. Well he should have been worried.

He flew in only to find a backlog of bodies. I mean bodies. Some had been there almost three days still waiting for their flights. Because all his stuff was checked, he had nothing but his laptop. Nothing. It was supposed to be a short flight. He was told there was no way he was getting out last night. The next flights were the next day (today). He was given a standby ticket with no guarantee of getting on any particular flight. He was wearing contacts and had no contact solution on him due to no fluids being allowed. He asked for access to his luggage and was denied as were all the passengers. He was forced to buy essential toiletries such as toothpaste/brush, contact case (no solution could be found) and deodorant since that also was not allowed in his carry on.

At midnight he decided to run since he had not had a chance to run as of yet. So he rolled up his jeans and did laps around the airport lounge area. He had on a collared shirt and dark socks. Not exactly running attire, but he felt the need to exercise outweighed anything else even his lack of comfort after the run. He was sweaty. No change of clothes. No shower and it was going to be a long night. There were alot of them all settling in for the long night. No accomadation vouchers were given out because they said all the hotels were booked. They were claiming this was all weather related, but there was alot of talk among the wanna be- passengers about the lack of personnel, as in pilots, being unable to fly these now very dark skies.

David found a place as far away from the families with little children as he could. He did admit he thought it was much tougher on parents with young children being stuck there. He saw one couple newly married. She still had on her wedding dress. He saw another couple with a small baby. They had no formula with them and their luggage was also gonzo. Now that's bad. I told him that he was very fortunate. He didn't have the pressures that I'm sure many had. His lack of comfort, bad as it was, was nothing in comparison to what many others were facing. Many missed appointments, connections, important social events, etc. He missed nothing but a lost day with Mom and Dad and dog Quincy.

He slept somewhat from 1-5 am when he was awakened by a crowd filing in to board their early am flight. He was told later there was a possiblility that he could fly into the airport that was further away from us. We told him to take it, take anything he can get. Well they didn't allow him to board that one. There was another flight at 12:30 that would bring him home. He got in line for that and the lady told him to sit back down. He pressed the issue but was not allowed on that flight either.

We found out early this morning one of our friends from our neighboring town was right there in the airport with David. But they didn't know each other. We talked to her husband this morning and he told us his wife was stuck in an airport in Philly. David laughed when I told him to look for her. He said, "Ya, ok. Like I'm going to find her with all these people here. There's a ton of people here." Well it turned out, she was allowed on that 12:30 flight but he was not. Her luggage never made it home with her.

Finally at 4:30 they put him on a flight back home. He was not a happy camper. His luggage never made it with him either. All his clothes were in that luggage. All his Christmas gifts were in there as well. He's really not a happy camper. No one was there to give him answers when he got off the plane. Nothing is being done to compensate him for his unhappy time flying the no so friendly skies. He said he was warned not to take US Airways before he booked. He's vowing never to use that airline again.

We are due to fly out on the same airline in January. I am not looking forward to it. But I will be prepared. I will have contact soultion (3 oz) in a little bag with me and I will have a change of clothes. But if they lose my luggage, what am I going to do on a cruise ship heading out to the Bahamas with no change of clothes? Dare I even think they will drop them to me via a dropped load? Ha!!! Me thinks NOT. This is one of the reasons we choose to drive almost everywhere. It's just not worth the hassle most of the time to fly when we can drive there almost quicker.

Anybody else have any flying nightmares?

on Dec 15, 2006
well that is a snazzy article.
on Dec 16, 2006
is that all you have to say?
on Dec 16, 2006
I've never had an experience like that one, but I always take a change of clothes and a few pairs of underwear in my carry-on bag. And since these new rules have been buying trial sizes of the things I need. Contact solution, etc. So it sounds like you are prepared in that respect. The only other advice that I could offer is wear and pack your favorite outfits. You could probably get 2 in the carry on, so then you would have 3 changes of clothes if the luggage was lost. Bring a trial package of washing powder and in worst cast scenario you could wash the clothes your cruise cabin. Hope you have a smooth vacation though!
on Dec 16, 2006
Stick to the major airports and you shouldn't have a problem.
on Dec 16, 2006

Flying Nightmares?  Is the Pope Catholic?  But Mason is right.  It really pays to drive a couple of hours to a major instead of flying out of a Minor!  The best flight to SD I have had yet was out of Dulles - about 90 minutes from us.  Even though we have a decent airport here (with no direct flights except to hub cities).

I would be more concerned with the Cruise since there have been so many "Sick Ships" of late.  But then according to one blogger (I appologize for forgetting who at this point), they are refunding money on the Sick Ships AND giving another free cruise (I think it was Carcaran).  So if you are lucky, you can get one and have 2 for the price of 1!

on Dec 16, 2006
I've had my share of weather-related flying problems, but never anything as bad as your story. I'm not a frequent flier though I have done about half a dozen plane trips this year (it was a busy year) and I find that the bad trips are pretty rare. They make the news and everyone goes nuts when they do, but if this was the norm, people would fly far less often than they do. In general, the fewer connections you have the better, though that will increase your ticket price typically. Here's what I do when I fly:

1. Take the first possible flight in the morning I can. Chances of getting delayed seriously decrease the earlier in the day you fly. As the day goes on everything gets more and more backed up. If you start your trip after 5pm, chance are very good youll have some sort of delay.

2. Pack a backpack for carry-on. Put at least a change of socks and underwear in this bag. Yes, security will probably rifle through your underthings, but at least you'll have clean undies if you really need them. Pack solid deodorant (this is allowed), a comb, a toothbrush. Even if you can't find toothpaste, just brushing your teeth with hot water will do a world of good. If you're bringing anything valuable with you, it should go in carry-on as well.

3. Bring a thick book you haven't read. If it's a long trip, bring several. You never know when you'll be stuck somewhere for a while, or when you just won't be able to sleep on the plane for whatever reason. Before every flight I go on, I go to the bookstore and look for some of the thickest books possible. Extra points for small type. On longer trips (greater than 5hrs) I will usually go through one 600 page book between my time waiting in airports and my time on the plane.

4 Bring something else to distract yourself. I always travel with my laptop, and most airports have wireless Internet. So if you're stuck, it's worth the horrible fees just to have some entertainment. Always scope out the seats nearest a power outlet to charge the laptop (and potentially your cell phone)

5. That carry-on backpack serves a secondary purpose... pillow. It's not as soft as you'd like, but I have a backpack with some padding on it to reduce strain. I've used it as a pillow in airports before.

The key is to just remember that no matter what, you will get where you're going. I always leave myself a good buffer of time on flights if I have to be somewhere at a certain time. Layovers should always be at least an hour, since even a slight delay can cause you to miss a connection if you have less than an hour layover. Troubles with flying are pretty rare overall, and your son is traveling during one of the worst times of the year where insanely increased traffic combines with seasonally bad weather. Chances are VERY good that your trip in January will go off without a hitch.

on Dec 16, 2006
So it sounds like you are prepared in that respect. The only other advice that I could offer is wear and pack your favorite outfits

good idea. Like this one. I have a nice new Cashmere blazer I'll wear. Don't want to lose that.

Hope you have a smooth vacation though!

Thanks. Me too. I'm sure in January I'll tell ya all about it.....

Stick to the major airports and you shouldn't have a problem.

The most major airport for us is Boston. But it's a real pain to get there and takes about 3 hours. Our airport is supposed to be decent but I'm thinking most of the problems are due to this problem as you say. David's gal Aly had a really hard time during the time of the wedding to fly here as well. This time she got stuck in NYC at Midnight with no one else around. No nothing. She was walking the airport on the phone with all of us crying the whole time. It was panic city for her Dad especially. We were all scrambling trying to get her into a hotel finally getting a cab for her to take her there. She ended up driving with complete strangers the next day who were all in the same boat and made new friends in the process. Turns out one of them had a connection with our family.

Thanks Zoomba for all your suggestions. Some I do and some I'm going to take your ideas and do. I always carry books. Usually more than I can read. I love to read. Our flight is 6 am and since it's in January we could very well have weather related problems a big snowstorm. So because it's a boat we are trying to get on the other end we decided to go a few days beforehand and visit a friend. That way if we do get in trouble here we have a cushion. If we miss the boat, we lose alot of money invested.

I have not flown since the new regulations. I didn't know you could even bring deodorant. I thought you could only bring whatever will fit in a small plastic bag. I will get a small travel one tho to put along with a few changes of clothes.

I also have one of those small travel pillows. I may stick that in as well if I have room.

I'm already feeling better. David hasn't received his luggage yet tho. Hopefully he will soon. He's wearing his brother's clothes that were left in the closet and a pair of jeans he himself had thrown in the rag pile.

on Dec 16, 2006

David's gal Aly had a really hard time during the time of the wedding to fly here as well. This time she got stuck in NYC at Midnight with no one else around. No nothing. She was walking the airport on the phone with all of us crying the whole time.

I got stuck in Rhein Main for 10 days, so (while I am male), I kinda know what she is saying.  At least in my case, there were a lot of GIs around. So I was never afraid.  just BORED.

Fly the Friendly skies I guess.  Logan is not bad, but 3 hours is a long way.