February 16, 2013

The Florida Chronicles, Part 2

You knew it had to be bad when McDonald’s totally screwed up an easy order.

Three Egg McMuffins and two Sausage Burritos. One coffee.

Two burritos and a couple egg sandwiches later and we were way mixed up on our way to the airport. I guess I should have had a cup of coffee. Or two.

Anyhow, I checked last night to see if our flight was on time. The United Airlines site said it was. This was at midnight mind you. So, this morning, I didn’t even bother to check because, well, it didn’t snow, rain, or ice last night. I don’t even know if the wind blew. You can read about our 2011 adventure here

Before we were even in line, some guy we don’t even know said, “Our flight’s cancelled.” Sure, it’s Traverse City in February and there weren’t many flights going out, but how did he know we shared a flight? Nice guy, good chat. The guy behind me, that’s another story.

Anyhow, indeed, our 8:45 flight to Chicago was cancelled — not delayed — because of a multitude of excuses: Obama was in Chicago for a anti–gun speech, there were mechanical problems, the plane just plain didn’t show up … You know the “reasons,” right?

 It took about an hour to get through the three couples in front of us. I finally got through to the United Airlines guy at 1-800-United1 when we were first in line. I couldn't understand the gentleman on the line and he couldn’t understand me. He kept asking me to “go slowa.” I said never mind and dealt exclusively with the guy who I will call the Nice Dude.

The Nice Dude (along with Lori and me) listened as his customer service agent neighbor was chewed up all the way to Orlando and back by a doctor. This guy was a doctor and he made that clear, as well as the fact that he was not happy that his flight out west via Chicago was cancelled and he wasn’t notified.

Oh, right. Lori received an email last night at 9:47 with information that the flight was having problems. She didn’t check her email after the Homecoming game and I checked the website anyway — at midnight — so there was some type of lack of communication someplace.

We finally found out that we could return to the airport in six hours and be in Orlando by 8:30, via Detroit. I asked if we could just get a cab or ride to Detroit and I could eat at one of those great restaurants and do some suit shopping. I was serious, Lori nixed that idea quickly. Good thing, too, because the flight only had one open seat.

So he found a way we could be into Orlando by 6:38 p.m. by way of Newark. Hey, now that sounds, um, interesting. The first leg was a flight leaving Grand Rapids at 12:30, so we had to get down to Gerald R. Ford in a hurry. They called a cab. Like Jimmy John’s, it was there before we turned around. (Oh, it was the cab for the folks heading to Sarasota, but I digress.) We joined them in their cab ride to GR. I understand that the value of the cab ride was — get this — $1,000. United must have really wanted to get me to Orlando. Or maybe it had to do with getting Dr. Complain to Phoenix, but who knows.

Our cabbie drove fast, even on the ice and snow. She was getting us there. In a hurry. Apparently, someone mentioned that getting there quickly would be good. She wasn’t worried about our safety, she was worried about getting us there.

We were able to get on the plane in Grand Rapids and fly quickly to Newark. We didn’t spend much time in Newark before we were up, up, and away …

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