Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Christmas Travel Woes

I suppose it all started innocently enough. We figured we'd go home to visit the family for Christmas, since we spent Thanksgiving here. We had our flights booked and everything. It all started to go downhill when it turned out that Sarah's brother wouldn't be around, and therefore couldn't cat sit for us. So we had to find a cat sitter. The second thing to go wrong was when I had picked our outbound flight, since the BART apparently doesn't run that early on a Sunday, so we had to pick from a week of surface parking our a cab. Cab was slightly cheaper.

But that's all okay, we (I'll) do better next time. We got there, got through security and got to our first flight of the day, which took us to Denver. We arrived in Denver, I grabbed us some food at the airport McDonald's and Sarah sat at what was to be the gate for our next flight. The printed boarding time on our tickets passed without the plane starting to board. Then the announcement came that our flight had been canceled and that we should head to customer service to get rerouted. This was odd since Denver had perfectly fine weather at the time. Instead of doing that I called customer service, and after an hour on the phone (mostly spent waiting for the person on the line to look up information and confirm things) we had our substitute flight booked, although it wouldn't be until the next day.

While I was on the phone we went ahead and got in the customer service line, just in case. The person on the phone told us to stay in line so we could get food and accommodation vouchers. We made some friends in line, some of whom we ran into the next day in Dallas. Three hours after getting off the phone (we're at a total of 4 hours since the flight was supposed to board) we finally reach the front of the line and get our vouchers. The attendant we had at the desk was very pleased that we had already booked our replacement flight with the phone customer service. We went to retrieve our bags and took a shuttle (also free) to our hotel for the night.

The hotel was nice and getting to spend an evening alone with Sarah was very pleasant. We returned to the airport the next day and made our way to Little Rock via Dallas. We arrived at around 5:30 on Christmas Eve and therefore missed my family's get-together, which I don't particularly regret, since I wasn't looking forward to fielding the same set of questions several different times.

Christmas with my parents was all fine and normal. We set out early Christmas Day for Tuckerman, AR (population : 18XX) to do Christmas with Sarah's family. That night it snowed. Bad. Some place got a foot of snow, and Tuckerman saw no less than 8 inches, easily.
The next day I set out with a flat-tipped shovel to make sure that the ruts that the more adventurous drivers had dug in the road went down to the pavement and we're just packing the ice. Our plan was to leave the next day and the last thing I wanted to do was try and drive on on packed snow that had melted slightly and refrozen to become ice. (The day AFTER it snows is usually the worst for snows, because of that).

We were able to leave unimpeded, their street comes off the highway, which was well cleared because of the traffic. We got back to Little Rock to spend an extra couple days with my family before coming home, even though large portions of the city were still without power.

We left the Saturday after Christmas and it was quite eventful. When Frontier was switching out my flight, the messed up something with my American Airlines return flight which took the counter attendant about 40 minutes to sort out. She really did great work though. We got to Dallas and got on our next flight where they attendants asked Sarah if they could see her ticket after we had already been seated. She gave them her boarding pass and they asked if she had any other tickets. No, of course, what else would she have. They elaborated, "Do you have a paper ticket?" which is a silly question because the boarding pass is made of paper and says TICKET AND BOARDING PASS at the top of it, so we have no idea what they could have possibly wanted. We think they were trying to kick her off the flight. We saw that they were holding another ticket with the same seat number on it but "Priority Boarding" also on it.

We did eventually get home to our kitties, who missed us very, very much and got to spend a couple days together before I had to return to work. That trip had worked out very differently than we could have anticipated that it would.