Thursday, August 12, 2010

leaving on a jet plane

Today I'm leaving town for 10 days. The basic trip:
  • Thursday 8/12, arrive Reston
  • Friday - Sunday, Ocean City with Missy, Franklin, Laura & Matt
  • Sunday - Wednesday, Reston
  • Thursday - Sunday, Oxford with parents for graduation
  • Sunday 8/22, return Waterville
I'm pretty excited about the whole trip and the time I get to spend with family and friends, though the last time I flew, which also happened to be out of the Portland airport, there was chaos. 

I had come up to Waterville to find a place to live. Obviously a successful trip. The morning of my departure I made it to the airport in plenty of time, only to learn that my flight had been delayed 30minutes. Normally, I wouldn't consider that too bad, but I only had a 45minute layover, in Philadelphia I believe. I was assured I would "probably" make it. 


Some background: As I was checking out of the hotel that morning there were "to go" breakfast bags. I was told this breakfast included an apple, a muffin, a granola bar and water. Sitting on the counter were sealed bags with bottles of water next to them. Knowing TSA's rules about beverages I decided to forgo the water and just take a sealed bag. I grabbed one and threw it into my backpack.

I've been through airport security an untold number of times now and I know the drill. Shoes off. Coats/bulky sweaters off. Bag of 3oz liquids separated. Laptop out. I get pretty impatient with those people that do this relatively inefficiently. I just tend to get annoyed at people who don't know the liquid rules, the shoe rules, etc. These things are posted every 3feet! They're announced over the speakers! Every single person in front of you is doing it! C'mon! Too bad I was about to become one of those people.

I went through the metal detector and was waiting for my belongings to come down the conveyor when, as my backpack got to me, a TSA agent came over and said, "Ma'am, is this your bag?" Um, yes. Crap, what is in there? He begins to root through it. While this is happening I see my carry-on suitcase be put back through the scanner. Well, crap, what's going on there? I'll worry about that in a minute. Back to the backpack. The agent begins rooting through it and pulls out the sealed breakfast bag. "Oh, I don't know what's in that. I haven't looked inside." Crap! That's probably the wrong thing to say about anything you carry into an airport. He proceeds to open it up and find a bottle of water. Ah! The double waters! One on the counter, one in the bag. Oh, you're tricky, Hampton Inn, making me think there wasn't water in the bag. I happily surrendered the water, though was displeased that I was now that person.

At this point another TSA agent comes over to me holding my suitcase. "Ma'am..." Oh, crap. We go over to the "I'm going to tear apart your suitcase in front of all these people" area of security and the agent proceeds to do just that. I am told in no uncertain terms that I am not to touch the bag. Or anything in its bag. Got it. Serious time. Hands to myself. He roots around and comes up with my measuring tape (I was there to look at apartments, so I was measuring things). The same measuring tape that I had successfully flown with 3days earlier. He looks at it. Shakes it. Pulls out the tape. And then scans it again. Turns out they thought it was pocket knife. Um... yeah... I can totally see the similarities. This time I'm just amused as this was totally not my fault. 

After the security debacle, I thought it was a good thing that my flight was delayed.  


Once at the gate I learned that my flight was delayed even further. Woo-effin-hoo. Time to stand in line and get a new connector, because my first flight is now leaving after my connection is scheduled to leave. After much searching for a connection on this original outbound flight, the gate agent gave up and booked me on a flight to DCA. To depart many hours later. I would have a pretty decent layover, so I began sending out feelers to my friends who work in DC to see if they wanted to meet up for a little bit.

Now this flight is getting delayed. Delayed so much that there's no way I could see my friends. Or so I thought at the time. Meanwhile, I see my original flight finally boarding (2.5-3hours late). But what's this? As they're boarding all passengers are being further searched by TSA agents. What the hell is happening on that plane?! Maybe it's a good thing I'm not on it. Or maybe they think I'm still on it, and after my earlier security debacle they want to be extra sure I'm not carrying juice or a protractor with me. [Never found out what the extra check was all about.]

I finally get on a plane to National [Calling it Reagan just seems weird. Anyone else?], again thinking, due to the delays, that I'll be there for just a quick turn around. 

Again: HAH. 

I'm there waiting with the masses for a commuter flight to Dayton. Some of the surrounding flights are oversold and they're looking for someone to give up their seat for a rescheduled one in the morning + a free ticket + $500. I'll do it! I'll do it! Please say you need this for Dayton. Please! I'm so close to Reston. Fun! Alas, Dayton wasn't oversold. Of course. How many people really go to Dayton?

We're told our flight is boarding in an hour, so I go off to find some dinner (remember how this all started with breakfast?!) and get a call from Ashley. There's a bridal shower that night and she's just calling to see if I'm going to make it. Probably not, I say. Then, faintly, I hear them call boarding for our flight. 45minutes early! Gotta run! I make it to the shuttle, but a few passengers on our small flight do not. If you're not on this one shuttle you're not making it to the plane. I thought it was actually pretty shitty of the airline to allow the plane to leave earlier than the listed delay and not give enough time for people in the airport the actually get there. Anyway, our shuttle driver took us to a plane that was currently deplaning. We waited there for a few minutes until someone informed the driver that this was the. wrong. plane. Seriously!? That could have ended poorly. He drives us over to the correct plane, we get on, and it was pretty uneventful from there. 

Needless to say, I missed the bridal shower, but got there just in time to take a picture with all the ladies. [It was the last time this "group" would be together. And I missed 99% of it. Fiddle sticks.] I ended the day with a couple of beers at a friend's place... I needed a drink.

I left my hotel that morning at 6:45am. I was supposed to be back in Oxford by 2:30pm. I got there around 8:45pm. 14hours of travel. Let's hope these upcoming flights go better.

[fyi: I won't be posting as frequently, if at all, while I'm gone. See you on the flip side.]

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