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The incoherent ramblings of an insominiac.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I've been drinking in an airport bar...

...it's like Christmas in a submarine.


whatever that means.

anyway, The Wilson's are stranded in the Denver airport all night. It's like areal life version of that crappy Tom Hanks movie. except without Catherine Zeta Jones and that really cool guy from the Wes Anderson movies. Apparently there is a softball tournament in town, and they have booked EVERY hotel room in 50 miles. I now hate softball, and, by proxy, Dick Punki. There's a Burger King open and a bar. I'm in the bar. Here is the first draft of the letter I have composed to United Airlines.
2 minutes. 120 seconds. That is the difference between the vacation we had planned and paid for, and the nightmare that we went through instead. My wife and I purchased tickets from Austin, TX to Gunnison, CO with a 2 hour layover in Denver. (Flight numbers 0406 and 7065, on June 27, 2006. ) We arrived at AUS at 4:00, an hour and a half prior to departure, to ensure that nothing went wrong. Our flight was delayed until 6:40, but we were assured we would still have plenty of time to make our connection. Our bags were checked with the promise that both our bags and we would make it to Gunnison that evening. We left the gate in Austin close to 7:00 pm. At 8:05 MT we were on the ground in Denver. We pulled into gate 46 at 8:14. We were in row 6, so we were off the plane as quickly as possible. We sprinted the 15 gates to Gate 61, arriving at 8:20. Our plane was scheduled to depart at 8:28. The departures screen still showed out flight as “boarding.” However, the gate agent told us the plane was closed. Despite the fact that the plane was still on the runway, and that it was not scheduled to leave for another 8 minutes, and that the only reason we were not on time was due to our United flight being late, we were not allowed on the plane. We were told that the doors shut with ten minutes until takeoff, and that nothing can be done. 2 minutes. The gate agents in Austin couldn’t notify the Denver agent and tell them to wait for two paying customers on a plane that holds less than 20 people. The gate agent at our arriving gate couldn’t be bothered to call forward. And despite the fact that the gate agent for the GUC flight knew we were coming, knew our flight in was delayed, and knew we had landed at 8:14, no one could hold the doors on the flight for an extra 2 minutes.

As we watched the last plane of the day leave without us, we were directed to one of several “customer service” areas. Although the gate agent had rolled us over to the next flight (leaving the following day), she told us we needed to go to the customer service area to get our hotel assignment and transportation vouchers. At both customer service areas, there were lines of 100 or more people. Although there were computers and space for 10 or more agents at both areas, only a few agents were present. After an hour of waiting, several agents left their post, claiming, “we have to get home, we’ve been here all day.” As if we hadn’t. When we finally reached the agent it was 10:00. We explained that we had already been rolled over, and that we only needed a hotel and a cab. She quickly told us that there were no hotels available in Denver, and within 50 miles of Denver. She told us that we would be spending the night in the airport, and that we should keep our food receipts and send them in, since there were no food coupons to be given out. Despite the fact that the majority of people in line were there for a hotel, and that they had been directed there by the gate agents, not once did any employee come out and announce that the line was only for people needed to rebook flights, or that there were no hotels. Or that the only restaurant that would be open after 10:00 was Burger King.

To say that we are frustrated is an understatement at best. We both took off half a day of work in order to get to Gunnison tonight. We rented a condo that we did not get to use. We paid for a fly-fishing excursion that we did not get to use. We missed a day of vacation, since, instead of sleeping in our bed, waking up and going fishing, we were forced to stay up all night in the Denver airport, and get into Gunnison at 9:45 in the morning, with no sleep. I understand that delays in the airline industry happen. What I don’t understand is why not one person was willing to assist us in fixing the problem, and making sure we arrived in Gunnison, despite the delay. We lost a day of our vacation, a fishing trip, a night in a condo, and time we planned on spending with friends. Instead, we got no food, no sleep, and no help. 2 minutes. That’s all it would have taken.

At this point, the least you can do refund the full fare we paid for our tickets and the money we spent in the airport. It would be appropriate to pay for the time missed at work, the money lost on the condo and the fishing trip, and vacation we lost, but I know better than to expect that. And you certainly can’t give back the night of our life we lost, stuck in the Denver airport, trying to sleep in shifts on the filthy floor. You’ve ruined a vacation. Please do what you can to fix it after the fact.

so. DON'T EVER, EVER fly United. There are probably 500 people here stuck in the airport overnight. A few agents told us that this has been happening every day since the past year. If only United wasn't teh only airline flying into Gunnison. But they are. Hopefully I'll be fishing tomorrow afternoon. That, or in a Denver jail. Night Night. I have the first few trades of The Sandman, A Cormac McCarthy book and a two episodes of BAttlestar Galactica to get me through the night. The bar closes at 1:45.

5 Comments:

  • At Wed Jun 28, 12:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger Steanso said…

    Wow. Your story ALMOST makes me feel guilty for sneaking into your house and leaving you an upper decker in the master bathroom! Almost.
    Oh well. At least you'll have a present waiting for you when you get back! :)
    (Also, I'm sure Crackbass will find a way to parlay the Wilsons' overnight airport stay into a free vacation to The Bahamas or someplace. Finding angles is what Crackbass does best....)

     
  • At Wed Jun 28, 01:24:00 PM PDT, Anonymous bigJOHNSON said…

    Sorry about the troubles my friends. Damn. Doesn't quite compare to your story, but I too have sworn off United Airlines after sitting on a plane for over an hour before taking off from Houston for Denver -- the entire time being promised "sit tight ... only about 5-10 more minutes." So pissed I have blocked it out and can't remember now, but there was a bad experience on the return flight as well.

     
  • At Wed Jun 28, 03:04:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm sorry this happened, Wilson's. I bet the rest of your vacation will make up for it.
    Speaking of United, went to visit my brother and stopped in Chicago on the way back to change planes. Delayed for 4 hours. Went to eat 10 yards away, came back, last plane gone. They admitted to not using the PA (which they had assured they would, and normally do) and didn't change the boards. Said it was "too crowded"?!? Stuck in Chicago for a day and a half. Food vouchers nobody took, hotel with gangsters. Thanks United.
    RRR

     
  • At Fri Jun 30, 08:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger The League said…

    And United wonders why they can't seem to escape bankruptcy...

    the lesson, of course: no connecting flights. Ever.

     
  • At Wed May 02, 08:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger fairest said…

    it means "wings and brandy on a winters night: i guess you wouldnt call it a scene."

     

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