10.20.2004

The Unfriendly Skies

last friday i flew to texas. it was (almost)a total disaster.

7:35am bees & i leave the house, luggage in tow.
7:40am arrive caribou coffee, get bees a mocha.
...stuck in traffic...stuck in traffic...stuck in traffic...
7:58am finally arrive reagan national airport. i am already checked in, via the internet, and have decided to carry on my luggage because God forbid if something happened and it got lost i would be totally screwed for the entire weekend.
8:01am realize that i am at the back of the longest line of tired-not-yet-had-my-coffee-slugs creeping forward to the security check point.
8:05am still inching forward
8:08am still inching forward
8:12am FUCK! i realize that i have tweezers in my suitcase. and not just any ole tweezers, but super-duper sharp tweezers that could definitely be used to take over the cockpit and create a national disaster.
8:12am i jump out of line and race back up to the continental desk to check my bag.
8:13am the machine won't let me check the bag and indicates that i need to "seek assistance from a continental representative."
8:13am i look around for said representative. i notice that there is NO ONE else in line and that there are 4 representatives standing around chatting.
8:14am [los:] "pardon me, i hate to interrupt you, but i had to jump out of line downstairs when i realized i'd never make it through security with tweezers in my bag. so now i need to check it, but the machine says i need you. can you please help me? my flight leaves in 15 minutes."
8:14am [Geneva l.:] "of course! anwar, can you check this bag?"
8:15am [f. anwar:] "of course! let me see your boarding pass."
8:15am i give her my boarding pass. she types something in. frowns. [f. anwar:] "oh no. we cannot check your bag. it is less than 30 minutes to your departure time."
8:15am [los:] "is that some sort of new policy? i have never heard of that before."
8:15am [f. anwar:] "yes. well, hmmm...we have an 11:30 flight you could take. how's that?"
8:15am [geneva l.] "it's just a flight to houston, right?"
8:15am scowl at geneva l. [los:] "11:30? i'm here now. and i have to get to houston. okay, how about you check my bag on that flight and i catch this one?"
8:16am [f. anwar:] "no, no definitely not. you cannot fly separate from your bags. no."
8:16am starting to get pissed. [los:] "oh, i see. but if you lose my bag then you're perfectly happy to send it separate from me. of course."
8:16am [f. anwar:] "that is completely different."
8:16am [geneva l.:] "yeah, that is completely different."
8:16am [los:] "so let me get this straight - you won't check my bag on this flight, and you won't check it on the next flight either. so, can i fed ex the tweezers to myself or something? they are very expensive and i would rather not just throw them away."
8:17am [f. anwar:] "no, no, no. but they might not take them away. you never know."
8:17am [los:] "okay. thanks."
8:17am i make my way back downstairs, only to realize that the line of slugs has practically doubled and i have less than 15 minutes to make my flight. i very politely approach the lady with 4-inch finger nails who is attempting to herd the slugs into distinct lines and say, [los:] "pardon me, but my flight leaves in less than 15 minutes. see? here's my boarding pass. i know we can usually move ahead to the front of the line if we're going to miss our flight, so, may i?"
8:18am [totally incompetent TSA lady with 4-inch nails:] "aw no, uh-uh baby. you cain't do that 'less one of them gate reps vouches for you."
8:18am [los:] "what?! you're kidding me! one of them has to walk me down here?!"
8:18am [totally incompetent TSA lady with 4-inch nails:] "uh-huh."
8:18am sigh. i run back upstairs to find that there is still no one else at the continental ticket counter and the same four gate reps, including f. anwar & geneva l., are still standing around talking, only this time geneva l. is looking at wrapping paper.
8:19am [geneva l.:] "yeah, let me see taylor's school book. i'll buy some wrapping paper."
8:19am [los:] "i'm sorry to bother y'all again, but it seems that i can't bypass the line for the security check point unless one of y'all goes down with me - i know, it's silly. i even showed them by boarding pass to prove my flight time, but they still insist that one of y'all has to escort me. so, would you mind?" *smile*
8:20am [geneva l.:] taking a momentary break from her engrossing book of wrapping paper samples, "no."
8:20am [los:] "excuse me?!"
8:20am [f. anwar:] "we don't do that."
8:20am [los:] making a point to look around and notice that NO ONE else is there needing assistance, "oh i see. you don't ACTUALLY assist your customers, but you DO stand around and talk for 10 minutes! i just need your help for a minute; i am going to miss my flight."
8:21am [f. anwar:] "ma'am, we don't do that."
8:21am LIVID. "so, you won't check my bag for this flight, you won't check it on the next flight, AND FINALLY you won't help me carry on this bag?! y'all are doing a great job!"
8:21am [f. anwar:] "if we do it for you, we have to do it for everyone."
8:21am [los:] "you mean do your job. HA!"
8:22am [f. anwar:] "all i can do is check you on to the next flight at 11:30."
8:22am [geneva l.:] the same fucker who piped up earlier with 'you're just going to houston, right?' says, "it's just 3 hours."
8:22am i was about to climb over the ticket counter and beat her over the head with the wrapping paper sample book, i was so angry. [los:] "just 3 hours?! who ARE you?! fine, f. anwar, check me through on the next flight."
8:23am [f. anwar:] "give me your boarding pass." so i slam the boarding pass down on the counter, and f. anwar has the audacity to THROW IT BACK AT ME. she. threw. it. "you know, i don't have to check you through to houston...", she threatened.
8:23am i wanted to say 'well apparently you don't have to do a damn bit of work, so maybe you DON'T have to check me through! who knows?' but then i remembered that seinfeld episode where the skycap purposely checks his bag to honolulu, so all i said, very calmly, very seriously, was [los:] "yes, you do."

motherfucking continental.