I'll admit it. I'm a travel freak. I don't just love traveling--I really love the nitty gritty parts, like airports. I don't mind spending hours in airports--really. I enjoy going to the little shops and buying trashy tabloids. I love having all of my most important belongings contained in bags circling my feet like a fortress wall. I really love the strategic packing of all of my most important belongs with the hope that I will defy one of the fundamental laws of physics. I love travel size toiletries. I love people watching, especially seeing the metamorphosis of facial expressions as the realization of a gate location change or a delayed flight occurs. It's magic. It's unicorns, rainbows, and images of kittens in baskets. So, I admit it--I am a rare breed. Most people, most sane people anyway, don't enjoy any of these things. They hate them almost as much as they hate airline food. The one thing I do hate about traveling is American Airlines.
So, trying to get out of Eyota, MN was pretty easy. I got on an earlier flight to Chicago and had enough time before my next flight to grab a bite to eat. Since this was O'Hare Airport, known for its expanse of boutiques and restaurants, I thought this would be a pretty sweet place to be stuck during a burgeoning snow storm. Little did I know that my gate was essentially the most isolated location in the entire airport. It was easily a 25 minute walk to get to with my 10-ton bundles of precious stuff, which quickly became less precious with every waddle. I ended up eating at the FOX Club Box, which may sound fun if you're into that sort of thing, but it was actually just a crap shack. This was only the beginning of my travel nightmare.
After several hours of waiting for my already twice delayed flight, boarding began with a bang. Families with babies, so many babies, and frustrated travelers squeezed through the nylon ropes to the boarding agent. I waited patiently for my boarding group after the first, executive, and gold star classes sauntered past me. Group 5, that's me! I gave my boarding pass to the woman who then told me there was something wrong with my pass. Say whaa?? I go to the desk where a mean looking bird lady, with tragic salt and pepper hair (which looked more like a raccoon curled up on her scalp and died than actual hair), basically ignored my pleas for help. She just tip-tapped on her little key board. It must be nice to have so much power. After about 10 minutes of tip-tapping, she finally looked up and asked if she could help me. I told her, nervously, that something was wrong with my boarding pass. After some more tip-tapping, never making eye-contact with me again, she stated that my ticket was for the following morning. Say whaa whaa? Nope, I did buy my ticket for that day and quickly pulled up the email confirming this on my laptop. "I don't care what your email says, the ticket you purchased is for tomorrow, ma'am. Do you understand? You did not buy your ticket for today." I could have slapped her right there and then. But alas, I needed to get my tush on that frickin' plane and no one, and I mean no one, was going to stop me. "That's a mistake, how could I receive a confirmation from your airline for a ticket today when it's for tomorrow?!?! It's not even for the same time so it's not like I accidentally read it wrong. I need to get on this plane! Is there anything that can be done? I didn't buy a ticket for tomorrow..." Silence. Tip-tapping. Was this woman cognitively deficient? Was she deaf? Was she Satan disguised in a sad polyester uniform (which was quite unflattering, to say the least)? Oh yes, she was some kind of daemonic minion of the damned because she proceeded to find me a ticket, silently, while I ranted and raved because she wouldn't let me in on her little secret holiday miracle of getting me a seat. Oh, it gets better. As I finally get the boarding pass from this she-devil, she proceeded to get her last little word in. "I'm letting you on but so you know, you bought the ticket for the wrong day." That's nice. Real nice."Well, actually I didn't but than--" Before I could finish my expression appreciation she takes the passes and flings them in the air (Holy cuckoo cowpoke, Batman!). "That's it, you're not getting on this plane! You've caused a scene since you got here and it was up to me to let you on this plane. You've been nothing but rude, just forget it!" Okay, crazy-pants, clearly we're not working with the same set of social rules here. "Why are you doing this? Please let me on the plane!" After much pleading, kissing ass, and squeezing out faux tears, she allows me on the plane while cursing me as I vanish into the tunnel to freedom. I sat in my seat, shaking, upset, and totally blown away by what just happened. Who does this? Who gets off on this kind of power trip? Incidentally, the plane was half empty. This woman, who worked at the American Airlines gate L8 at 10:30 PM in O'Hare Airport Saturday, December 15, is evil and demented. That's my expert opinion. Everyone should know this.
American Airlines screwed up, again. I am planning on contacting them about this event. I have a record that supports that I was right. They also screwed up my honeymoon trip to Mexico. I've had it. The world needs to know that this airline is essentially the worst one I have ever flown. And I travel quite a bit, domestically and internationally.
There, I feel better. Emotional expression through writing has been shown to help with distress, depression, and anxiety after a trauma. American Airlines=Trauma.