Friday, May 8, 2009

Worst. Flight. Ever.

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(waiting for take-off..."Lord, let's get this thing over with!")

So, yesterday I flew from Atlanta, Georgia, back to sunny SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, to visit my family. I have a brand new niece, LILLIAN, who I had not had the pleasure of meeting yet and MOTHER'S DAY is this weekend. My flight went from Atlanta to Dallas-Fort Worth, where I had to change planes, and then on to JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT, in the heart of THE O.C. (Orange County). Anyways, my flight from Dallas to SoCal was perhaps THE WORST flight I have personally been on. Now, I'm sure there are lots of people who have had much worse experiences, but for me, this is the worst one. I've flown a good number of times - including on rickety domestic Chinese flights - and still, I can not think of a worse flying experience that I have ever had...

Let me preface this post by saying that, 1) this is probably going to be a little bit mean spirited, especially for Rancho Cocoa, so be forewarned and, 2) I had only 3 hours of sleep prior to flight, which probably made me a wee bit more grumpier than usual, but I'm not going to sugar-coat things...ima keepin' it real!

First of all, my flight from Texas to California was due to depart at 11:35am...loading was to begin at 10:55am. As we touched down in Dallas, I checked my watch and it said 11:00am. I thought, "OK. This is going to be tight. I'm going to have to hustle. I've had to do this before, so no biggie...." I checked a map of the airport at Dallas-Fort Worth and made a mental note of the gate I was supposed to catch. I also saw that they had an express shuttle train that could quickly take you back and forth between the different terminals. Sweet. I'll just hop on that and all will be good..."Let's go people...go go go!" It was a good 15 minutes before everyone disembarked and I was able to get off the plane. Shit.

As soon as I got off the plane I made a mad dash for the shuttle. I rode the escalator up to the nearest platform, only to be greeted by an older gentleman on a little scooter...he was an airline employee, but he greeted me like I was entering a Wal-Mart. He informed me that the shuttle was out of order and told me that I could take the escalator down. I asked him which way my gate was and he pointed in some random direction. My guess was that he, like me, had absolutely no idea...

So, I rushed back down off the platform and found an information booth. I asked the lady there for directions to my gate. She drew a line on a map and gave it to me. "THANKS!" and I was off.

I have never been to the airport at Dallas-Fort Worth before. Well, let me tell you...it is HUUUUUUUUGE. I started to fully understand that as I frantically made my way down the walkways and pedestrian conveyor belts, counting down the gates as I went. It seemed like I would never get there. I kept checking my watch thinking, "Man, there is no way in hell I'm going to catch this flight!" but I rushed on, nevertheless. "Maybe I'll get lucky," I thought, as the sweat was pouring off my face...

When I finally got to the gate, five minutes after the departure time, I noticed that the waiting area was virtually empty. I rushed up to the attendants at the check-in desk and exasperatingly asked, "is it too late to board?" The lady at the counter cooly looked at me and said, "We're not boarding yet. I'll announce when we will be boarding..." At first I was perplexed. Then I thought that maybe the plane was arriving late. YES! I looked around and then dashed to the nearest restroom. I forgot to mention that this entire time I had to pee SO SO BAD, YOU COULD NOT EVEN BELIEVE. Like, I seriously thought that I might wet myself. The entire time I was thinking, "Great. I'm going to miss my plane AND I'm going to piss on myself"...It was in the bathroom stall when I realized what had just happened. When we touched down in Dallas, there was a TIME CHANGE. We were in a totally different timezone now. I'm sure the captain must've mentioned it when we landed, and I'm sure that in my sleepy stupor, I totally missed this little piece of information and didn't set my watch back an hour. I felt like a complete dumbass!

SOCAL 3668
(The lady in front of me came fully prepared with a face mask...I was jealous)

An hour later, I was sitting on the plane. I had the window seat, right next to the wing, and there were two empty seats next to me. It was nearing our departure time I hoped that I would end up having the row all to myself. But of course, such as my luck was this day, I wouldn't and didn't. As I was sitting there fantasizing about not having to share any elbow room, I saw a MORBIDLY OBESE couple slowly making their way down the aisle. They were each led by a child ON A LEASH - a young son and daughter, each about 3 to 4 years old. I wish I could have seen the horror on my face...

"Now you sit here in the middle, and I'll sit here", the lady told her son. She lifted up the arm rest separating their two seats - not so her son would have an easier time getting to his seat, but so that she would have more room for herself. She sat by the aisle and took up one-and-a-half seats, while her son, all arms and legs flailing and kicking everywhere, was sitting on the other unoccupied half of his assigned seat, pressed up against me. The husband sat on the seat(s) on the opposite side of the aisle, while the daughter sat on the other side of him - I assume...I couldn't really see. The lady was a good 400+ pounds overweight and so was her husband. The mother's left arm alone was bigger than my head. When she sat down, it was clear to me that she would not be getting up again until the end of the flight. I was trapped. The kid next to me was loud, obnoxious, and dirty. I had my iPod headphones on and the volume turned all the way up. I looked out the window and tried my best to ignore the kid, which was impossible, since he was always kicking or clutching at my leg or elbowing my arm, all the while yelling at the top of his lungs.

The captain announced that we would arrive in Orange County in two-and-a-half hours. Oh, and that the in-flight movie would be BRIDE WARS. Lordy.

Several times during the flight, the kid pretty much had his head under my armpit as he struggled to see between the seats at the kid who was sitting behind me. The kid behind me was kicking the back of my seat, pretty much the entire time. The kid next to me and the kid behind me were like two malfunctioning FURBIES who were communicating with each other, in high-pitched squeals and random outbursts of machine-gun precision noise. It was more than I could bear, but I was far too tired to cause a scene and totally out-numbered, as most of the passengers consisted of little snot-nosed families. I was out-numbered and surrounded. I thought for sure, given the number of screaming kids on this flight, that I was eventually going to catch some sort of disease, little kids being one of the all-time favorite host of germs and viruses, second only to rats. To make matters worse, the mother had a hacking wet cough, which she let loose with no regard to the passengers around her. It sounded like she had a pint of melted ice cream in her throat, and when she blew her nose, it sounded like she was making herself an espresso. I could see the uneasiness of the women in front of me, wearing a face mask. What was she worried about? At least she had a face mask, while I had to make do with holding my breath and physically facing away from the mother and her annoying kid for pretty much the entire flight...I thought about my situation and in my mind, I tried to make light of it...

...I imagined that I was Indiana Jones and I was trapped in a cave. The mother was a big boulder blocking the mouth of the cave. Her coughs were poison darts shooting out at me from the walls, which I was frantically trying to dodge. The kids surrounding me were poisonous snakes, spitting hot venom...I could feel their scaly skin as they rubbed up against me...would I live to tell the tale?

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(A light at the end of the tunnel! Smoggy California directly below us...)

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3 comments:

Suzy said...

That post made my night last night! It was so funny, that I was even reading it out loud to my husband. Then we called a little kid a malfunctioning furby, which was fantastic.

So, because of your misery, you made some people happy. Be proud! hee hee.

Love the blog!

Mary Jessica said...

Oh, lawsy. I know you weren't having fun at the time, but reading this sure did make me laugh my head off.

RANCHO COCOA said...

Thanks Suzy! Thanks Mary Jessica! It's only funny because it's all true!