Are we there yet?!?!
1/02/2007 08:04:00 PM | Author: Christa
Atlanta Airport Sunset

You're probably wondering where I've been for the last week. There's a lot to tell, so there will be a couple of posts coming, filling you in on all the gory details.

We did finally make it to New York. It only took us three days, two delayed flights, 1 canceled flight, 1 missed flight, switching airlines, and 1 night in an Atlanta hotel....and a partridge in a pear tree! Well, actually, there were no live birds involved, but we did make it.

Day 1 - Thursday, December 21

As you know, we tried to leave on Thursday night. But our flight from Lincoln to Chicago was delayed, and the flight from Chicago to Albany was canceled. So we were rebooked on a new itinerary for Friday night - Omaha to Atlanta to Albany. Also, in order to do this we had to be switched from United to Delta.

Day 2 - Friday, December 22

We left the house at noon. Our flight out wasn't until 6:30, but we didn't want to have any problems. At check-in, we learned that we need to have our seat assignments done at the gate. No problem. We're hours early, so we can get good seats, even after we eat lunch. Yes, the food booths are before security at the Omaha airport. John was happy - he got his fave Philly cheesesteak.

Then we were off to the gate. And we discovered something new! Did you know that switching airlines and getting your tickets the day of your flight marks you for "Special Screening"? Yup. All three of us got pulled aside for the full pat-down. Much fun.

At the gate, I asked about getting our seat assignments. We had to wait for the agent that would be in charge of our flight. So we waited, and as we waited, we see our flight departure time change. Only about an hour later, but we have over a 2 hour layover in Atlanta. No problem! (I have learned that I really need to stop saying that.)

Finally, the agent for our flight arrives, and I am the first in line. After a long wait for the computer to come up, he checks on our seats.

"Did the United agent call to find out if there were seats available?", he asks.

"Um...no."

"Hmm. They're supposed to do that before they book you on our flights." Uh oh.

"You're sure he didn't call?"

"Nope, he never picked up a phone, just checked the computer, and printed out our tickets."

"Hmmm."

After another long, stressful pause, he apparently decided that he had no choice but to give us seats, so he did. Oh, and then he informed us that we were on standby for our Atlanta-Albany flight. What?!?! The United guy didn't say anything about standby!

So, we can't get our seat assignments until we get to Atlanta. If we have any seats at all. Yeah, we're not happy.

Now we wait, wait, wait. It is the beginning of much waiting for us.

Our Atlanta flight takes off, now about 2 hours late. Sigh. All we can do is hope that the Albany flight is delayed, too. We land in Atlanta about 25 minutes past the departure time of our flight to Albany. Race thru the airport, up to the empty gate, only to learn that it has already left.

It's 10:00pm, and we must rebook our flight to Albany.

Back to the long line of people waiting at the bank of rebooking phones. After much searching, the very nice man on the phone eventually tells me that the next flight with 3 seats available is tomorrow night, at 9:40pm. Yup, 24 hours later. And, because the cause of our delayed flight was "air traffic control" (whatever that means) he isn't allowed to check any other airlines, only Delta. By this point, I am really about to lose it. I make sure that we actually have seats - Exit Row 8 A,B,C. We are confirmed for Saturday night.

But what about tonight?

The guy on the phone can't issue us any vouchers. We must go to a gate agent in the airport. The very nice lady at a gate tells us that, also because the cause of our delayed flight was "air traffic control", she cannot issue us hotel or food vouchers. All we can get is the discounted government rate for the Comfort Inn - $56/night. I'm speechless....shocked....are you freaking kidding me?? We have 24 hours to wait and we get no compensation for hotel or food? The airlines have quite a racket going.

Off to the shuttles to the hotels. The complete lack of organization was stunning! At the Atlanta airport, there are about 12 parking spots for the shuttle vans to the hotels. Each hotel has it's own van. But, get this - the spots are not assigned! So, in the rain, you have masses of people running back and forth to see if the van that has just pulled into a spot is for their hotel. Wow. After about 45 minutes we finally made it onto a van to the Comfort Inn - standing room only, of course.

I think the best part of the day was the hotel. It was quiet and relaxing and dry. John and I went across the street to the gas station for some necessities. Then we all tried to get some sleep.

Day 3 - Saturday, December 23

Let's see - our flight leaves at 9:40pm. Hotel checkout is at noon. That gives us about 9 hours to kill. Sigh.

Check in at Delta. The agent looks at Nissa and asks, "How old is she?".

"14."

"Oh, well, she has to be 16 to sit in the Exit row seats."

ARGH!!!

The guy on the phone last night didn't say anything about an age restriction! He said he had to question me before he gave us the seats - he asked if we could read English, if we could lift a certain amount of weight, and if we were willing to help the flight attendants. But nothing about age! So, the seats we thought we had, we actually don't! We have to be switched - we can only get 2 seats together and one alone. OK, at least we have seats. We can deal. Flying sucks.

Hey, look, our tickets are marked "SSS"! We get to go past all of these people waiting in line at security! Awesome! Um...well...no, not really. We're marked "Special Screening" again. Which means we are now in a line with other people who are also "Special Screening". Which means we all have to get the full wanding and pat-down. Joy.

Had a leisurely, yummy lunch at Paschals Restaurant/La Carrousel Bar. Then took a walking tour of concourses B and C for about an hour. Bought some computer and gaming magazines. Found a nice corner spot at the gate for our flight and set up camp. We had books, DS, PSP, mags, and all the napping we could stand. John first, then Nissa:

Sleeping

After that, it was a very uneventful day. Got on our flight, got to Albany on time. Mom was there to pick us up. Our luggage had arrived earlier in the day, and all 4 bags were there. A short time later, we were all passed out in comfy beds at Mom's house.

Epilogue

John says next year we are driving.
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