Sunday, January 20, 2008


Considering how much I've been flying lately, I've been very lucky about not having any travel disasters. Unfortunately, last week my luck ran out.

Naive, trusting country boy that I am, I was very understanding about the "mechanical problems" that had canceled my morning flight the other day. However, when I got to the airport for the next flight I was told that I couldn't check in because I wasn't there two hours in advance -- for a domestic flight. (The agent at the ticket counter waved one of those little ticket folders at me saying "read the fine print" -- which I actually did, and of course there was no requirement to be there two hours early.) When the next flight came, there were "mechanical problems" again. A 70-seat airplane had been replaced with a 50-seater, and I've never seen such an aggressive gate agent; he actually came on board and announced "if nobody volunteers to take another flight I'm going to start pulling people off this flight!" Needless to say, the passengers weren't very impressed. Narrowly missing being manhandled by the gate agent, I finally got to O'Hare a mere six hours late. But when I went to check on my connecting flight, whaddya know -- it was cancelled! Due to "mechanical problems," natch. It took standing by on two more flights to get out of Chicago, and even then I only managed it by sitting on someone's lap.

Although I was pretty pissed at United, usually their flights out of our local regional airport are well-run. I think the problem is that these flights were actually handled by a subcontractor called Mesa Airlines. In the future it would probably be wise to stay away from any airline that has as many "mechanical problems" as Mesa Airlines.

On the plus side, all the sitting around in airports and planes gave me time to do some medically-related but recreational reading -- about 18th-century surgery. Stand by for gruesome historical anecdotes....

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At January 21, 2008 at 10:46 AM , Blogger Madame Leiderhosen said...

Airports are a inner ring of Hell; so you can sort the gate agent fuckwits out, I am sending you a cricket bat. Did you miss anything important?

I, Madame Leiderhosen, swear to avoid Mesa Airlines.

At January 22, 2008 at 4:24 AM , Blogger Tom said...

I hereby take the pledge too ... unless it's the only way I can come and visit you...


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