zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
This is probably my first experience flying Delta, and I have to admit I'm rather surprised at just how terrible it's been.

Let's start out with Fargo!

Janine and I got to Fargo well early of our flight. First problem: we tried to check in to the flight, but it only showed one seat available on the plane. Janine got an assigned seat, but I got a boarding pass that said "SEAT REQUEST". I did not get a boarding pass for my second flight. The person behind the counter had to get someone else to figure out what was going on, and the answer was "well just go talk to the gate agent". Great.

So we went there, past security, 75 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 5:30 PM. But there was no gate agent. It's a small airport so I figured one would show up sometime later, before the beginning of the flight. When 5:00 PM rolled around and we still had no agent and no boarding time, I went to find another gate.

At gate #1, I found a helpful, friendly agent who told me that she was scheduled to go operate our gate, but she was busy with the gate she was at. A gate that was oversold and she had to arrange vouchers and flights for four different people.

It wasn't until 5:30 PM that someone actually showed up at our gate (a different woman). Then there was some major confusion as they tried to sort out seats for Janine and me. One quote was, "Delta's computer systems have put us 18 years into the past" and it was obvious just how terrible Delta's computer system is from the trouble they were having releasing seats, assigning seats, and basically managing their gate.

We didn't leave until 6:15 PM, much later than expected. The pilot tried to make up a little bit of time, and we made it to Salt Lake City at about 7:30 PM. With our next flight scheduled for 7:50 PM. We landed in terminal E, our flight was in terminal B.

Janine and I took off, going as fast as I possibly could for such a long distance. We made it to the gate (B06) at 7:45 PM, but there was no agent. We could see the airplane, and see people in the jetway getting on, and there was an airport staff member there too. We tried to get him to go down and tell the agents (who were down the jetway) that four of us (FOUR of us!) were standing here, ready to board.

He refused.

A few minutes later, Mike M. and someone else came up out of the jetway and us (the four of us) tried and begged to get onto the plane. Nope. Refused. Wouldn't help. The airplane was sitting there, all of us with confirmed seats, and he refused to let us on.

We watched the airplane roll away. The four of us then tried to get tickets onto another flight -- nope, the next SF flight was oversold by 7. San Jose flight was similar. Oakland flight was oversold by 1, but nobody on Standby, so we put ourselves on the list and went over there.

I'd like to reemphasize at this point that if the gate agent had taken 60 seconds to run us down there and put us on the plane, we would have all made it home tonight.

Next we waited two hours until the Oakland flight was ready to go. We watched it board, board, final boarding, final boarding, and then it was full. No flight for us, but our baggage "probably" made it to "either SFO or OAK or it might be here and will go with you tomorrow". Monique (at E79) couldn't tell us. Had not a clue. Although she felt sure our bags would be waiting for us in Oakland tomorrow and if not we could call someone or file a claim.

Great.

She hooked us up with a voucher for the Ramada Inn and four $7 "meal vouchers". Because you can really buy a meal for $7. Yes, right.

We then went outside and waited for the shuttle in the freezing 10 degrees Fahrenheit weather. Eventually it showed up and it was packed and rattly and uncomfortable. We got to the Ramada and the only had one agent at the desk and it was a long line, but I almost ran inside and we got second in line, so the wait wasn't so bad.

Of course, the Ramada has got to be the worst hotel around. No elevators. Stairways that creak, creak, creak. They didn't ask if we wanted one bed or two, or if we wanted smoking or non, just tossed us in a room. The appliances are ancient, and they have no shampoo. "Shipment was delayed due to the holidays." I'm sorry, in my book you know that Christmas is on the 25th every year, so you plan around it!

That brings us up to the present. Sitting in an old Ramada Inn waiting for the morning to come. Have to get up at 5AM, yay. Or not.

Don't get me wrong, the Delta agents were nice enough in theory, but the complete failure to get four passengers onto the plane they were standing in front of watching be boarded is just maddeningly stupid. The further failure of their computer system (or training system), causing our original flight to be delayed as much as it was, just compounds the problem.

I pray that we actually can get on the flight tomorrow, and that we actually make it home. And that our baggage makes it with us.

Grrr. Next time, people can come to me. Screw us always being the ones to fly to visit people.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 09:10 am

oooh

zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
They upgraded our "Winter Storm Watch" to a "Blizzard Watch". Yay!

Of course, this means that if things go wonky we might not make it back for New Year's, but that's life. I wouldn't object terribly to being snowed in.

Edit: Actually we're under both a Winter Storm Warning and a Blizzard Watch. Apparently they're separate things!
Tags:
Oct. 6th, 2009 05:21 pm

hey mom

zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
And in my grand old tradition of not calling my mom very often and instead resorting to posting to my journal hoping she reads it:

I booked a flight for us to come out for Christmas. We'll be landing in Fargo sometime around 4:30 PM on Sunday, the 20th of December. We fly back around 5:30 PM on Monday, the 28th. We'll rent a car in Fargo and keep it for the week, I expect that's the best way to handle transportation.

Woo! Christmas in North Dakota! I'm going to hope for snow this time.
zorkian: Icon full of binary ones and zeros in no pattern. (Default)
Had this in my buffer, forgot to post it. It's not as refined as I was hoping, it's sort of must a brain dump.

...

I admit, Independence Day is my favorite holiday. I further admit that on the hole, I'm fucking proud of my country and to be an American. You can say what you want about us, but overall, I think we do a damn fine job, and I'm glad to be here. I can't see myself ever living anywhere else for any extended periods of time.

The Fourth just makes me think about that a lot. About who I am, about the life I've lived, family, friends, everything. How the world would be different if we had failed in our little revolution. Some things would have certainly been better without our arrival, but by and large, I think we've made a net positive impact on the world.

That being said, I do have a list of things I want to see this country accomplish in the next 20 years, to make it even better:

* Legal and social equality for race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. We claim that "all men are created equal" and then we do things like ban two people who love eachother from marrying. Doesn't fit, for me.

* A stronger local government, reducing federal involvement in many issues. In my opinion, our federal government is too large and oversees too much.

* Increased visibility of the military. I want to see our forces off of base, participating in local events in their communities. I.e., helping out with Race for the Cure. I think our military is a valuable tool, but they lose a lot of their connection with the people they're meant to protect.

* Decrease federal spending on social programs like welfare, etc. I don't think the programs work. I'd rather see the money go into Social Security and the like: you put in, you take out. You don't put in, you get nothing.

* With money saved from reducing our social expenses, we should start doing things to bring jobs back home. I'm not quite sure how, but we should investigate and try.

* Increased focus on innovation and R&D. This country was a leader in most sciences for a number of decades, and has fallen behind. We have the money, people, and space, let's fix that.

* Decrease our dependence on the rest of the world. We should not depend on foreign oil, food, etc nearly as much as we do for the bare necessities.

* Make this country truly open, like it once was: all the "it's so hard to get a visa to come to the US" stuff should stop. Provide ways for illegals to become legal without all the rigmarole.

* Loosen up the nonsensical laws. Legalize marijuana, gun possession, lower the drinking age (or rescind it period).

I had more, other random things. I've lost them.

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Mark Smith

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