I hate American Airlines. I have had so many UGH-worthy occurances with them that I just on principle refuse to fly with them. I'll fly ANYTHING but American. Anyway. I had to book a return flight last-minute in order to make it home for work the next day, which meant that the cheapest flight available happened to be with American Airlines and OF COURSE had an absurd connection that sent me farther north in order to fly south. Whatever. I booked the flight because it was the cheapest by far and thought I'd suck it up and everything would be okay. And everything went fine the first leg of the trip! I got to the gate easily, my flight was on time, I had a window seat. Hallelujah, fantastic. I even witnessed this ethereal mile-high sunset (check out the Insta @fabfeministblog, yo).
So, cut to the drastically less pleasant portion of my trip. I arrive in Charlotte with enough time to grab a sandwich and charge my phone. I sit in a rocking chair next to some indoor trees and shove some food around my mouth hole. My plane is set to depart in 40 minutes, so like the fairly responsible grown-up I am, I pack up and walk to my gate. This gate is right next to another gate. Like, the doors are a ballpark 6 feet away from each other. Everybody is in line for both, and the sign for my flight says they're boarding. Now, I'm not one of those people with an irrational need to board as soon as possible. Why would I want to spend more time cramped into a plane seat than I have to? Why would I want to stand in a line just so that I could pick up my bag and set it back down a foot closer to the gate every few minutes? Plus, If I wait long enough and the overhead cabins get full, they will check my bag FOR FREE and then I don't have to lug around a carry-on and three pounds of comsmetics in my purse. I am SO good at this. I've got it aaaalllllll figured out.
So I'm waiting off to the side, and it doesn't look like my line is moving and it's not even near the departure time for everyone to have boarded except for me. I'm paying attention, but not too hard. One of the flight attendants manning the desk announces that they have to switch the plane out and we should come back every fifteen to thirty minutes for updates. UGH. So my flight, which is already scheduled to land at midnight, is going to be delayed by an hour at least. I text my mom to complain, but I don't leave the waiting area for the gate. They don't update my sign, which is weird, but like, not unheard of. They don't say a thing about PBI and I don't hear anything about final call for boarding, and THEY DON'T SAY MY NAME OVER THE LOUDSPEAKER LIKE I HAVE HEARD HAPPEN TO OTHER PEOPLE AND THEY HAVE MY PHONE NUMBER BECAUSE I PROVIDED IT AND THEY KNOW MY FLIGHT FROM ATLANTA ARRIVED IN CHARLOTTE ON TIME, SO COLOR ME SURPRISED WHEN I FIND OUT MY PLANE HAS PULLED AN ELVIS AND LEFT THE BUILDING. How did I find out I'd been abandoned like a stale Peep? Well, I overhear some dude being told to go to gate C8. "C8?" I think. What the heck? I ask some chick next to me about a gate change and she's like "Nah, I'm flying to Dallas," so I go up to the desk attendants and sort it all out myself. "Has my flight been moved to another gate or something?" I ask. One replies, "Your flight is departing." "What do you mean my flight is departing? Do I need to run somewhere right now to catch it??" "No, your flight is departing. It's on the runway."
THIS ATTENDANT PROCEEDS TO SAY NOTHING ELSE AS A WAVE OF PANIC WASHES OVER ME AND I TURN AWAY TO PROCESS THIS HORRIBLY EMBARRASSING NEWS. I call my mom, because DUH. She calms me down, as mothers do, and tells me to go see if any other flights are available. I do, and do you know this apathetic woman has been holding out on me for the past ninety seconds? Of course she has. "There's a flight to Ft. Lauderdale," she says when I ask if there's anything else going to south Florida tonight. "YES GREAT FINE PUT ME ON IT," I blurt incoherently. "Okay," she says. "I'm going to call the gate, but I'm gonna need you to get on the moving sidewalk right now." So now I'm walk-running through the terminal to get to another terminal trying SO HARD not to ugly cry bc that's what I do when I get angry, and all I keep thinking is, "I WOULD NOT BE IN THIS SITUATION IF MY BOYFRIEND WAS HERE." (My boyfriend, at this time, is in the far, far away and far, far superior country of England.) I get to the other terminal and run all the way down to the gate with my new flight and I'm trying not to have a panic attack while simultaneously having an absolute meltdown about how much this is going to cost me when the dude behind the desk prints out a ticket and hands it to me and tells me to board. That's it? THANK GOD. At least I don't have to pay an extraordinary sum for a new ticket! It's the small victories in life.
I board, stash my bag and climb into my window seat--a much-needed perk, 'cause I am definitely not done crying. My mom keeps texting back and forth trying to help me line up transportation when I land, and everythingggg we think of is a fortune. Right before my plane departs, she pulls up an Uber estimate for $45-$60. "Better than nothing," I text. God bless moms. By the time I land and am driven home for an hour in a Lyft (got that first ride discount, yo), I've spent twelve hours traveling. TWELVE HOURS. Between the time I left for the airport and the time I got home at 2 am, I spent TWELVE HOURS TRAVELING. NEXT TIME, IMA GET THE DIRECT FLIGHT ON JET BLUE AND SPEND THE MONEY SMH. Being a grown up is so hard sometimes.