Monday, August 4, 2008

The Day Lost In O'Hare City

Warning! Typically, I censor myself pretty tightly when I write on this blog. Today, I'm throwing that concept aside because I kind of just feel like swearing. Anyway... consider yourself warned.

Megan and I made the trip to Chicago for Kim's (ilaxstudio) birthday celebration, which included the final part of Steven and Kim's wedding gift - a ride in a Lamborghini Gallardo (more on that in a future post). The flight out there was easy and quick (no delays), getting the rental car was smooth (a red 2008 Ford Mustang) and getting up to Steven and Kim's place was no problem. The weekend was nice and visiting with all of the family that came into town for the event was fun. The return to KC on Sunday, however, was a different story.

The alarm on my phone was set for 530 am to make our 8 am flight out of O'Hare airport, which in itself (by my estimation) would qualify as the second largest city in Illinois. Here is the approximate timeline of occurrences for the day.

530 am - The alarm goes off. I wake up and silence it.
530 and 10 seconds - Back asleep - FUCK!
645 - Megan wakes up screaming "Wake up! It's 645!" (SHIT! How did that happen?)
650 - We have packed and gotten in the car after checking out at the front desk (How we did this in 5 minutes, I have no idea).
713 - Arrive at the rental car return station 29 miles from the hotel (Fuck yeah, I'm a madman).
715 - On the bus back to the airport.
725 - In line at the check-in station outside the airport.
732 - Are informed that we were 7 minutes too late to check our bags outside (FUCK!!!) and have to go to the line inside.
745 - Get through the line inside and are informed that we were too late to get on the plane at all (FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!!!!!). We are transferred to the "standby" list for the next flight to KC.
755 - We get through security and walk the 1.2 miles to the terminal for the 950 flight.
800 - Now notice that our 8am flight to KC has been delayed until 820 (What the fuck? Why didn't they tell us the flight had been delayed - we could have made that).
805 - I rush back to the gate for the original flight... to find it uninhabited. Check with other gate employees who inform me that once the flight has been loaded and the door closed that they can't do anything. The plane is being "balanced" and fueled and that putting anyone else on the plane would upset the "balancing". My response - "that's the biggest load of horse shit I've ever heard, you just don't want to do anything you lazy sack of crap." My vocal response - "OK, thanks."
810 - Back to the gate for the 950 flight that we may or may not be able to get on to sit/stand and wait. Megan is not happy. Waiting is uncomfortable.
950 - We are informed that the flight is full and our standby status is rolled over to the next flight to KC at 1220, but our bags went out with the 950 flight.
1000 - I decide that we could try to fly to another city if we could get guaranteed seats, then we could rent a car and drive back. We find there is a flight to Wichita at 11am.
1020 - After racing the 2 miles to the gate for that flight. Where they stare at me like I'm from another planet and tell me to go call the airline's ticketing number.
1030 - The airline ticketing number tells me that they can't do that over the phone and I'd have to go back to the ticketing counter, outside security.
1045 - Back in line at the ticket counter.
1105 - Are informed that we can transfer our tickets to Wichita for the difference in price plus a transfer fee. The grand total for this transfer including the credit for our current flight- $1,000. Thats one fucking thousand dollars. We consider driving to KC from Chicago (7 hours).
1115 - The employee behind the counter takes pity on us and for a $100 fee, she gets us guaranteed seats on the overbooked 1220pm which is now the 105pm flight. How she did this, I do not know. She claimed that she is not supposed to do this, but was willing. We thank her profusely and ask her if she is allowed to accept tips. She refuses. More thanking, then we head back through security.
1145 - We finish lunch inside O'Hare City, then see that the 105 flight is now the 145 flight to KC (seriously?!?)
100 - Waiting is still uncomfortable. Megan is still unhappy, I have resigned myself to reading to pass the time. Two Arab women claim the empty seats around us for themselves and their twenty poorly behaved children in the age range of two to five.
102 - Megan has had enough and finds another location to wait.
130 - Flight is delayed another 10 minutes - now 155pm.
150 - Plane has still not arrived at the hangar despite the expected departure time in five minutes.
155 - Plane arrives and begins unloading.
220 - We have boarded and leave Chicago.
330 - We land in KC to actual applause from the passengers.
335 - Manage to find our bags, which have not been lost or stolen despite arriving in KC 3-4 hours ahead of us.
415 - Drop Megan off at her place.
500 - Arrive back at my place.
545 - Eat some leftover pasta from Thursday night.
730 - Pass out on couch watching television.

Yes, I was well aware that the mistake was mine and I bore the responsibility of correcting it. I did. We made it back to KC in one piece out only time and a little money. I did get to catch up a little on exercise though, walking eight to nine miles inside of the airport pretty much took care of that. And I read half of a book. Megan is no longer unhappy, so I guess everything worked out. But crap, what an ordeal. There was one more thing that I will write about tomorrow... I kind of (in some way) fulfilled a "life goal" in the process of the ordeal. But more on that tomorrow.


bro said...

I am leaving this comment from kim's wii! i'm glad you guys came & you made it home safely!

kilax said...

Oh god.

I hate going to O'Hare with a passion. There is nothing to do when you get stuck there. And you ALWAYS get stuck there.

I'm happy to hear you finally got home.

But come back soon!

Andrew Skaff said...

bro - I didn't know you could leave messages via the Wii. Cool! I had a great time in Chicago! Thanks for having us come out.

kilax - I'll look in to flying to Milwaukee next time and just driving down from there. Maybe that will be easier. I hope that we get to come back out sometime soon. It's always fun. Are you guys going to be in KC any time in the near future? What are the holiday plans?