I like to see new places (and return to favorites ones), but I don’t actually like the act of traveling. There are too many factors out of my control—stupid people, lazy people, weather…
Yesterday we flew to the Cayman Islands for two glorious weeks (don’t even think about breaking into our house! I have a house guest/house sitter there!). This part of the Caribbean is not an easy trip from California. You have to stop at one of the airline hub cities—Miami, Altanta, Houston—to get here. Normally, we fly American but I wanted to save a few bucks so we flew United for the first time.
It will also be the last.
The trip was a mess from start to finish—and more than 24 hours later, it’s not quite finished.
We had a 6:55 a.m. flight out of Los Angeles and we got to the airport more than two hours early. The line in the terminal coiled around itself about 4 or 5 times, which panicked me, but it seemed to move quickly. We finally got to one of the kiosks to check in and then waited for about 10 minutes for someone to grab the tags for our bags.
They had about 5 people manning a row of 35 kiosks. Not the most efficient system, but everyone’s trying to save a buck, so you know…whatever. I’m convinced the delays at airports are more from lack of staff than anything else. Our bags get tagged and get dumped on the conveyor belt and we actually breezed through security.
After we loaded onto the plane, we sat there. And sat there. And then we sat some more. The engines weren’t even running. At one point I looked up front and all of the flight crew, including the pilots, were gazing out the door we came in on. Not a good sign.
And, of course, no one told us what the delay was.
An HOUR later (yes, 60 minutes), we see a family board the plane. Turns out, United held the plane for them.
At this point, I’m losing my shit because we had 58 minutes to make our connection when we landed in Houston.
Bill keeps trying to reassure me that if they held the plane for them, they’d hold our connection for us.
I’m not the optimist in this marriage. That is just not my role, so I’ve already decided we will miss our connection and have to stay in some shitty ass airport hotel in Houston. This idea made Bill a little happy because he was wearing his fancy cowboy boots. (A clothing decision he’ll regret in a few hours but he doesn’t know that yet.)
About an hour before we land, Bill talks to a flight attendant about our situation. She told us the pilot had made up some time and she thought we could still made our connection if we hustled.
There were two problems with that scenario: 1. We were landing at a “C” gate. Our next flight was in an “E” gate. 2. She underestimated the kindness of other people.
When we landed, the flight attendant announced that some passengers had really tight connections because of the delay and told everyone to stay seated so those passengers could get out first.
It was like yelling “Fire!” in a packed theater. Everyone got up. Every single fucking person on the plane decided this was how they were going to get off the plane fast. We were still taxi-ing down the runway to the gate and people were in a frenzy, opening the overhead bins, ripping their bags out, dumping them on the floor.
It didn’t matter that the flight attendants were telling people to put their shit back and sit their fucking asses back in their seats (it’s how it SHOULD have been phrased anyway), it was bedlam.
One stupid cow stood up and grabbed her stuff from the bin above me just as I was standing up, and when she got shoved out of the way by her own Cro-Magnon husband she actually moved into my row and half stood/half squatted in front of me so she was in my lap.
I was really trying hard to control my irritation because I didn’t want to be that passenger you hear about on the news who gets thrown off the plane for obnoxious behavior. I understand the sentiment, but that’s not how I want my 15 minutes of fame.
I sat there for a second, smelling her beer-fart ass as she pinned me to my seat, and then I lost my mind. I gently nudged her legs hoping she’d get the hint and she still didn’t move. So I did what I did best. Under the guise of talking to Bill (who was in the row across from me) I said loudly: “Can you believe this bitch? She’s in. my. LAP. I can’t even get up! How RUDE! She shoved me back in my seat and now I have to smell her ASS.”
She couldn’t get off of me fast enough.
We finally got off the plane and found someone to help us. It turns out there was a weather delay, so we still had about 20 minutes to get to our gate. After swinging by the duty-free shop to buy two bottles of tequila (!), we got on the plane just in time.
We finally landed in Cayman a couple of hours later and I was so excited because our vacation could finally begin.
Except with the quick plane change our luggage never made it.
All we had were the clothes we wore (both in jeans, Bill with his cowboy boots). No toothpaste, nothing to sleep in. And no clean underwear. And nothing is open on Sundays on Grand Cayman. No grocery stores, no pharmacies.
We had to fill out a form with the airport (LOVE the airport in Cayman, FYI) and they promised to track down our bags.
This morning they told us they found them but there was only one United flight today and it wouldn’t land until 4:00 p.m. They’d get it through customs for us and drop it off, hopefully by 6:00.
Meanwhile, we needed supplies.
This morning Bill ran over to the grocery store and bought a couple of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Once we got slightly presentable (I don’t even have a hairbrush), we tried to buy something to change into at the gift shop. Bill had a little better luck than I did—they had shorts and T-shirts for him, and fortunately he found a pair of flip-flops (I would have paid money to see him go to the grocery store in board shorts and cowboy boots)—but I’ve been walking around like Mrs. Roper with my unbrushed hair and billowing sun dress.
Lesson learned. Never again will I travel without some essentials in my carry-on—something to change into, some toothpaste and a hair brush.
Can’t wait to see how the flight home goes.
(Update: more than 24 hours after we got here, our bags arrived.)