Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just consider it a mental upchuck [Part IV]

A collection of stories that I've been meaning to write about, or that other people have told me I should post, or that I've recently just remembered...all here for your reading pleasure.

Part IV: That time at the airport.

I was going thru the blog posts from the last week that I have missed and came across Poobomber's post about his unbelievable luck when it comes to air travel. At one time, I would have been able to tell you the same about me. That despite the number of times I've been on planes that I have never ever ever had a bad experience at the airport. Well...maybe not NEVER.

Let me explain...

There was a point in my life where I was seriously dating a guy (THE guy...Le HIM) who lived in California. His work sometimes allowed him to come up to Seattle for a weekend or so, but even then in the time we were together I must have travelled to Cali about 6 or so times in a year. Not only that, but I have family all over the US and Asia and when we can't road trip out a vacation, we flew. I never had any problems flying and never had issues with my baggage or my flights being delayed until the first time I flew down to see him.

The flight there was the usual 2 and a half hour naptime for me, no problems whatsoever. I spent a few days there and we had such a fantabulous visit that I really didn't want to go home. The day I was supposed to leave, we made it all the way to the airport and had checked me and my luggage in and were on the way to the security check when I turned to him and said "I don't want to go". Without even flinching he goes "ok". And we turn around and walked down an up-escalator to get back to the check in desk to see if we can get my luggage back.

No such luck. My luggage was on a carousel ride to the plane already and I thought I would have to leave anyway but thankfully the ticket agent was a really sweet woman who took one look at me and said "let me see what I can do". I think it was partially because I looked so pathetic and teary-eyed at the thought of leaving, and probably partially because my guy was wearing his Navy uniform and she probably thought he was getting deployed or what not (I didn't bother correcting her and he helped fuel the assumption by saying "she doesn't want to leave me so soon" or something to that effect). It turns out that she couldn't do anything about my luggage but arranged for me to take another flight later the next day. I didn't care (I didn't need anything in my suitcase that I couldn't buy or borrow for a day) and gave her a big grin and off we went.

The next day, knowing that I couldn't keep postponing the inevitable, I hopped on the plane. Although it was only a two hour plane ride, I had to do a changeover in Portland, OR. I got off my plane and on the way to the next terminal I stopped by the restroom. I stepped into a stall, did my business, then when I tried to slide the latch to get out I found that I was stuck.

Or rather the DOOR was stuck. SHUT...with me inside it.

I had a moment of "there is no f*ing way this is f*ing way!" So I spent the next 5 minutes jiggling the door and going thru my purse for tools to try and McGyver my way out (of course I had no sharp instruments to use because it was all confiscated at security). During my time of panic there were people coming in and out of the bathroom but I was too embarassed to ask for help. The time for me to catch my plane got nearer and nearer and I finally contemplated just shimmying underneath the stall door. I knew I could fit because I'm pretty svelte but just the thought of crawling on a nasty bathroom floor had me desperately looking for alternatives. Finally, I thought the room was empty (I was not about to implement my escape plan with witnesses) so I stood on top of the toilet to see over the door to make sure.

At the same time as I stuck my head above the doorframe, a flight attendant (who was apparently checking under the door to see if anyone was in my stall) straightened up, looked me in the face and almost had a coronary to find me staring back at her. She looked at me in silent question and I nervously giggled and said "apparently I'm stuck and I can't get the door open". To her credit, she didn't even laugh. Or maybe she just waited till she was out of the room. But she said "hold on, lemme get someone" and left. A couple minutes later she walked in with a janitor/maintenance guy who took the door off the hinges and got me out. I hurriedly thanked them both and ran to my terminal where I barely made it in the door as they were getting ready to shut it.

An hour later, I get to Seattle and went to baggage claim. I had a momentary panic attack when I couldn't find my luggage amongst the ones flying down the chute, untill I remembered that my stuff had made it home a day earlier. I went to lost baggage and showed them my pass and they typed up my name in the computer. The lady couldn't find my name. She tried different combinations and finally found me with the information from my original flight. It turns out that the lady at the check in in Sacramento had misspelled my name. It's a fairly unique name and I had id and my original flight info but apparently Seattle baggage lady was the anal-stick-to-the-rules type and she wouldn't give me my luggage until she had called both her supervisor and her supervisor's supervisor to get the ok to hand me my crap....32 minutes later!


The End.


Felisa said...

Military boys... Mmm.. Well, some of them anyway :P

I've locked myself in a bathroom once too. Fortunately, I panicked way too much and starting jiggling the door like a madwoman and must've scared the door itself so it opened within 30 seconds. But it was embarrassing when I finally opened it because there was a woman standing right there and my breathless, sweaty self had to explain sheepishly that the "door was stuck!" She didn't smile either which made it even more awkward!

bernthis said...

I hate to fly and last summer when I went to S.F. had a horrible experience. I swear to you, I never do this, ask Sabrae but if you go to my blog and read:

Coffee, Tea, A Communicable Disease?

You'll see what I'm talking about.

I too, would have done anything to avoid that nasty floor. Glad you finally got your stuff back

That damn expat said...

You didn't want to scream for help? Man, I'd be screaming my head off!
These little troubles are annoying when they happen but later you look back and laugh and are glad they happened. At least I do. Do you?

..:: C ::.. said...

You missed the obvious option of playing SWAT and just kicking the door with everything you had. Though I picture you falling backwards into the toilet, but it definitely would have been funnier ;)

words words words said...

I've been bumped a lot (I tend to volunteer for the free voucher), but I've never had a trip ruined or had to fly a different day. The worst I ever had was getting bumped (against my will) and bussed to a different airport to fly out 11 hours later.