Friday, March 28, 2008

The Flight, The Hotel, The Walk And The Sleep Deprivation

When we finally got on the plane, we were seperated due to the limited seating available when we were re-booked. I was fine with that, but the two gentleman sitting in my row didn't look too thrilled when they realized the middle seat where they had stashed their sportscoats was going to be occupied by a stranger. And I wasn't too thrilled to have to be seating between two people, who as I sat down, were finishing their Burger King burgers. It wasn't the food that bothered me, but the smell. I offered them baby-wipes for their hands when they were done and they were both very grateful. As was I, since the scent dissipated a bit.

I found out they were both from Greensboro, North Carolina. I was in a Southern Sandwich, I thought to myself. Both of them were older and spoke slow and syrupy. They were polite and polished; one retired, another in a business founded over one hundred years ago. We talked a little about trucking as I answered questions they had pertaining to the business and even showed one of the gentleman the pictures on my iTouch that I had taken during my travels. Then I read.

And by read, I mean held my book six inches from my face because I couldn't move my arms to the side to get in a more comfortable position, and the guy in front of me decided he needed to recline that extra inch and a half you get on the plane seats (I'm sure he was so much more comfortable in that position) so I was left with holding my book in the air, my right elbow cupped by my left hand, fingers splayed across the back so I could spread the pages open.

Ed in the meantime, was enjoying the extra foot and a half of room he had in the exit row he was seated in, while chatting with his two seatmates. I think he looked back once to see if I were still alive, but other than that, we didn't communicate the entire flight. I did pass him a note though, telling him the NIGHTMARE I thought the flight was.

I can't even explain the discomfort of my seat. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like it. Yes, I'm a big girl, but not the biggest on the plane for sure, and I could NOT slide my finger between my hip and the arm of the seat. I couldn't even plug in my headset for the in-flight movie for fear of puncturing a hole in my skin or breaking off the tip of the headset plug. I was miserable. Miserable and mentally cursing the Wright Brothers.

We made it to Charlotte at the scheduled time and Ed pushed his way out of the plane and I'm assuming, began to run. He made it to the gate only to find out our connecting flight was delayed. It wasn't leaving until 10:35 pm, which gave us a whole half hour. I was glad for that since my running only got me halfway to the departure gate. I stopped for a minute between moving walkways and an angel in an airport cart was sitting there in a heavenly glow when I looked up to take a breath. She gave me a ride the rest of the way.

Imagine Ed's surprise, as he turned, himself red faced and out of breath, to look down the hallway at the very moment I rode up on my cart. He claims I waved and cheerily said to the women I was seated with, "Nice talking to you! Have a nice night ladies!" before I stepped off the cart. He was still catching his breath.

We got on the plane, took our seats and counted the minutes till we landed.
I won't tell you how this flight was even more horrible than the first, but we did make it to Louisville on time and were looking forward to a bite to eat and our hotel bed. We got our rental car, took a quick trip to Denny's for a grilled cheese sandwich, stopped at Walgreen's for a few essentials, and headed downton to the Hyatt Regency. I couldn't wait to get to our room. But it seems I was going to have to wait.

There is a term in the hotel business called "walking." When you "walk" a guest, it means you don't have the room they reserved and paid for, so you send them to another hotel and pick up the expenses, including the transportation over there and back. Most people do not like being walked, as you might imagine. Even if it's to a nicer hotel. In my experience as a front desk agent at a luxury resort, it's never pleasant. The guest will argue, threaten to sue, insist you have to give them a room, insist you throw someone out of the hotel to give them that room and often have a meltdown right there in front of you. Meltdowns never work. If a hotel walks you, they do NOT have a room. Period.

So here it was two o'clock in the morning and we were being walked. Normally, I would argue. But I knew better. I knew there wasn't a room and I just accepted our fate. A perfect ending to a perfectly fucked up day. We got to our other hotel, crawled into bed and slept four hours before getting up and heading out to the Mid-America Trucking Show; the whole reason we flew to Louisville in the first place.

It had to get better, right?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I know how it feels to be a "full sized" woman on a plane, and a tall one at that! There is no leg room at all! I've never heard of the "walk" experience at a hotel before, what a great way to end your already bad day. Good luck in the future.