March 22, 2018

Thanks, Orbitz

Never could I have predicated that I would be able to blog while traveling, but here I am.  No photos, but you will have to use your imagination.  For this story, imagine me with a painfully tired, angry face.  I had some great posts lined up for your enjoyment.  I am going to try to sneak this one into the lineup.

We missed our connecting flight in Heathrow.  The itinerary only allowed us an hour and a half to depart our plane and get to the next plane.  Have you been to Heathrow?  Holy shit!  Not enough time.  Thanks, Orbitz.

Dad walks slow since he was thrown from the horse in Yellowstone a year and a half ago.  OK, slow is an understatement.  Probably wouldn't have made it to the flight even if he was a former Olympic gold medalist in track.  It was like a 20 plus minute walk from where we landed to THE BUS that we needed to take to get to our next terminal.  

The girls and I managed to deplane before Dad.  I ran in to go to the bathroom.  When I came out, I ordered the girls to go.  Mini claimed that she didn’t have to go.  ‘Go!’ I hollered.  A minute later a woman in a British accent started calling out to the crowd:  ‘Anyone for Glasgow?’  I got her attention.  She asked if I was part of the Shenanigan party.  None other than.  

She told us to hurry.  I said, ‘We are, but I had just sent the girls into the bathroom.’  ‘Oh, well you will probably miss it then,’ she shared.  Huh?  I was not having it.  I yelled into the bathroom door and insisted the girls get out immediately.  Curly went, Mini hadn’t.        

As we were racing I noticed that Dad was WAY behind us.  Shit.  We hung back until he caught up.  I told him to walk on the people mover and we walked briskly alongside him on the stationary floor.  At long last we reached the bus that we needed to take to get to our terminal.  The lady who summoned us at the bathroom had provided us with an express bus pass.  We walked up to the bus just as it was closing its doors.  The driver shook his head.  Express my ass.

The next bus arrived a few minutes later.  A short NINE MINUTE but ride later and we were at our terminal.  Oh joy.  When we were on the plane, the attendants handed out forms for people to fill out to get thru customs.  Since we had a connecting flight, the staff assured me that we didn’t need to do it.  Guess what?  We had to fill out the paperwork.  Wishing we had filled it out on the plane.  The clock was ticking.

In order to leave the terminal to go to security, we just had to scan our boarding passes.  The American Airlines employee at O’Hare had assured us that we just needed the one boarding pass.  We wouldn’t need another one for our Glasgow flight.  Wrong!

Another family was literally two steps ahead of us.  They had been on our flight from Chicago, where they sat about 5 rows in front of us.  We recognized them, because their twin daughters are also Irish dancers.  They were told that they missed the flight to Glasgow and that they got the last few seats on the 3:30 flight.

When we stepped up, the man sensed my frustration - probably because I shared it with him.  He instructed me not to stand alongside his podium.  Dad is a little hard of hearing.  He leaned a bit close to ask the man when the next flight would depart for Glasgow.  Mr. ‘Helpful’ told Dad not to get so close to his podium.  Then he pointed out that he was trying to look up the info.

There was only this one guy to help.  Anyone who ran up breathless and in need of a boarding pass required his assistance.  He dropped us like a suspicious piece of luggage and helped the ermegency cases.  I asked someone to get Dad a chair.  We were standing there for probably close to 40 minutes.  A chair was too much to ask for.  Mini was in tears because now she was about to wet her pants.  The only bathroom would be after security.

At last Mr. Helpful shared with us that we could opt to take a flight to Manchester that would then connect in Glasgow landing at 11 pm, or we could take a 5:50 pm flight to Glasgow. Arriving at 7:15 pm.  Back when the lady found us near the barthroom and nonchalantly mentioned that we would miss our flight, she said it was no big deal because flights to Glasgow left like every hour.   I guess Mr. Helpful wanted us to be grateful for the 5:50 flight.  He should have been grateful that I didn’t kick his stupid ass podium down.

We took our boarding passes and the vouchers for 10 pounds that he offered each of us for a meal in the airport.  Mini was now in excruciating pain.  She hadn’t peed since before our flight left Chicago like 9 hours prior.  We had to get thru security to find a bathroom.

We didn’t have to take off our shoes in security, but the man contemplated having my 78 year old Dad remove his.  I pointed out his age and that shoe removal wans’t necessary for Dad in the States.  Mr. Security pointed out that we were no longer in the US.  I think that was similar to ‘Toto, we aren’t in Kansas anymore.’

Once Mini was thru security I told her to go find a bathroom and that we would wait there for her.  Well we weren’t exactly waiting for her.  My bag got flagged, so we were stuck there for another 20 plus minutes.  I ordered Dad and Curly and Mini to go sit down.  I guess it was a ‘relief’ that our flight wasn’t departing for another 5 hours.  My tiny hand sanitizer and contact re-wetting drops should’ve been removed from the bag and set to the side for inspection.  Seriously.  Once again, perhaps an airport of this size should consider utilizing more than one flagged-bag checker.  Insane.

We found a restaurant and ate a meal.  The girls were disgusted that their glasses of milk were served tepid.  Gross.

Our next flight was going to board at 5:10 pm.  Our boarding passes didn’t list the gate.  The computer screen displayed the gate as 17:00.  After arriving at gate 17, I realized that this meant that they would post the gate at 17:00 or 5:00.  That would only give us 10 minutes to get to the gate.  I got a wheelchair against Dad’s wishes and hours later when they posted the gate we loaded him in it and bolted for the gate at lightening speed.  I managed not to mow anyone over - barely.

Here we waited for over an hour to board.  After we boarded we waited another hour.  Mini fell asleep on her tray.  When the attendant woke her up to put her try down, she thought we were landing.  Nope.  Hadn’t even taken off yet. Dad was in front of me (none of our seats were in the same row) and he called back to me, ‘Did you know this flight was making an additional stop?’  He had also fallen asleep.  No Dad not an additional stop, we haven’t even taken off yet.

We landed in Glasgow at 9 pm local.  Seven and a half hours later than expected.  We had been traveling for almost 24 hours.  Imagine how thrilled we were that I had packed my huge Stanley thermos with Italian beef.  It was still slightly frozen.  We didn’t have to go find something to eat or survive on granola bars.  At the airbnb I heated up the beef, tossed some mozzarella cheese on it, opened a can of carrots that I had also packed, and we had a small feat before we slept for 12 hours.  
(Using a former picture of my favorite thermos.  Totally frustrated because I figured out how to get a picture that I took last night of our beef and it appeared on this page, but I tried to move it and it went away and I can’t get it back.  You will have to be satisfied with this pic.  I’ve blogging for a few hours and Mini went back to sleep.  Curly just woke up after 13 hours of sleep and Dad is still sleeping).


Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

It is never a dull moment with you guys!! Glad you finally got there!

Gigi said...

Oh jeez - but! You made it!

Ernie said...

Gaining access to the airbnb was stressful too, but really - how much more could I squeeze into one post. There werre 6 pages of pictures that I printed from the host detailing which gate/ door/coutryard/ lockbox, etc. Thankfully our cab driver was patient and helpful. My two big fears: that it would be raining or dark. Um, both. Had we arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon maybe I could’ve seen straight, yadda, yadda, yadda . . .

Ernie said...

I was beginning to have my doubts. Just now realizing what a super long post that was. Not as easy to tell when not using my desktop. You and Beth are troopers for reading that. I have plans for our return trip . . . Demand to be the first people off the plane so we don’t miss our connection. Request transport for Dad at Heathrow so we can cover the 1.5 mile trek between terminals in lightning speed. Fill out hte custom forms on the plane. Remove all hand sanitizer and itty bitty bottles of lotion and rewetting drops so we don’t get detained in security. Determined to make our connection this time. Stay tuned!