Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Honeymooners: LaGuardia

I'll just start off with some basic info. We were to fly Frontier to New York City, then switch to Delta to fly to Atlanta, then the Dominican Republic. We had troubles from the beginning with our baggage since we were flying international and switching airlines, but Frontier said "No problem, we'll handle it," and checked our baggage all the way to our final destination. So Stephen and I got coffee and hunkered down to wait, all excited for tropical breezes and sex on the beach (I mean the drink, come on guys). I also remember at this point that the cute new flat shoes I had worn to dinner were beginning to be uncomfortable, but I thought "Oh well, I'll be barefoot on the sand by tomorrow afternoon."

We were scheduled to leave Denver at 12:30 am and arrive at the above mentioned airport (I shall not utter the name again) at 6:00 am, local time. Since it was a cold, snowy, and ICY evening, Frontier (logically) decided to wait till we were all boarded and 15 minutes past take-off time to de-ice the plane. We didn't get to New York till 6:40, and then we sat on the ground for what seemed like forever waiting for a gate.

Ever been through LaGuardia Airport in New York, NY? This is possibly the most inconvenient, ill conceived airport ever designed by man.

First this short little New Yorker with a big mouth wouldn't step two feet back in front of her seat so Stephen and I could slip past her and run to catch out flight that left in 10 minutes. "I don't care. I've got places to go, too. I'm in a hurry and I want to go home and I don't give a damn about you." We were both astonished by this attitude and I actually argued with her a little (when Stephen tells the story he says I beat the crap out of her).

Anyway, we get out, we run like mad. This airport actually has the terminals in separate buildings and there are 2 buses (literally, 2 single buses, not lines) that go between them. The RED line and the BLUE line. The red line came first, and the sign said it would take us to Delta. We get on the bus and the driver begins the following exchange:

Driver Dude: (without looking up) Where you goin?
Us: Delta Airlines.
Dude: You need the blue line. This da red line.
Us: Oh... But the sign-
Dude: I'm da red line. You need da blue line for Delta. (Stephen exits bus. I am not satisfied by this reiterated and ultimately ineffectual explanation.)
Me: Are you sure? (Points at sign)
Dude: This is ma job, lady.
Me: (Glowers at him and exits bus)

5 minutes later (By the way, it was FREEZING in NY), the BLUE line shows up. The thing is older than God and makes this terrifying noise when the doors close, when the doors open, when it accelerates, when it slows down, when it stops, and when it makes turns, but the driver is cordial enough and takes us to the correct terminal.

Obviously, we missed our connection. We spent the following 2 or 3 hours going back and forth between Delta and Frontier (in separate buildings, naturally) being told contradictory things about rescheduling our flight, where our baggage would be, etc. Frontier says "No, we can't do that, go to the Delta desk." Delta says "No, you'll have to have Frontier do that for you, we can't." No one exhibited any effort to help us find a solution or track down our baggage. We got nasty attitude and plain rudeness from every agent and representative we talked to. This is service? We were treated like an inconvenience at each desk and office.

In the end, we could get to Atlanta that day, but the sad reality was that we wouldn't make it to the D.R. that day. 2 flights go daily to the airport we were trying to reach, and we would miss both of them. I think I cried the entire morning. I was devastated, Stephen was livid. On our last exasperated visit to the Delta desk, the girl asked "Well? What do you want to do?" Stephen and I exchanged glances and he answered, "We want to get the hell out of New York."

This might be an unfair blanket statement based on my circumstances and the very short amount of time I spent there, but we didn't meet a single person with any discernible compassion or sense of human decency. From now on I won't hesitate to go out of my way to help someone out.

Our flight to Atlanta didn't leave for another hour, so we got some "yogurt" and I sat at our gate while Stephen paced the walkway, on his phone, trying to book a hotel in Atlanta. We were assured that our bags would stop in Atlanta because Delta can get an enormous fine for letting international luggage cross borders without their owners on the flight. So we sat down again, tired and slightly less excited but still ready for those sandy beaches the next day.


ThomG said...

Just remember you crazy kids: It isn't a memory unless mayhem happens. Nobody ever said, "Remember that time where we took the trip and nothing happened?" Chaos is the beauty of the universe.

Melissa said...

ThomG, so true! But I know at the time you're frustrated and wishing things had turned out differently, I'm sorry to hear the flights were so bad and the people weren't any better.

I can't wait to hear the rest of the drama. ;)

ThomG said...

And by "yogurt" you meant shots of J├Ągermeister, correct?

Anonymous said...

No way...did your bags stay or did they get to D.R. before you? I've never flown into New York but I'm not sure now I ever will.....I want episode two! Beth