Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Sunday: the Saga

(From Dulles International Airport)

We're sitting here at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, waiting for a connection to Savannah, GA. It’s nearly 9PM, We should have been there by now. It’s one of those stories…

We were awake before 5AM, and left home at 5:30, arriving at LAX an easy hour and a half before flight time. Ticketing, short line, little delay. Security, not bad. Boarded the plane, as announced, at around 7:30 for an 8:00AM departure. And sat and waited. Then captain gets on the PA system: the toilets are malfunctioning—almost all of them. He won’t take off with an already overbooked flight and only two toilets for a four and a half hour flight. We’re going to have to wait for new equipment.

Huge sighs all around. Then, two minutes later, an update. The mechanical people think they might have a quick fix, and it won’t be necessary to change planes. Great. Another wait, another announcement: it’s going to take two hours to fix the problem. We can get off the plane at our own risk: if we miss the departure call, they won’t be waiting for us.

We decide to take the risk. It’s abundantly clear by now that we’ll miss our Dulles connection, and we want to be sure we can book a later flight, to get to Savannah by tonight, at least. A somewhat surly greeting at Customer Services, but patience pays off: we’re reserved on a 9:55PM flight out of Dulles.

Back to our plane. We booked our flights months ago, online, and I KNOW I didn’t book these seats. We paid an extra premium for upgradable seats, which these, God knows, are not. They’re the two middle seats in a row of five. When the people in front lean back—as they do, pronto—there’s not even space enough to lower our tables, let alone stand up.

We survive. We arrive at Dulles nearly three hours late, our Savannah flight long since departed. We wait in a long, slow line to confirm our replacement flight and make our way via two shuttle buses to the B Gate area, where we stop for a bite to eat. Then on to the A Gate area, where I now sit, writing.

Ah, the pleasures of air travel! More—inshallah!—from Savannah, in the morning. Wish us luck!

And, yes, from Savannah, in the morning...

We did catch that flight. A small aircraft, a bumpy ride. A hard landing. It's now past midnight. A long, long wait for the baggage. A long, long wait for a late night taxi. The driver gets lost three times on his way to our B & B. He says it's been a long day. I couldn't agree more.

We reached our final destination a little after one. In bed by two...

It's now half-past eight in the morning. Ellie is still sleeping. I sit typing by the window to a courtyard. The blinds are closed, but last night, in the dark, it looked quite beautiful. Southern, as I imagine Southern to look, all balconies, shrubbery and fountains. I can hear the one in the courtyard splashing now.

I'm looking forward to a cup of coffee soon... More later. Meantime, forgive the jeremiad! It's just the air travel that makes me grumpy.

A sneak preview, from our B&B room:


Mercurious said...

Nothing like air travel to give us fodder for the practice.

Sounds like it was worth the trip, though. Appears like a beautiful spring in Savanah.

robin andrea said...

There are many reasons why I don't fly, and this description of your airport experience is one of them. However, your destination looks lovely. I can't wait to see your pics of Savannah.

Anonymous said...

Peter and Ellie, hope you're having a great time. The trials of travel are a nuisance, but well worth it.