Monday, August 24, 2009

Sorry for the long absence!

I've been back in the good old US of A! I know, I know, I was just here, but I had to come back, mostly for vacation purposes, but also to make some decisions about the wedding. I go back to Brussels on Friday.

I spent my first night at home here in my parents' house, eating Chinese food with my good friend Lena. Somehow in my sleep-deprived, travel-addled state, it was all I could think of eating. I was more tired than usual due to my ridiculous trip.

Ok, so I know August is a really bad time to travel, high ticket prices, crowds, etc., and yet I decided to do it anyway. Of course, I didn't have a whole lot of choice, those wedding decisions weren't going to decide themselves, so away I flew, adding a nice chunk of change to what I already owe the parental units. The problems started when I got to the airport in Brussels...

I was told at the ticket counter that the economy class of the Continental Airlines flight I was supposed to be on was overbooked. Sad face. But, they were giving upgrades! Happy face! So in my overly optimistic mind-set, I marched right through security, not stopping, not passing go, not even collecting 200! I get to the gate and there is a very long line, God knew what for. There was a free woman at the desk, so I went to talk to her, but one of the people in line said "There's a line, ya know!" so I was forced back. After waiting line for about 10 minutes to be asked the same security questions I had already been asked, they said I couldn't go through, because I didn't have a seat assignment! Then I went up to the free woman at the desk. I gave her my prepared schpiel which included "I just got married!" She glared at me. "You have to wait like everyone else!" (she said sternly.) If she had been American I would have been put in first class, or at least business!

So she took my ticket and I was free to go get the bottle of water I had passed by before in my effort to get to the gate quickly. After that errand, I returned, and the same woman told me I still didn't have a seat assignment. Miguel read off the European passenger rights to me on the phone (if I had been bumped off the flight there would have been a new flight and money!) but alas, I was called at the last second and given a boarding pass. I looked at my seating assignment, knowing that little number would mean nothing to me until I was on the plane. And oy, did it mean something to me then!

I was in the worst seat possible. Directly in front of the bathrooms (noisy, the seat didn't recline) and in the middle. Being in the middle sucks. A lot. I like to get up and walk around and have easy access to the bathroom. The guy on the aisle kept falling asleep (how he could, god knows), so I think I only went to the bathroom twice. During the whole 7-8 hour flight. Twice. Normally I go 4-5 times. Grr. Nor did things get better after that flight was over. Oh no...

That flight was into Newark, NJ. There had been, and were still, thunderstorms all afternoon. And I mean ALL afternoon. So I picked up my luggage to go through customs. No problem. I took it to the designated luggage drop off area and waited in another line. I then showed my boarding pass to the guy there. "I'm sorry ma'am, that flight has been cancelled." "Say what now?" Crappity crap crap.

On to the Continental window. My connecting flight was supposed to leave at 2:40pm. After waiting in yet another line the woman says "I can get you on another flight that leaves at 9:00pm." *jaw drops* I ask "Don't you have anything else?" her: "Are you ok with flying into Reagan National?" me: "Dear god, yes!" her: "I can get you on a flight at 5pm." me: "Done! And make it a window seat!"

So smooth sailing from there eh? No problem. Just a few hours... MMhmm. So I go to the gate for that flight. I sit for a few minutes, and BOOM delayed. Keeping in mind I got to the airport about 8am. I sit a while longer. BOOM delayed again. A few more minutes BOOM cancelled. Say what now? The tell us to go to the Continental desk. Wait in line. Again. I get to someone and they say "That flight isn't cancelled." ????? Go back to the gate, but now it's another flight there, not mine. I check the board, and now my flight is set to leave from a few gates away at 7:45pm! RAPTURE!!

The rest is easy. I got on that flight and made it home. TA DA.

There's more to tell, but not now. I just saw Julie & Julia and was in a blogging state of mind, not knowing what the hell I would talk about (I never really know), and here is a super long entry! Voila!