Monday, July 23, 2018

A Hellscape, In Retrospect

I think I may have been cursed. As convincing evidence, let's review yesterday.

Drive three hours on a two-hour drive from very depressing Northeastern Pennsylvania to downtown Philadelphia. Drop off Eli 16.11 with his mom to begin the big college tour trip (Penn, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth).

I stayed with for lunch, because Gloria found a barbecue restaurant that looked very interesting.

Boy, it looked good. So we ordered, and I left half an hour later to get to the airport. No food had been served.

That's okay, though, because I didn't want to worry about time. Plus, I was taking Eli's goalie bag (weight 55 pounds), so that it would be easier for them on the college trip.

I get to the airport two hours in advance. At the gate an hour and fifteen minutes before the flight. Nice! My connecting flight in Detroit was pretty tight, but this was all looking good. Plus, this was Delta, because we'd had huge disasters with both United and American.

We board about twenty-five minutes later, but that's okay.

Once we're all on the plane, the pilot announces that a nose wheel needs some maintenance. Oh, and there are 30 planes ahead of us on the runway, waiting to take off.

Three hours later, they let us off the plane to go back to the terminal.

An hour later, we're back on the plane. One more hour, and we take off. That's a total of seven hours in the airport in various stages of waiting.

Once the plane finally does take off, the pilot announces that there just isn't time to do beverage service (on an hour forty flight?). Well, that's survivable.

Half an hour later, I see beverage service in first class.

I think that in the eighth hour, maybe people should all be treated the same.

Look, there are an incredible number of levels of status in this country, most of them based on wealth. That's not the problem, at least to me. What is the problem, though, is how we glorify those differences as some kind of trophy.

All right, rant off.

The plane was supposed to take off at 5:30. It finally did take off at 10:30. We land at midnight. My connecting flight had taken off three hours earlier.

It seems that connecting flights are the devil, among other things.

We line up like cattle for hotel vouchers grudgingly dispensed to be used at a Days Inn. I ch the reviews. A few highlights:
--dingy, run down, and gross
--brutal service and a bad room.
--if I could give 0 stars I would.
--public areas are run down and dirty.
--it had a mildew smell and I felt itchy when I laid on the bed.

This bothers me, so I thought about how this all works. The business model of the airlines requires that they not care about the level of service. If they did, they wouldn't make money. At least, the ones we fly on are like that.

I'm walking through the airport after midnight, on my way to the taxi stand, seriously depressed, and I look up and see the sign: WESTIN.

There's a hotel at the Detroit airport, one I've totally forgotten about. It's like a chorus of angels in my head. I look down at the voucher in my hand, and two words come into my head: "hell, no."

I go to the Westin, find out they have a walk-in rate for the damned, get an extra hour of sleep in a room that's actually clean, and wake up fifty yards from security. I was still pissed off that I paid for the room, but fortunately I could, and sometimes, you just have to find a way to keep your sanity.

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