Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My letter to United Airlines.

Dear Important People at United Airlines,

Hi. My name is Steve. And first of all, I'd like to say that I like your airline. And by like I mean, I'm too far down the road with your miles program to switch to anybody else. But suffice it to say, I'd probably hang out with you if we were neighbors.

Moving on.

Yesterday you intended to whisk me along the friendly skies from Los Angeles, CA to Raleigh, NC. It was going to be magical. I was going to properly stow my carry-on luggage and you were going to thrice offer me a ginger ale and once a snack box for $9.99. Correct change appreciated.

Total travel time about five and a half hours.

At 7:55AM I boarded your 767 and promptly settled into 24A. I plugged my white ear buds into your arm rest and tuned in to channel 2. Yes, I realize this is the Top 40/hip hop/rap station. What? What's the big deal? Can't I have a guilty pleasure that I indulge in only when inflight? Look, stop it. Stop looking at me that way. I can see the way you're reading this. This is my letter to you. So back off. But seriously, why is every rap song about "making love in a club with a thug"?

Moving on.

I cracked open a book (Adrift. A thrilling tale of a man left to survive among the open seas.) and settled in. It was at this point that I was informed by one of your pilots that, due to mechanical issues, we were going to be delayed. But hey, that's okay because the East coast was getting blasted with bad weather and we would probably end up being delayed in the air anyway. Pretty good justification. I bought it.

One hour later.

The mechanics (your best mechanics, by the way) were still trying to resolve the problem. But rest assured, we'd be on our way soon. No worries. I'm a cool guy like that. Cool as a cucumber.

Two hours later.

Still working on the problem. At this point I started to get the bum cramps. You know, when your butt starts to hurt from sitting in your incredibly comfortable seats. You should know, you can find very temporary relief by shifting cheeks. But when you only have two to choose from, your options for relief get very limited very quickly.

Three hours later.

Okay, seriously? I was trying to maintain my cool level of cool levelheadedness. But I was weakening by the second. Meanwhile, the guy from my book, Stephen Callahan, had already gotten rescued. Seventy six days at sea and he was rescued. Meanwhile, I remained trapped. Finally. Finally we pushed back and headed toward the runway. Sorry, I mean taxied. We taxied toward the runway. I know how you guys are about your lingo. And I respect that. I can get behind that.

Just before we were to take off, there was a radio problem. So we sat there. Again. Fortunately, this issue was resolved relatively quickly and we were on our way.

Once in flight, you offered me a screening of The Express. I didn't know it was possible to make another movie about racial segregation confronted and conquered through collegiate football. But someone did. And you blessed me with it. Then we landed in Washington DC and you blessed me with something else. A cancelled connecting flight.

Fortunately, I was able to book myself on another one of your connecting flights from the other airport in DC. I had just enough time to catch a car over and get onboard. I arrived in the nick of time. Oh, wait. I mean, I thought I arrived just in the nick of time. You see, that flight got delayed five hours. Scheduled now to leave at 1:40AM.

Oh well. At least I'll get to Raleigh in time for my TV shoot the following day. Hey, guess what! After sitting in the airport for three hours, you cancelled that flight too.

I scrambled down the hall to see if you had any other options for me. You can imagine my utter elation when your virtually animatronic customer service representative informed me in the affirmative. After listening to her ridiculously long and ridiculously fake fingernails tap ferociously on the keyboard, she handed me a ticket. Somehow, this flight was leaving at 12:45AM.

Hey, now we're talking! Now I'm saving time. Woo hoo!

With my new boarding pass in hand, I settled down in the terminal and waited for the magic moment when I would actually get on a plane, take flight, land and then crawl into my hotel bed. While I waited, the entire airport cleared out. In fact, some workers showed up and started painting the halls.

12:45AM came and went. But, on the bright side, I learned a few dirty jokes from the painters. So hey, I have that going for me. Which is nice.

1:40AM. Your representative told me to take an escalator down, hang a left and walk directly out a door into the frigid night air to board my flight. What she didn't say, however, was that I wouldn't directly board my flight. Instead, I would walk out and get on a bus. She also failed to inform me that the bus would be turned off and completely frozen. And that it would have its doors wide open the entire time. After about 30 minutes of shivering the enamel off of my teeth, your bus took me out to a small airplane.

That plane ride was excellent actually. I couldn't be more complimentary. Up and down. Just like that.

Eventually, I walked into my hotel room. I collapsed onto my bed, too tired to even remove my clothing. What was supposed to be a simple five hour day of travel turned into....wait for it...wait for it..18 hours of sheer bliss and awesomeness. So thank you for those 18 hours, United. I shall forever cherish them.

PS: Thanks for making everything right by offering me a complimentary granola bar. No, seriously. How did you know cinnamon is my favorite? Loves!


Blogger Fritz said...

um, hilarious.

10:24 PM

Blogger kidding... right? said...

I'm crying laughing. Steve, you crack me up! I had a similar experience with Izzy when she was a baby. But I didn't get to my final destination, I got left in Texas at 1:00 a.m. with poop on me and on Izzy (blow out diaper) and no change of clothes. It was awesome!

4:21 AM

Blogger M and P said...

some people would do anything just to get an autographed basketball. Who would have thought that you would turn out to be a sports groupie.

7:37 AM

Anonymous jenn said...

ah, steve. only you could write a blog post that long that i would actually read AND love. so thanks. your misery = my entertainment.

9:47 AM

Blogger Anderson Family said...

That's horrible. I've had a couple of those precious experiences with Delta.

By the way, I've read "Adrift" too. Great book. If you like that one, I have several other harrowing sea tales that might interest you. I'm the kind of person that finds a genre I like, and then I spend the next year exhausting every book within that category.

Thanks for the laugh. (at your expense)

3:08 PM

Anonymous Alan said...

I can relate to your story...but not for reasons you may think. I too have a guilty pleasure of listening to top 40/hip hop/rap stations. Thanks for sharing your story.

7:49 AM

Blogger Hailey Happens said...

I was cracking up as I read about 3 paragraphs and then my attention span was gone. I bet the rest was funny though!

6:19 PM


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