How The West Coast Storm Screwed The Country – Part Three
9pm, flight now scheduled to leave at midnight. Things are not looking good for our heroine. But I have hope. Pure, shining hope. JetBlue SAID they had a fresh crew. So what if I don’t get home until 4:30 in the morning. The cat will be happy to see me after she figures out who I am again. I start talking with my fellow passengers, trying to keep our spirits up and full of hope. It’s all we have left.
We don’t have long to wait. Around 9:45pm the Supervisor announces the flight is cancelled. Was the pilot timed out? Nope, both pilots could fly. It was the stewardess. One couldn’t fly so the cabin crew of 3 was now 2. Hey, I’ll volunteer to pass our coffee and chips! Honestly, during a red eye all the attendants do is talk in the galleys. But the UNIONS say you have to have 3 or you don’t fly. You don’t know how badly I want to punch those Union Leaders in the junk right now.
I also want to punch the President of JetBlue in the junk. Why? Because if the company didn’t can so many employees, they would have extra crew! If they had more routes and planes, this mess could be diminished. I did the math and just the customers on our plane have already paid approx. $47,250 to the company. What do we get for that? Well, let’s see shall we as we descend into Hell.
We were told we could stand in line up here on the concourse (already 40 people deep at each of the three counters due to the other two cancelled flights) or go downstairs to the ticket counter. They would then “take care of us” and re-book us. Okay, what about our checked bags? We could pick them up at baggage claim. So off I slogged. I needed to get my checked bag because not only is it heavy, it also contains meat. Elk and prime rib – don’t judge me. It’s cold now but it wont stay that way for long. I head down to the deserted baggage claim. My bag is the second one out. A bitter Christmas miracle that is.
So pulling 52.5 pounds of suitcase and carrying 40 pounds of books and another 10 pounds of vintage porn, I head back upstairs to the ticket counter. The line is long. There are about 30 people in front of me and I estimate it will take me about 1 1/2 hours to make it to the counter based on how slow it’s going. The only thing that makes my heart slightly happy are the 50 people behind me.
Everyone in line pulls out their iphones, ipads, laptops and other devices and tried to get other flights. It was looking grim. I was hearing there are no flights into Oakland or SFO until January 5th at the earliest. Fine. I’ll take San Jose, Long Beach, San Diego, LAX, Sacramento, Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix. If I could just get to this side of the continent, I could then hop on a Southwest flight to Oakland. My dear friends from Monterey, LA and San Diego offered to pick me up at the airport or give me crash space or both. In that I feel blessed. We move a whole three feet every eight minutes or so. I was starting to lose my grip on hope.
Finally I am four people away from the counter when a fussy little man is walking the line, quietly informing people that the agents will only be booking flights after the 5th. Ummm, well what about other cities? Nope, no planes at all anywhere until the 5th or later. Ummmm, how do you know? He just knows. Okay then WHY have I been standing in this frackin line for over an hour. He says “I informed everyone earlier that was the case. I walked by and told people in line.”
“No dude, you didn’t tell me nor the people around me.”
“Yes I did, I made a loud announcement.”
“No you didn’t. I’m not deaf. I would have heard that.”
“I’m not lying.”
Yes, yes you are and you are a douche. But it would change nothing to say that. Do we get our money back? Sure! You can go on-line and do that. How about rebooking? You can call the 800 number. No, no I can’t. I tried that when I first got into line and you know what JetBlue does? They hang up on you! You get a recording saying they are experiencing high call volume, say they are trying the line again, it’s busy, thank you and good bye. click. I will bet a million dollars the President of JetBlue didn’t cut his salary or that of other execs to keep those flight crews. He doesn’t care that all these people are stuck. JetBlue has my Dad’s money and that’s the bottom line for 95% of American business nowadays. “Your business is important to us. Fuck you and have a nice day.” click.
At this point I was too tired to even fight with him. My parents were not picking me up so I need to find a cab at this late hour to take me back to Virginia. There was not much of a selection at this point since the airport was pretty much closed. I have to pay the national debt to get back to my parents house, all the while wondering if this guys is a serial killer who is going to chop my body up and leave me in the snow. He wasn’t but at that hour and traveling alone. You never know. My Dad is all frustrated with the state of American business, government and JetBlue right now. Canada is starting to look kinda good as a country to move to. Problem is, they just don’t let you in. They are pretty pissy about their borders as are most countries. Great.
I go downstairs and find out the earliest flight I can get is Southwest out of Dulles on New Years Day at eight in the morning. Fabulous, first the pricey cab ride, then I realize my car will cost $50 more to get out of car jail and rent is due. This sucks. I need a job something awful. At least I will have elk and beef to eat. I also took 2 cans of ice tea, 2 cans of OJ, a bottle of water, a bag of nasty animal crackers, a bag of Terra Blue potato chips and a bag of cashews from JetBlue. I figured they owed me.
So here I sit, back East, no snow, no wifi for my laptop – until New Years Day. New Years Eve? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!! whew. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! If my sister is feeling better, currently she is sick in bed, she will be going to a beautiful party with her husband at a grand, fancy hotel and spending the night there. I, on the other hand, will be babysitting her kids with my parents and trying to find a way to ferment Otter Pops because there is no bar in that house. If my sister is still sick, then I guess I go to bed at 9pm and try to forget the past few days.
On a similar note, my friends were stranded in London during the Great Ash Cloud of ’10. They spent their time pub hopping and finding new coffee bars in London. I’m not in London, I’m in a suburb of Annandale, Virginia. I have no car. There isn’t even a Starbucks in walking distance. I have no kittah. Just the grey squirrels who live in the trees and mock my misfortune. If my flight is on-time, I will be back at the house by 3pm on the 1st. Oh, did I mention we have one stop (no change of planes) in O’Hare? If they get New Years Eve snow and we can’t take off, I just might do something drastic.