Saturday, August 2, 2008

Home at Last, Home at Last

You will not believe this shit. Remember all the crap we had to live through for that airline experience from hell just getting to Palm Springs? The same thing happened to us on the way bock. Only this time there was no first class seats, no meal vouchers, no trams waiting at one end of the ticker counter to shuttle us to the next. In fact, we were treated with anger and rudeness by the very airline company who was screwing us over!

I don't get it! I lived up to my part of the contract. They were paid for the tickets in advance. I showed up WAY early to go through their security gauntlet... which by the way, they actually have a sign of the weapons of mass destruction you can not take on a plane. A sign with a picture of each deadly item that could place flight crew and passengers in deadly peril. These included, Guns, Knives, and Bottled Water. SO we pay them, we show up unreasonably early for state workers with all kinds of state tracking information on us, from where we were born, to where we work to where we are going for a conference put on by the Federal Government to get our Federal Funding for work in Local and State governments. Right down to state ID badges provided by OSU.

But evidently there is always the threat one of us might whip an Uzi out of our ass and decide to fly the plane into one of the desert's biggest landmarks... which by the way are barren mountains of rock and dirt. It's a freakin desert. Grass can't even survive there! So we show up two hours early because we don't know that airport nor how fast they process anybody. We wait and wait and then we hear there is a problem with the plane. Then they say we will fly with the problem, which turns out to be air conditioning for the back part of the cabin (where Y2Kette and I were sitting) so we board the plane and we wait and we wait. Did I mention the Death Valley in the Desert thing? You know, 120 degrees in full sun, on a concrete tarmac sitting inside a metal tube without any cooling system? And we wait.... Then the Captain tells us to get the hell off the plane because he's not flying this bitch without air conditioning.

We have missed our connecting flight by this point. A few people agree not to fly on this plane which somehow seems to meet the pilot's criteria for willingness to get in the air and we fly to Dallas. Once there we walk 10,000 from gate to gate and approach an American Airline's ticket counter at out designated gate. "Cris! Don't do it!" I hear screamed at me with the urgent shrillness you might hear if imminent danger could narrowly avoided.

I look around and there is a girl from the conference that is also headed to Tulsa. "They will bite your head off if you go up there! They wont even talk to you until your plane has arrived and they ask for tickets."

"But... We don't have tickets for this plane. We have tickets for a plane that left 2 hours ago! I need to know if I have a seat on this plane that is going to take off in about 45 minutes!"

"Uh Cris..." She said with a comforting hand on my shoulder and the sad look of somebody addressing that stereotypical hysterical person just before that crack up and need to be slapped. retrospect, maybe that hand on my shoulder was so she could hold me as she slapped me... "You need to look at the lower part of that marquee, Hon. You flight has been delayed another 2 hours."

So once again we were in travel for over 14 hours to make a 5 hour flight. We got home at 3:00 a.m. Y2Kette slept on the car ride home as I struggled to stay awake while I drove. During the long hours of wait as once again my contract with American Airlines was screwed over and I was treated as the person who was the problem, not them. I was amazed by the level of mismanagement this company has amassed. None of the problems we encountered were due to fuel, or storms. It was mismanagement and poor maintenance. While we showed up in plenty of time to fulfill our part of the contract EVERY time, American Airlines failed to meet their obligation every time. Our taxes build those airports, our taxes prop up those airlines year after year as they management becomes more and more inept. I think it is time we start letting our legislators we don't want our taxes to support incompetence. If it's OK to outsource jobs, why should we be afraid to outsource airlines?

I guess it brings up the question of which is worse, the guy who is from another country and MIGHT be a threat to national security, or the CEO who has already proven he will sell out his loyal American workers for increased profit?

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