The Thanksgiving Travel Rush

3 12 2008

On my trip back from Minneapolis after Thanksgiving I ended up getting stranded in the Atlanta airport due to a horrific mix of weather delays and mechanical/human error.  What should have been a long day turned out to be a In Minneapolis, we had been told that it would be tight to get to our connections, but that mostly likely we would make them.  I made sure that I was put on stand by for the two remaining flights that evening out of Atlanta before we were even in the air.

We landed in time to make my connection except that no one came to pull our plane up to the gate and on top of that they had problems getting the door opened.  All in all, leaving us on the plane for almost 45 minutes, by the time I got off the plane and to my gate the plane had left 10 minutes before.

At this point I became just another one of the frightened, huddled masses in airports across the country.  All doing everything they can to get home from the holidays and all being utterly confused by the process and what it takes to achieve success.

I learned a few things from this experience

1. It does very little to get angry and make a lot of noise.  Ultimately, the staff on hand were in as bad a mood as everyone that was stuck, if not worse.  Granted, me being nice (when I could) didn’t get me any further than the times I was really angry but still.

1a. Get angry and vocal afterwards. The next day I made my disgust known with the way I was treated and how the night went overall and I was actually given a $100 voucher for my next flight.  Even though I wasn’t making any different arguments, the staff I talked to were just much more willing to listen and attempt to help out.

2. If you are going to sleep in the airport get as far away from the speakers as possible.  It never occurred to us that being far away from the tv didn’t necessarily mean that we were far away from the speakers.  As a result, it will be too soon if I have to listen to CNN International ever again.

3. After it is clear that you are going to be spending the night in the airport do not expect the airline to give you a blanket.  Even when they give you a little bag that looks as though it has a blanket in it.  Even when you ask them for a blanket and they hand you this little packet.  It is not a blanket!  It is an XL t-shirt, some shaving cream (despite the fact that you clearly do not have a razor with you), a solid brick of laundry detergent, a little deodorant and some toothpaste.  I would have much preferred a blanket.

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