Ladies, have you ever been on a trip and it seemed like just about everything had gone wrong? We are strong women, but occasionally our patience is really tested. Perhaps you can commiserate with me, as I share the tale of my most recent travel trouble.
I recently returned from my yearly sojourn to Arizona. It was a great trip filled with beautiful western skies, cacti galore, breath-taking sunsets, and some rather handsome cowboys (I’ll provide more on that subject in a bit). However, parts of the trip were less than stellar, and that’s putting it nicely.
The misadventure started earlier in the week when my ride to the airport was injured and could not drive me to the airport. I felt bad for my friend, but I also began to dread the idea of parking at the airport. So, I secured long-term spot at the airport and was on my way.
As I arrived at the lot, I met a lady trying with all her might to check out of the parking area (which I was entering) to no avail. She looked totally stressed and flustered. I know that look very well. Always looking out for my fellow feisty women, I rolled down my car window and asked if she needed any help. She told me that she had been waiting more than fifteen minutes for someone to rescue her from the payment machine. When she tried to remove her credit card, she was charged twice and her card got stuck in the machine. (Credit cards are to be used and not abused, all feisty women know that.) I sat with her for a few minutes and we got to know each other, and she had quite the story that I’m sure will appear in one of my future books (with her blessing of course). She really did not need this extra hassle because there was already enough hassle in her life. Finally, someone arrived on the scene and she thanked me, first, before even getting her bill secured, for sitting with her. We feisty ladies always stick together and always prevail.
Surprisingly, TSA check-in was not a problem! However, I should’ve taken that as a sign that trouble was to come. Since I purchased a discounted rate ticket (that was a discount, really?), I had to wait to get a seat assignment/boarding pass. “Come back thirty minutes before the flight is set to take off and I will give you your seat assignment,” I was told. I had received an assigned seat for my second leg of my trip, but not the first. Go figure. Time passed and I revisited the impatient airline person at the counter who reminded me, rather loudly, that thirty minutes was the time to get my seat assignment (it already was thirty minutes before take off. I can tell time.) Two other passengers behind were given the same treatment. Not one to give up, I bided my time, and I returned to the counter when a different airline person showed up, as did the other two passengers who were in on my first encounter. (We went as a group and all spoke, politely, making the same request.) She asked my name and my seat assignment/boarding pass was on the top of the pile sitting right in front of her. The other two gals got their seat assignments/boarding passes right after I did. We were all set, or so we thought. We were boarding the plane. We then proceeded to sit on the runway for nearly an hour. No explanation was given. Barely making it to my connecting flight, I literally ran through the airport like a Senior Olympic track star, panting and sweating all the way. I was the second last person to board the plane.
I arrived at my final destination in Arizona with other woes to follow. Suffice it to say, I will never stay at the hotel again, who prides itself on being the best…… I accidentally called the wrong hotel in the chain and was met with a rude, cranky, witchy desk lady. (She must have failed the customer manners art of her training). I reported her and the hotel that same night. I cancelled and re-booked another hotel at 10:30PM that night. I finally got to sleep at 2AM EST, on which time schedule that my body was still functioning.
The vacation activities were great. The skies, clouds, cactus, food and all of the sites I saw were fantastic. I even managed to remain calm at the border patrol check-in points. Scary. Even better were the awesome looking cowboys. They smiled, strutted their stuff, and were eye candy to all the feisty ladies around them. I relaxed and rested and throughly enjoyed my vacation, but in hindsight it seemed like I was just resting up solely for the journey back home.
I ran into trouble with my return flight. It was scheduled to leave at 1AM but left earlier. (I was never notified of the change!) So, I needed a new ticket. Now this is when my hassles resumed. I was issued a seat assignment/ boarding pass for the first leg of my trip but not the second. I discovered this while sitting, at midnight, waiting for my flight. I entered the slow, long line for customer assistance (When is it really “assistance” anyway?) where I was told that now I was on “stand by.” (I had a ticket, but was now on stand-by?) I was told to wait in line at my second destination for a seat assignment/boarding pass. No amount of pleading got me anywhere. Funny enough, I slept very well on the flight, something I could not really believe I did given the nature of my recent “assistance”.
I did my best to get a seat assignment/boarding pass and after four visits to the counter, I finally received the necessary documents (guess that they were tired of seeing my face). After four flight delays, totaling two and a half hours, we were in the air. I again immediately fell asleep and awoke as we were landing. I was so happy to be home that I could have kissed the ground. Or so I thought. More problems were coming. My suitcase was missing and got delayed and would be arriving (hopefully) on the next flight. I had to wait two more hours for that flight to arrive. The next to the last bag on the carousel was…mine. Yippee.
One final snag was to come. I called the shuttle to the parking lot and was told by the driver that I had the wrong ticket. The tickets had changed on Wednesday when I was away. The driver called the lot attendant and in minutes he was on the scene to help me. (Wow. Finally some great customer service.) I drove home and again slept well. I was back on my home turf. Thank goodness.
What did I learn? The vacation is always great, but getting there is not always easy. It’s okay to get frustrated and impatient from time to time (it’s impossible to avoid, especially with our current political landscape) but it’s how we handle that frustration that makes us stronger and smarter women. It gives us perspective on what really matters.
I long for the day when we have the technology is available to “beam me up, Scotty” …taking me to wherever I want to go, just as long as I don’t have to download any more apps or purchase yet another iPhone for it. It would be so much easier for all of us. I also think that I might travel my train next summer. It is a thought. Or better yet maybe I will drive.