Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Why I don't like Salt Lake City, UT... Sunday

June 22, is now official "I hate airports" day. We got up early to make our 6am flight from Spokane to Salt Lake City with no problem. Wes and I didn't get to sit together, but that's okay. At least we were on the plane. Our flight from Salt Lake to Atlanta left at 9:30......without us. We were too far down on the standby list to make it. We soon found ourselves repeating this same scenario THREE more times, at 11:30am, 4:40pm and again at 12:30am. We missed a total of four flights. We spent 24 hours in the airport! We also found ourselves sitting and watching the standby lists with the same people each time. We were all in the same boat. We ended up giving them nicknames. There was "computer girl." After the second missed flight, she was sitting next to another guy (who we named "retired guy.") who had a log-in to the Delta site and he let her and everyone else look for other flight options. This became a regular thing throughout the day. There was also "Italy couple" who lived in Salt Lake and were trying to go to Rome. (They missed the flight we got on at 6am, their fifth missed. I don't know if they ever made it out.) There was "beard guy." Don't know much about him. Then there was "green shirt lady" who was going to Myrtle Beach for a family reunion. She said that she would be interested in renting a car together and driving if we got stranded in Atlanta. There was also "MSU guy." He was originally from Kosciusko and was wearing a State shirt the first day. I don't know where exactly he was going. Then there was "last on the list lady." She was litterally on the bottom of the list each time and had no chance to going anywhere. She started out in California which is where she was told that she had a better chance of getting to Atlanta if she went through Salt Lake. She's cussing the guy who told her that. And then there was "robe guy." He was wearing a long robe and a beanie hat. He was a bit anxious and kept bugging the gate agents. He ended up trying to go to San Diego, but didn't make it there. I don't know what happened to him.

Anyway, after the 4:40 flight left without us, we all sat there and watched the plane leave and then surfed the web trying to find other options. Everyone went to their seperate corners and tried to get some food and sleep. Wes and I laid down on the floor of a breezeway and napped for a few hours. We got up just in time to get some dinner around 9pm (right before the stores were closing). We all met again to watch the 12:30am (Monday) flight leave....again, without us. "Retired guy" made it on that plane. He got the very last seat. The next flight wasn't until 6am the next morning. So again, we went our seperate ways. I stretched out on three terminal chairs that didn't have armrests, as did everyone else. Wes wasn't tired, so he wandered the airport with the camera, taking pictures showing how empty and abandoned it was. He's kicking himself for not taking one of me sleeping.

I slept for about 2 1/2 hours. Woke up with a backache. At 4:30am, I found Wes a few rows away, passed out in the chairs. I gave him my neck pillow and then I sat and read while he slept a little while longer. The "stranded standby crew" met up again and we anxiously waited with little hope of making it out. They gate agent said that there were "80 standby passengers on the list." Our hearts dropped. (We later realized he was exaggerating!) At each flight, the gate agent became aggravated because people kept asking about the list and if they had a chance(especially robe guy). The gate agent repeatedly announced: "Please stop coming up and asking about the standby list...." Anyway, the list said there were 25 unassigned seats and we were number 24 and 25!!! It was a relief to know that we actually had a chance! We ended up making it along with computer girl, MSU guy, green shirt lady, and beard guy. Italy couple didn't make it, unfortunately. There were four more flights to Atlanta that morning. Don't know what happened to last on the list lady. We finally made it to Atlanta after 24 hours in the airport! It was an experience. We made it to Atlanta just in time to catch the noon flight to Charleston. There were only a few on the standby list there. That was a gift from God! We knew those flights were usually full and we were hoping to not have to spend more time in another airport. Wes & I talked about separating if we had a chance. If there was only one seat left, I would go and he would re-list himself (he has a higher priority alone that with me). I would make it to Charleston first and pick him up when he got there. But we didn't have to do that.

Overall, we had a great time. Just rough and aggravating trying to get home. My main (and somewhat selfish) concern was that I did NOT want to be in an airport on my birthday. Luckily, it all worked out okay.

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