Well…There is nothing exactly like an extended vacation.
Last night, i could not sleep after half-packing for our departure from Signal Mountain scheduled for 4:00 a.m. i finally half-dozed on the den couch.
About 1:00 a.m., i heard Sarah calling for me from upstairs. i responded thinking she wanted me to help her pack and figure out the weight of her check-in after adding her Christmas presents. “Dad,” she said with more than some concern, “they cancelled my flight. Did they cancel yours?”
“I don’t know, Sarah,” i replied, “If we were notified, it would be a voice mail on Mom’s phone or in her email.”
i was just a bit concerned because American Airlines, in all its majestic glory of money grubbing at the expense of their flyers, had already demonstrated gross inability of effectiveness. On the flights here, they had sent Maureen an automated voice mail, telling her our flight from Dallas to Chattanooga had been cancelled, followed with human voice mail directing her to ignore the cancellation notice. When we finally got to the gate from AA to AA Eagle, we had to be re-routed because the bogus cancellation. This resulted in our adjacent seats being ticketed as the same seat. They never notified Sarah and her ticket needed to be reissued again. They gave her a double seating assignment as well. Fortunately, we all made the flight.
Maureen was asleep. Knowing she cannot sleep on the plane, i opted not to waken her to get to her phone or email. i began checking with Sarah. The flight was cancelled. There was no notification for us, only Sarah. There were no American flights out of Chattanooga to our destinations of Austin and San Diego today. There were very limited flights for those destinations on other airlines, and it would cost us as little as $800 per ticket or as much as $1200 per ticket. i called American. i was informed by the recorded voice my wait time in the queue would be seven hours. i asked them to call me back. i called the Chattanooga Airport, hoping to get to the American desk there: No such luck. It is impossible to talk to a human when you need to immediately talk to a human at AA (and most of the other airlines as well).
i finally talked Sarah into trying to sleep. i actually went to sleep on the couch for almost an hour, waking to my alarm set for when i knew Maureen and Martha would be up.
Once awake, i told the two of them what had occurred and suggested i go to the airport to talk to a human. They agreed. Since it was 4:00 in the morning, the traffic was not bad and i got to the airport in about 20 minutes. the American line was not too bad. But they were taking passengers to Charlotte first. it was about 20 minutes before they began processing the DFW-bound passengers. i was fourth in line and it took another 20 minutes to get to the desk. They had re-routed us on day later flights, all going to Charlotte for connections.
i gave up when the lady told me there were no other available flights before Tuesday.
When i arrived back on Signal Mountain, i told my wide-awake sister about what had happened and wrote down the new schedule on a sheet of paper for Maureen, who was fast asleep. i laid down beside her and had just gotten to sleep when my phone rang. It was American calling me back.
i decided i needed to review the options and went downstairs to talk to the agent. Amazingly, they had called to say i could now talk to an agent but they put me in the queue for another ten minutes. Finally, i talked to another human.
Sarah’s flights had no other options. i got Maureen on an earlier flight than our original re-route, but i had to stay on the original.
So tomorrow, i will take Maureen and Sarah to the airport for a 5:20 a.m. flight to Charlotte, 534 miles EAST of here. From there, they will take flights WEST to Austin and San Diego, both arriving at their final destination in mid-morning, close to what was planned for today. Then, i will go back up the mountain, wait, and catch my flight leaving for Charleston at 5:45 p.m. for my connection to San Diego which will arrive at 10:13 p.m., barring any other AA glitches. It will likely be midnight on the left coast before i get home.
It will be a fairly long day for me.
But, we get a day with nothing scheduled on the mountain. i plan to take a walk around the Carriage Hill area of Signal Mountain. We may have a leisurely lunch somewhere. It will be nice to have another day with Martha and Todd and hopefully, we will get to see Tommy and Abby again – who am i kidding: i’m hoping to see three-year old Allie and the twin boys again.
So it ain’t all bad. I look at it as an extended vacation.
But it will be a cold day in hell before i fly American again.