…but not for me.
Friday was horrible. I missed my flight home from Las Vegas. It was the first time in 12 years at this job that something like that has happened. The thing is, I wish I had a really great story to back up why I missed the plane. You know…something like I was out partying all night winning huge amounts of cash at the black jack table…something like that. But no, we packed up the show and I went up to my room and made the mistake of laying down on the bed. next thing I knew it was 9am and there was no way I was going to make my 9:30am flight. I hadn't packed or anything!
So I got myself packed, checked out and headed to the airport. The helpful girl at the counter was able to get me on a 12:45pm flight through Houston that would get me back to Dulles at 11pm. So, onto that flight I went. I made my connection in Houston, and from there things just went to hell. Apparently United Airlines had a computer outage due to a bad storm in DC and everything was offline. We landed at 11:30pm and our flight didn't get to a gate until 1am. Things were pandemonium at the airport. Planes were just hanging out on the tarmac waiting for other planes to leave gates so that they could pull up to them.
Once we finally docked, the sheer magnitude of the computer breakdown became immediately apparent. There were hundreds of people waiting at gates for flights that had been canceled. Some of them were making a night of it, sleeping across benches covered in blankets provided by the airline. I made it down to baggage claim and there were even more people there waiting for luggage that was still sitting in the bellies of flights that had been canceled. Chances are, had I made my original flight, I would have been diverted to another airport and be stuck somewhere else as I write this. I would have been in the air when the computer outage occurred and a lot of flights didn't even make it to DC. So perhaps it was Kismet.
One of my bags didn't make the trip…thankfully not the one that had the important show related stuff in it. I went into the claims room to document it and there were a lot of angry people in there looking for bags from canceled flights. I felt bad for the attendants, it wasn't there fault, yet they were taking the brunt of some very angry people. I'm sure they aren't paid enough to take that kind of crap. Had it not been 1:30am at this point and had I wanted to take on an angry mob, I probably would have said something and wish now that I had…but oh well. When I finally got up to the counter I said, "Ok, this isn't about a canceled flight." The girl at the counter sighed a sigh of relief akin to being told your cancer diagnosis was an unfortunate mistake. Since their computer systems were down all she could do was offer me a number to call on Monday morning. I thanked her profusely, something I fear hadn't happened to her all evening and proceeded on my way.
I got home to my house around 3am and while I was in a vile mood that only 3 cocktails could have helped, I still took solace in the fact that there were a heck of a lot of people at that airport who were living a far worse day than I had. I wasn't taking joy in their misfortune. I was simply relieved that I wasn't sharing in it.
I will never miss a flight again! Or perhaps, if Kismet dictates, I will.