Thursday, December 21, 2006

Things to not do in Denver when you're delayed...

I'm writing this evening as just another hapless holiday traveler caught in the gigantic winter web that started in the Mile High city.

Although, thankfully I am in my warm, well-stocked, and cozy abode as opposed to a cold and inevitably boring airport. To be honest, I'm not even sure if my flight was cancelled due to weather or on some cosmic coincidental whim.

This fun 2007 holiday travel season started for me about 2 hours ago when a representative from Air Tran called to inform me my 7:00am flight was cancelled....yes 10.5 hours before the flight! I missed that call as I was at the library getting books for my non-existent flight. Upon returning home, I called them immediately as requested only to get put on hold due to "High Call Traffic Due to Uncontrollable Circumstances"- guess that's the PC way of saying "Have you been under a rock? DIA is closed and is holding our planes hostage!"

Anywho, after sitting on hold for 45 minutes of really atrocious acid jazz, I was informed that they were no longer going to take any calls this evening and to try back at a later time or check out their o' so lovely and precious website (which you can't do anything useful on). Panicky calls were then placed to cancel my Airport Shuttle (sorry!) and to the family to inform them of my impending lack of arrival.

After lighting the pilot light on "Furious Jen", (last seen kicking the Comcast cable guy's derriere), having a brewskie and waiting an hour, I tried calling oncemore. AMAZINGLY, they had decided perhaps it was slightly amiss to shut down their switchboard amidst a colossal winter waylaying and that serving frustrated customers might at least make them consider their airline in the future, thus keeping the bill collectors and Chapter 11s off in an alternate reality.

But I digress...Apparently I had been rebooked without my consent on the 9:30pm last flight out tomorrow evening...a full 14 hours after my original flight! The customer "service" representative considered this matter closed, I was on a flight and should feel damn lucky about that and who did I think I was anyways??? After much cajoling and heated discussion about my true and deeply passionate love for their airline over the years I was magically given 3 additional choices:

1. Fly standby on a 9am flight (which I was told was a 10-20% chance for success)

2. Rent a car (at my expense) and drive to Moline, IL to catch one of their puddlejumpers (FYI: Moline is 2 hours, 53 minutes and 174.51 miles from Chicago)

3. Fly confirmed on a 6:18pm flight

I then informed her of my sheer devotion to Air Tran and that this was a horrid betrayal on their part, so much so, that I would have to think about booking Northwest for my Minnesota flights and United for my Boston flights necessary as part of my jet-setting lifestyle.

We then got to the part in her script where it must say something like "If the customer refuses to accept your offer and is perhaps even a bit mentally unstable, for heaven sakes bump them to 1st class gratis and hope they aren't a stalker!"

So, that's the story. A free day off in Chi-Town with no work and a 1st class trip to the Land of 10,000 Frozen Lakes. In the end, I guess it's not so bad to be the Jenster!


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