A couple of days ago, I was scheduled to fly out of Hartford's airport at 6:35pm, spend an hourish layover in Atlanta, and then depart at 9:55pm in order to continue my travels to Los Angeles, where I would bask in the rays of assumed superiority emitted by tanned and toned celebs and plastic surgeons (they are the majority demographics of LA, right?).
But that didn't go according to plan, so here begins my rant against Delta Airlines and the story of how I lost my shit in the Atlanta International Airport.
Tuesday: 5:00pm - Drop off my luggage to discover my flight to Atlanta has been delayed 30 minutes. That's cool. I'll still have more than 20 minutes to make my connection. Good thing my flight to LA is located in the same terminal as we're slated to fly into.
A lot of flights have been delayed today, mostly because of weather, but the luggage lady tells me mine has been fudged due to "mechanical problems." I understand that planes break sometimes, and as long as mine is fixed before I'm on it, I have no problems.
6:40pm - We should be boarding right about now so that we can make our new 7:06pm departure time, but the front desk seems to have no intention of opening the doors or taking tickets. I feel that this is the beginning of something grand and terrible.
7:00pm - Why am I not on this plane yet? Why aren't any of us on this plane yet? You at the desk, sir, don't tell me this is weather related...the plane has been sitting out there for 45 minutes.
7:20pm - WHAT IS THE DEAL. STOP TELLING US TO CALM DOWN, WE ALL HAVE CONNECTIONS TO MAKE. NOBODY IS ACTUALLY STOPPING IN ATLANTA, COME ON. THINGS TO DO, PEOPLE TO SEE, ETC.
7:25pm - Gate A12 is dangerously close to mutiny.
7:35pm - Finally seated on the plane. Ask a stewardess if the problem was indeed mechanical. She scoffs at me and is all "No way! That's ridiculous! Who told you that?!?"
Don't chide me, ma'am. I know you're lying because the craft I purchased a ticket for was supposed to have two rows of three seats each, but we actually have a row of three and a row of two. This is not the airplane we were supposed to be on. Probs related to, I don't know, mechanical issues?
9:40pm - Taxi-ing around in Atlanta. Various patrons lose their minds as they count down the minutes to their connections' departures.
Stewardess: "Could you please raise your hand if you have a connection to make within the next 30 minutes"
MORE THAN 50% OF OUR PLANE RAISES THEIR HANDS.
Stewardess: "Okay, let's let these customers off first, please. Thank you for flying with Delta!"
The deplaning procedure looks like something out of a Black Friday disaster video.
9:52pm - I have all of three minutes until take off and I've discovered that my plane to LA has moved to a different terminal, because Delta clearly feeds off of the destruction of my sanity. I sprint madly from terminal B to A while carrying an enormous backpack and carry-on bag. I have no awards (mother) from Army, but I'm pretty sure I'm crushing a ruck march right now. Delta customers everywhere do something that might be jogging while airport security shouts "no running, y'all, please!"
10:01pm - My flight to LAX is in the mother-flippin' air, without the ~10 of us who just missed it because Delta couldn't be bothered to hold our plane for SIX MINUTES.
I'm told I have to go all the way back to the opposite end of the terminal to change my flight because screw convenience. I curse under by breath.
10:10pm - Discover I can't get out of Atlanta until 8:30 the next morning and I'll have to stay the night in a Best Western. Learning that everyone going to LA, Miami, Austin, and Tennessee from my flight have also been waylaid just makes things worse, because the more I hate Delta, the more my brains start to spin around all hysterical-like.
This is it. It might not sound that bad (free night in a hotel, sweet!), but I assure you, everything is wrong. The first tears fall and I can't stop them. I am sweaty and sore from sprinting with 25+ pounds of extra weight (which is sort of a lot for a 4'10" lady), I am alone in Georgia for the night, I have no idea what is happening to my luggage, and this airport is freaking enormous.*
As I make my way outside, I snuffle and blubber on an escalator, down a moving sidewalk, on a terminal shuttle, and through the parking lot, while a nice lady security officer calls me "sweetie" and walks me all the way to the hotel shuttles so I won't get lost.
I'm sure I look like a lost and distressed 13 year old at this point, albeit with a grossly sweaty back, but in reality, I am a 21 year old who has lost all ability to contain herself. Several strangers ask me if I'm okay, if I've gotten a new flight, if I've got somewhere to go, etc. It is embarrassing and I can't stop crying because my entire existence is a black hole of feelings.
The loss of my marbles did get me onto the first shuttle to Best Western, though, because everyone feels bad for a hysterical pre-teen looking girl. Eventually, I rounded up the scraps of my sanity, got through the night, and made it to the west coast. All is right with the world again, but I did learn some very valuable lessons, which are listed here for your knowledge-benefit:
1. Delta Airlines is a terrible airline. Half of our plane missed connections, and no one missed theirs by more than 10 minutes. Best Western was overwhelmingly filled with waylaid Delta customers (not just from my plane) that night.
2. People in Atlanta are very nice. Like, what-the-hell-people-aren't-like-this-in-New-England-nice.
3. It's called "Hotlanta" because the city feels like a sauna at both 11pm and 5am. How this hellish soup of a climate breeds such polite people completely baffles me.
4. Best Western's complimentary shampoo and conditioner is Pantene brand. Quality!
5. I am not as emotionally hardy as I thought I was.
*(and I may or may not be PMSing)