Thursday, June 26, 2008

A List of Everything That Went Wrong on My Trip Back from New York Yesterday

1. United. I'd requested upgrades using those stupid (but free) 500-mile certificates on both legs of the trip. Those dumb things expire after a year or so, but 99% of the time they don't give you the upgrade if you request one, since any other upgrade request takes priority. I had 6, enough for either SFO-JFK or JFK-SFO. So I requested both, just in case the first didn't go through. Happily, the upgrade went through for the flight out (a helpful text message was sent to me at 4:00am to announce this). So yesterday, I'm in Manhattan, and I go to check in online for the return flight. The web site sticks me in an endless loop: it shows I requested an upgrade, and asks me to confirm how I want to pay for it, giving me only the option of spending 6 500-mile certificates, which I don't have any more. I was not allowed to cancel the upgrade, only to purchase 6 more certificates for $200, and if I didn't do that, it would send me back to the first screen. When I called United, the Indian dude said I had to check in at the airport, and then asked, "Why did you request an upgrade if you don't have any certificates?"

2. Subway: Endless wait for an E train due to some sort of delays (the station announcements being even more incomprehensible than that old SNL sketch).

3. Subway: Horrifically crowded E train once it came.

4. Subway: Conductor announces "There's a totally empty E train one minute behind us" so I get off to take that one; when it comes, it's just as crowded.

5. Subway: 20 minutes down the line, the conductor makes a barely comprehensible announcement; I deduce that he means that this train is actually going to follow the F line and not the E line to the JFK AirTrain stop, so I have to get off again and wait for another E.

6. Subway: 15-minute wait for another E train

7. Airtrain: Before going through the AirTrain gate, I check my MetroCard: $6, enough to cover the $5 fee. I run it through the gate and it says "swipe again." I run it through again and it says "insufficient fare." I go back and check how much it has: $1. AirTrain ate my money.

8. Airtrain: Endless wait

9. Airtrain: Arriving at the airport, I think I'll be smart by jumping off the train and taking one in the other direction since my terminal is #7 on the list of stops out of 8 terminals, and the inner airtrain line just circles around in the other direction. (See right: going from 1 to 7 on the black line once you arrive is faster than going all the way around on the blue line). I get off at Terminal 1 just as another train is pulling away, and then wait for 12 minutes, more than enough time for the original train to have made it to Terminal 7.

10. United Check-In: Middle seat in back. Attempt to transfer upgrade request to 15000-mile regular fee results in waitlisting.

11. JFK: Attempt to walk through duty free store to get to food court (saving 5 minutes in walking) denied by meanest woman in New York who demands to know my destination. I say "The food court?" "No, sir," she says, angrily, sounding like Fran Drescher on steroids, "where are you flying to." "Canada?" I say, and she demands to see my international ticket before I even set foot in the store. I take the long way to get my $18 sandwich and soda.

12. United: Gate agents start announcing upgrades after they start boarding, meaning you can either wait in the boarding area and lose out on overhead bins, or give up your possible upgrade. I board.

13. United:
Flight sits on tarmac for 30 minutes.

14. Dell: Laptop battery dies just at climactic scene of movie I'm watching.

15. United: Flight arrives 20 minutes late.

16. SFO: It's 11:35, but I know I can make it to the BART station for the last train (at around midnight) since I know the secret passageway by gate 70 to the international terminal. I run all the way only to discover this passageway is, for some reason, locked. This requires me to backtrack all the way around tot he main security entrance, then go the long way to the International terminal and BART station.

17. Life: I arrive at BART station to watch last train to SF pull out of terminal.

18. Taxi: No taxis at International terminal. Taxi attendant guy seems stoned. Wait 15 minutes.

19. Taxi: Taxi arrives, driver seems stoned. Bugs me with lots of questions about my flight. As we speed up 101, suddenly I see flashing lights behind us: that's right, my taxi gets pulled over for speeding.

20. Taxi: The kindly officer comes up to ask for registration and proof of insurance, and lo and behold, it turns out our driver does not have proof of insurance. He spends a really long time making a show of looking for it, then makes a lot of excuses about how it's not his car and it's not his fault. When the cop comes back with the ticket, there's another endless back-and-forth where the driver says the address is wrong on his license, and then gives another wrong one to the officer, then corrects himself again. The officer finally exhorts him to "stop wasting this young man's time." Tell that to the whole fucking world.

3 comments:

Kristi said...

argh, ugh, ack.
sorry to hear - glad you made it back.

ps. gang of four - it was gang of four! the band name I have been trying to remember all weekend. Popped in my head this morning. gang_of_four. I wlll remember next time. that is all
- K.

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