Well, United, let me tell you.
My amazing, superfun and exciting travel experience started out with a most enjoyable wait in IAH at the gate where our party plane was supposed to meet my group. Only there was no plane! It was off playing hide and seek with the other airplanes. Those scamps! While the airplanes finished their hijinks and goings-on (I hear the control tower might have gotten TPed by some naughty 737) we sat in the overcrowded space awash in the BO of our fellow travelers, and wondered how in the living hell we were going to make our connection to State College.
Here, let me save you the suspense because someone reading this might have a heart condition: we didn’t. In fact, our airplane to State College took off in almost the same exact moment that our flight from IAH was landing. What a coincidence!
But come on, frowny-facers, what could be more fun than a night of bouncing around in scenic, beautiful Dulles Airport? Nothing, I’m sure! And United so kindly gave us vouchers to the cheapest available hotel, as well as enough meal vouchers for like four whole extra value meals from McDonald’s. Apiece!
Even better, the nice man at the gate volunteered to help us get our luggage back from the bowels of Dulles, so we could have toothbrushes and deodorant and therefore our stink hopefully would not fill the airplane we were being put on the next day with toxic gases. We could pick up our bags in a couple of hours and then there would be clean underwear for everyone!
Our clean underwear got to take a magical evening journey to State College on the next flight without us, even though there was no room on the plane for us. Maybe we should have just pretended to be luggage, right? Silly us.
Then the next morning, we got up bright and early and scrubbed the yuck off our tongues with toothbrushes thoughtfully provided by the hotel. (I guess the hotel didn’t want to get their clerk’s face melted off with morning breath.) We fought a gladitorial battle with super slo-mo explosions to get through security and then were at the gate in time to have airport breakfast! What could be better?
A flight that left on time, right?
No, so sad. Our flight was delayed by an hour. Then another hour. And another. (In fact, every time my coworker Joe got up and checked the monitor, the flight got delayed by another hour – you playful people at the gate, we’re on to you! – so Joe got stapled to his chair soon after we noticed that pattern.)
A cheerful man in a safety vest entertained us by standing outside the gate window and pulling the cover off the engine to our plane, then banged on the mechanical guts within using a dizzying array of tools. Thankfully, we were informed during hour three of the delay that United had found another plane for us, and we could all finally go to State College! Yay!
By found, I’m assuming that they meant literally found by the curb, as if it was an abandoned couch. You know, that perfectly good couch why is someone throwing it away get the pickup couch. In fact, just like that couch, it had broken seats (where people still had tickets that stated they had to sit there) and smelled a little weird. It felt like being an undergrad again! Such a invigorating experience.
Oh, and I could tell you such fun stories about the scavenger hunt for our luggage in the tiny airport at State College. Gosh, it was just the perfect way to end eighteen hours of travel hell.
In closing, I would like to meet your CEO in person so I can tell him what a superfun and exciting experience this was. By which I mean I’d love to meet Jeff Smisek and give him such a firm handshake that he won’t be able to escape when I proceed to knee him right in the sack. Twice. That merger with Continental sure has upped the company’s game, I can tell.
This is, by the way, why I’d rather jam finishing nails into my sinuses and then snort powdered lemons than fly United when I’m allowed to buy my own tickets.