Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take the long way home...

Please note the fine Helvetica. Designed to put you in a good mood.

Tuesday, December 2: CDG, ORD, MLI (look it up), DEN.
Sunday, December 7: DEN, DFW, IAD, CDG.
That was the good news.

I flew United. The flight to Chicago was fine. I was in Economy Plus, that extra six inches makes a big difference! Landed, cleared customs, got my bags, rechecked them and went to the gate with no problems and minimum waiting time. Rolled out and went to Moline... got off at Gate 15. Sat at Gate 15 for an hour or so, got on the next plane at Gate 15... my luggage didn't. Got to Denver, no bag. Made a claim, grabbed the shuttle bus and was dropped off at the wrong hotel (for some reason, Marriott has two Residence Inns in Denver??). Took a taxi to the right hotel. Having had previous experience of losing my luggage with United, I fortunately had packed some jammies and a toothbrush. Happy day. Went to bed...

Did the CMS Expo, see previous post.

Got up at 0430 MDT Sunday morning, made it to the airport by 6am, flew to Dallas, quick connection to Washington, DC for the 1720 EDT departure. Had enough time to grab an Obama t-shirt for my son, boarded the flight to Paris... pushed back and waited. They couldn't get the left engine started, "it'll be a few minutes"... Three hours later (still on the tarmac) they pulled us back to the gate, released us to the terminal and said check back in an hour. After an hour they rolled out the meal carts. (That is NEVER a good sign!) After another two hours they announced that the flight was canceled. Mad rush to the customer service area...

Two hours later and I had a voucher for the Hyatt, $15 for a meal and a reroute to Paris via Frankfurt. Luckily for me, I have a guardian angel who was kind enough to have me upgraded to Business. Thank you!!

Here's the fun part. As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade... While waiting in the gate area, I managed to find a spot next to a guy who was recharging his iPod, the other socket was still open, so I asked him if he could plug me in... we started chatting and I asked him what he does. He said he works in Communications for! I almost fell over! I went to the CMS Expo hoping to speak to someone from iContact. They had a lot of people saying good things about them, but no rep! (Hint for the Chicago Expo!) Taylor, thank you for your advice, I hope you made it to YOUR conference!

While standing on the customer service line, I was chatting with Jacques, a nice French tour guide who helped make the time go by. We traded stories and buddied up to get to the hotel. First we had to claim our bags. His bags never made it on the plane from NY! Jacques, if you are reading this, get in touch!

Next day, I was checking out of the hotel and ran into Stephen who was carrying a huge bag with a bunch of Christmas goodies and his "Oscar" award. We shared the van ride to the airport and did the United check-in process. Upon boarding, and due to the above mentioned guardian angel, I was lucky enough to get upgraded and had to leave Stephen in order to nestle into my comfy chair. My seatmate arrived. Tony. A fireman. A man among men. He was reading "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". In public! He was on his way to visit his sons in Frankfurt (also firemen). He was 6 feet 4 inches of kind, considerate gorgeousness, he made my flight.

We finally landed in Frankfurt, and I met up with Stephen again. We ran through customs and headed over to gate C (if you know Frankfurt airport, you know how long it is between terminals). I had a 1:40 connection, he had the next flight out at 5:30. Stephen, when I get back from NY we will have that café!

So, what's the bottom line from all this? Shit happens. Keep your sense of humor and things will work out. Smile, and the world smiles with you...

...and don't forget to pack clean underwear!

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