Monday, August 27, 2012


I share the following story to share the humour part, not the complainy part because, when you think about it, it really is funny. Believe me, I know full well that these are First World Problems. That said...

I’ve traveled a lot in the past few years. It was mainly for film festivals, but I always had an ulteriour motive: find a new place to live. Some place where everyone isn’t so bloody angry all the time, that won’t bog me down with phonies and “filmmakers” and fish who think they’re bigger than they are and take their egos out on everyone else. Also, con men seem particularly prevalent in Sarasota. Either that or my cute dimples, boobs, and bubbly enthusiasm for filmmaking and films in general make them think I’m an easy target. 

I usually head out to Washington in September and had made plans to do so a little early so I could attend PAX Prime, a gaming convention in Seattle, and stay a little later so I could look at potential places to live around Portland. I made these plans a month or so ago. But because I have other plans after Washington state, my route is circumlocutious so I had to get one way tickets all the way through (which turned out to be a stroke of luck). 

Last week, Hurricane Isaac formed and the track took it across Tampa (Sarasota is an hour south) so I had to make a decision: try to arrange to go early or wait it out and see if the track changes.

You have to take between two and three planes when you’re flying within the contiguous United States and flying out of Sarasota. Their landing fees are so high that they’ve lost a lot of airlines and, at most, ten flights leave from there a day. So, considering all of this, I decided to call Expedia and see what my options were.

After an hour of “traveling music” (‘Hotel California’ ‘Driving in a Fast Car’, etc), I finally get someone on the phone and they told me that according to Delta’s policy, they could cancel my ticket and give me airline credit (my one way ticket was $180 with fees and all that.) Then, the next time I book a one way ticket, I could put that $180 toward the flight, pay the remainder and then pay $150 on top of that for “ticket reissue.” That’s probably not bad for a normal round trip ticket on Delta, but on a “cheap” one-way? 

My second option, the ticket change, would be to put that $180 toward a new one-way ticket. Sounds reasonable, until he told me that the new ticket would be $700.

It wasn’t the agent’s fault, he worked for Expedia not Delta, so I didn’t tell him to blow me.

I called Delta and got the exact same answers, but the new ticket was $800. I didn’t tell them to blow me, either. The person on the phone doesn't deserve my ire. I did come close, though.

At that point, I’d decided to wait it out and see what was going to happen, but my mom...she’s a worrier. And she suggested that I go ahead and get the ticket because if I didn’t, I most likely wouldn’t be able to go. And all of the weather models suggested the same thing. So I bought a ticket out via US Airways for Sunday.

The plane from Sarasota was running a little late. It was starting to rain and the wind had picked up a little bit and I was thinking, “Y’know, this was a good idea.” We got to DC a little early, but then the plane I was to take next, to Philadelphia, was late. And then, once they finally landed and we could board, they kept us sitting on the tarmac for an hour or so until a teeny-tiny storm system could pass by, which of course meant that we all missed our connections and were stuck in Philadelphia when we eventually arrived.

US Airways fixed us up with new tickets, but didn’t give us hotel rooms. They gave us a little pink slip that we could call to get cheap hotel rooms and free shuttle service. I guess I’m a snob because I didn’t want to stay in a crackshack so I went to the hotel that’s attached to the airport and stayed there instead.

My flight route now runs like this: I leave Philly for Charlotte at 5:00 pm and then I leave for Portland at 8:05.

The best part? I called my mom this morning and all’s well. There are a lot of hurricane parties going on today. New Orleans is now in the path of the storm...yet again. New Orleans needs some of Florida’s luck...and I want to leave even more now. We’re due a big storm and I’d like to be safe in the shadow of Mount St. Helens before that happens (my first time in Portland, Mount St. Helens erupted for the first time in two decades.)

The moral of the story? If I lived in Portland, I'd be home already...

*edit to add* Just got a weather update from the Mommy Channel: it's still all stormy and bad down in Florida, just not hurricane level in intensity.

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