Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cleveland Hopkins Continental Hell

Back in 2007, when my dad was in Florida and sick, I had to fly back and forth several times.  During those times, I had my worst airport experience and my best.  This blog is about the worst.  I had been in Florida for about a week or so already.  When I went, I didn't know how sick he was, how long he'd have to stay in the hospital, how long I'd be there, nothing.   Here in Ohio, my parents next door neighbor works for Continental so I was able to get a cheap fair via a buddy pass.  In case you don't know what that is, employees of the airline can get friends/family great deals on flights, but you have to fly stand by.  Most of the time, it's not a problem.  You also have to dress a certain way if you have a buddy pass.  Why this is I have no clue since no one on the flight knows you're on a buddy pass unless you tell them.  And seriously, are you going to chat up the person next to you by saying, "how much did you say you paid for this flight?  $500?  Wow dude, sucks to be you, I only paid $80."  But yeah, they have a dress code and Neighbor told me all I had to do was not wear shorts.  Everything else was fine.  So after my dad had the surgery that amputated his leg from just below the knee down and then went to rehab, I decided to go home and take care of some things like getting myself and my mom more clothes.  I had not brought much and even though she had, she didn't expect to be there as long as she was either. 

At about 1:30 am the morning of my flight back to Florida, my brother who lives there called me to tell me my dad had a stroke.  I was relieved I was already scheduled to go back, but scared out of my mind that things had taken such a turn.  Dressed in jeans, a plain black t-shirt and my Italia hoodie, I'm all set to go back.  Bags checked, carry on in hand, now I just have to wait.  Since I'm flying stand by, I have to wait while they make sure the plane isn't overbooked.  Eventually I'll get a boarding pass if all goes well.   I check in with Continental employee Daisy, who is anything but.  She gave me the up and down look and then asked me who gave me the buddy pass.  I told her and she asked me if Neighbor told me about the dress code.  I told her that he told me not to wear shorts.  Daisy prints something off and then asks me to come with her to the corridor where she proceeds to tell me that hoodies and t-shirts are not allowed and that she's going to have to consider if I can fly that day, dressed how I am.

Now I'm just staring at her dumbfounded while she continues to give me the disapproving glare.  You'd think I was a smelly hobo who just came in from the alley and is taking a shower in the public restroom!  Finally I said, "look... my father had a stroke last night, I have to get on that plane."   She sees that I have carry on in my hand and asks me if I have any clothes in it.  I said I did, but they were my mother's and about 2 sizes smaller than me.  Daisy tells me that I will need to find something in there more suitable than what I'm wearing and that she's going to report Neighbor for not telling me what I should wear.  I simultaneously want to hack her to bits with a daisy chainsaw and start to cry hysterically.  Up until this point, I was pretty calm about my father's stroke and all that was going on.  But now, this cold unfeeling bitch who is apparently offended that I'm wearing a fucking t-shirt is going to hinder me from getting back to Florida.  I call Neighbor and tell him what's happening and he can hardly understand me because I'm so hysterical.  I'm starting to draw attention but the floodgate has been opened and I cannot stop.  Neighbor tells me to do the best I can, and then *gasp* apologize to Daisy for the way I'm dressed.  He can't be serious?  But his job is on the line and I have to suck it up for him.

Some extremely wonderful and kind strangers came over to me to see if they could help.  Somehow through my hysteria, they got the gist of what was going on and were pretty appalled by it.  They took me to the bathroom, helped me look through the carry on and find something to change into.  It was tight, and small but I got it on, and they assured me I looked fine.  I wish I knew the names of those angels.  Still crying but less hysterical, I made my way back over to the counter and asked Stinkweed if what I was wearing was OK.  She smiled and said it was much better and handed me my boarding pass.  I took a deep breath and apologized to the bitch.  That was tough.

Tears still flowing, because like I said, the floodgate had opened and there was no stopping it, my row was called and as I made my way to the gate, who do I see collecting boarding passes but that bitch!  Can you even believe that she had the audacity to hug me after taking my boarding pass and telling me she hoped everything would be OK?  Can you even stand it!?   I should have kicked her in the tits right then and there.

So, I'm on the plane.  Still blubbering but trying desperately to stop.   I'm on an aisle seat, wing row so lots of leg room.  That means everyone around me, to my right and to my left, were men.  And not one of them would look at the crazy crying woman on the aisle, let alone offer me a word of comfort.  Then a very very tall man was seated at the window seat in the aisle in front of me and was immediately uncomfortable.  His knees were practically at his ears!   He called a flight attendant over and asked if he could be moved.  She told him she was very sorry but the plane was full.  I seized the moment to tell the flight attendant that he could have my seat and the very grateful man switched with me.  Ahhh now I'm at a window seat and I can just hide my head in the window, not talk to anyone and just cry my way to Florida without really bothering anyone.  And that's exactly what I did.

Luckily Neighbor did not get fired, nor did he even receive any kind of reprimand.  I do however hope that Daisy was fired for her disgusting treatment of someone who was clearly in distress.

No comments:

Post a Comment