Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm Almost Back
Getting There From Here

A series of events and exhaustion have kept me away from these pages for the past few weeks. First, there was the birth of our grand daughter and travel down to Illinois. There was, as well, the never ending prep for the three classes I teach and time needed to write and correct exams. Finally, last weekend, I traveled to Seattle on Friday, lectured 6 hours Saturday and almost flew home on Sunday.

Arriving in Chicago, I learned my flight to Milwaukee had been cancelled and that there were no other flights available that evening. It was raining, and the weather was supposedly to blame. In any event, I was given a voucher to catch a bus to the Milwaukee airport.

So outside I went, through the rain and over to where the buses loaded up. There, I was told that the voucher (and, for that matter, a ticket) did not guarantee a seat on any bus. First come, first serve. No matter, I got onto the first bus. What followed, however, has left me upset.

At subsequent stops, the driver stopped and opened the door to let the hapless folks there know that the bus was full. Another would be along soon, however, everyone of us knew that all of those would also be filled and that these folks, some with families, were in effect stranded. I was angry and, at the same time, sad for those left standing in the damp air.

The airlines give not a shit. The workers punch out and go home by the clock. No one, it appears, cares about the travelers left abandoned and with no good alternatives. Sure, some could afford to rent a car and/or get a hotel room (if there were one available). Others, and I suspect they are the majority, were at the end of trips that had been saved and budgeted for (he said ending with a preposition). Their memory for their once in a lifetime trip will likely be of being left in the darkening evening, standing in the rain and wondering how the hell they are going to get home.

No one cared. No agency took charge and, knowing dozens of flights had been cancelled, ordered more buses. The incompetence, the uncaring and the injustice of it all is still with me.

Better to go by kayak.

Paddle safe...


DaveO said...

Good to see you back in the saddle, so to speak. You are correct, the airlines do not give a shit, or a rats ass for that matter, about their customers. Midwest used to but that's history as well. The train from Chicago to Milwaukee is painless but only runs once a day. As you say, I think we need to stick to the kayak.

steve said...

I returned to Israel from South Africa by plane, kayaking would take too long. Halfway home the pilot announced that one of the 2 toilet tanks was full and half the toilets on the plane were not working. He said they had decided not to serve the meal that night in order to lessen the need for toilets. About one and a half hours before landing we were told that the rest of the toilets were out of order and would we please hold on till we got on the ground Hows that for the airlines not giving a shit.

JohnB said...

Not only do they not givea a sh!t, they apparently wouldn't take any from Steve's flight. Memo to self: always fly with a supply of those special little bags we use on the ambulance!

JohnB said...

Another thought on Steve's comment--guess Depends are just for wearing inside the drysuit any more!

JohnB said...

Correction --

Another thought on Steve's comment--guess Depends are NOT just for wearing inside the drysuit any more!

Silbs said...

Now we're getting to the bottom of things.