Miami: Getting there was not half the fun

I’ve been debating whether to do this in a chronological format or just give a summary. The chronology is actually pretty entertaining (in hindsight anyway, I was pretty annoyed at the time), but nothing that was annoying had anything to do with the actual conference, which was great. So in the interest of sharing both, you can read the “play-by-play” of my trip to Miami right here or you can get right to the “SES Latino Wrap-Up” part, which shall be the next post I put up after this one.

The Play-By-Play

Friday, June 15th: Our launch has been pushed back *again*, but we were supposed to be getting a large portion of the new site for testing. I was waiting until 5:30p on Friday to find out if I was going to be grounded or get to go to Miami as planned. By the way, by “planned” I mean it is my intention to go… not that I actually had plane tickets or anything, because I didn’t buy those until 11:30p on Friday night.

Saturday, June 16th: Uneventful day making sure all the laundry and stuff is done. Packing, etc.

8:30am, Sunday, June 17th: Arrived at ORD. Printer broken on the self-check in kiosk I picked so I don’t have a “real” boarding pass. I have a reprint (and no checked baggage… with a ticket I bought on short notice… and tons of computer equipment… can you say security red flags? Body cavity search, anyone?)

While waiting for my flight to Nashville, the ticket agent announces the flight is overbooked and asks for volunteers to give up their seats. I know I have a couple hour wait ahead of me in Nashville, and then another couple hours on the ground in Miami waiting for Dave’s flight to land, so I volunteer. Ticket Agent says I can’t volunteer because they wouldn’t be able to get me to Nashville in time for my connecting flight. Oh well, I tried.

And yet, that’s not the end of the story… Keep in mind, I’m sitting RIGHT next to the ticket counter, so I can hear everything they’re saying… turns out that when there’s no volunteers to give up seats, they start bumping people based on LAST TO PURCHASE. So… Ticket Agent calls me up to the counter.

Ticket Agent: We need to bump you because there were no volunteers to give up their seats.
Me: Um. *I* volunteered to give up my seat. *You* told me no because you couldn’t get me to Nashville in time for my connecting flight to Miami.
Ticket Agent: Well, we have 2 too many passengers and we go by last to purchase.
Me: But… what you’re telling me is… I can’t volunteer to give up my seat (and get the free RT ticket for my trouble) but you can take my seat away from me *involuntarily*, *STILL* not be able to get me to my connecting flight in time, *AND* give me a grand total of bubkis for my trouble?
Ticket Agent: Pfft. You’re making it sound *bad*.
Me: It. IS. BAD.

Luckily, the other girl they were trying to bump was way meaner and bitchier than I could ever dream of being to a complete stranger, and somehow they miraculously made sure both of us (Bitchy and Bitchier) were on the plane.

So, crisis averted, right? I’m on the flight to Nashville. Have a nice seat by myself. Gonna go get some Elvis souvenirs, etc. Maybe have some sweet tea, cuz you can’t get that north of the Mason-Dixon. Just want to catch my connecting flight and get to MIA in time for a nice dinner.

Oh… but the day is not over, and it gets SO much more interesting.

About lunchtime on Sunday, June 17th:
Alright, so I’m in Nashville now. There’s no Elvis paraphernalia in the gift shop (wth?). I can’t get a signal on my cell. My Boingo account is locked up and I can neither get online, nor call support to get the account unlocked because of aforementioned cell signal issues. Oh, and they don’t have iced tea at the bar. *Super*

It does get a little better here. I was very nice to the ticket agent, because it’s not his fault that I’m having a rough day and the printer was broken and the Ticket Agent from O’Hare was surly. I guess he felt sorry for me because he moved my seat from the back of the plane to the window seat in row 7 (right behind the divider between first class and the “rest of us”). There was an empty seat between me and the other guy in my row, and he’s a business traveler, so he wasn’t annoying or anything at all. This flight was gonna be okay, and things were totally looking up.

The flight is all nice and wonderful. I found an interesting article in this month’s issue of W about the interactive agency that designs the sites for all the couture fashion people. Managed to ignore the little boy playing the drums on his tray table right behind me and kicking my seat. It’s only a 3 hour flight. No reason to let a small child ruin an otherwise pleasant flight. I have a 3.5 year old… little boys have a hard time sitting still. So it’s all good.

3:00p, Sitting on the tarmac, still Sunday, June 17th:
Mmmkay. So apparently, there’s been a thunderstorm in Miami. While the storm wasn’t actually right at the airport, there was lightning in the area. Lightning doesn’t prevent the planes from landing or taking off; however, lightning prevents the ground crews from being out and about doing… their jobs… so the airport closed the “ramps”. This means that planes are still landing, but they can’t taxi to the gates (because no one is allowed outside to do the ground crew stuff). So 40 planes (maybe more) are all parked on the tarmac at MIA, waiting for the ramps to re-open so they can go to a gate and let all the people off.

5:00p, still sitting on the tarmac, still Sunday, June 17th:
At some point, I got tired of staring out the window and decided to turn around and get a look at the little annoying cretin who has now been kicking my chair and playing the drums (poorly) on the tray table for 6 hours. Oh and whining to his dad that he wants a blanket.

He’s not 4, as I originally assumed. He’s like freaking 8 years old. If I had realized 6 hours ago that the spoiled hellspawn sitting in 8F was *8* years old, I would have said something to him and/or his father. Seriously. I wouldn’t let Max act like that and he’s 3 and genuinely can’t be expected to control himself for extended periods of time.

6:00p, still sitting on the tarmac, still Sunday, June 17th:
I really don’t want to be the evil woman who yells at someone else’s kid, but omg.

Hellspawn: Dad, I want a blanket.
Dad: There aren’t anymore and you don’t need one. You’re fine.
Hellspawn: I *want* a blanket. (tone of voice — Clearly you didn’t hear me the first time, Dummy)
Dad: I told you, there aren’t anymore and you don’t need one.
Hellspawn: I. WANT. A. BLANKET.
Dad: I told you, there aren’t anymore and you don’t need one.
Hellspawn: I. WANT. A. BLANKET.
[This actually goes on for like 20 minutes…]
Me: You know what? People in hell want ice water. There are no more blankets and your father said you don’t need one anyway. Please sit DOWN and QUIT KICKING MY SEAT.

Okay. I didn’t *actually* say that. But I was thinking it *really* hard in their direction. By the way, by this time, we’d been sitting on the ground for a couple hours now. The flight crew hasn’t offered us drinks or anything so much as once, I haven’t eaten for more than 12 hours and I’m sitting right behind first class where they’ve just been given FRESH BAKED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to launch into a homicidal rage, commit suicide or just sob.

7:30p, FINALLY off the plane, still Sunday, June 17th:
Cell phone nearly dead. Laptop dead. Dave’s plane still on the tarmac, no gate assigned, no time estimate for when he might deplane so we can finally go to the Intercontinental and get some dinner because omg I’m STARVING.

Airport bar’s kitchen is closed. It’s already last call. Bartender was nice enough to pour me a couple drinks (@ $11.25 per) because apparently I looked like I needed it.

9:30p, still at the airport, still Sunday, June 17th:
Dave’s flight finally got a gate assignment. I’m pretty tipsy… which is good because his gate is literally 10 miles from the one I was sitting at and I had to walk through a bunch of twisty tunnels with my 500 pound carry-on bag that was making my shoulder feel like separating. Finally found his gate. Stood in line for awhile to confirm that I’m in the right place. Sat down to wait for his plane to pull up to the gate and let everyone out.

10 something pm, still at the airport, still Sunday, June 17th:
Sitting on the floor, falling asleep. Now I’m not tipsy happy, I’m tipsy about to fall asleep. At some point, the flight from Chicago finally pulls up to the gate, Dave finds me (half asleep on the floor) and we wander off to collect the luggage. YAY! Maybe we can get some food before midnight.

11 something pm, finally at the hotel, still Sunday, June 17th:
Got checked in, made it to the hotel bar in time to order sandwiches. YAY! Very happy to have food.

In summary…
Really, life looked much better once we actually got to the hotel and got some food. Like I said earlier… while I was pretty annoyed at the time, it really is sort of a funny story looking back at it. I’ll start working on the SES Latino Wrap-Up next… the conference really was great and aside from the hellish adventure getting to Miami… the rest of the trip was nice.

May God have mercy on that little brat’s soul if I ever get trapped on a plane with him again. *UGH*