Flight home from California was extended by numerous delays. The flight itself was at first delayed about an hour due to storms in Dallas (our layover destination). Then after we had boarded, we had to deplane so that a pump of some sort which malfunctioned during the last check was repaired. Finally we flew out.
We missed our connection in Dallas arriving after 10 PM. We were assured at Ontario as we boarded that we would receive hotel vouchers. We stood in line for a good two hours. Eileen phoned and managed to change our flight on the phone for the next day, but was unable to receive a hotel voucher over the phone so we had to stand in line.
The woman in front of us was trying to reach her dying nephew. It reminded me how the delays we were experiencing could make drastic differences in peoples lives.
I walked down to the next American Airlines counter where people seemed to be getting waited on as well. I asked a person in line if this was a rebooking counter. She told me that her husband traveled a lot and that he said you could go up to any counter and get rebooked.
After the line went down a bit I walked down and got in the much shorter line. The woman at the counter quickly confirmed Eileen’s rebooking and gave me a taxi and hotel voucher. Actually she said very little to me and just punched information into her computer and then handed me old fashioned punch card confirmations.
Earlier I had mentioned to a young man who joined the line late that there was phone number one could call to make rebookings. Eileen gave him the number and he called. Apparently that worked. He also followed me down to the other counter and managed to get his rebooking information printed up as well.
When he thanked me I told him that a pilot had stopped when the line was longer and encouraged people to use the rebooking number.
Eileen and I immediately caught a taxi to Fort Worth and spent the night in the Sheraton there. Though we didn’t have a meal voucher (the people from the airport ahead of us did…. different airline? or level of booking?), they gave us toothbrushes and tooth paste which was very nice.
We grabbed a few hours sleep. I got up and took a shower. We didn’t have a change of clothes with us of course so we put on the same old clothes and caught a taxi back to the airport.
The second taxi driver had a caribbean accent and pleasantly chatted us up a bit as we made the long drive. His meter read over 50 dollars. I tipped both him and the taxi driver from the night before. It seemed like the protocol for some reason to me.
Our new booking rerouted us through Minneapolis. Eileen and I were begin to feel fatigued around this point.
I began reading Burgess’s Abba abba on this flight just for a change of pace. I do love Burgess and do not remember ever reading this fictionalization of how the dying poet Keats met the eccentric Italian poet Beli in Rome.
After we landed in Minneapolis, I downloaded two free ebooks from Amazon: Keats Poems published in 1821 and Life of John Keats His Life and Poetry, his Friends, Critics and After-fame by Sidney Colvin. I read some in each of them on the next flight. Keats’ death both as fictionalized by Burgess and described by Colvin reminds me so much of a death by AIDS. Keats was tended by a friend as he died. Burgess grabs on to many interesting facts in his description like how Keats threw the bad food he was being served by his Italian landlords out the window and subsequently received better food thereafter.
Burgess has Keats fantasizing about sex with Pauline Bonaparte, younger sister of the emperor. He did meet her in Rome according to Colvin. The young man tending to the dying Keats, Severn, wrote letters telling how the legal authorities came to the dying man and told him and Severn that after he died they would have to burn his belongings and all the furniture in the room and pay to replace it. This also was true. Severn complained in his letters that they were running out of money but apparently he was mistaken in this idea and didn’t realize there were funds forthcoming. Burgess puts all this in his lovely novel.
I began writing this as an off line entry in my journal. I now see that there is nothing inappropriate here for the blog and that’s why you are reading this (if any reader gets this far).
Our flight from Minneapolis to Grand Rapids was delayed as well. This time it was because President Obama was flying in to Minneapolis and all planes were temporarily grounded as he landed and embarked. Fascinating to see people’s response. The young couple across from me began laughing hysterically at the announcement.
There was a time when the actual presence of a president would seem to affect people. Now I think that people have much less respect for the office, even hatred for the man that it is odd to watch their reactions.
I chatted with Sarah on Facebook as we waited to finally embark. This time when we traveled there was free WIFI in every airport we spent any time at (Dallas, Ontario, Minneapolis, Grand Rapids). This certainly improves travel.
At Grand Rapids, a miracle happened and our luggage was actually waiting for us.
Eileen drove us home.