Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Flying first class, playing the waiting game and falling

Hello, if there is anyone out there who still reads my blog since I am so insincere about posting. Just been lazy and busy both. So I had planned to take a trip to see my good friend on Friday and its a flight from one end of US to the other. Since we could not get a direct flight we booked a flight from my city to a second city and then to my destination and the date which we wanted was not available for the first lag of my travel so my dear husband upgraded my ticket to first class and boy was I excited that he did. Since I was only going to be gone for 48 hours and without the kids I thought it will be nice to have that time for myself even though I was traveling for the most part. I boarded my flight on time and my first ever journey in First class began. Did you know that the stewardesses are dressed in a different set of clothes in First class than those in EC. Also you are allowed to board first since you are in First class ( you knew that of course) . Then I was served a warm breakfast and I was planning to sleep but was too excited ( like a kid) and I did not. Instead I asked a bunch of nonsensical questions to the stewardess and she knew for sure that this lady has not traveled first class ever in her life before. So instead of sleeping I watched two movies and one of them was ok and one was not so good. But they were free and I could not say no to that. To my luck, my flight reached 10 minutes early and I was happy that I did not have to rush from gate to gate since I only had an hour between flights. But that was all about to end. The moment we touched down I got a call from my dear husband saying that our airline carrier had informed him that my next flight was delayed by an hour and a half. So I thought okay maybe I will have to wait longer than expected. Then I reached the gate and got a call from husband again who told me to ask if there were any other flights that were departing earlier. I asked and she said no. But I got a new flight number from my husband and went to that gate to see if I could get on a standby and they said that I was on number 10 on standby, that done I just saw their screen say that that flight was leaving after my previous (delayed) flight so I wondered if my delayed flight would be delayed too and sure enough it was by another half an hour. In between all this I am keeping my friend and my husband both informed about what is going on. The reason for the delay was MOTHER NATURE since she decided to bring in a tornado into the area I was flying into. So I waited till the flight I was on standby for left. I went to my original gate and saw that it was delayed by another hour and a half. So at this point my friend called me again and said you might need to ask if they could fly me into an airport nearby their place but not the one I was supposed to be on. I asked the gate agent and he said it is all up to you but I would suggest you stay put here in case we start boarding sooner than the posted time. But I wanted to get there soon so I went to customer service and asked and they said it would be three hundred dollars extra. That just put me back to my gate instantly...:) by the time I reached my gate I could see that the departure was delayed again by 45 more minutes so I started to think the bad thoughts that I would either have to spend the night there or at a hotel somewhere if the airline would pay for it ( not that it would happen in this recession). One gentleman asked me where I was going and I told him and he said that his wife was flying to India. So then a couple of other people also started sharing about where they were headed and so on an so forth. I must say that we made quite a group there. The flight time was delayed again by an hour and while all this was happening the Captain came out and announced everything ( which was really nice of him), the gate agent was really nice too. But there was this annoying female voice on the PA system that kept announcing every 15 minutes that there will be no food service on board and we were welcome to bring our own food and drinks. So finally we left after half an hour of the latest delayed time which was about 6 hours later and were told by the captain to keep our cell phones on until we actually took-off. I reached my destination about midnight and even though I was exhausted beyond my imagination I went to my friends place and we talked till 3 in the morning. The next day was busy and the day after that I was leaving for home.

So the day I leave was sunday and I left on time for the airport. My friends' husband dropped me off at the airport. I had done online check-in but need to print out the boarding pass. So off I went to print them at the airline kiosk but all four ( can you believe that ??) were not working so I went and asked one of the airline agent and she said since your screen said "Special handling required" you need to be in this line. So there I stood with my carry on bags. While I was there I noticed that there was a different line for people with no checked bags and I asked the agent lady again that am I supposed to be here and she said yes. But I thought that I should not be here and off I went to go join the other line. The line that I left was so long I thought it might delay me further. Now this was a direct flight and I was so lucky to be on that flight because I did not know how it would impact my trip. So when I was trying to sneak out of the previous line by going under the belt I tripped on something and FELL and it was the worst fall in the last 20 years of my life and I mean it. I just remember trying to balance myself and the next thing I knew I was on the floor with black spots in front of my eyes and me crying, tears falling down my eyes. The next thing I hear is people saying Oh Oh and then I hear this voice that asks me "Are you okay?" and I reply NO with a nod unable to see or speak. Then he asks " Can I help you ?" and I say YES. Then he said will you be able to get up and I say NO finally I could speak but still not see. I really could not see it was like a short blackout and I hear my friend's husband at the back saying what happened and I say I don't know. I was finally able to get up and see if I could walk. It was extremely painful. But he took me to where I was going and I got my boarding pass and he left me near the security check area and asked if I need a wheelchair and me being the brave soul said NO I wish I had said YES...the next few steps through security and my gate were grueling. If there is thing called punishing thy self I was guilty of it when I said no to the wheelchair offer. The moment I reached my gate my knee was swollen and I could feel it rubbing on my jean. I pulled out my ziploc bag ( coz I don't carry a toiletry bag all thanks to TSA) and thanked myself for putting Ibuprofen in it. I took all of the Ibuprofen I had ( 4 tablets-200 mg each) and thought to myself what was the hurry ??? how did I fall ??? I don't know but I did and because of that I won't be able to take my daughter to her summer camp and I will miss my tennis lesson. Yesterday I went to the doctor and he said the knee cap took the brunt of the fall and so there is some blood underneath it and will take two weeks to heal. The X-ray shows no fracture (phew!!!!) and I am still getting around the house limping but it feels good to know that there is no serious damage. So all that joy that I felt flying first class was followed by a lot of waiting and then the fall.

I am seriously reconsidering flying First Class ever...since I think its jinxed forever now. So I did learn a few things from this experience....

1. Make friends with your co-passengers since they can help you with the waiting game.
2. Always carry some sort of pain-reliever in case ...
3.Never ask the stewardess in First class...about how much will it cost to watch the movie or if you can use your own headphones since both of them are complimentary in First class.
4. Never try to hurry up because you could end up like me....hee hee..

Oh and thanks to that Angel Guy who helped me get up from my disastrous fall and to my friend's husband and to that sweet natured Gate agent Michael who actually bought some chicken from his own money and gave it to all the passengers that it could reach too. Can you believe that even in this poor economic times where the airlines are trying to cut back on costs by not providing any food for passengers, even though the flights are delayed by 6 hours or more sometimes this gate agent bought food for the passengers out of his own pocket. Even the captain said that he is one of the best gate agents they have. Indeed he is.


Swati Raman Garg said...

hey zobars... forst of all thanks for liking CT, your appreciation means a lot... and loved your page... the orange set... the ikea craze and then the disappointment... all was direct dil se... keep coming to CT

Houses, Couches and Babies said...

Flying just isn't what it used to be...even when you are flying first class. What a sweet story about the gate agent...you will probably always remember that guy.