10:20 AM Sitting in the client's office doing diligent work as always, I get a message from US Air that my flight from Huntsville, AL (yes, that's Alabama) to Charlotte is being delayed. This puts my connection to Newark in jeopardy. So I immediately phone US Air where a nice woman explains to me that I can go on the later flight from Charlotte to Newark, or get on an earlier flight but that the earlier flight leaves at 1 PM. Since I have a rather important meeting with the client scheduled at 1, I have to take a later connection in Charlotte, which will get me into Newark 2 hours later than I'd hoped to be home on a Friday night after spending a week in Alabama. Good times.
11:20 AM Walking through the warehouse, I hear my phone ring and it's US Air, telling me that my original flight from Huntsville has been cancelled. Gone. Kaputt. Plane disappeared over Atlantis or something. I call immediately from the warehouse and am informed that I've been automatically rebooked onto a 7 PM flight to Charlotte which will get me into Newark right around midnight, or 4 hours later than I had hoped to be home on a Friday night after spending a week in Alabama. Or, when left when no other options, good times.
3:30 PM I leave the client 2 hours later than I'd planned and start driving to the airport... or to the nearest bar where I can grab some food after not having eaten since "breakfast" (a granola bar at 7 am) and some drinks for my flight, not sure what I'll find in the Huntsville airport. Stop at an upscale Mexican restaurant in the upscale Bridge Street shopping center (next to the PF Chang's) and order a mahi-mahi soft taco along with a few Dos Equis Ambers in nice chilled glasses. I didn't much care for the taco (too much cilantro) but the beers were nice and cold. And they lessened my anger at seeing my 7 pm flight get delayed first to 7:30 then to 8 PM, putting my connection in Charlotte -- the last flight out of Charlotte to Newark -- in extreme jeopardy again.
5:00 PM I search Saturday morning flights from Charlotte while still at the bar and discover that the earliest into Newark will arrive at 9:30 AM. Once I get my bag and get on the monorail then get to my car, it's 10 AM at best. About a 45 minute drive to my house to pick up the tickets and then an hour drive to Philly puts me... arriving at the Syracuse - Villanova game (with its inexplicable 11:00 AM game time) at around noon. In other words, I'm fucked if I don't catch this flight tonight. There are earlier flights from Charlotte to Philly but the tickets are at my house. Because I was supposed to be fucking home Friday night at like 7 pm. Fuck. I'm fucked.
5:30 PM I get word that the Charlotte to Newark flight has been delayed until 12:44 am, though, so I can still make it. I'd get home around 3:30 am, have to wake up 5 hours later to get to the Syracuse game, but I can still make it. I head for the airport.
6:15 PM I didn't bring "tiny liquids" with me because I was checking my bag but now I know I can't -- who the hell knows if I'm making this connection, but thankfully the Huntsville airport is completely empty and I'm the only one on the TSA line with 5 agents "assisting" me when I explain the circumstances and whip out the handful of oversized liquids I hope to get through the scanner. I get through after a while and head for the bar. I only lose my toothpaste.
7:00 PM Sitting next to a "helpful" gentleman with some sort of website open on his laptop tracking flights. We're supposed to leave at 7:55. The plane still hasn't left Charlotte to get to Huntsville, he reminds me every 10 minutes. Like I said, helpful.
7:20 PM The cell phones of all 7 guys sitting around the bar go off at the same time. It's US Air telling us of another delay. At this point, I don't even answer. It's all bad news. Plane still hasn't left Charlotte. My helfpul companion tells me "There's almost no chance we're getting out of Huntsville tonight." Me: "I'll have another Blue Moon, please." Bartender: "In addition to the one I just gave you?" I think you know the answer to that one.
7:40 PM If I leave right now and drive to Nashville (2 hours away, and I'm not completely sober), I can get on the 5 AM flight tomorrow that gets me to Philly by 8 AM. Then I can drive (in another rental I guess) to my house, pick up the tickets, and still make it in time for the game. Then at some point drive to the Newark airport and pick up my car. This was actually in serious consideration for a few minutes. At least until the next Blue Moon went down.
8:15 PM "The plane has left Charlotte!" See, now he's being helpful.
9-something... We're boarding (we're on central time in Huntsville). Latest ETA has us landing at ~12:15. The Charlotte to Newark is still showing at 12:44. I still have hope as I board the plane. And promptly take a "nap" (aka pass out).
11:55 PM We're on the ground, taxiing to the gate. I've got plenty of time!
11:56 PM USAir website updated the Charlotte time to 12:23 while we were in the air. Fuck!
11:57 PM "Waiting for the gate agent to arrive."
11:58 PM Still waiting.
11:59 PM Where the fuck is that fucking asshole bitch whore gate agent motherfucker!
12:02 AM We're off the plane. Terminal E. The Newark flight is in Terminal C. Time to run!
12:03 AM Oh yeah, that's right, I can't run on my bad fot. Time to walk really fast!
12:08 AM Terminal D.
12:12 AM Terminal C.
12:12 AM Why the fuck is C-17 at the other fucking end! Get the fuck out of my way old man!
12:14 AM Rushing up to the gate!
12:14 AM "You're not here for the Newark flight are you?" "What?" The agent nods out the window and I see the gate pulling back and the plane pulling away. Without me. Motherfucking motherfuckers!!!!!
12:16 AM "What flight would you like to take tomorrow?"
12:20 AM "Sheraton Charlotte Airport, how can I help you?" "Yes, do you have any rooms for tonight?" "No, I'm sorry we're all booked."
12:21 AM "Marriott Charlotte Airport." "Do you have any rooms tonight?" "No I'm sorry we're all booked"
12:22 AM "Doubletree Charlotte Airport." "Rooms tonight?" "No I'm sorry we're all booked."
12:23 AM I'm not actually going to be "sleeping" at the airport am I? Richie will pick me up if I call him out of the blue at 1 am right?
12:24 AM "Yes, we have rooms tonight." "Oh thank the fucking lord." "Would you like the blah blah or the blah blah for blah blah." "I don't care just book it." "Would you like us to email a confirmation?" "I don't care."
12:40 AM "Why is the line for the taxis so long?" "Big ice storm tonight, tons of flights got cancelled." Motherfucking Charlotte.
12:55 AM "Take me to the Hyatt." "Which one?" "Um... I don't know." (checking phone for the Google list) "Hyatt Place at blah blah blah". "OK."
1:05 AM "Reservation for Elenbark." "I'm sorry what name was that?" "Elenbark." "We don't have you listed." "What?" "Are you sure it was this Hyatt?" "Yes." "Do you have a confirmation number?" "No, I just called like 10 minutes ago from the airport." "Let me check." (leaves to go to the back). Motherfucking idiots. I just called, it's probably not in the system yet.
1:07 AM "We don't have a record of your reservation." "Well can I just get a room then and I'll figure it out tomorrow." "I'm sorry we don't have any rooms available." What? "Let me try calling over to the other Hyatt."
1:08 AM (three remaining brain cells scrape together to form a thought)... Wait, wasn't he sending a confirmation email? And can't I get email on the phone? (still working....) Oh I should check the phone!!
1:09 AM "Oh wait, this confirmation says it's for Hyatt House. That's not this?" "Um, no." ("idiot"). "Oops. Can you call me a cab?"
1:30 AM Arrive at the beautiful Hyatt House in beautiful somewhere near the Charlotte airport. There's a little ice on the ground but it honestly doesn't look so bad. Do they not get weather there? Ever? Motherfuckers. Oooh, is that a mini-mart across the street?
1:33 AM (Resist getting more beer, you've got to get up in 6 hours... resist the beer...)
2:00 AM Dammit, I don't have toothpaste! Sleep.
7:30 AM Alarm. Hey, there was complimentary toothpaste by the sink! Dammit.
8:30 AM Shuttle to airport.
9:15 AM Through security. Wearing the Syracuse hat. Yeah, I'm not making the game.
9:20 AM Wait, are people actually drinking at that bar at this hour? That can't be happening.
9:22 AM "I'll have a Bloody Mary, please, thank you."
9:27 AM "I've got 5 minutes before I board, but sure, I'll have another. Thanks." Is that two shots of vodka he's putting in there? Nice.
10:10 AM Sleep.
10:15 AM Curb Your Enthusiasm on my iPad Mini.
11-something-who-the-fuck-cares at this point, I missed the game. Arrive at Newark.
AirTran to P4 from Terminal A is under construction. Wait outside in the 10 degree weather for the bus.
12-something-kill-me-please. Scraping the snow and ice from my car.
1 PM Home sweet fucking home. Let me watch the Syracuse game I DVR'd.
2:45 PM Tough win, but I'll take it. Wait... did MCW miss the front end of another one-and-one?
2:46 PM MOTHERFUCKING MOTHERFUCKERS! FUCK YOU CHARLOTTE. FUCK YOU (name of my company withheld). FUCK YOU MC-FUCKING-W!
3:14 PM Oh well, at least I wasn't there to see that debacle in person.