Friday, January 1, 2016

Honeymoon Hellride Back Home

The trip from Disney's Port Orleans Riverside resort to the airport was smooth. They checked us on our flight, delivered our boarding passes to our room and checked in our bag from the hotel. Our shuttle to the airport left 3 hours before the flight. Although, you should know, whenever you go to/from the airport on their shuttles, they pump you full of Disney ads the whole trip. It's annoying. 

Anyways, when we got to the airport, it was just as smooth going to the gate. This was especially true since security didn't make us take our computers out, our jackets off, our jewelry off, or our shoes off. We basically just put our bags down and walked right through.

That's where the smoothness stopped though. After that, the universe decided that we had too good of a time on our honeymoon and decided to make our lives hell.

There was a huge storm in Dallas that we happened to fly over. There were huge tornadoes and a lightning storm so intense that the lightning strikes weren't even a second apart (someone was counting them). So we circled over the storm for 2 hours trying to get to Dallas. The total flight time was 4 hours instead of 2 and we ended up getting diverted to Houston.

                                                      Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/death-toll-reaches-severe-storms-south/story?id=35955662
I didn't have a problem with American Airlines keeping us safe, but I had a problem with how they handled the delays.

First of all, we ended up sitting on the runway for around 2 hours while every 20 minutes or so they'd tell us "5 more minutes" or "almost done". Meanwhile, there was a baby screaming and crying the whole time (saying what we all felt) and a cute, small fluffy service dog named Cupcake had to go to the bathroom. She was shy in front of people (apparently one time she crawled all the way into some bushes to pee to avoid being seen), trained to go on grass, and she would yip every so often to announce that she had to pee (a single yip every 20 to 30 minutes). She looked something like the picture below.
The pilots then got off the plane a half hour before we did and left the stewardesses to deal with us. Apparently they'd been flying for 9 hours straight starting in Los Angeles that morning. They would be illegally flying if they stayed longer. But one of those stewardesses had apparently been on the plane just as long and was freaking out, yelling at people to be quiet and cutting them off when they tried to ask her questions.

Then Kyle did impersonations of Milton from the movie Office Space trying to deal with our situation. It was pretty hilarious.



We were then told  a crew from Miami would be showing up soon to take us back to Dallas. Then they finally let us get off the plane, but only to wait in a line to find out what to do next.

We waited in that line for 2 hours. We were told to get food 10 min before that 2 hours was up. The line did not move the entire time. They just let us stand there and didn't help anyone. So everybody got out of the line to get food. The only place open for food was a small sandwich shop with refrigerated sandwiches. We all got food, came back, and then were told the crew wasn't coming and that the next flight was at 8:38 am the next morning. We were told that there would be no boarding passes and we would just need our IDs, it would be the same flight number, and we all just needed to come back in the morning whether we liked it or not. They then told us that if we tried to stay in the airport, they would call security on us. They were shutting down the airport for the night and would not cover anyone's hotel costs.

 

Our luggage was then sent out downstairs (or so we were told) around 10:15 pm. They said it would be 3-5 minutes, but it took 45 minutes. Then as soon as the first 4 bags came out, the luggage carrier jammed and we had to wait another 5 minutes.

Kyle then booked a reservation at the Hampton while we waited. The Hampton told us that their shuttle closed at 11pm, but they would pick us up anyways. They said it would take about 5 minutes or so. We called the hotel every 20 minutes and waited about an hour. The guy at the front desk said the shuttle was full, but it never got to us until the end of that hour, so that was a lie.

The shuttle lady was AMAZING though. We found out that she was told the wrong terminals for everyone's rides and wasn't warned about handicapped customers so had to switch shuttles after seeing them. She dropped us off with a grumpy couple, some bros and a girl trying to get to Mexico for a friend's wedding, and a scared young teen girl traveling alone.

There was one guy (new employee) working the counter with a THICK Indian accent who had trouble with English and would ignore people every time something went wrong (the worst thing you could do is ignore an angry customer). Apparently the server crashed, there were no rooms, and they had lost everyone's reservations and were still booking rooms. We were there for another hour, two other groups left, the Mexico group gave us their room (the last room) because we were honeymooners with bad luck, but not before we offered them the floor (or hopefully some cots) if they just wanted to crash. Kyle called American Airlines a half hour into this and was on hold.

The front desk said he had the room, but no keys, so he would let us up. I wanted to go to the bar for a shot of tequila and never made it. He gave our room away right in front of us to a group of people who had just walked in, whose reservations were lost also.

 
The shuttle lady had just gotten off her shift, walked in, and asked us what was happening. She served us all fresh fruit, did the guy's job, and got the manager in. The manager (30 min later) got to us from out of his warm bed and sent us to sister hotels after booking rooms for us there. The shuttle lady drove us after I told the manager she deserved a hell of a raise (which is most definitely the truth). She stayed with us to make sure we had a room at the Hampton North. By now, Kyle finally got off hold. AA kept booking us flights from Dallas to Portland and didn't seem to understand that we needed to get to Dallas first. They then put us on hold... AGAIN.

As soon as Kyle and I got to the hotel, we thanked the shuttle lady, booked a morning shuttle with this location, and went to our room. Kyle and I then took turns staying on hold while the other ate a sandwich and showered (sandwiches were from that 10 min time after we got off the plane). We were on hold for another hour before the phone disconnected. He called them back and they promised to call in 2 hours. We got 2-3 hours of sleep. they never called.

Our Houston room was AMAZING. Their showers had the perfect water pressure, they gave us really nice soaps, there was a huge TV, A/C, and the pillows and bed felt like sleeping in a cloud. I didn't want to leave and deal with reality anymore (and I don't like Texas, so that says something).

Kyle called AA again at 5:30 am. The wait time, they said, was 7 hours for a callback. He called the airport and they just connected us to the airline. nobody was answering the phones except automated voices. At this point, we called his mom since we weren't thinking clearly. She said to go to the airport. It was 5:51am. Our shuttle was supposed to leave at 6am. We ran.

We made it, but we didn't check out in case we had to come back. We got their number and told them we'd check out over the phone once we knew we'd have a flight. I told them about the delays the night before, so they understood.

We told our shuttle guy what happened once we got in the car. He said he never flies because of how bad this airport is. Apparently he hears horror stories all the time. He also said the huge storm from Dallas would be coming to Houston at 7pm that night. I'm terrified of tornadoes so I was not happy to hear about that.

Once we got to the airport, he told us to call him if we were coming back.

We then waited in a super long line for over an hour. AA kept trying to cut the line off with rope, but we and the huge crowds didn't let them. We found out other people were able to stay in the airport, no problem, which frustrated us. We then found out the plane we were scheduled on would leave at 10:30am, if it did leave, and that there were no flights to or near Portland, OR for the next few days. There was a lady at the front on 2 phones at once with wide eyes and shaking her head. We thought we'd stay in Houston another night from that alone.

When we finally got to the front, another lady gladly snuck us onto a United flight and told us to get our tickets from the computers and not to tell them that AA sent us (they were kicking AA customers off because of all the people who got delayed/diverted). The flight would go to Seattle. She told us to come back to her if we couldn't get on. We thanked her profusely.

After we got through security and got our tickets. they took our bag before we realized we were on standby and there were only 2 seats left. I ran after the person who took our bag and she said it was gone. I started crying due to lack of sleep and a huge amount of frustration. If we were to stay another night, we wouldn't have any clothes or anything. The manager, seeing this, came over and helped us. She gave us the last 2 seats (upgraded and in an exit row) and some hugs (which were both very much needed).

We found a bookstore and coffee shop next to each other. We got ourselves books and coffee to make ourselves feel better. It worked for the most part.


 
We got on the plane after talking to a finance student on her way home. I told her the best way to watch movies and she told us about how school was going.

Kyle and I got separated on the plane, but we were happy to be on. We were in the same row with SUPER tiny seats. Kyle tried to take out the fold out tray and it squashed his lap. I switched with someone and gave Kyle the aisle seat.

They then proceeded to show us the weirdest safety video ever.

We waited on the runway for 2.5 hours. The delay was first because of weather, then because we were in a line of planes that each had to take off 20 miles apart.

We had the worst turbulence EVER. I was seriously terrified.

They gave us free wine and beer (Kyle and I). They didn't advertise, but they didn't charge us. They advertised food, but were out of 90% of it. I hadn't eaten all day and the wine and turbulence combo were making me nauseous. plus we were sitting directly behind the restrooms and were hit with horrible smells each time people came out (which was every 5 min or so). The flight was 4.5 hours.

Partway into the flight, I saw a steward bring Pringles to the back, so I snuck back after him. The guy gave it to me, came back to scan my card, but decided against it and gave it to me for free. We had turbulence the entire way there. The skies were so crowded that air traffic control wouldn't let our pilots move out of it.

*(side note) a pregnant mom who looked like a bird was doing the pee dance (even though she didn't have to pee), was holding her 2 year old kid, and feeding him chewed up ice.

We finally landed and sat in the plane for a good 30 min. Kyle and I then got our bags and booked a cab to the train. Luckily, Kyle's mom booked us a late ticket. It was 5:15 pm by this time and the train would leave at 6:05pm. We took a cab and got there 20 min early.

We skipped the huge lines due to business class and checked our bag in too. The Seattle Seahawks game just got out and the train station was right across the street from the stadium. We got on the train and waited in a HUGE line for food. The food guy waited til the train took off to start. I got a pack of cards, 2 hot dogs, 2 chips, and 2 beers for $37.

The train got delayed to wait for freight trains every so often, which would make Kyle and I super paranoid.

I was sleeping an hour and a half in on Kyle's shoulder when the most OBNOXIOUS 2 girls walked in to join a couple of guys. they all were SUPER loud and drunk as soon as the girls sat down. One guy started swearing and talking about stealing back his girl's hat from whoever stole it from her even though she was wearing it. She said nobody stole it. The other girl was bragging about her taco salad and how she knows how to cook better than anyone. She also told her whole life story, even the part where she gave some guy head at her little boy's wrestling tournament. she also bragged about her work and how clients waited up to 6 months to a year to see her (even though I'm pretty sure she works at a restaurant). She's also about to get married to the belligerant drunk guy who wanted to pick a fight with the imaginary hat stealer. They luckily got off 2 stops before ours, but we still had to listen to them for another hour and a half. i was wearing noise-cancelling headphones and could still hear all this. When they finally got off the train, they left all of their beer cans (Coors Light) and a trail of smashed popcorn on the ground. It was horrible. But Kyle, I, and the guy sitting across from us all celebrated our newfound quiet time once they left.

 

We got back to Portland at 9:45pm and walked to the lightrail (which was outside of the greyhound station where all the homeless people are). 2 homeless people got in a fight right next to us over a coat, and another 2 got in a fight over the payphone. We got on our train about 10 min after waiting, but then it delayed for another 10 minutes to wait for other lightrail cars to move. We never got to find out how the fights ended.

It finally moved and we got home and cuddled our cat a lot, showered, and crashed.

We now both have bugs from the trip. Kyle got a cold bug, and I got a stomach and his cold bug. Fun stuff, but happy to be home.

 

Happy New Year!