Flying during the Christmas holidays is like going out on a Saturday night. Yes, there will be lots of smart, attractive people, but also a bunch of yahoos from across the river who dress and act like they’ve never been allowed a night out before. There’s a lower common denominator. Unfortunately for me, on this particular journey, I was the drunk girl wearing Christian Audigier, taking Jell-O shots in the middle of High Dive, while all the hipsters in their Toms sneered and judged.
In other words, I got bumped off my flight.
I decided not to take a cab this morning, in the interest of saving money. The M60 busstops a few blocks from my house and goes straight to the airport. It is an hour of hell, but it saves me almost $50, so I decided to suck it up. I still got to LaGuardia with well over an hour before boarding time, further validating my frugal decision. The sun was shinning, the ground was dry; I had a direct flight from New York to my little town. I felt as fancy as an American Kate Middleton.
When your name gets called over the airport loudspeakers in a romantic comedy, it’s so the love of your life can tell you not to get on the plane. When it happens in real life, it’s because the P.O.S. puddle jumper you booked to take you home is having weight and balance issues and the last five people to check in are getting booted.
Sitting in an airport and waiting for hours always makes me irrationally cranky. Once when I was returning to school from Thanksgiving break, Southwest Airlines stranded me at the Las Vegas Airport overnight and mollified me with $25 worth of food coupons and a three layover flight from Las Vegas to Tucson the next morning. I have never again flown Southwest, despite their “reasonable” fares.
Trying to place a cantankerous passenger on a new flight three days before Christmas is not an easy task. It became apparent that I’d have to take two flights to get home, instead of the blissful non-stop flight I’d booked months in advance.
Just as I was poised to add US Airways my own personal Do Not Fly list, my customer service representative revealed that bumped passengers get a choice of taking a flying voucher or having the airline cut me a check. (I grasp the irony that had I had more money that morning I could have taken a cab and not been one of the last people to check in.) I felt fairly sure the pittance coming my way would not be enough to placate my anger at having my whole day wasted.
Which is exactly why being a petulant little brat makes me eat my own indignation again and again. US Air gave me a check for nearly double my ticket and put me in an exit row for both flights. And I got a free seltzer at the airport pizza place, which was somehow more exciting than the check for hundreds of dollars that should be in my mailbox in five to ten business days….