Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Bad Travel Ju-Ju attacks...


Subtitled... Adventures in travel, maybe I should have stayed at home?!

It started with the restaurant reservation. I use OpenTable.com and made a reservation for four at a Mexican spot in National Harbor for about three hours after we were scheduled to land... or so I thought. But I made it for Thursday night instead of Friday night. When I missed the reservation, they banned me from the restaurant for 60 days. (harsh)  So I made the reservation for Friday night under my pen name. The alias does come in handy.

Then we had the outbound flight drama. I thought I was on flight 1600 with BougieMom, I mistakenly booked 1900. A twelve hour difference. Thankfully, I was using frequent flyer miles for the flight so I could change flights with no fee. But I was >this close< to showing up at the airport to hop on a flight for which I had no ticket. Landing in DC, we found out that BougieSis missed her flight. She thought she was flying out of Ft. Lauderdale, she was actually fliying out of Miami.

Then the GPS unit got pissy on our way to the hotel. Turns out a slight right was a sharp left and we ended up driving through the middle of DC in Friday rush hour traffic. [Can you say cluster?!] Arriving at the hotel, I realized that I had not packed 1) a brush 2) the laptop charger 3) the camisole that went with my suit for Saturday. Threw off my entire wardrobe schedule.

Saturday morn we rose crack of dawnish to break our fast and drive over to Baltimore to witness the graduation of my cousin from the school where my Mom and Dad graduated over 50 years ago: Morgan State. The drive was easy, the campus lovely and the pride on BougieMom's face as the torch passed to another generation... priceless. The day was sunny and bright. Bump that - it was hell-like hot and sitting on those steel benches in the football stadium for three hours with no beverage and no shade was a tragedy in the making. Yes, my delicate ass got sunburned. Melted all to hell in my cute Michael Kors dress and turned tomato red. Thank God for the travel Noxzema. Bouge is not meant to be crispy-fried.

Driving around Baltimore I passed Bunny Colvin's house (from The Wire), appropriate as some of those graduation attendees looked like they were straight off the set. I did love the HBCU of it all. An HBCU graduation is a fashion show. Some took it all the way there in the 5 inch heels and others looked like they just came off the Paris runway. An unfortunate group looked like they just made bail in time to make this function. Bless their hearts.

We hung out with the Balto branch of BougieFam (good times!) and then headed back over to National Harbor (a brand new area they created out of nowhere right on the Potomac. Gorgeous and very bougie). Anyway, three words: Saturday. Evening. Traffic. At one point we were literally parked on the Balt/Wash Expressway with the car in park. Bad travel juju strikes again.

Sunday we rose hecka-early again to drive to Virginia Beach. My godfather turned 78 and my godparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. 50 years of marriage!!!! I can't even fathom. The drive was long but good. The visit was excellent. But our hotel though... not like the picture. Not renovated. And definitely taken over by a large group of S.No.B. folks. We were too tired to care.

Originally, the plan was for me to leave DC and fly to New York. I knew last week that there was no way I going to make that last leg happen. So it was with no little bit of relief that BougieSis and I headed back to Reagan National to fly back to our respective homes. BougieMom stayed in Virginia Beach to visit with my godparents.

Flights to Miami were taking off left and right. Sis was back in Miami and ordering dinner while I sat clutching my useless ticket waiting for a flight that had been delayed six times. And then... canceled. Really? Seven hours in the airport and you cancel the flight? American Airlines broke off no vouchers, no "Sorry", nothing but a ticket and a "Good Luck." I'm typing this from a hotel in DC. I fly (supposedly) at noon central time Tuesday. I now feel like I need a vacation from my vacation.

Ever had a vacation/trip that was just wonky (technical term) from the start? How do you deal with travel drama? Do share...

46 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm sorry to hear about your travel drama, but happy you were able to see various branches of your family and friends. I generally assume what can go wrong will go wrong when it comes to travel and it seems these days flying has become a complete mess. I'm not sure why this is except perhaps the air transport system has reached the point where there are simply too many planes trying to fly for the infrastructure of airports, air traffic controllers, etc. to handle. I hope you arrive home safely. Good luck!

Angel Blanca said...

I promise, the next time you're in my neighborhood, we will treat you better!! The amusing part for me was reading this and forgetting today was Tuesday; I was all set to figure a way to hang out with you until your flight. Raincheck?

BTW, National Harbour is a truly delightful BougieLand gathering spot. When's that happening, again?

May your traveling mojo redeem the rest of your journey and bring you safely and peacefully back home.

Grace said...

HBCUs are always fly!
Cracking up at you melting in B-Mo.
Laughing with you, not at you. Get home safe!

Man's World said...

At least you got stuck in a real city. I was trapped for three days in East Podunky Idaho with a business associate. By day 2 I was ready to walk home. No feeling like ust wanting to be home and no way to get there.

Think P. Smart said...

Da hell!  My heart goes out to you.  Being stuck in anyone's airport is never the hotness. 

I love to read how others see things here.  We get used to it.  But I really never thought of the National Harbor as a place of bouge.  I appreciate the spa down there but the few times I've socialized there it felt very unpolished.  But maybe I should revisit it with new eyes. 

I love HBCU's graduations because everyone is proud.  Your cousin Ray-Ray who just got his ankle monitor off that morning, came straight from the parole place to the graduation.  Great grandma who lives in California and doesn't like to fly has hopped a plane and is there in her best Sunday hat! 

Penny said...

At HBCU graduations, we don't play that "I am going to wear flip flops, a  tank top and some jean shorts under my gown" thing.  No ma'am.  Not to mention the outfits of our proud relatives and guests.  Although I don't work at an HBCU,  a few weeks ago, on graduation day at my institution, I saw a man in a suit that I would swear he brought at the Superfly/Dolemite Clothing Outlet on ebay.  It was sort of a purple/maroonish color, and he had on a matching hat-do I need to say more?  I am sure he was proud as he saw his loved one march across the stage-Superfly suit and all.  :)

FreeBlackMan said...

HBCU shout out!!! Every day is a runway. And the godparents with the 50 years together - what a rich weekend with a glimpse at the past and the future. Very cool... until you got stuck there.  Travel safe, more storms today, right?

JaymeC said...

You do have bad travel juju! What you need is a private plane. Glad you got to catch up with your godparents and MD cousins.

OneChele said...

I DO need a private plane! You and MrC let me know when you purchase shares in ExecuJet ;-)

OneChele said...

Unfortunately yes. I'm about to head out to the airport and try and catch the next thing heading west.

OneChele said...

Yes, we had Cap Daddy in the shiny sky blue suit with matching gator lace up Stacy Adams. SupaDupaFly!

OneChele said...

Now if Ray-Ray and dem had been hustling bottled water, they would have gone home rich that night!

OneChele said...

No. Bueno.

OneChele said...

I'm trying!

OneChele said...

The last few days have all run together. If not for the date on this useless airplane ticket, I wouldnt have a clue what day it is!

OneChele said...

Thanks!

Steve said...

How about trapped in a Mexican airport during a storm and the enitre place is locked down?As you say, no bueno. 

maureen palmer said...

Sorry to hear about your  travel juju. I hope you make back home safe and sound. I was at the Nat'l harbor on saturday too.
Lately, I have heard a lot of complains about AA; they need to get together.

CaliGirlED said...

East Podunky, Idaho??? That just sounds like "stuck"!

CaliGirlED said...

Get home safely Chele!

After a wonderful 7 day cruise, we boarded our flight in Miami headed back to L.A. Somewhere over the great state of Texas, an engine blew out. Worse sound you ever want to hear while thousands of feet above ground! Luckily planes fly with more than one engine, unfortunately, they can't do that for too long. So we had to make an emergency landing in El Paso in a small airport that was closed for the night. Thank God one vendor stayed open for us and we were able to get food. At first they reported they were attempting to "fix" the plane. My thought, "I guess I'll have to buy a one way ticket from here to L.A. because there ain't no way in HELL I'm getting back on that plane!" They brought in a different plane and we made it back to L.A. safely. I don't remember how long we had to wait, but of course it seemed like an eternity!

Jazzy Jazz said...

Mom wore the hat and her church suit- so nice. I tried to tell mommy she was wearing a hat to my college grad , but she vetoed me. Theres always my med school grad though (where by hook or crook she will be in a hat lol)

rozb said...

 I had to fly back from the Philippines (my first duty station) at 11 at night. Had fifty-eleven layovers before landing in LAX around 2 in the afternoon. Standing at the luggage carousel, we saw articles of clothing coming out of the opening and going around the carousel, and I thought to myself: "Who is the unlucky bastard with all his clothes all over the place? Hey - that shirt looks just like mine. Wait a minute...that IS my shirt!" Turns out my brand new luggage got abused and tossed, and busted wide open when they threw it onto the carousel.I had to go get a box and stuff my busted luggage and all my escaped clothing items in it, and get the airport to try to tape it all together. Yes - my first real fly set of luggage now looked worse than a busted country cousin's  rolled-up paper bag as luggage. I just started crying in the middle of the airport, then got angry as HEY-ULL! I went to the counter wheeling my stuff and told the smiling attendant that I am about to miss my flight because I have to tote a taped up box across the airport in record time to catch my cross-country flight, and what was she going to do about it?

She turned beet-red, looked at me, got on the walkie-talkie and called me a cart with a driver. However, she said since I could not prove the luggage wasn't defective, it could not be proven the handlers busted my stuff. By the time that trip ended (made my flight just when the ramp was about to close), I was tired, sore, and cranky! My mother laughed at my boxed luggage and I was generally clowned, and when I went to take my bath that night, my elastic in my underwear busted and they fell off me. I have not flown Delta since (this was in '89).

Wanyanak said...

Sorry for your travel woes. For sure travel drama can drive you nuts! My worst trip one year was traveling from Paris to Entebbe via Nairobi. Even though I was confirmed, I was stuck in Nairobi for 3 days because flight to Entebbe was on a 'may happen' schedule. Finally had enough and switched airlines. Some airlines are really bad and AA seems to go out of its way to win first place for worst airline with its shenanigans.
Hope your trip home was safe.

Newbie11 said...

I never fly AA...unless I absolutely have to. I just never do it!!

Newbie11 said...

Pressed send too soon. I hope your travel woes will be over soon. Have a safe flight home.

Jubilance said...

Wow that's some seriously bad travel ju-ju. I hope you make it home ok!

Luckily I havent had too many bad travel experiences. There's a tie for worst: Spirit Airlines cancelled my return flight from Atlanta because they claimed I hadn't flown the departing leg, yet I was standing at the gate in Atlanta so clearly I made it to town right? Ugh. The other experience involved broken hydraulics on a flight departing from Orlando, which meant we were put up in a hotel for the night, but with no luggage so I had to run across an 8-lane highway to go to Walgreen's for provisions. And then the next morning, my flight was delayed because of snow in Minneapolis - I thought it was an April Fool's joke since it was April 1, but nope, once we finally got in the city looked like a winter wonderland.

CaliGirlED said...

That's a tragic story, why the hell am I almost in tears from laughing so hard?!! You are a mess Roz!

angelasherell said...

Should have flown in to BWI.  The Baltimore Harbor is just as nice.   (DC native)

MichelleG said...

This was me last weekend in ATL on AirTran. We returned to the gate TWICE. I got to the airport 3:30 for a 5pm flight (I knew they were overbooked because of all the graduations and didn't want any trouble) and after trekking round and round the runways, returning to the gate so we could get food (small mercies)  we finally were cleared to take off around 10:30pm. Received a very nice apology letter yesterday but apparently they forgot to include the coupon code for my inconvenience. Hope you make it home safely.

GrownAzzMan said...

This is so well timed. I am just back from a week's vacation and was all set to curse the travel gods about the shiggity that is Southwest Airlines, Avis rent-a-wreck and SuperShuttle until I read this. Your story wins. Like Sarah said there is a whole volume of Murphy's law book for travel. I hope you make it home without any more drama.

GrownAzzMan said...

Can't do it without the matching gators...LOL Can't do it!

CaliGirlED said...

Did you say "Avis rent-a-wreck"? DEAD

GrownAzzMan said...

rozb done done it again. *dead*

Brneyed1 said...

Bad travel ju-ju...*sigh*.  I feel you on that one.
The only bad time I had on vacation travel wasd the adventure in the airport I experience in Hawaii.  I was scheduled to fly home on what was the first day airlines were allowed back into the air following 9/11.  The line just to get INTO the airport was at least a mile long.  I think I might have been there for 8 hours total.  I felt bad for everyone who had flights scheduled that got canceled due to the shutdown.  The airlines were having "lotteries" to determine who of the standbys would be getting on each plane.  You best believe tensions were high!

Real bad travel ju-ju always happens on work trips: I've trekked from terminal to terminal in O'Hare more times than I care to count, spent the night in Lambert (St. Louis) after a snowstorm the weather people said "had a 10% chance" of happening, had to buy all new clothes because the airline lost my luggage (which didn't get "found" until the day I was scheduled to return home), and sat on the tarmac for so long they ran out of peanuts and the toilets stopped working.

Leopard_Print_Pumps said...

Only airline that has AA beat is US Airways. US Airways = the devil (Jesus be another airline). I and my loved ones have had more negative experiences on that godforsaken airline than we care to remember. Hope you make it back in one piece. 

Mykeia said...

Dang.  This sounds soooo bad and yet sooooo funny at the same time.  Sorry Roz. :-(

Mykeia said...

I hope that you make it home safely and soon.
I have had bad travel ju-ju and because of it I will NEVER meet my husband in a different city than our home town when he is coming from and international flight.  Won't. Happen. Ever. Again.
Long story short...The day that we are supposed to meet at 11pm, all day I say the phrase: Nothing bad will happen today...everything is going to be fine.
Nope.
I am over the limit for liquids, the brother in D.C. lets me go after I tell him I have not seem my hubby in nine weeks so I have to have my smell goods...he let's me through.  I have a snow globe for my mom that a flight attendant sneaks on the plane for me..We're good so far. (My mom and her snow globes.)
I land at nine p.m. and turn on my phone and my mom says, "Have you talked to your husband?...well he said that he is about to go to jail."--Not good.
I call him, his flight did not make the connection and he will be stuck in Cali for the night.
I am in Seattle when I could have been home. Pissed.  I cry at the front desk of the hotel, the attendant is shocked.
The hubby makes it to Seattle at eight am, fine.
Train ride home first and last time for the hubby.  Train is delayed, toilet issues...fixed two hours later.  Fine we're on our way.  Some dummy runs the light and the train has to do an emergency stop...30 minute delay.
Make it home...my suv does not start. 
Make it into my home, my dog-sitter has not been dog sitting and I have piles of dog poop in each room.
Good times.

rozb said...

Every trip after that seemed so much better! That's why I still laugh my A- off when I watch Ben Stiller in the airport in Meet the Fockers. I feel his pain!

blackprofessor said...

I was in the MD area this past week attending the graduation of my cousin who got her doctorate and it was wet from all the rain then it turned hot.  No bueno!
Folks need to learn their commencement etiquette. We were sitting in front of some dude who had a 20 minute conversation on his cell phone during the middle of the ceremony! WDDDA???  Everyone and their mama was side-eyeing him and he kept right on talking. To make matters worse, he was Indian and speaking another language so all you heard was this nonstop jibberish for 20 minutes.  I am so surprised that no one slapped the crap out of him because he got some dirty looks and was oblivious to them.  SMH!
Get home safe Chele!

rozb said...

Oh wow. You take the prize. I am so sorry this happened to you (especially coming home to dog "gifts").  :/ Geesh.

rozb said...

Comment meant for Mykeia.

SassyJJ said...

*winces* ohhhh, the Parkway.  I feel like shooting random tires when I'm going a good 65 (in a 55) and then BAM traffic.  Normally right around the 95 and 32 turnoffs.  Then I get mad at myself for not taking the long way around. Le Boo.  

FYI- National Harbor is supposed to be getting a high-end strip mall in the next few years (think Coach, Saks, etc etc.  But, uh, for all realness, National Harbor is right down the street from the "hood" part of Prince George's! ha

SassyJJ said...

That's what I'm not understanding!!!!  Whenever I'm in Baltimore during the hell-hot days, there's like a hustle at every street light!

ASmith said...

Oh dear Chele... dear Chele...


Things I DO NOT miss: DC traffic.  They can take that bullshiggity and shove it someplace.  DC traffic makes NOOOO type of sense.  My very first night in DC, I sat in traffic at 2:00am.  No joke.  Only place worse that I know of is Atlanta, but I hear Houston is turrible... not trying to find out for sure any time soon.National Harbor is a lovely place.  So terrible that it was in my last months in DC that I finally went.There was the Memorial Day wknd mini-vacay that I only took because a couple of my friends were insistent that I visit... only to have them both basically ditch me.  "we thought you came to see (enter 3rd friend who I didn't tell I was coming until a few days before...) but that's not really what we're talking about here, huh?Umm... lemme thank...nawl, nothing comes to mind.

CorettaJG said...

I second your comment Angel.  I'm less than 10 minutes from Reagan National in Arlington.   But Chele, you made it home just in time to jump in the tub from the tornado sirens.  You should have stayed and let us get the Bougie faithful together.  

And shout out to the stylish HBCU graduates.  Tuskegee's graduation is always on Mother's Day, so in addition, to the Parisian fashions, 5 inch heels, and cat daddy's, there are lots of moms in big hats and bigger corsages.  :)  Gotta love it.

Iced_Coffee_Sweet_Tea_Diva said...

We got snowed in on our last night in Steamboat Springs, CO and had to stay over and wait for the the airport to try to open on Sunday.  It did, and while we were waiting at the airport our flight was cancelled because of weather delays - but we got on the last flight out, with the counter staff promising to contact Denver and let them know that two dozen tired and sick travelers (two had really bad cases of the flu) were hustling to make the connection to LAX.  They didn't keep that promise, and after run-ning through the airport we found no plane and no one who gave a da*n!  I politely stepped up on the luggage scale area, stared down at the reservations agents who didn't want to be bothered, and schooled them on the realities of accommodating displaced passengers.  Upshot: shuttles to the hotel, individual rooms and meal vouchers for everyone on the airline's dime.  And to make sure that I didn't have to school the morning shift or call the corporate office, they booked us on the first flight out.  Some luggage took longer to arrive (four days) but they made good for everyone.  

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