Where to begin,
where to begin... well I suppose I might as well get the good
stuff out of the way first since there was very little of it. Re
and I recently went back to the East coast for my friend's
wedding and to hangout with some friends 'n family back in
Richmond. Seeing everybody again was just as fun as expected,
and amazingly, the girl even showed up at the wedding to marry
my buddy Lucas despite his penchant for thunderous public
flatulence. Good times all around.
But let's backtrack a little bit. On Tuesday the 13th, we headed
out of Burbank, CA on a red-eye flight through Jet Blue Airlines
to JFK airport in New York for a connecting flight that was
supposed to take us down to Richmond, VA. The flight out of
Burbank went perfect. The plane was right on time, Walker Texas
Ranger and Conan O'Brien were playing on the TV and we even
arrived at JFK a little bit early. Everything seemed to be going
And that's pretty much where the good news ended.
We got to JFK sometime shortly after 5am and when we had
arrived, our connecting flight was still "on time" with no
apparent delays. But shortly after we got to our gate, the
announcement came up that our flight was delayed for about 30
minutes. Sure, it sucks to be delayed an extra 30 minutes when
you're only an hour away from your final destination, but worse things
have happened in the history of mankind. No big deal.
About an hour passed and still no flight, then they changed the
notice to say it was delayed for yet another 30 minutes or so.
Great. So not only had we waited twice as long as they had said
it would take, but now we were gonna have to wait another half
hour? Oh, if only we knew that the nightmare had only just
begun. More than a half hour passes (again) and we're eventually
told that our plane will be leaving soon, but from a different
gate. So we all rush off to the new gate location only to
discover that our plane is delayed again.
Time continues to pass and we get yet another gate change, this
time it's the very last gate in the airport and we figure that
at least they can't send us any farther down the line. That is,
unless they wanted to make us stand outside in the cold on the
tarmac while we waited for the flight to arrive. You know, just
for kicks. Hey, at that point, I wouldn't put it past 'em.
Unfortunately, while they may have not been able to move us,
they sure as hell could keep us waiting there at our gate. And
keep us waiting they did.
The notices on the departure billboard about our flight delays
continued to increase in hour-long increments. Eventually, all
of the flights in the airport had been cancelled EXCEPT ours.
Our flight was even mysteriously vanished from the departures
billboard at random intervals, only to pop back up later on with
additional delays. Wondering what was up, we spoke with some of
the other would-be passengers who had just talked with one of
the Jet Blue reps. They said our flight was the only one that
had a good chance of leaving the airport that day, but they
couldn't say when. Furthermore, we were informed that all of the
update times we had been seeing on the billboard were
inaccurate. No really? After seeing those delay times go by one
after another for half the day, pretty much everybody was
laughing at any updates that were posted by that point. "Hey
look everyone! Only 1 more hour 'til our flight leaves!" (cue
Having been fed up with waiting, we asked if we could just get
our bags back so we could make arrangements to get a car or stay
in a hotel. Nope, apparently our bags were in that "airport
limbo zone of mystery" where not a single person on earth could
retrieve them for us. I imagine that if I ever visit the Bermuda
Triangle, I'll see lots of unclaimed luggage floating around.
Soon the day became night as the delay notices continued to pile
on every hour or so. Around 7:30pm we finally heard from one of
the actual pilots that our flight had been officially cancelled
and that there would be no other flights to our destination
until Friday. Gee, it only took them about 15 hours to tell us
According to them, now all we all had to do was head on down to
the luggage area to try finding our bags and then figure out
just what in the hell we were gonna do next. Of course, when we
got to the luggage area, there was a huge line for the help desk
with people from our flight and other Jet Blue flights wanting
to know where their stuff was. We were all told that our flight
numbers would be called out on the overhead speakers and we just
needed to sit tight.
Two more hours went by and still not a peep about our luggage. I
got fed up and started wandering in and out of all the luggage
carousels, knowing full well that I probably wouldn't find our
bags. The thing is, after you've been in an airport for over 17
hours, you'll do just about anything to distract yourself.
Reading the ingredients on snack packages, counting how many
times the crazy old lady gets up to check the flight status
billboard in an hour, see if the bathroom on the other end of
the airport is any better than the one right next to your gate,
etc. etc. It's all part of the distraction game and every last
one of us plays it during situations like this.
Anyway, I get to the last carousel and what do I see in the
middle of a huge pile of suitcases? Yep, our luggage. They
hadn't even announced on the speakers that the bags from our
flight had been unloaded, and in all likeliness, they had been
there when we first arrived. Kinda makes you wonder how much
longer they would've waited to announce it. I'm guessing we
wouldn't been stuck there for another couple o' hours at least.
What really annoyed me was how they could've just let us take
our luggage earlier that morning had they removed it from the
"airport limbo zone of mystery," rather than yanking our chains
for an ENTIRE DAY. At least then we could've left the airport at
a reasonable time and made other plans.
I'm not big on Valentine's Day, but I can think of MANY better
ways to spend it than sitting in a fucking airport all day long.
Amazingly, we didn't even have the worst of it. You might have
heard on the news about how Jet Blue actually kept some people
waiting in the airplanes all day long, just sitting there on the
tarmac. Why they couldn't drive some of those staircase trucks
up to the planes and let people off is beyond me. Had such a
thing happened to us, I'd be typing up this story from a prison
cell after having killed my way off the plane.
Rather than get back in line so I could yell at the "luggage
help desk" people, we decided that since we had already spent an
entire day of our vacation at JFK airport, it was time to get
the hell out of there. As you can imagine, all the local hotels
were completely booked, so we rented a car instead.
Surprisingly, they had plenty of cars still available. I guess
most people were afraid to drive in the winter weather. Not me.
Then again, most people weren't stuck at the airport all day
long since 5am.
The car rental place gave us a Monte Carlo and with that, we
headed down the highway in our recently acquired purple
pimpmobile. Believe it or not, we drove in shifts all the way to
Maryland before finally crashing. No, not the car, I mean
crashing as in sleep. In all honesty, I could've easily made it
to Richmond on sheer anger by that point, but we wanted to get
some shuteye so we wouldn't waste the entire next day sleeping
While sleeping at the hotel was as comforting as the sweet
release of death by that point, taking a shower there was as
cleansing as a swim in Jersey. The shower head was one of those
"waterfall" style ones that try to make it seem like you're
under a warm, comforting rain. Normally, those shower heads
achieve this effect nicely. This one, having no water pressure
whatsoever, made it seem like I was under an unsettling stream
of lukewarm urine. Oh don't worry, I was still able to wash the
shampoo out of my hair... in the sink.
Later the next morning, we left the hotel, made our way down to
Richmond, and our nightmarish travel experiences had finally
Or so we thought.
After spending the remainder of our short vacation with friends
and family, we headed to D.C. on Saturday night to stay in a
hotel for the new day and then catch an early flight back home
on Monday morning. Everything was going fine in this hotel when
we checked in on Saturday night. The bed was there with no dead
hookers stuffed in the mattress, the shower actually worked, and
all the food was way overpriced. In other words - everything was
exactly what I'd expect from a decent hotel.
What I didn't expect was how our room was on the floor where an
entire junior high hockey league was staying that night. How did
I know that they were staying on my floor? Why, it's because
they decided to warm up for a game by holding a practice
scrimmage right there in the hallways the very next morning at
7am! Who needs that wake-up call when you can rise to the sounds
of hockey sticks and pucks crashing into your door? So I opened
the door and roared something about how people were trying to
sleep and they went silent. Then a few minutes later, the game
resumed as if I hadn't even said anything. Amazing. Not wanting
to have "assaulting minors with a hockey stick" on my arrest
record, I decided to call the front desk and they finally got
some security guy up there to get rid of the hyper lil' bastards
once 'n for all. I'd like to think he shoved the hockey sticks
up the asses of those kids' parents, but things like that only
happen in a perfect world.
Could this sports awakening be a sign that our travels back West
weren't going to be any easier than our journey to the East
coast? Yes, apparently it was.
Instead of getting to spend Sunday relaxing at the hotel and
hanging out friends in D.C., we heard it through the grapevine
that all Jet Blue flights had been cancelled. Sure enough, when
we checked on the status of our flight, it showed up as being
canceled. To make matters worse, there weren't any other flights
Being at our wits end with Jet Blue, we told them to forget
about rescheduling our flights and to just give us our money
back which they did (though we're still waiting to hear how
they're gonna make up for the huge JFK airport debacle). We then
booked a new flight with United Airlines. They had a flight
going out of Dulles airport to Denver and then to Burbank.
Problem was, the flight was that same afternoon, so we had to
rush to get packed, return our rental car and make it to the
airport. But hey, at least we had a flight!
Oh wait, did I say we had a flight that day? No, according to
the teller at the United Airlines ticket counter, we somehow had
a flight booked for the following day. Well that's just great.
Here we were at the airport, having rushed our asses off to get
there on time only to discover that they booked us on the wrong
After arguing with the ticket lady for a while, she finally
informed us that they had a flight we could take, but it was at
the OTHER airport in D.C. – Reagan International. Even better,
it was leaving in an hour and we had to rush if we were gonna
catch it. So, we paid 35 bux to some "super" van company to rush
us to the airport. Of course, they were driving some other
customers riding in the van to other destinations too and guess
who was last on their list of stops? Yep, we were. Of course we
We arrive at the airport, go through security and are notified
that we have just been randomly selected for an extra thorough
screening some shit. They take us aside and give us a full
search, checking through all our stuff, testing our shoes and
bags to make sure we didn't have any bombs hidden inside them or
whatever the hell it is they test for. Now I'm all for secure
airports, but goddamnit, we had a flight to catch! I'm pretty
sure my belt wasn't a bomb, but thanks for checking anyway,
buddy. Wanna give me a full cavity search just to make sure I
don't have any TNT shoved up my ass while you're at it?
They finally let us pass through the security checkpoint and we
rush to our gate. Yes! We made it! We're on our way home! The
madness is over!
"Hello! Welcome to United Airlines, how may I help you? Oh
you're here for the Denver flight? Sorry, it's been delayed a
little bit while we wait to de-ice the plane."
Our flight was delayed a half hour and I feared it would be a
repeat of our JFK delays, but we were assured that the plane was
definitely leaving that night. Amazingly, we were in the air
soon enough and on our way to Denver. As an added bonus,
however, we sat directly in front of a mother and her whining
infant for the entire 6-hour flight. I swear, they should have
flights that ONLY parents and their kids can ride on, that way
they annoy the hell out of each other instead of the rest of us
who are just trying to make it from Point A to Point B without
wanting to murder someone.
Well, we arrived in Denver just in time to learn that our
connecting flight had left 4 minutes earlier. In other words, "HAHAHA
WE KNOW YOU'VE HAD A ROUGH TIME, BUT WE THOUGHT WE'D GIVE YOU AN
EXTRA KICK IN THE NUTS AND NOT WAIT AN EXTRA 4 MINUTES FOR YOU
GUYS EVEN THOUGH WE KNEW YOUR PLANE WAS DELAYED!"
There were no more flights to Burbank going out of Denver that
night either. Oh the laughs we were having that night, I tell ya.
We rushed to the United "help desk" along with several other
passengers who were in the same predicament, and found out there
was a flight going to LAX in a half hour. Sure, it wasn't
Burbank, but it was still in Los Angeles. Close enough.
Here's the kicker though. They wouldn't let any of us get our
luggage even though our flight was gone and there were no more
flights to Burbank that night. Nope, for some insane reason, our
luggage had to be put in "storage" for the night and would then
be put on the next flight to Burbank in the morning. So even
though we were taking the flight to L.A., we would need to get
up the next morning, drive to Burbank airport and HOPE that our
luggage would arrive.
With nothing to lose, we accepted the offer and took the flight
to LAX. On the flight, I had the (dis)pleasure of sitting next
to some pathetic guy who bought himself a copy of the Sports
Illustrated swimsuit issue. He tried to play it off like he was
just reading it for the articles, but it was clear that this was
just his way of tiding himself over until he could get back home
to some REAL porn. After he finished "reading" he actually got
up to stretch, but he was clearly adjusting his lower regions
since he had unknowingly stored some WOOD in his pants. Guess he
wasn't searched thoroughly at the security checkpoint, otherwise
they surely would've found his "weapon".
After we landed, we still had to spend an extra 30 minutes
sitting on the tarmac while they tried to figure out where to
put the plane. Another 30 minutes sitting next to Pervo McGee?
Sign me up!
Finally, they let us off the plane and we bolted out of the
airport and John (Dr. Boogie) was cool enough to give us a ride
back to Burbank. We were home, without our luggage, but at least
we were home. Back in the land of sunshine (even though it was
late night and raining at the time). We didn't care. We were
The next morning I woke up and headed on over to Burbank (Bob
Hope) airport to catch the first arriving flight from Denver,
expecting to never see our luggage again. Amazingly enough, our
luggage did arrive and it was all perfectly ok. Our trip started
off well in Burbank and ended well in Burbank. I think I've
learned two lessons here:
1) Don't travel if there's even the slightest hint of bad
weather (even if the airlines are all saying everything is "on
2) Don't ever leave Burbank again.
So that's my
travel nightmare story. It felt like I was stuck in a scene from
Trains and Automobiles" in which anything that
could go wrong, would. Now that it's all over with, I can at
least look back and laugh at all of the madness we went through
in our travels. It's gonna be interesting to see what Jet Blue
does to make good with all of their customers that they screwed
over at JFK airport that day (and believe me, there were a LOT
of people). I was told that I'll receive a notice from them in
the next month about what they're going to do.
Within the next
month!? Well, it's faster than waiting for one of their flights
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
The Junk Drawer Of My Despair!