My flight to NYC today (for Dharma Mittra's teacher training) was on an American Airlines MD-80.
I wasn't aware of the importance of this until I received an e-mail from Catesey this morning, asking me about the type of plane I was flying on.
Sure enough, it's one of the myriad planes grounded by American Airlines. Hundreds of flights have been canceled.
(It's a Boeing plane, by the way. After receiving many tax breaks, Boeing relocated its headquarters to Chicago).
Sure enough, my flight was cancelled, too.
(Now I am 3 for 3, with flights cancellations from ORD to LGA).
But this time I was not immediately rebooked.
This time I was told to call American Airlines to rebook.
I started calling.
When they picked up, the voicemail said all the agents were busy, and to call back later.
Every time I got past that noise and was on hold for an agent, I got a fast busy signal. Nada.
I kept calling. For hours.
Using the other line, I also booked a flight on United for $300. Just in case.
I looked into a flight on Southwest, even though I'd prefer not to fly from Midway to Long Island (although my friend there said she'd pick me up, no problem).
I talked to Dreyfus about driving out east, or taking a train.
Echoes of 9/11, only not as dire.
I came up with plan B, C and D.
I waited for the travel agent to open at 9AM.
In the interim I dialed and dialed.
Gridlife's advice was to keep calling; it was like trying to get Cubs tickets. If I perservered, eventually I'd get through.
He's the Travel Answer Man, so I didn't give up.
He was right of course.
Finally, after two hours, I got through and was put on hold.
No busy signal this time.
This time I heard that glorious waiting music.
And I waited.
Fortunately I have a headset phone and was able to finish packing while I waited.
And wash dishes.
And take out the garbage.
Finally I heard a live human voice.
I was happy to hear it.
The voice booked me on a United flight leaving at 5PM - the earliest she could get me out.
This meant I would miss Catesey's play tonight.
So after hanging up I called United.
If mom says no, ask dad.
After some confusion (my fault), United canceled the 2PM flight I'd booked earlier, and re-booked me a "courtesy" seat on it.
Now I'm off to the airport, hoping the ticketing agent has access to the same information I do.