Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Stuck in Chicago

Off topic a little bit, but oh well. It's Sunday evening. I should be in Minneapolis. But I'm not. I'm in Chicago at the lovely airport Hilton, a destination many a way-layed traveler knows about. Overall it could be worse, as I could be sleeping on the floor of the airport. But it's not all Heavenly Beds and honor bars.

My flight out of Pittsburgh today was at about 4:40 pm today. I got to the airport to discover the flight was delayed 20 minutes. Okay, no biggie. I can still make the connector out of Ohare. Well, once the flight took off, the usual midair time warp took care of any chance I had of making my connector. And of course, the other two possible flights to Minneapolis were booked solid. So, the woman on the counter said she could put me on a 7:00am flight Monday morning. She then asked, "which would you like to do?"

I replied with, "well, you haven't given me a choice.".

She said, "I need you to make a decision."

"On what? A decision implies options. You've given me one option. So guess what I'm gonna pick."

But wait, there's more.

I asked what they would be doing to set me up in a hotel. Answer? Nothing. She checked the system and found that the reason for the delay out of Pitt was for "cleaning". Meaning the time spent pulling the soda cans, newspapers, banana peels, and lost wallets out of the seatbacks. Because it was not a "mechanical issue", the hotel is not United's responsibility. I asked her why the plane was delayed into Pitt to begin with, and she said she didn't have that information. The best she could do was give me a voucher for a $99 rate at the aforementioned Hilton. Nice. Thank goodness for company expense reports.

Oh by the way, when I got on the flight in Pitt, the luggage racks were already full. So they made me check my roll-aboard. Which means it ain't with me now. While the friendly United customer care representative assured me it would be on the same plane as me the next morning, that don't give me no fresh underwear. The customer care rep then pulled out "Emergency Kit."

The emergency kit consists of everything you might need if you're stuck in a foreign city without your luggage. While one might think it includes fresh underwear, a toothbrush, and perhaps a sixpack of Rolling Rock, one would be mostly wrong. It contains:

-A toothbrush witha really short handle (Imagine breaking the handle of your toothbrush in half. That's what it's like to use).
-A tiny tube of Rembrandt toothpaste (so that's who buys Rembrandt toothpaste)
-A 2-inch long comb (for my eyebrows?)
-A bottle of Sea Salt body wash (sure hope I don't have any open cuts).
-A bottle of Sea Marine moisturizing shampoo (so I can smell like a Marine who's been at Sea?)
-A bottle of Marine Collagen conditioner (taken from the lips of real Marines?)
-A bottle of Hydrating Body Butter (So I stay moist while roasting?)
-A really dangerous looking disposable razor
-A tube of Transactive Foamless Shave Cream (I never really thought of shaving as a "transaction" before)
-A pipette full of Green Tea Eu De Toilette (which smelled surprisingly like a toilet someone poured tea into)
-This strangely designed cylinder about the size of half a roll of quarters, with no text on it except the word "deodorant". Oh, and when you push up on the bottom, the deodorant flies across the room.
-A brochure describing how I should be prepared to be revitalized by the sea, followed by two pages of small print describing the chemicals combined in these products to create the illusion of "the sea".

The next morning worked out far better. My 7am flight was on time, and my luggage was waiting for me in the bag claim office. So overall, I've been through worse. But never smelling like sea salt.

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