I usually don’t have any problems when traveling. I book my flights well in advance and get my seat assignments well in advance, too. I always make sure that I have my hotel all set and double check my rental car.
So, last week, I went to Minneapolis, MN to take some SharePoint Portal Server training from the master himself, Bill English. I consider Bill to be a good friend as well as a colleague in this business. He is one of the truely great guys out there.
Anyways, the flight there went great. No problems with the rental car nor the hotel. It was a pretty good trip. It was good, that is, until it was time to come back home.
I got to the airport and found that they gave my seat away and I had to go to the gate to get another seat assignment. This in itself pissed me off. I selected that seat and selected that flight just so I could get a good seat.
I got to the gate and asked for a seat assignment only to be told, "I am too busy right now, I will call you when I am ready. It will probably be right before boarding." There was only one person working the gate, so I can bet she was as busy as she could be just getting everything set up. I cut her some slack. However, 10 minutes later, she was just sitting there doing nothing, so I asked her again. This time she said, "Didn’t I tell you to wait?" in a pretty pesky tone. I don’t put up with this kind of crap so I said, "Perhaps you are just too busy to get it all done, so let’s get a supervisor down here to help out. Would you like me to call the station manager?" I used to work as an Airline Liaison for the military for almost a year before I became a geek, so I have all of the key phone numbers for all of the key people in the industry still in my contacts list, and I keep in contact with most of them. She gave me a nasty look, so I said, "The last I heard so and so was the station manager here. Is he still the man? I have his home number right here." Two seconds later I had a seat assignment.
OK, so I have my seat assignment, and we all board the plane on time. After we all get settled in, we are told there are problems with one of the power converters and they are needing some time to replace it. After half an hour they say that the converter was replaced but now the co-pilot’s computer is down and they need to replace some circuit boards. After another hour, they say that they still can’t get it working so we are going to get another plane.
Off we go back into the terminal, we wait for the plane to be brought in, and then reboard. Halfway through boarding the pilot comes on the intercom and begs everyone to hurry up and get seated as if we don’t button up the plane in 5 minutes then they will have bring in another crew. All holy hell breaks out as everyone scrambles for a seat except one guy that just stands next to his seat looking around like he thought he was supposed to be on another planet. Finally, then get him seated, and away we go.
All in all, it wasn’t too bad. I still made it home, it just happened to be 5 hours later than scheduled.