Friday, June 3, 2011
This story is really going to expose how naive I am. Thankfully, I am able to laugh at myself and don't usually mind if others laugh as well. There is no reason to take yourself too seriously. In my defense, this was the first time I had flown on a commercial airline. When I was very young we flew in a small, private plane. My dad's cousin was the pilot and all I remember is looped-e-loops and feeling very nauseous, but also how amazing everything looked from the air. My Grandma Bessie used to fly from Colorado down to Tucson about once a year and spend a week or two with us. I remember the excitement anticipating her arrival and the bittersweet watching her board the plane to go back. This was back before 9-11 and long security lines and we could go right to the gate with Grandma. Fast forward to 2006 and Bret and I decide to fly down to Phoenix and look for an apartment for him. He had enrolled at UTI (automotive). Bret had only flown once before. The tickets said we should arrive about 2 hours before departure, so we planned accordingly. We stopped at Fuel B's in Ellicott for a bathroom break and coffee. Lo and behold their sat my cousin, Johnny, who I hadn't seen in years. We talked for a few minutes (ok, I like to talk, so quite a few minutes) Back in the car and on the road. I had done my research online and found a place for affordable, extended parking since we would be gone a few days. Finally, find the place and get parked and Bret and I realize we might need to hurry a little. We catch the shuttle (had not calculated this wait in the plan) to the airport. I am incredibly directionally challenged. I did not learn North, South, East, West until I married Randy. Bret, though he says he has improved a lot, inherited my lack of direction. We ended up at the wrong kiosk and wasted a bit of time trying to print our boarding pass. Then, on to SECURITY. The line was like a mile long, weaving back and forth. Having never flown, I had never been through security. Again, not in the itinerary I had carefully calculated. It's 15 minutes before our flight is scheduled to leave. I called Michelle on my cell and she sounded concerned. She said she wondered if it was wise for Bret and I to travel together and she suggested we politely push past a bunch of people and get closer to the front. Those of you who know me, know that I am not that bold! We finally get to the guy and hand him our passes. I asked if he thought we would make our flight. He chuckled and said, "Time will tell". I thought he was rather rude and uncaring. Now, for the naive part. Having never flown, I thought if you missed your flight, you just had to go back home and were out the money! And to me, this was a LOT of money. I had no inkling that they could just put you on the next available flight. Next we get on a train (didn't know to schedule for this) that takes us to the concourse. We get off and hear our names over the P.A. system. Yvonne Petrie and Bret Petrie please report to gate whatever, your plane is about to depart. Here I am in sandals with a heavy carry on and Bret and I begin to run! Talk about embarrassing! We finally get to the gate and there is no one there! the door is shut. I try to open it. It is locked. I yell to the lady at the next gate, who along with the rest of the people in the area are staring at us. She runs down and knocks on the door and someone opens it. I start to go in and she says, "Wait, they might not let you board." The attendant comes back,opens the door and lets us walk down the ramp and onto the plane. My friend who used to work for Southwest told me later that we were very lucky. They never do that. This was a Southwest flight. No assigned seats. There were exactly 2 seats left and they were not together. I'm walking down the aisle with approximately 50 seated passengers giving me "THE LOOK" and the attendant points out the last seat for me. I have to say in all the movies I'd seen, flying seemed so glamorous (must have been 1st class, or Air Force One) Seriously, did they really expect people to be squished like sardines? And the noise! It sounded like the engine was about to fall out and the plane was shaking. Yikes! Two hours later we land in Phoenix and Bret and I are completely lost. We ask a nice volunteer for directions out of the airport. Now, Bret realizes that the phone number for the person who is supposed to pick us up is in the seat of the car parked back in Denver! He somehow remembers the number of the UTI scout who got him into this deal and gets the other guy's number from him. He picks us up and it's June and the thermometer in the car reads 112 degrees! Wow. What we learned from apartment hunting in Phoenix in that kind of heat is ICE CREAM is the only way to cool off. It cools you off from the inside. Water just doesn't do the trick. The flight home and every flight I've taken since has been much less dramatic. I have a fear of being late and being humiliated so I get there with tons of time to spare.