Thursday, February 09, 2006

In honor of Valentine's day, an unromantic honeymoon story

Per DJ's request.

For reasons I would rather not elaborate, we were running a little late heading home from our honeymoon. Ordinarily DOB's . . . ummm . . . assertive driving skills would have resolved the problem, but even he cannot drive on water. We missed the ferry boat by three cars. Still, we thought there was hope that we might have time to just make our flight even after the next crossing.

In hopes of expediting our arrival, we swallowed our pride and called His Majesty, who at the time worked at the airport, asking him to meet us at the curb. We got the ribbing we expected, but it was worth it to have some help unloading the four boxes and four bags into which I had crammed the last of the worldly goods with which I had endowed DOB.

But we arrived at the airport only a couple of minutes before the check-in deadline. Thinking all was hopeless, I did not utter the flight number as I alighted upon the curb--it turned out later that had I done so, they could have expedited us to the departing flight. Instead, they hastily rebooked us, checked the four boxes, and provided us with only a half-hour to get ourselves through Monday-morning lines and out to the gate to catch the next flight.

Ordinarily when DOB has to transverse such long distances, he requests a wheelchair. Waiting for a wheelchair in an airport is a very iffy business, and what with it being Monday morning it was more iffy than usual. After fifteen or twenty minutes in which no wheelchair had appeared, we gave up and decided to transport ourselves and four remaining bags on foot. We reached the security lines, which were long and slow.

DOB requested of the gatekeeper that we be permitted to go through the handicapped line, what with him not only having trouble standing, but us being about to miss our flight because we had waited so long for a wheelchair. The gatekeeper was adamant that people without wheelchairs could not go through the handicapped line, no matter how much in need of a wheelchair they might be. DOB was summoning his long-honed debate skills to tell the fellow exactly what he thought of such a policy, and I was in surrender making my way through the long, slow, ordinary line, when a nearly-miraculous intervention appeared.

A lady in our airline's uniform, not clearing five feet even in heels, was marching through the airport calling our flight number. In her wake came a collection of worried travelers, and before her the crowds parted and even recalcitrant gatekeepers bowed in reverence. We immediately joined her entourage and found ourselves whisked through security, through the tram (which under our guide's supervision traveled faster than usual), and to our gate just as they were calling our names one last time before they shut the doors.

We crammed ourselves and our bags in and the flight took off. Thanks to our last minute booking, our seats were separated, but someone was kind enough to switch with us so that we could sit together. Another little change was that our flight went through Detroit instead of Minneapolis. The airline did manage to provide a wheelchair in Detroit, along with a gregarious wheelchair pusher, which was good because as usual our incoming flight was several miles from the departing one, and it left out of air travel purgatory--the unfinished wing of the Detroit airport which contains no seats, bathrooms, or cheery little food places. Fortunately airlines still served food in those days, because we certainly had no time to buy any.

When all was said and done, we made it to Dayton at about the time we had been originally scheduled to arrive.

But we haven't caught our breath since.

1 comment:

the Joneses said...

Thanks for the post :)

When Sara, her mom, and I went up to visit my mom and dad over Addie's first birthday, we had a similar experience in the Toronto airport. We ended up traversing the entire airport twice (I misread which gate we were going to), and by the time we got to the plane, they had to open the door to let us on. Addie enjoyed being carried at such a fast clip; I didn't enjoy being the carrier.