Archive for February, 2019

Jackson Hole Here We Come……….Eventually!!!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

The few readers of my blog may recall my dissatisfaction with American Airlines when we flew to New Mexico in September. Nevertheless, my wife was determined to use up the remainder of her sky miles as a gold member and fly to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for a romp in the snow.

A few Sundays ago (20th January 2019) we were scheduled to leave Atlanta on an 8.00am flight for Jackson Hole via Dallas. We were  mindful of the effect that the Government shut down was having on TSA security agents at some airports, so we rose at 4am to leave at 5am for the airport. By 5.40am we were making our way through security with very little obstruction.

However, upon arrival at our gate we quickly read the sign hovering over our heads: “Flight Departure delayed until The clock ticked slowly towards the appointed hour when the public address system announced that we were waiting the arrival of another flight attendant from an incoming plane, and we would be boarding shortly. It concluded by saying: “Thank you for your patience.” This was a phrase that would resonate with us for the remainder of the day.

We finally left at 9.40am which meant that our window of opportunity to catch our connecting flight in Dallas was severely reduced. We eventually landed at Dallas which left us with very little time to catch our connection to Jackson. To make matters worse, it was the only flight of the day on American Airlines. The flight attendants made no attempt to phone our connecting flight,  but  made a cursory request for passengers on our flight to remain in their seats to allow the hapless few like ourselves  to make an attempt to catch the  connecting flight. Needless to say nobody complied with that request and we wasted precious minutes attempting to leave the plane.

We finally made it onto the concourse and my wife approached an airport employee who was leaning on a wheelchair. I’m not sure what words were exchanged between them, but he offered to push her in the wheel chair from Concourse A to Concourse C where we were attempting to catch our connection. Apparently she told the guy she was fitter and younger than her husband and they both beckoned me to take a seat in the wheelchair. I thought why not? My suitcase was placed underneath the seat and we set off at great speed through the airport. We took an elevator up a couple of floors to the airport train. I was  wheeled onto the train which departed for Concourse C, and  eventually arrived at our gate. To no great surprise the plane had departed.

I stepped out of the wheelchair and the pusher stood expectantly in front of me waiting for a tip. My initial reaction was  not to tip him because our great dash through one of America’s biggest airports had failed. The pusher hovered over me for what appeared to be an interminable time. I finally addressed him, and said: ” I’m afraid I only have a $20 bill.” He replied in a gruff, assertive tone: ” I have change. How much do you want to give?” I said: ” Give me $15 back.” He grudgingly gave me my change and disappeared into the madding crowd.

We trudged slowly to the customer service counter to explain our plight. We were resigning ourselves to spending the night in Dallas courtesy of my favorite airline when lo and behold we came across an American employee who was actually competent. She hit the keyboards on her computer for several minutes and announced: : “I have booked you on a United Airlines flight to Denver, and subsequently onto a connecting flight to Jackson Hole. Thank you for your patience and enjoy the rest of your day.” We landed at Jackson Airport twelve hours after we left Atlanta, bemused, bedraggled, but unbroken.

I wondered whether our checked bag would make the trip to Jackson Hole considering we had switched airlines not to mention two connections. My wife told me to have faith in the airlines’ computer systems, and within a few minutes of standing by the carousel our bag cruised around the corner into my welcoming arms. The vacation in the snow was thankfully back on track.