Picture If You Will. ..
TO PARAPHRASE DOUGLAS MACARTHUR (Under 40? Look him up.), “I have returned from Texas.”
A visit with the Family is now checked off our summer “to-do” list and, like most trip to Texas it exceeded our quota of Airline Weirdness.
It seems that every time we fly to Texas the airline (it doesn’t matter which one – Southwest this time) manages to slip over into The Twilight Zone. This time they outdid themselves.
We had a 2 ½ hour delay trying to get out of Corpus Christi. The airport there has only six gates, but they have delusions of 175 gates for all the drama.
We were scheduled to leave at 12:35 PM. Our plane finally arrived at 3:25PM – BUT-the plane that was supposed to have gone at 6:35 AM never showed up. So, when our plane arrived there was a touch of turmoil. There were a lot of unhappy and seriously drunk people who had been in the Airport Bar since breakfast. Luckily, we had a built-in four hour layover in Houston that saved our bacon. We actually got to Houston with time to spare.
It was in Houston that the truly weird factor kicked in. Our layover had been cut to 90 minutes, but as soon as we got to our gate we knew that Rod Serling had come back from the grave.
Again, a previous flight had not happened and the “Airline People” (A separate species) were trying to sort out what to do with a surly bunch of leftover people when a Hyper-Mess in the form of a young woman with a backpack walked in.
I was in line at the gate desk trying to find out when our plane to Indy would leave when the young woman in front of me unleashed desperate havoc upon Southwest Airlines.
She was to have been on a flight to Charleston, S.C., but missed her plane. The agent explained that her flight had been moved to a different gate and was long gone.
“But…I never heard any announcement that it was moved to another gate” said the young lady.
“Uhhh, well, our PA system broke down, so…”
“But how am I supposed to know if it is being changed if it isn’t announced?”
By this time the Airline Person (AP from now on) is digging deep into her computer looking for help.
AP: “Hmmm, Why are you here, Miss? According to the computer you did check in and boarded the plane. You left Houston an hour ago. You aren’t here. We show your boarding pass checked in.”
“Yet here I am standing in front of you waving my boarding pass in my hand.”
AP: “Uh, no. We show you got on that plane.”
“Well, obviously I didn’t. Here I am and all I want is to go to Charleston.”
AP: “Well… even though we show that you did…uh, you didn’t – and you won’t until tomorrow.”
I stood there and listened to this whole conversation, taking notes.
My question is: Since the young woman obviously did not turn in her boarding pass and get on the airplane – Who did get on that plane? The Southwest computer swears that somebody did, but who?
Does this true story make you feel just a bit skeptical about airport security? It does for me.
Glad you’re back safe. I went with Southwest airlines , and won’t again. We bought our tickets two weeks in advance, but when we got to the gate we were told boarding was first come first serve. We were also told we were a B and A’s (bought ticket online), would go before us, but AFTER people with handicaps or children. One child in a stroller had 37 people with him. Never again.
Great post, John. The comedy Twilight Zone, but only comedy if you’re on the other side of the fence.
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And that is where I try to spend my time.
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And you do it very well!