I once had a theory that air travel was streaky – if it starts off poorly, it snowballs into a hellish day of misery that looks like a bad Ben Stiller movie (wow, is that redundant).
Usually, if you can catch a break early (“exit row? Why thank you”), it’s smoooooth sailing from take off to touchdown.
I shattered my own theory into more pieces than my jaw five months ago.
For starters, I booked my flight on airmiles left-over from college. Living in Alaska, we amassed so many I’ve been bouncing about the continent with hardly a thought. With the airmiles trip, Northwest Airlines likes to make sure they apply the necessary amount of penny-pinching nad-kicks to even things out.
So, my free flight to Phoenix cost 113.00 bucks, six a.m. departure dates for the way down and back, and three flights each way, just to make sure I regretted having Silver Elite Status at their rinky-dink airline. Enjoy your three middle seats, jackass… freebies don’t get to choose. Huh.
NWA 1 – Justin 0.
I arrive just before five to a well-coffeed check-in girl who promptly changes all my seats to my preference, exit row aisles.
NWA 1 – Justin 1
I get in my roomy seat, to find out it’s the front row of exit row seating, which means it doesn’t recline. It’s 5:45 a.m. Sighhhh…
NWA 2 – Justin 1
While waiting in my own personal hell, the spacious, well equipped, wonderfully great Seattle airport that I’m forced to hate for a multitude of reasons (including the 44 hour Christmas layover), my flight gets delayed an hour.
NWA 3 – Justin 1
NWA 4 – Justin 1
I ran to the customer service lady like a one-timer off Ovechkin’s stick the second they announce the cancelled flight. I was carrying no bags, alone, and with a vast knowledge of how airport rescheduling works - at least a half dozen people mistake me for Usain Bolt (or someone who reeeally had to pee).
Get this – The can put me on a flight in 40 minutes, directly to Phoenix, with time to get my bags on the right flight. I would be in Phoenix two hours early and with one connection less on the rare lucky airline break. Insane luck.
That’s a three-pointer and you know it is.
NWA 4 – Justin 4
The clock ticked down as I deplaned and headed for the baggage claim… NWA had the ball with the chance to score at the buzzer by not bringing my bag, but I heard the lady talking on the phone to someone… she assured me it would show up. She realllly assured me.
It was a valuable bag – a money order, GPS, the laptop, all lovingly wrapped in bubble wrap amoungst clothes. If it showed up, this would definitely be a victory for me.
I fought valiantly. I fought hard. The bag… and the game… was lost.
NWA 5 – Justin 4.
NWA should partner with Air Canada to form a super airline, where I envision their ultimate business model to involve relocating to the top of a high mountain somewhere. From there, you pay them an ungodly sum of dollars, get a swift kick to the junk, then they strap you to a hang-glider and the pilot aims you at your destination and shoves you off a cliff.
And the flight crew chucks non-honey roasted peanuts at you while you fall.