Some days you know you probably should have just stayed in bed. Yesterday's journey back home to Southern California from Texas was one of those days. Everything started out OK as I pulled into the Houston Intercontinental Airport Avis return lot right on schedule. I got on the shuttle bus headed to the airport, confident that I had everything under control. Only when EVERYONE de-boarded the bus except me did I begin to suspicion something might be wrong. I asked the driver, "Is the next stop Terminal E?" "No, ma'am, this bus is only for A, C and D." He pointed inside the busy airport and assured me the signs would lead me to my intended Terminal. Indeed they did. Or they would have...if I hadn't run into a CLOSED security checkpoint and had to go back to Terminal C where I began. I got in line at security, fully intending to check no bags and thus save precious time. Of course, this particular TSA employee decided my bag was too big. I had to go back out of the security line and check my bag at the counter. Not a big deal. Still OK for time. Got in line and tried to bring up my boarding pass on my phone--I'm just cool like that. It would NOT load. Ran out to a kiosk to print my boarding pass and it immediately came up on my phone, so I began to run back to the security line. An officer guarding the premises chastised me for ducking under a rope to get back to the security line. I protested...he gave up on me and let me go. By this time, I wasn't sure I'd make my plane. Once through the painfully slow security line, I sprinted across the airport from Terminal C to Terminal E only to discover that my flight was delayed. Then I discovered my phone was missing.
Maybe my look of complete despair moved her, and the head flight attendant at the desk called a cart to take me back to Terminal C to security to find my phone. The TSA personnel checked all the usual places where lost items might end up. Nothing. I convinced one nice security guy that my phone had to be in one of those plastic bins they put through the x-ray machine. As I stood there praying frantically, I saw him emerge from the back of the security line. In his hand was my beautiful red iphone! I asked if I could give him a big ole hug, and before he could answer, I hugged him. "Thank you so much, sir! And my husband thanks you too!"
By that time, it was doubtful I would make my flight. I RAN from Terminal C to Terminal E. When I arrived AGAIN, I discovered the flight was still delayed. In fact, now they informed us that our plane and gate were changed to Terminal C! As we passed the security checkpoint from which I had sprinted two times in the past half hour and where I had just recovered my pone minutes earlier, I hid behind other passengers. What on earth would these security people think seeing me now leisurely stroll by?
When we arrived at our new gate, we learned that our flight would not depart for two more hours. So I went a couple hundred feet down from the gate for a bite to eat. I listened intently for the boarding calls. My flight to Orange County was never announced...or at least that I could hear. Finally, close to 4 o'clock I went down to the gate and asked if there was another delay. "Oh, no. The flight has boarded and it's now closed. Are you Lisa Espinoza?" I said yes, certain that this meant they'd been waiting for me and would fling open the doors of the jet to welcome me on. "Where were you?" she asked. "Right down the way eating tacos," I replied. "I never heard the boarding call." Despite calling the captain on my flight, the answer was no. The plane was taking off in moments and no one else could board. They booked me for the next flight out...leaving in TWO hours!
I'd been trying to engage in positive self-talk up to this point--through taking the wrong shuttle bus to losing my phone at security. But this was too much. Who misses their flight while sitting a couple hundred feet from the gate? Me.
I finally ended up on a plane that I was fairly certain would land in Orange County California. As a final capper on the day's events, I sat by a very nice man who was so wide, there was no room for my armrest to go down. He was all up in my space. I felt he should buy me dinner and a movie before sitting so close for three hours. But like I said, he was nice, and this was the least of my worries this particular day. We landed in Orange County at about 8:15, three hours later than I would have arrived had I simply WALKED TO MY GATE AT 3:40 to BOARD the first flight!
Is it just me, or is travelling a pain in the rear? Don't answer.