California Travel Fiasco 2014: A Novel

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First of all, thanks for all the eyeballs on last night's post. It hadn't been up for more than an hour and it had a LOT of views so that was pretty neat. I'd love it if you would follow me on BlogLovin' or Like this page on Facebook to keep up on when I post on the irregular. Or don't, I'm not the boss of you. Back to business.

Flying isn't typically something that causes me a lot of stress. Which is shocking, because choosing an afternoon snack gives me anxiety. However, I've obviously gotten a little too lackadaisical about air travel lately because DO I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU.

Typically when I fly it's for work, but lately I've gotten to take some pretty neat vacations, including one last week to California to visit one of my BFFs who is living out there for a few months. Instead of flying out of Sioux City and braving Hell's Airport (seriously, it's awful, and I have a conspiracy theory that all the people in baggage check hate me and don't want me to have clean underwear when I arrive at my destination), I drove down to Omaha the night before to stay with my sister-in-law and her family before an early 6 AM flight. It was delightful because I got some one-on-one time with them and got to snuggle my newest nephew.

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Ser.I.Ous.Ly.

But the delight ended there.

Typically when I drive to the Omaha airport, I don't actually driiiiiive, I ride passenger and Jeff does the driving. I didn't think much about this because Google Maps, so on Wednesday at 4:30 in the AM, I left my in-law's and told my phone to direct me to the airport and wam bam, on my way.

Except not.

Like not at all.

I'm not sure what happened, but all I know is that everything looked totally great and familiar until it didn't at all and I.Was.Lost. I THIIIINK what happened was my phone was directing me to the air field instead of the terminals because all of a sudden all I could see were planes and hangers and yup nope definitely no people. Of course by this time it was about 5 AM and my flight was at 6, so I should have been getting to security but no dice.

I kept driving around trying to figure out where the HECK I was and trying to figure out a terminal address or SOMETHING but absolutely nothing was working. I pulled over and did some digging on my phone but that didn't get me anywhere, so I eventually started stalking any humans I found outside which is like NO ONE because hello, 5 AM. Eventually I found a couple people heading in for their shift and they directed me to the North parking lot of the airport so YAY I was finally there but NOT YAY it was 5:30. Reminder: flight at 6.

So at this point I've basically accepted this is not happening but hoping I can get on a later flight because it's Southwest and they fly all day. OK. Great. So I pull into the lot the same time as one of the Nicest Men in the Universe who makes small talk until I admit that actually my flight is at 6 and I'm kind of panicking because it's 5:35 and where is that shuttle anyway?

NMitU reassures me that I'll be totally fine without a hint of worry in his voice. It's just a lot of hurry up and wait, he says. You're not checking a bag right?

...Shoot. Yeah, I am, but my bag is carry on size anyway sooooo I dump all my non-regulation size liquids (most of which were free samples from work events anyway) in the trash and rationalize that $50 in beauty products later is better than risking a $400 plane ticket now. I knew if I checked the bag I probably wouldn't make the flight, and the bag definitely wouldn't. So away we go.

The shuttle shows up and NMitU tells the driver that I've got a 6 AM flight so kindly step on it, but he said it in a super nice way and basically everyone on the bus was rooting for me at this point. So I'm like YEAH I'M GONNA MAKE IT let's just get all my stuff out so I can run right to security...electronic boarding pass, check, bag, checkity check, ID...ID...ID?!

No ID.

NO ID.

I've literally had nightmares about this, guys. Crazy little anal-retentive, control freak nightmares.

Obviously at this point I've accepted that this flight is not happening. There is no way I'm going to be able to get through security without any proof as to who I am. NMitU reassures me that hope is not lost, and tells me if I have credit cards or anything else with my name on them that will help. I do not believe him.

When the shuttle gets to the Southwest terminal I run inside and grab the first legit looking person I can find and tell him that I've lost my ID and have no form of photo identification, but I do have some credit cards and my boarding pass. Honestly, it's 5:50 and my flight is at 6 and I don't have an ID, so if this guy would have been like Sorry, no, I probably would have said, Cool, try again next time, and left. I was exhausted. Luckily the guy didn't say no, but he basically said Sorry I have no idea how to help you, and sent me up to Security.

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I immediately found the pre-security lady checking IDs (is this really necessary? Two different people checking IDs at two different points in the line? I would assume dollars could be better spent elsewhere like the airline snacks but I digress). I told her, I'm really sorry, but I'm going to be your problem child today. I've lost my photo ID and have no other ID besides some credit cards and my boarding pass. Also, my flight leaves in 7 minutes. She gave me a little eye roll and unhappily said, Well, tell all these people that you need to get to the front of the line.

The line wasn't short, but it wasn't terribly long either, so I began pushing my way to front, spewing apologies as I went. Most people were quite understanding and looked at me with pity, but this one guy just looked past me (not at me; not in the eyes LIKE A MAN) and did this thing with his face that was like, Yeah bullshit you need to get to the front of the line you liar, but I was like Listen buddy if you're not going to tell me not to cut the line I'm going so BYYEEEEEE.

So I get to the front of the line and tell my sob story again, but this lady is much nicer and asks me if I have anything with a photo on it. A business card? Credit card? A Costco card? I thought that was hilarious, but since this fiasco I've done extensive research and apparently with a Costco card you can get a lifetime supply of razor blades, enough free samples to make a meal for your entire family, AND board a domestic flight. Who knew.

Me: No, I'm so sorry, I have nothing with a photo. Just my boarding pass, a bunch of credit cards...that's it. Lady: OK. I have to get my supervisor up here to approve this. Hold on. **walkie talkie to supervisor**

I'm pretty sure that this is going to take a solid 20 minutes but as it turns out her supervisor was basically right behind her and suddenly appeared to take all my info was like, Cool, you're good.

Not kidding.

Me: OMG THANK YOU!

I'm free to go about my merry way through security but I still don't have much hope left because it's 5:58. Flight at 6, remember.

I get all my things through the security belt and I'm thinking that I actually might get out of security in record time...

...when my bag is flagged for someone to look through it.

Well, it was a good effort.

I stood around for about 100 years before someone finally came over to go through my bag.

TSA Man: Is this your bag? Me: Yupyupyup. TSA Man: I need to look in it. Me: YUP THAT'S FINE ALSO MY FLIGHT IS IN...NOW. My flight is now. TSA Man: **looking through bag. finds some liquids I forgot to throw out** Me: YOU CAN LITERALLY THROW ANYTHING AWAY I DON'T NEED IT MY FLIGHT IS LEAVING I DON'T NEED LIQUIDS ANYWAY. TSA Man: We have to run this back through the belt. Me: Right.

The bag goes back through the belt and comes out and I'm FREEEEEE except it's 6:05 and the gate number on my boarding pass is wrongwrongwrong so I find a random gate agent who happens to be the right gate agent and she apparently knows who I am because she gives me Annoyed Eyes and radio's to the person at the ramp.

Annoyed Gate Agent: I have Madelyn here, does she still have time? (Mind you, I can literally see the ramp from where I'm standing because this is Omaha and it's MAYBE 10 feet away so I think Annoyed Gate Agent had a thing for the dramatics but whatever) Man on other end of Walkie: Sure! Send her over! **literally the nicest voice I've ever heard in life** Annoyed Gate Agent: (to me) Go ahead, and run. (Again, dramatic. I could take 3 really big steps and be there but WHATEVER if it pleases you I'll run)

And I'm at the ramp! I'm getting on the plane!

Man: Good morning! How are you today!? Maddie: I'M BETTER NOW YOU ARE MY ANGEL FROM HEAVEN CAN I JUST TELL YOU SERIOUSLY THANK YOU SO MUCH. Man: **chuckle** No problem!

I run down the ramp to board the plane and the flight attendants are there to greet me with their happy smiles because it's Southwest and they're awesome, even though I'm a terrible ass hole who was late and forgot her ID.

AND THEN.

Lady Flight Attendant: Hold on just a second and we'll find you a seat. Dude Flight Attendant: Actually, if you get to row 21 really quick, it's totally open and you can have the row all to yourself.

thank-you-youre-so-kind

Obviously I started crying.

So that's the story of how I made my 6 AM flight even though I absolutely should not have, and how everyone was so nice to me even though I was the reason their morning was more difficult (except the two ladies who threw some serious shade but I'll forgive them because I'm not human before 6 AM/my coffee either so WE COOL).

The end.

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