Sunday, June 27, 2010
The "dog" flight to Houston from Chicago
We got to O'Hare in plenty of time. In front of us in line were all the folks who did not know how to use computerized check-in. The couple behind us noticed the same thing and so the husband started directing people to available check-in terminals and showing them how to use them and even assisting some with their luggage. Mind you he was just there seeing his wife off on her trip. He did not work for Continental!
Finally the line began to move and it was our turn to enter the necessary info for our single piece of luggage to get tagged. There were only two Continental employees on duty to handle the 10 terminals and two hundred or so passengers, so we waited out turn to get their attention. The clerk finally tagged our luggage after checking our ids. We rolled our single piece of luggage over to the TSA check in and dropped it off.
MA has a life-time membership in Continental's President's Club. Because of the pending merger between Continental and United we were directed to the United Red Carpet lounge. It was, for lack of a better word, seriously lacking in "red carpeting". The greeter who checks your card waved us in without so much as a glance. The coffee machine was broken and there was only toast and yogurt to eat. To top that off they wanted to charge $7 for Internet WiFi access whereas everywhere else we go, well that's free. There were no newspapers and a single TV. This does not bode well for the Continental-United merger.
We quickly realized that CO 447 was on a rolling delay because of the weather in Chicago. We later found out the inbound aircraft that would take us to Houston had been diverted to Indianapolis for additional fuel needed because of the air traffic control rerouting around the storms. No sooner were they refueled and ready to continue to Chicago than the radar system in Indianapolis went down, for over an hour. We were supposed to take off at 11:00 AM and it woudl be 1:10 PM before we finally pushed back.
Anyhow, around 12:30 PM we headed for Gate B2 and got there with the other two hundred passengers.
The first thing I noticed was a lady from Mexico with a yappy Chihuahua dog in a small carry bag. I thought to myself: "I hope that woman is not going to get on this airplane:" Well my wish did not come true. Not only did she get on our flight, she sat across the aisle and one row behind us. You guessed it, the dog started yapping, and growling and barking and generally kept that up all the way to Houston. That woke up the infant behind us who started crying which in turn activated all the other toddlers. We didn't realize it until too late, but we must have been assigned seats in the "Infant-Toddler" rows.
There was nothing the flight attendants could do about all that even if they were so inclined which we quickly realized they were not. We finally had to put our I-Pod earphones in our ears to deafen the sound. The flight attendant stopped me to ask me to turn off my electronic device! I quickly explained I was only using the earphones to block out all the noise. She was not amused.
We had our credit card ready to pay the $6.00 (each) for the Direct TV screen in front of each seat. Alas, no Direct TV. The system was out of order.
Well a couple of soggy sandwiches and two and a half hours laters we made back to Houston, infants, toddlers, dog and all. It was the craziest flight we've been on but we're glad to be back home. Oh yes! Our luggage made it, but was just about the last piece off the plane. Whew!