Tis the season to be…. stuck in airports? Fixing computers? Sounds about right if you ask me. Allow me to explain why I didn’t blog as much in the last few days….
Lately I’ve been in New York recording this mix CD and finishing a remix. My plan was to fly to Montreal on the 24 to be with the family. Then I was scheduled to fly to Australia on the 26th. I’m not done with my recording so I have to finish it on the road. Literally half an hour before leaving to the airport, I plugged my sound card into my music laptop and something went awfully wrong in both of them. I couldn’t miss this flight. In a hurry, I grabbed my backup drive and a spare laptop and made my way to Montreal. As it turns out that spare laptop is a turd, and there’s no way I could get mine repaired on Christmas day, so I had to buy a new one for this trip. My flight on the 26th was at 2:30pm and stores open late on Boxing Day but that little window around noon was the only time I could get my stuff squared away. My friend runs the best audio equipment shop in Montreal (Moog Audio — if ever you’re in the city, go give them a pound) and he opened his store early for me so that I could get a new sound card. Then I went to the Apple store, only to find a sign that said “we open at 1″. The staff was there though. I pleaded to them, told them that I was on my way to Australia and that my laptop was broken. At first they said they couldn’t do anything… And then the manager came back and opened the store early for me again. I got a new Macbook Pro and headed to the airport 2 hours before my flight — a first for me!
To fly to Australia from Montreal the standard itinerary is Montreal to Chicago to LA to Oz. Chicago. Friggin’ Chicago weather, Chicago airport, you’re the bane of my existence. So as I check in they tell me that my flights in and out of Chicago are delayed. In the end my Montreal to Chicago flight was 3 hours late. I had plenty to keep myself occupied, installing programs on the new computer and all. I wasn’t done installing Logic when we boarded so I had to hide my laptop half-open at my feet. Real sneaky. The weather was bad in Chicago when we landed, and we were in one of those tiny planes with 2 seats on one row and 1 in the other. There was a bunch of lightning when we came down through the clouds and it was so foggy that I only saw the ground when we were seconds away from touching down. The flight attendant was keeping us updated with the status of our connections. Apparently my flight to LA hadn’t left yet. But we spent so long waiting for a gate when we landed that I missed my connection. O’Hare airport was a holy mess. People piled up, sitting on the floor along the walls. I went to the gate of the next flight to LA to see if the airline put me on that one, but they just sent me to the help desk. There was an hour wait over there, but I told someone that I need to get to Australia and that I’m a Super Duper Platinum Sapphire member and he grabbed my boarding pass. He was trying to print something but one printer was busted and the other wasn’t responding. Finally he gave me a new boarding pass. There were 2 flights left to LA left. He put me on the 2nd one because the first one was full, but he told me to try and change that at the gate. At the gate they told me that first flight had a standby list of 42 people and it was oversold by 13. In any case, both flights were so late that it was becoming apparent that I was missing my LA to Melbourne connection. I waited and watched that first flight leave, while installing software updates on the new Mac. Then around 11pm, after about 5 hours at the airport, they cancelled my flight, the last flight to LA.
They sent everyone to that help desk. I got in line but also called reservations because the entire terminal was in that line. They operate the same flight from LA to Melbourne the next day, again at 11:15pm, but the agent told me he was having a hard time getting me to LA, not just in the morning but at any time. I had 24 hours to fly from Chicago to LA and they couldn’t do it. Meanwhile I’m in line watching grown adults cry out of despair, while others resorted to bluetooth technology to fight the system. My agent kept searching for connections. He was naming every city that you see on the little screens but never actually fly to. Everything was sold out. Finally he found a flight going through Reno. I told him I don’t even know what state that’s in. Nevada. So I was booked for the next morning. People were scrambling for hotel vouchers. Luckily I was in Chicago where my girlfriend lives. But before heading to her house I tried to find out if I could get my luggage for the night. At that point I had been in line for an hour and a half and wasn’t even halfway through. I saw the same man that helped me earlier and went to ask him about my bags. He said: “There’s no way you’re gonna get your bag tonight. Do you know how many bags are down there right now? Even if you went in person you’d be waiting for 12 hours before anything happened.” So much for that! Time to go get some rest.
At my girl’s place I was able to wash my underwear, which is a huge plus. I woke up at 7am and we headed back to the airport. It was still pretty crowded but way calmer than the first night. I told a few people my story; I was unusually talkative in the check-in line. My big fear was just, was I going to make it out of Chicago. I did. I even upgraded to first class. My flight left an hour late, but I had a 6 hour connection in Reno so it was fine. I spent my time in Reno working on my mix CD, I made some edits, wrote some emails, installed more stuff on the new laptop, spoke to my family, ate, blogged and twittered. This is a strange airport lined with slot machines and green carpeting and it gave me the heebeegeebees. My flight was supposed to leave at 7:30pm. At 6 I went to look at the screen and I didn’t see my flight. My heart sank. I looked around to ask an agent but there was no one from any airline at the gates. I called the airline and they said the flight was a bit late but still happening, but that didn’t reassure me much since I didn’t see it listed. Left with no other choice, I walked back to the check-in counter and asked them what was happening. They explained that they don’t usually operate this flight on Saturdays but are doing so today because of the holiday season, and those screens are pre-programmed. Whew. I love a good explanation. I went back through security (it’s a little absurd, I know) and started writing this post. Right now as I finish I’m on the plane finally headed to LA. I hope I make my connection. I hope my bag isn’t lost. We’ll see!!!
Happy holidays everyone.