On my trip back from Oneonta, NY to Eugene, OR, I’ve learned a few things about air travel. My giant 777 jet from Washington Dulles was diverted from Denver to a dusty tarmac in Pueblo, CO because of thunderstorms; I missed my connection to Eugene.
Rather than take a $70 cab ride to an undisclosed motel 40 miles away from the airport (Thirty dollars off the price of the hotel? Thanks United!), I opted to spend the night curled up like a bug on the floor of the terminal.
As I prepared for sleep, I noticed that other campers had secured plush blankets, pillows and other amenities. Where were they? Behind the display boards at every gate. I searched about 30 gates and they’d all been raided. I finally begged a guy who dug me up an overnight kit, two blankets and a pillow. I took my loot and settled in for the night, trying to stay attached to small fortune in portable electronics and our wedding money while I snored and drooled on the blue carpet at my gate.
Air travel rules:
-Customer service employees don’t get paid to give you what you want. They’ll cut you the worst deal they can get away with and move you along without answering your questions. They deal with hundreds of people like you every day. Find the random schmuck in airline uniform and plead your case — you’ll be better off.
-The hotel reimbursement option sucks. There are no hotels in a region-wide situation that cancels dozens of flights. And the airline only has deals with certain vendors, so you’ll be stuck looking for lodging at 1am, forty miles out, paying for over half the hotel anyway, and have to turn around in three hours and pay for your cab back.
-Fly early mornings and skip this whole overnight thing. Or better yet, don’t fly at all! I’m hoping to stay off a plane until late October at least.