Storm Blog: Seattle
June 27, 2014
I must warn you that this blog may not be everyone's cup of tea. This is going to be for the most part just me bitching about my horrendous day of travel yesterday detailing the giant snafu that lead to me not travelling anywhere and pulling the first no show of my life. Thankfully this wasn't a wrestling booking, so my career sting of making the town always is still intact, but I am missing out of visiting with friends and attending a buddy Vinny's wedding.
It is going to be absurdly detailed and possibly quite monotonous but recounting and venting about things like this help my purge them from my system and relieve me of the stress such event create. To fully understand the level of annoyance these events caused me you have to understand that I have a degree of OCD, am an obsessive planner who hates being late so much that I am chronically early everywhere I go. Running late, having to rush and not having all the details all worked out before I go somewhere drives me insane. It isn't quite as bad when I'm working because I can detach myself a little bit from the situation. When I'm working the promoter is responsible for getting me where I need to be. I accept a booking for X dollars and agree to leave at this time on this date. All delays and rescheduling is between the promoter and the airline, I can for the most part view myself as the passenger and go along for the ride, so I'm not quite as stressed. Annoyed yes, but stressed not so much.
This weekend was a personal trip. It was a difficult one to plan because I wanted to maximize my time in Seattle and I'm in the midst of teaching a session at SWA so my free time is very limited. I managed to free an extra day so I was going to get 3 days in Seattle. My buddy Bryan in Seattle was willing to pick me up and the airport and let me stay at his house. He is n the wedding party so I could pretty much tag along with him, minimizing his inconvenience.
There are some direct flights from Calgary to Seattle but unfortunately to get a flight late enough (I still had to teach Thursday morning) my flight had a connection in Vancouver. This was no big deal, total travel time was still only 4 1/2 hrs total including my lay over. I was scheduled to leave Calgary at 3:15 pm MST and land in Seattle at 6:45 pm PST, easy peasy. I'd clear US customs in Vancouver but had 2 hrs and 10 mins to do that so the connection would be a piece of cake.
I checked in online the night before, got isle seats on both flights, and was looking forward to a great weekend. I wrapped up class and headed to the airport at 12:45 pm, it's a 30 min drive but as I mentioned I like being early. I got to the airport cleared security and had time to get a bite to eat. I then went to my gate to discover that my flight out of Calgary has been delayed until 4 pm. This is going to make my connection in Vancouver a little tight and I notice Air Canada has an earlier flight to Vancouver as well so I head to customer service to see if there is any chance I can get out on the earlier flight. Customer service says that the early flight is over sold but I still have 75 mins in Vancouver so the connection shouldn't be a problem. I say okay and ask what the cause of the delay is curious if the flight might be delayed further. She tells me the delay was that the plane we would be on is late arriving because of a late departure but that it is in the air so no further delay is foreseeable.
I say great and head back to my gate. As we get closer to 4 pm I notice that the flight has now been bumped to 5:30 pm. I speak with the gate agent to inform here that there is no way I can make my connection now and want to know what my options for a later flight out of Vancouver are. She tells me there no other flights out of Vancouver and I'll have to overnight in Van. Keep in mind it's about a 13 hr drive to Seattle and I'm now looking at a 20 trip by air. The airline says they will be covering my hotel. I know there is a hotel right in the Vancouver airport and ask her if that's the hotel I'll be put up in or am I going to have to catch a shuttle to and from the hotel as well. She says she has no idea and I'd have to go talk to Customer Service again.
So back at customer service (remember long lines at each stop, it's a holiday weekend in Canada) She tells me I will indeed have to shuttle to the hotel. I ask her what are my flight options tomorrow, and she says there is a 7 am flight or one late afternoon, everything else is over sold. Later afternoon isn't going to work because Friday night is the rehearsal dinner I can't expect Bryan to pick me up at the airport potentially be late for or miss the dinner, not to mention my 4 1/2 hr trip will now be closer to 30 hrs and my time in Seattle is almost cut in half. The 7 am flight annoys me too because for International flights you have to get to the airport 2 hrs prior to departure, which means 5 am and with an airport shuttle that means potentially having to get up at 4 am. I tell her this is unacceptable and pressure her to either book me in the airport hotel or search other airlines for possible flights. She then tells me that to check with other airlines I'd have to go to ticketing which is of course back on the other side of security.
At ticketing I get the lady to search other airlines (I know Alaska Airlines has directs to Seattle). She tells me the direct flights are booked full but there is a connection out of Vancouver she can get me on later tonight that I can make if I stay on my original first flight. I ask her what time it gets into Seattle, check with Bryan if he can pick me up this late. He says no problem, I tell her fine book me on that flight that will be great. As she is switching the second half of my ticket over to Alaska I remember the customer service ladies assurance that our plane was in the air and on its way and no other delays were probable and asked what happened. This women obviously a quick thinker says that the other lady must have meant that the flight had left the gate because when it pushed back it had a mechanical problem and had to be towed in and fixed, and that the 5:30 departure time was now to be on a different plane all together so there would be no further problems.
She then starts looking confused and informs me that she can't print out my ticket or my boarding card with Alaska airlines because she is having issues with her computer, but she gives me a long print out and highlights a confirmation code that she ensures me if I go to the check in counter when I arrive in Vancouver they should be able to pull up my ticket and print my boarding card. I so love their consistent use of the word SHOULD. So now when I get to Van I have to go recheck in with Alaska Airlines, as well as clear customs and immigration. This is like a brand new flight so I'm supposed to have the recommended 2 hrs to do this. I ask her about this and she says you have 2hrs 15min all should be fine. I figure this is the best I'm going to do and at least I'm not having to overnight anywhere.
So it's now back through security and back to my original gate. I then hear an announcement of a gate change so I head to the opposite end of the terminal to my new gate, where I of course discover that my flight has been delayed further now departing at 6:20 (I think). I do the math on my new arrival time in Van and discover that I've got 80 minutes to make my connection. The lady at the gate ensures me that should be fine and then we get switched to another gate. At the new gate I start to think about the fact that my ticket is now 2 separate tickets or separate airlines , when I get to Alaska Air it's like checking in for the first time and many airlines have minimum cut of times for check in. I look up Alaska Airline and find out there is a 1 hr cut off time for check in. This means I now have 20 minutes from when my flight lands (provided it is on time, yeah think about that for a minute) to de-plane (I'm in row 30) exit security, get to the Alaska check in desk (which Air Canada tells me might be in a different terminal) and get checked in. If the desk is at a different terminal or if there is a line up I'm not going to make the cut off point.
It's now about 5:50 pm and I'm at the gate trying to find out what happens if I miss the cut off. Does Alaska have another flight out, and if not who's responsible for putting me up over night, Air Canada or Alaska? The gate agent can't help me and sends me back to customer service, which now has a huge line. While in line I tweet about my troubles and the Air Canada twitter people start trying to help me. The twitter people think I'll be fine and suggest trying to check in with Alaska on line. So while I'm in line now trying to check in online on my phone. I almost accomplish this but to finish I need to print my boarding card and I obviously don't have a printer and Alaska doesn't do the send the e-Boarding card to your smart phone deal. I finally get to the front of the line for some help and it's now 6:15.
I ask the women what she can do for me, as far as what other options I have if I miss this connection. She still thinks I'll be fine making the connection which I think is absurd, but whatever. I tell her I'm not boarding this flight until I can get some concrete assurances that if I miss this connection they have a backup plan, because as it stands if I board this plane and make it to Van my Air Canada portion of my trip is over, they are done with me and I'm now checking in on a new ticket with Alaska, and if I check in late, Alaska can say that's on me and if they do I'm screwed. Yes they will put me on the next available flight, but Air Canada can't tell me when that is and I will probably get stuck footing the bill for my hotel. She insists that wouldn't happen, but I've had it happen before and I'm not getting screwed again.
At this point it's 6:18, my gate is at the other end of the terminal and she insists that since they believe I'll make my connection there isn't anything else she can do for me, I pretty much need to just go board my flight. I am almost shaking with anger at this point, wanting to hit someone, I'm not ready to agree to this but ask her, is my flight even still here? It's supposed to leave in like 1 min. To this she responds yes it's still at the gate because it's been delayed now until 6:45.
This is where I blew a gasket, because now there is no way I'm making my connection. If and I do mean IF this flight leaves at 6:45, I have 5 minutes to get to Alaska Airlines check in (which may or may not be in a different terminal) No way is that happening I'm 100% missing my connection. Remember now this was originally a 3:15 flight and with it's current departure time I'll be leaving Calgary damn near the time I was supposed to be arriving in Seattle. So I ask one last time, now that I definitely can't make this connection when is the next possible flight out of Van that can get me to Seattle? To this she tells me, she doesn't know, I'd have to exit security and go to the ticketing counter because she can't access Alaska's system from here and my ticket once I get to Vancouver is now with Alaska. Keep in mind that my outgoing flight (The only flight Air Canada can get me on tonight or tomorrow including an attempt to route me through Toronto) leaves in 20 min. and to find out IF I have a connection option I have to leave security and go back to ticketing. Assuming ticketing can find me another connecting flight, unless this flight gets delayed yet again (I suppose odds were in my favour here) I'd miss this flight while finding out if I have a next one.
I expressed this to the lady at customer service, and she just looked at me and asked, well what would you like me to do? At this point I wanted to say "I'd like you and your entire Airline to Fuck off and Die" but instead I said, "Can you just cancel my entire trip and give me my money back?" She said she could, I told her to go ahead and I texted my wife to come get me and texted Bryan and Vinny in Seattle to apologize because I wouldn't be coming.
I didn't get home until 7:45 pm, yes a full 7 hr adventure to not get anywhere and ironically enough I landed home almost exactly when I was originally scheduled to land in Seattle. When I got home I checked the Calgary airport website just to see when my 3:15 pm flight ended up departing, and it finally took off at 7 pm, yes it was delayed one more time.
I feel like a complete shit head for missing Vinny's wedding but I had reached the end of my rope; I could take no more, and I never want to travel again. If you ever want to see me in person again I highly recommend attending the Mid-Atlantic Legends Fan Fest in Charlotte, NC July 31 - Aug. 3rd and or the Pro-Wrestling Syndicate show Sept. 20th in New Jersey, because I've committed to those dates already but can't promise I'm ever leaving Alberta again after those commitments have been filled.
P.S. Just one wrestling side note. I wrote a WCW blog recently telling absurd tales from my time there. After looking at my match list I realized the one story I told was actually much stupider than originally thought. In the article I told the story of the time Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera were sent to the ring dressed as Billy Kidman and I to do the classic parody of your character bit. I pointed out that it was stupid because at that point in time I'd only worn my wrestling gear on TV one time, and when Rey went out in my gear he will have worn it on TV as many times as I had. As it turns out, the one time I'd worn my ring gear on TV was on Thunder the week before and this Parody bit was on Nitro (The WCW Flag ship show) so Rey was sent out on Monday Nitro dressed in my tights to parody me and make fun of my look when I had in fact never been on Nitro in my tights EVER, NOT ONCE!
I wonder if the idiots who wrote this are now scheduling Airline departures for Air Canada, because they seem about as competent.
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