Grace On Bob... If Anything Could Go Wrong it Would!
As we drove to our gate on the luxury liner shuttle, we both wondered why the driver never asked us what airline we were taking. We figured that out when we arrived and the driver told us we needed to get off the bus. We told her we were taking United Airlines and she told us we needed to wait for another shuttle, she pointed to the sign #3, and told us to wait there for the shuttle for terminal 3. “WHAT?” was Bob’s only response, other than a few words I will not repeat here so I don’t offend anyone.
Yes, we needed to wait another ten hours for the shuttle that would take us to our terminal. Now we have under an hour before our plane boards and Bob has over the stress level that is healthy for a human being. We wait and yes the shuttle arrives in ten hours according to Bob, ten minutes on my clock. We need to carry the luggage onto this small shuttle, however, Bob being the hero, provider type man that he is takes the heavy bags and even helps me with the smaller bags. Let’s just get this clear right now, I don’t travel light.
I had my large, or shall we say very large to be more accurate checked bag with the essentials, and my carry on that is barely legal to carry on, and my purse that is a bit larger than the size of most people’s carry on’s, as well as a bag of food that Bob used for his extra personal carryon. I feel very reasonable for a woman, all necessities of course. As we sat in the shuttle Bob was holding the paperwork with all our flight info, I asked him if he wanted me to put it in my bad to keep it safe, he said no thank you, I need something to hold onto and squeeze and crunch right now.
I was joyous to be heading to the terminal finally, the end of the tunnel was in sight, Bob felt the end of the tunnel was not in sight until we were sitting on the plane, and he couldn’t see any light at this point. As we headed off the shuttle a women asked me if that was my bag of food back on our seats, I said thank you so much… I had left the fruits and veggies, including my necessary five lemons on the bus. I went back to our seat and grabbed the bag of food and noticed the paperwork sitting underneath the bag. Now I could have teased Bob and gave him a hard time about leaving the flight info on the bus, however, I decided to use my wisdom and not go down that road. We get off the shuttle and headed toward the terminal 3 building, still in time and feeling great, well I was feeling great, we were on our way to Costa Rica. Bob, well I will let your imagination figure it all out. As we head toward the building something was very strange about this terminal.
There was no curbside check in available, and when we walked into the terminal building there was NO ONE, and NOTHING inside, it was empty… no kiosk’s, no baggage drop off, no United check in agents, no people, no bathrooms, no security, nothing, not even pictures on the wall or signs. I am not kidding and I am not making this up. It was like a dream, or shall I say a bad dream. We finally saw a person and asked where the United check in was, she pointed to a huge escalator in the distance. We walked to the escalator and arrived at a huge hall with security in front of us, but no United in sight, actually no airlines. However, there was a woman named Valerie at an info booth.
Valerie told us the United counter was to the right, after security, past several doors, bathrooms, miscellaneous service counters, seven airline counters and at the very, most furthest end of the building. Yes, I know that is not the best English, but our ticket counter couldn’t have been further, actually it was at the very end of the terminal. We walked the ten miles to the United kiosk area. We were most definitely getting our exercise in today.
When we got there Bob proudly pulled out the flight info and typed in our flight info, we were moving along well, no alert that time had expired, about an hour before our flight… we were safe, we were on that plane to Costa Rica, we had made it! He scanned his passport, then I scanned mine and the computer for some unknown reason didn’t like my passport. We tried and tried and tried. So we typed the info in manually, and the computer told us that a US agent would be over to help. So we waited. And waited. Waited what seemed like another ten hours. At this point I was getting nervous, time was running out for us to make this flight and there was no way United Airlines would allow either of us to carry on our larger suitcase, especially mine. So I went to find a United Airline agent. I went to where they were loading the luggage on the belt and asked if someone could help us at the kiosk. They told me they didn’t work for United Airlines. I asked where I could find someone who did, and they said they didn’t know.
I looked for a United Airlines agent and couldn’t find one, I asked serval people and no one knew. Was I dreaming all this or am I awake… is this really happening… no United Airline agents, only kiosks and a completely clueless baggage company that is a separate company from the airlines. My mind was spinning, I kept asking people while Bob guarded our kiosk and kept trying to scan my passport, by this time the kiosk had expired and he was back to ground zero… plugging in the flight info and scanning his passport again. I finally found the United counter and the only agent available said she was helping someone and would come over when she was finished. Delightful, take your time, we have all the time in the world, they are probably boarding our plane by now, but stroll on over at your convenience. I went back to the kiosk and helped Bob try for the fourth or fith time to check in. By this time, I was not peaceful and relaxed, I don’t know who was more stressed between Bob and I. What seemed like another ten hours later, probably another ten minutes, the United Airlines agent came over and we plugged in our flight info and she told us we were under the 45 minutes to check bags… how shocking! She brought us over to Warren at the United Airlines desk hidden away out of site. Warren was a very lovely man, and he told us he’d try his best to get us on our flight. I told him about our plight since the Uber never showed up, hoping he’d have sympathy on us.
Sympathy or not, Warren gave it to us straight, we had two options… wait in Las Vegas until 1 am to catch a flight or leave at 5:30 pm and enjoy a layover in Houston. I asked him which option would get us in Costa Rica sooner? He said they both get in the same time, they both include a long 9 hour layover, so we chose to go to Houston. Not really thinking all that through, but that was our choice.
Now we had 2 hours to kill before our flight boarded. Bob seemed to relax at this point, we felt like we had all the time in the world now, two full hours before our flight boarded. We were all checked in and had 2 long hours to fill before our flight boarded. We decided to go to Coppa airlines to get our seats for our return flight. We went back to Valerie at the info booth and she kindly pointed us to the other end of the terminal and we walked to the furthest opposite corner of the building. We had time though, so we walked the distance. Feeling a relaxed sense of leisure at this time we stopped at a Starbucks and had a sweet decadent drink and met Rodger. Rodger was a very interesting man, who worked for an investment company. He was from Australia. I told him about our fundraiser we are planning in New Zealand. He told me Australia and New Zealand are rivals.
I was curious and a bit mystified, they seemed like such similar countries, connected and I always imagined such a brother/sisterhood between the countries. He explained how competitive they are, and only when there is a common enemy do they unite. The wheels in my head were turning, I asked him if there was anything other than an enemy that united the countries and he said no. I asked him if there was a common cause, they both believed in would they unite in that way? He said maybe. We said goodbye to Rodger and walked from one end of the terminal to the other looking for Coppa Airlines and couldn’t find them. So we went to see Valerie whom we are all know one another on a first name basis by this time, and she directed us back to where we just came.
However, by this time we had lost track of time and it was time to go through security. Bob said he needed to use the bathroom first, so he did. However, it was a long bathroom visit and now I was getting a bit anxious about time. He came out of the bathroom and said his stomach was not right with all the anxiety. I told him I knew what he was experiencing, when I ran track and raced jet ski’s I would be running to the luxury portable potties every ten minutes.
We got in the very long security line, that was moving slower than molasses and heightening both of our anxiety levels by the second. When we finally got to the end of the line, a woman with a very high pitched, craggy voice yelled to us both, “Hold on!” Hold on? That was the story of our day, we were next to get our boarding passes and Id checked but no… we needed to get our hands swiped first, just in case we were playing with explosives and forgot to wash our hands. So we waited in line for our hands to be swiped and then moved to wait in line to get our documents approved. We were sneaky though because there were several lines and we strategically moved from a longer line to a shorter line. It seemed at the time a smart move, however the very moment we moved to the shorter line, we both noticed that the line we had left started moving faster. Another security agent appeared to assist the line we had just left and it was moving lightning fast. Bob and I both watched as the people that were behind us in the line we had just left were walking toward the scanners and our shorter line was not moving at all. It felt like being at the grocery store when you move to a shorter line, and watch the line you just left move twice as fast as the line you just got into. However, add on several pounds of anxiety because at the grocery store you just get to the register a bit later, for us we just may miss a second flight in one day.
To be continued...