We all have our travel war stories. I just had to add my most recent experiences to the "I wonder what they are thinking" file.
OK, so I check into the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, AZ for a convention. My wife and I just traveled way too many hours thanks to a thunderstorm over the Atlanta airport that had us missing our connecting flight and the next flight because it was already overbooked. I go to power up my laptop to handle a few items while my wife is taking a bath before we crash for the night.
I'm greeted by a screen that informs me internet connections are $12.95 per 24 hour period or $3.95 per hour. Let's face it – when Hampton Inn can give you free wireless access, why is a five star resort gouging its patrons by making wireless internet service a profit center? Frankly, I was ticked off about it. Here I was stuck for four days at this beautiful resort and I couldn't shake the feeling I was being raked over the coals. At least they didn't have a meter on the water for the shower and bath tub.
Thinking there might be some sort of group rate or discount available, I called the front desk and asked if there was a group rate for wireless service. "No," the woman told me. Admittedly, I vented my frustration when I said, "Gee, Hampton Inn gives you free wireless; you would think the Phoenician would have this service for free." Her response was priceless: "Sir, we're a five star resort not a Hampton Inn."
The message I got was if you can't afford the car, then don't complain about the price of gasoline. So come on Phoenician, get into the 21st Century of basic services for guests.
Great place to stay otherwise!
So we're heading home from the trip to Phoenix. Delta Airlines calls my cell phone around noon Eastern time to say our connecting flight from Cincinnati to Orlando is delayed from 8:15 PM to 10:00 PM. I'm impressed.
We arrive at Cincinnati to find the 10:00 flight time is still the mark. About fifteen minutes before boarding we're informed that the flight departure is now delayed to 11:30! So with a 1 hour and 49 minute flight that puts us home at 1:30 am. Thankfully, we've adjusted somewhat to the three-hour time difference in Phoenix.
What few of us in the airport realized was the food court and all shops closed at 9:00 on this Sunday evening. That meant you had about 200 souls and two vending machines tucked behind the food court half a concourse away. Now Delta had only about ten hours to make other arrangements for the plane, but they bet they could get this one on the ground fixed. About 10:30 someone from Delta threw a flat of water and some biscuit cookies and peanuts on the counter and announced, "Come and get it."
Judith and I were fine sitting there. It was the families with all the little kids heading to Disney World for whom I felt true compassion.
Fortunately, when we got on the plane, the flight attendant, Peter, had a plan. A free movie and headsets for everyone. He did a great job of apologizing to the passengers. The movie was 17 Again. You aren't going to believe this, but the plane landed just before the movie ended. So if anyone knows how the movie ended… email me!
It gets funnier…
We land in Orlando just past 1:30 AM. Judith and I head to the baggage claim to get our bags. The Orlando airport is empty except for passengers from our flight and another from Atlanta. They place all of us at carousel 30. About this time, nature is calling me so I head to the bathroom for an on-purpose pee. I see it has one of those bright orange cones in front and a cleaning cart. I walk in and a woman is cleaning the men's room. She scolds me for coming in and tells me to leave. I comply.
I walk half a concourse to another men's room. It is closed with a barricade. I walk back up to baggage claim 30 hoping the attendant is finished. She's standing in front of the entrance blocking people from going in. Get this… a male attendant is standing in front of the women's bathroom entrance blocking women from going in. Do you think they could have switched?
So here you have about 400 people all waiting for the bags with the only two bathrooms within 500 yards being blocked by staff of the opposite sex from the bathroom they are cleaning. Could they have switched bathrooms? No! Could they have accommodated the only two flights left to come into the airport at now 2 AM? No! My Spanish is not good otherwise I might have argued the point. What were they thinking?
I just had to laugh… fortunately not hard enough to wet my pants.