My 19-Hour Delta Nightmare: NY -> LA -> SF

19 ridiculously intense hours after I left Andrea’s hotel in NYC, I have finally made it to San Francisco International Airport.  I understand that with weather conditions delays do occur, but the customer service I was offered was beyond subpar. Delta’s incompetence coupled my amazingly horrible streak of bad luck made for a ridiculous adventure that seems almost comical.

I left NYC at 1pm New York Time for La Guardia Airport. My amazing friend Jeff ditched work to escort me and help me with my bags. The second I closed the hotel room door, I received an automated phone call from Delta that my flight was postponed indefinitely. Since I had two layovers in Cincinnati, Ohio & Salt Lake City, Utah, those were subsequently canceled. What magical timing, especially since I left my hotel key on Andrea’s bed and could not get back in. Even more devastating was the fact that I left all my cookies from Levain Bakery in the hotel room. Since I was crashing with Andrea and her colleague, I wasn’t authorized to get back in.

The falsely cheerful robot lady then informed me that Delta was in the process of rebooking my flight. We decided to taxi to LaGuardia Airport anyways since the Delta website indicated possible alternatives. As soon we left Manhattan, it started pouring and the sky turned an ominous dark gray. Foreshadowing much?

Gloomy.

After a painfully slow wait in line, the angry lady at the counter informed me oops, there are no more flights for me to San Jose today. She offers to put me on for tomorrow, or perhaps the day after. Yup, since according to her, “There are people sleeping here for 2-3 days waiting to get onto a plane.” Not joking, those were her exact words. Luckily for me, she discovered a 5pm flight out from JFK to LA to SJ. So therefore, I should run along now.

We lugged everything downstairs and piled into a taxi for JFK. The driver was a super chill guy and assured me we’d get there in 15 with his speed racin’. Well, that speed racin’ didn’t happen, since we were stuck in virtually standstill traffic for the next 1.5 hours. To take my mind of things, Jeff and I watched crazy Youtube videos, listened to our karaoke recordings from Monday night, and chatted about scandalous topics. We even threw in some random bouts of opera singing. Might as well, since the meter was ticking and I was not a happy camper. $60+ tip later, we realize it was because the road flooded and they were fixing the underground pipes. Whoopie.

Newly pressed for time, I headed to the baggage drop-off kiosk. After waiting in line, the lady directed me to self-check. I tried the machine twice. I called a Delta attendance to try the machine twice. No dice, as I was ‘Denied’. Therefore, it was back in the long line for the Special Services kiosk. Once I got to the gate, I explained my situation as civilly as possible. The guy informed me that my reservation was a mess. Apparently Miss LaGuardia angry lady forgot to cancel my other flights so I was not properly checked in. Thankfully, he was a dear and bumped me up to First Class. Well, that was nice. J

I hugged Jeff farewell and headed through security, thinking this would be a turning point. I sat back and relaxed in my comfy First Class chair and enjoyed some wine. I adjusted my seat back to a sleeping position for a nice nap. 2.5 hours later I woke up to admire the view. Which turned out to be….the beautiful view of the tarmac, exactly as beautiful as it was 2.5 hours ago since we had apparently not budged yet. At least it got slightly a bit more beautiful with orange glow of sunset. Eventually, we moved forward a few feet and finally took off.

Sunset.

My flight experience was enjoyable with a delicious 3 course dinner and comedies like the Five Year Engagement. The old man next to me sneezed on me when changing his movie by accident…but that’s okay. We flew extremely fast and touched down in LAX around 9 55pm. I was ecstatic, as I realized I might actually make my connecting flight to SJ! Things were starting to look up.

Yummy!

Except, just kidding. Of course, LAX would mess up the gate assignment and we would have to wait for another gate to open up. In the meantime, my connecting flight taxied off to San Jose…without me. The captain assured us there would be agents assisting us with connecting flight issues. I walked to the gate in search of agents, who were absent. I was redirected to a “Need Help?” Kiosk, where the lady with an attitude informed me that there were no more flights out to any Bay Area airport until the next morning. I settled on the 6 45am flight out to SFO. Since it was a ‘weather related issue’, Delta would not provide compensation in any form. I was totally welcome to chill in the airport over night though. She also shrugged when I asked her where my luggage was. After much unnecessary deliberation, she agreed to send it over on Carousel 4.

I lugged my tearing Bloomingdales paper shopping bag down to Carousel 4, and waited for half an hour. No luggage in sight. I headed to Baggage Services and complained some more. An hour later, my luggage was found. Hallelujah. Some of my brethren were not so lucky. One girl I befriended from Google was told her luggage was still in Salt Lake City.

I grabbed my luggage and headed over to Tom Brady International Terminal for the McDonald’s open until 2am. Apparently nothing else stays open past that time. I updated my status on Facebook, and immediately several friends ping me and offer to rescue me. My good friend Tommy rushed over from El Monte and offered me his car to hobo in for the night, even though he had work at 8am the next day. I was extremely touched.

 

How do I always end up chilling in empty airports.

Thank you Tommy! 🙂

Just like that, Tommy and I spent the night in his 335i chatting, catching up, and surprisingly, getting some good quality sleep. The next morning we woke up at 5 50am. I looked at my ticket again, and did a double-take. SH*T!!!!! I misread my ticket and thought boarding time was 6 45. In reality, it was 6 05. How fail – I would shoot myself if I missed my flight AGAIN. How ironic too that I spent the night at LAX and there I was super late for my flight. We bolted from the car and ran toward Terminal 5. Right when we got there, Tommy discovered that my beloved rainbow umbrella from MoMa had slipped out somewhere. He doubled back to search for it, while I managed to get to the front of the baggage drop lane and hand my bag over for late check-in.

I hugged Tommy goodbye, grabbed all my stuff, and rushed up the escalator to Security when….RIPP!!! My Big Brown Bag from Bloomingdales ripped in half and all of its contents spewed over the floor. FML. Thankfully Tommy had given me a re-usable bag just in case, so I grabbed my work heels out of their boxes and stuffed everything into the bag. I raced through security and ran as fast as I could to Gate 51A…which was deserted. OH SH*TTTT!

I double-checked the screen, which indicated that oops, they decided to switch the gate last minute to 56. Therefore, I picked up my stuff and darted down the hall. YES. I just made final call…but it was the walk of shame down the plane. I just happened to be in the second to last row all the way in the back too.

Just when I thought it would be smooth sailing all the way home finally…the bag I was attempting to stuff in the cramped overhead spit out a pair of heels. Unfortunately, they landed in the lap of an already angry white lady. Yea…she was not pleased. She huffed and puffed, gave me the death glare, and switched her seat. For the rest of the flight, I could almost feel her eyes boring holes into the back of my head. Oopsie.

Thankfully….after 19 hours, my Delta nightmare came to a close when I flew into K’s open arms at SFO, with my luggage and soul intact.

M

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