Today I am flying to Philadelphia for a brief weekend visit with my parents and a couple of my sisters. Or rather, I am trying to.
Let me preface all of this with a warning so dire, you would be foolhardy to ignore it: fly not on US Airways.
This morning, while I was relaxing at home, wife safely off to work, children in her care for the next 54 hours, I got a call. It was a recording, and I almost hung up in a reflex honed during this past electoral season.
But just as soon as I had determined that this was not a Real Person on the other end, a multi-phonic chime of the sort you hear in an airport told me that while not Real, this was probably a call I should listen to. US Airways was informing me that my flight had been cancelled. Nothing else beyond an 800 number if, IF!, I had any questions. Like, what was I supposed to do now?
The young woman on the other end of the 800 number helpfully got me a seat on another flight leaving at 2:30, two hours later than my original, arriving in Philadelphia at 9:30, five hours later than I was supposed to be there, with a stop in Washington, DC. Did I want that flight, she asked helpfully. And I refrained from suggesting that my other option seemed to be handing her my ticket money and staying home.
When I got to the airport, I was informed that my 2:30 flight was now going to be taking off at 4:00, and that I might have to run in DC. This with a helpful smile.
In the end, the flight wasn’t so bad once I got off the ground. Reagan National Airport even managed to provide a vanilla milkshake in the terminal, which can’t be all bad. I sat next to a nice young woman from a company called… Vangard? Vagrant? I thought I’d remember it, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Vagrant. And then next to a very serious young man in a suit, who reminded me a little frighteningly of Pee Wee Herman crossed with Tim Roth. He spent the whole flight in zen-crazy mode, hands flat on his thighs, staring straight ahead. Though I did catch him nodding off a little.