Got back from New Orleans this morning after a quick weekend trip. Feeling a bit sleepy after the 5:20am flt.
Had really exciting check-in experiences both ways which ended well for a change. Had a 7:15am flight on Saturday morning and went to bed past 3:00am. As usual I was doing my last minute packing and preparation which somehow manages to take 4 times longer than expected :)
Kitts was staying out for the night and GG would have to wake up the kids; hadn’t discussed the sat. drop off with Chuck so looked at some park and ride details before going to bed and decided to take that in the morning.
As expected, had a hard time waking up in at 5:45 in the morning in spite of 2 alarms and a wake-up holler from GG. My hair was still a li’l damp even though I had blow dried it before going to bed. Danthal was sleeping next to me so cuddled with her for a couple minutes then got ready without realizing how late it was. Saw the time only past 6:00am, then said bye to GG and rushed downstairs. Poured myself a plain glass of milk…still on strict diet especially before seeing Da :P; prayed for a minute then finally managed to get my two bags (for a 2 day trip!) and glass of milk in the car.
Counting every minute while driving, decided to take the highway instead of my “scenic” route…by 6: 19 I was crossing the terminal but no signs for park and ride #2…decided to follow the directions I had seen on the web and managed to get there but no sign of even a single car or shuttle. Wondering if I should just park in daily parking and ask kitts and GG to pick up the car later…also getting very late and feeling very cold and nervous. Drove a bit further and saw some cars but turns out to be employee parking. Fortunately, I see signs for park and ride #4 so decide to take a try. Get in there but it takes an age to find a spot. It’s almost 6:30 by this time and I am dreading the possibility of Da waiting for me at the N.O. airport half of Saturday when we only have 2 days to spend together. Manage to drink the milk in about 8 seconds and rush to the shuttle terminal. Another guy arrives at the same time so I am releived. He says the shuttle probably comes every 2 minutes.
Pull out the phone to find 2 missed calls, one from Chuck and the other from Da. Ugh! If only I had called Chuck sooner or versa! Call Da…he’s at the ATL airport with a couple hours of wait left. Prepare him for the possibility of the flt getting missed. A wait of about 8 minutes before the shuttle arrives, and another 6-7 before it drops me off at the far end of terminal A. I get ready for action and say bye to Da on the phone. Quick walk to the Delta counter all the way from the baggage claim area. The girl next to me asks the code to New Orleans…we are both struggling with the self check-in saying nearly the same thing…half to ourselves and half to each other. I hear her curse and 2 seconds later see the message on my screen…Check-in can be done only upto 30 minutes before the flight. I hope that applies for self check-in only but by then I already hear the delta guy telling this other girl to get herself rebooked…st! I blindly follow her to save time, we pick up the phone one after another and almost the exact same conversation…“I just missed the 30 minute check-in for my flt, would it be possible for you to check me in over the phone?” he asks my last name, destination, then if I have bags to check in..I hear the girl protesting in the background I’ve almost given up hope but I’m still praying to turn my luck around! I tell him, “no” and he says..**Ok, ma’am, we normally don’t do this but since you don’t have bags to check-in I’m going to do a courtesy check-in for you 27 minutes before departure..** “Wow! Thank you…thanks so much!” “your boarding pass will be printed at the counter and you can pick it up from there” “Oh he’s letting you check-in?...” “yea”, with a frown and a smile!! then I see she has a huge bag to check in and I tell ehr why she’s having trouble…meanwhile it’s late and I rush to pick up my boarding pass. the guy behind the counter starts to put a tag and my bag and tells me my flt is at 9:15…What!! “No, I was told I would get the boarding pass for the 7:15 flt”. “Oh is your last name J-A-I-N?” “Uh-huh”...“Oh ok ma’am, you’re good to go” and he gives me my boarding pass…
It’s not over yet…there’s still the security line! I fly past all the counters blessing everyone who works for delta airlines and wondering whether this other girl will make it too…The security line is spilling over to the lounge but moving fast. I wait my turn patiently and amazingly we’re upstairs within 5-6 minutes. By now I only have 20 minutes for the flt and the wait upstairs is at least another 20 minutes! Even if I make it the gates will be closed! I remember KB’s experience with United (which is a day worth reading and writing about) and decide I need to act now or never. I ask the woman behind to hold my place and traverse through the snake up to the security guard. Start to tell her my story but she curtly tells me to get back in line wherever I was standing earlier. I walk back a few steps then ask a guy if I might cut in as my flt leaves in 10 minutes…no fuss, I thank him profusely and get to the 3rd part of the line where it splits into two. There’s still at least 12 people in front of me…I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now…I try my luck again, this time with two ladies, they let me go, encouraged I try again and now the people are making way for me and moving aside even before I ask. I reach a security guard and pause wndering if I should take the risk of being thrown back to the end of the line (considering the experience with the last one). Before I can make up my mind, she says “Well, don’t you want to get in the front of the line?” I give her a big smile and thanks and go straight to the checking point. Teh lady ahead is slow is nervous…by now my heart is beating so fast with excitement…will I make it before they close the doors (10 minutes before departure usually). Managing to get past the security wihout a hitch, I start wondering if my gate is going to be the longest walk from the security point as always. I’m almost ready to run when I see the numbers are starting at 18 instead of 1 and I only have to get to 16. There isn’t a soul at gate 16 except one lady behind the counter. My heart almost sinks, then I see the light at the end of the tunnel through the open door of the walkway to the plane :) I rush to the woman and show her my pass…still worried…there’s a walk in the open before I get to the plane. Climb the stairs and the flt attendant asks me how I am…“Fine, now that I’m in here!” :)
Da calls while I’m still walking to my seat…window on one side and aisle on the other :) I even get 5 minutes to chat before the call to turn off the phones…the lady on the other side of the aisle gets nervous coz I’m still talking…I say a quick bye…I’m thinking “this is just the kind of person who would block my path through the line…thank God she wasn’t there”...My heart is still racing when the plane starts to move along the runway. I say a prayer and blessing for every person who let me get ahead…the plane takes off and I ride the clouds all the way to New Orleans :)