I should really have an entirely separate blog for all of my travel horror stories. At the rate they're happening I could post almost twice a week with some ridiculous event or another. But then you'd all be so horrified and turned off to traveling that you'd just stay home and watch Netflix all the time. Perhaps in the interest of not turning the lot of you into agoraphobics I should keep my stories to myself? Nah.
I would love to watch Netflix lazily on my sofa all week(Stranger than Fiction is on its way) but instead I am heading to a country that can't master the concept of CLEAN WATER tomorrow morning. They can make tequila like champs but not purify water for their own public consumption. This is clearly a country with mixed up priorities (and rampant corruption, horrific poverty and a lot of taxi cab crime as well). Can you tell I am excited to visit our southern neighbor-country?
I am sure there will be oodles of Mexico stories later this week. If anyone has Mexico advice for me, now is the time to bring it on. I am packing tonight and appreciate any tips. ANY.
Until then, here's last week's story about how American Airlines
inconvenienced 140 people to save some bucks had a weather delay.
We were delayed before we boarded the plane because (get ready for it) we were not going to have enough fuel to fly from Washington DC to DFW. I know, really far huh? We obviously have to stop for gas because we're taking a
12 gallon Piper Cub 5,480 gallon MD-80.
Yes, they told us that 5,400 gallons of gas is not enough.
The way they phrased it made it seem as if the entire airport was out of gas. As if it was the 1970's and it wasn't just the airport but maybe the whole country was out of gas! A panic! No gas! A crisis of national proportion!
But that wasn't it. There was plenty of gas on-site. They just couldn't put it on our airplane. The explanation was truly profound: "Ladies and gentlemen, it is very hot today."
It seems that when it's really hot, and on a short runway at DCA, the load tolerances are greatly diminished. We either had to take everyone and stop in Nashville for more fuel or kick 40 people off the plane. The plane only holds 139.
As a newly-minted special status person I was all for kicking 40 people off the plane, knowing full well I wouldn't be one of them. Alas, everyone else did not see things my way.
We boarded the plane and the captain and flight attendants made several un-funny jokes.
"Welcome aboard American Airlines flight 456 with service to Dallas-Ft. Worth, now with a layover in exciting Nashville!!"
As we sat on the tarmac in the Country Music capital of the world and turned off the A/C (which is just cruel) to get that damned fuel, it struck me that our delay was probably categorized as "Weather" when really it was "Very Poor Planning.
If there is one weather phenomenon that an airline could be certain of, wouldn't it be that in August, in the northern hemisphere, it will be hot? Perhaps even really, REALLY HOT?
Plus, the runway at DCA has always been short. It's not like today we woke up and there were several hundred feet missing from it and it was suddenly an unforeseen problem.
Why didn't they plan for this? Why didn't they book a more powerful aircraft? Sell fewer seats? Something? Anything!
I don't understand why we put up with this. Why Americans aren't more outraged. Why companies are still paying top dollar to get people to places late and tired and cranky.
I don't understand why airlines aren't held to a higher standard to actually deliver what we pay for. They are allowed so many tax exemptions in the interest of bettering this vital role that air travel plays in our economy and yet...it just sucks and they suck and they don't care. They're counting their money with glee and wholly unconcerned about much besides the bottom line.
I wish I could say "I will just stop flying because I don't care to give my money to companies like that."
Unfortunately, that's just not our reality.
Any further thoughts on what many in the industry have already dubbed "The Summer of Hell?"