Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I hate O'Hare

So we left the flat at 52o am popped off to Glasgow airport and made our flight to Manchester fairly uneventfully. We landed in Chicago and went to get our luggage to clear customs and NBH's bag never came. His bag, which has his kilt in it (you can't hang a kilt) is missing. So we report it and I go and re-check my bags and then I learn our flight is cancelled. Yes a flight from Chicago to Cincinnati was cancelled because of a hurricane in Texas. Why? I guess because of incoming aircraft but whatever.

The first guy we speak to is a complete assclown. He said you can leave tomorrow at 11:15am; no food, no hotel-- NOTHING. We ask to see a supervisor and he too refuses us any help. NBH's Dad flashes his BMI Gold Card and I show how I'm schlepping around my wedding dress and they don't care. At one point I said "Thanks for ruining my wedding" (I was super tired, ok!) and the guy said "You are very welcome." NBH almost punched him.

So we are cursing United and I'm trying to figure out how much it would be to rent a car and drive and NBH's Dad decides to try another agent. Oh I should mention at this point I (and James and Laura) are told that as we've re-checked our bags, even though the agents shouldn't have, we can't get them back. This new agent without us asking gives NBH and I flights for 7:50 on Delta and the other 8 of our group $15 in food vouchers, a free hotel room and flights the next morning.

So NBH and I change terminals and wait and wait and wait in line at Delta where we are told that they will not accept what United has given us and we need a "Fim" and/or a new paper ticket. So we change terminals again (f-ck the trams, seriously) and wait and wait and wait and wait to get new paperwork from United.

United tells me well this was ticketed by BMI we can't give you new paperwork, I can put you on tomorrow morning's flight, but no free hotel. You can talk to the supervisor. So we go to talk to the supervisor and he says okay I will help you but give me 5 minutes. So when he comes back I said "I'd really like to be in Cincinnati tonight, but if not I want a hotel room, please." I should mention that all around us people are complaining and getting denied hotels, complaining about long waits and one guy had lost his 83 year old aunt (I'm still not sure why this guy didn't use the PA or tell the airport cops). Anyway this guy says here you go, good luck with your wedding and gives us boarding passes for a 9:50 flight. Yes, we will be in Cincinnati tonight.

So NBH and I go and get a bagel and have some dinner as we are feeling really tired and out of it. We schlep over to F7B and then the thunderstorm starts, great! But we have time so hopefully it will blow over. Then over the PA "Ladies and Gentlemen, please move away from the windows there is a tornado warning." Ugggh I tell NBH a warning means a tornado has been spotted. Then again "A tornado is within a 10-12 mile radius, please move to the tunnels beneath baggage claim."

I'm low on sleep, stressed and I flip out. We go to a random windowless hallway, but then see staff evacuating and saying "What are we supposed to do get all these people to move?" Well no they just leave. So we start to move, too. A security guard says to go to T1 because they will most likely close T3. So we start to go to T1 and all the time I'm looking out the window because I know if the pouring rain stops, that we are screwed. Well we get to T1 and it is all glass. I don't know if you had elementary school tornado drills, but first thing you do is get away from glass.

So we decide to run back to the random tunnel we were in before. If you care I pretty much had cried several time and had some minor panic attacks and was generally freaking out. Yes I grew up in a place where tornado warnings were a fairly regular occurrence, but when you are on you way to your wedding with your fiance and in a giant glass building and haven't slept, you freak. Anyway, back to the random hall and NBH nips to the bathroom (the other place I wanted to go if the tornado came). He comes back and says they are letting people sit by the windows again so we are okay.

9:50 comes and goes as our plane is at the gate, but our crew is circling overhead because they can't land because of lightening. We didn't board until 1am Chicago time and after another hour on the tarmac we arrive in Cincinnati. My luggage, Laura's/James' luggage arrives and NBH's does not. We grab all the suitcases and NBH and I hop in a cab and we arrive at the hotel at 4am Cincinnati time. They tell me they know nothing about us having a suite reserved, but I say I will sort it in the morning I just want a bed.

NBH's family and our friends made it in today at 2pm and NBH's bag is still missing. We are in our suite and so far everything else is okay. We are going to try and bypass Chicago SAS and call Manchester baggage systems tomorrow.

That is a long ass post, but it was drama. The forecast looks okay for Friday, but I don't want to jinx it...if you fancy checking be my guest :)


Liz said...

Oh my GOD. That is awful!! I can't believe how poorly you were treated - that is ridiculous.

I hope Colin's bag turns up.

Emily said...

I hope you took that guy's name down and write a complaint. I also write a compliment when I encounter anyone helpful and nice.

Hopefully that's your only dilemma - these are the things that will (hopefully) make you laugh and make it all memorable.

I REALLY hope Colin's bag comes soon. Deep breaths and a margarita or two.

JoernandAllison said...

Seriously, you were treated horrifically. I am sorry :(

I will keep my fingers crossed for you that the bag shows up soon!

And agree with Emily- hopefully this is the one problem you guys will laugh at in a few years!

Good luck!!

Caitlin said...

Awful!!! In my experience, always go to the airline that you booked your flight if it was BMI, with connectiing flights on United, go through BMI. I had a similar experience with Virgin and BMI...BMI screwed me over and lost my bag, I dealt with BMI only. Finally got my bag 2 weeks later and only £50 compensation after complaining. In retrospect, I should have gone to Virgin and complained since they were responsible for the whole booking.

Good luck!

Suze - Manchester UK said...

That's awful! Am so sorry to hear about your problems. I read your blog occasionally and I am based in Manchester... if there is ANYTHING I can do - shout at some people locally or something, just let me know.

Anonymous said...

So sorry you had to deal with all that stress- ridiculous!

Fingers crossed that Colin's bag arrives in time and you can laugh about this years from now!

The Tune's said...

All I can say is best of luck getting Colin's suitcase back. Looks like the weather gods are listening to you so hopefully the suitcase ones will too!

Jennifer said...

Geez, Ryan, I just read this. Unbelievable! I'm glad that you didn't let it spoil your entire time. You can tell me all the other stories when I see you next.

I need to somehow set up a sync to my journal from yours.

See you next week! xx