Friday, May 6, 2011

Andrew's First Day At the Airport

What. A. Day. So it all started when I awoke at 830am (having slept at 430am) in order to purposely make myself sleepy and exhausted for the rest of the day. The red-eye flight to Madrid was at 5:40 in the afternoon and arriving at 7:30 the next morning, so I really wanted to be nice and sleepy for the whole flight. Good idea in principle right?

Everything was hunky-dory until about an hour before our departure when it was announced that our Aer Lingus plane was having some trouble with one of its wing ailerons (the control surface that allows the airplane to bank and turn - kinda important). After two hours, it was declared that the flight was canceled. My roommate and fellow poker player 'Dana Gordon' absolutely bolted to the nearest customer service desk to rebook as we were trying to beat out everyone else who was also running. It was truly a mad and funny scene being in a giant hoard of people flying down the corridors at frantic pace. Then we hit the wall. There was already a crush of people at the desk for previous flight cancellations and all sorts of crazy. A cluster**** as we call it.

We spent the next 3 hours calling United Airlines while also standing in the line that advanced 1-2 people every 5-10 minutes; it was truly excruciating. Finally, my roommate managed to secure a rebooking that would take us to Paris via Air France, then on to Madrid the next day! Problem: It was 9:25pm and we were in the C terminal, and the departure was at 9:50pm in the A terminal, about a 20 minute commute. The ensuing mad dash to the A gates completely obliterated our previous run. We arrived panting, sweaty, and utterly drained both physically and mentally at everything that had gone on today. But it was not to be. The French people manning the gate said we were too late and that was that.

Spent, exhausted, and ready to go home, we took a cab ride back to our apartment in Arlington. It was such a strange feeling to have spent 8 hours in an airport only to take a cab back... to where we had started our day. We tried our best and made do with what we had at our disposal. It was good to practice some of the tactics that have made us successful poker players, namely patience and calm/logical thinking, no matter the crappy situation.

We're both going back to Dulles tomorrow to make the same flight. Let's hope they have a different plane :) (Btw who lets an airplane aileron get busted to the point of a flight cancellation??) I'm hoping to start Day 1B on Sunday. I've also extended my stay there till the 12th, just because now I want to get as much Madrid in me as I possibly can!

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