I’m in Cleveland!

Posted: August 13, 2010 in 0L, Absurd, Cleveland, Travel

I know I’ve terribly neglected this endeavor but trust me, it’s been one CRAZY last week.

I left for Cleveland exactly one week ago and was supposed to arrive Saturday morning, but American Airlines had completely different plans for me. I landed in MIA, and because the gate attendant was too busy arguing with me over how heavy my bags were, in spite of me saying I was more than happy to pay, he forgot to give me the customs form which you apparently now (at least in AA) get prior to boarding the plane, instead of during the flight. Anyway, this meant I had to run to the forms section before entering the country and therefore ended up at the end of the customs line when six different international flights landed at the same time. I got in and was greeted by a woman who looked at the ticket on my checked bags and said “Uh-uh, go to that counter”… Uhm, OK? I go to “that counter” where I meet the woman who is possibly the rudest “costumer service” rep I have ever met. She opens with “So, what did you do? Why did you miss your flight?” Of course, this is the first time I’m hearing that I’ve missed my flight to NYC, where I’d made plans for the night.

Me: “I didn’t know I’d missed my flight, what time is it?”

Rude Attendant: “Too late for you to board, that’s what time it is.”

Me: “OK… Then what do you suggest? I have plans to be in New York to night, and I need to be in Cleveland by tomorrow morning…”

RA: “Well there’s nothing I can do, it’s not the airline’s fault.”

Me: *Deep annoyed breath*

RA: *Types for five minutes* “You can be in Cleveland tomorrow at 6PM and leave for NYC tomorrow at 11AM. It’s all I can do”

Me: “There aren’t ANY OTHER flights? Can you reroute me to Chicago?”

RA: *five minutes of typing* “I said that’s all I can do. Here are your new boarding passes.”

Me: Fine. “Will I need a new baggage claim ticket?”

RA: “No no, you keep your bags with you overnight ma’am”

Me: *thinks* HELLZ TO THA NO LADY! “Uhm, well, everyone in this line seems to be in the same situation and they’re all checking their bags for their flights tomorrow… Any reason why I can’t?”

RA: *five minutes typing, hands me new baggage claim tickets* Take them over to the TSA guy over there”

Me: *fake smile* Thanks for your help!

Anyway, she didn’t give me hotel vouchers even after I argued for them, and then went to another AA rep who could only give me a distress voucher and who also informed me that there was a possibility I could have been put on standby for a flight that would have left Miami at 6AM for JFK and gotten me to Cleveland a lot earlier, but that now it was too late because she’d checked me and my bags in on the other flights and there was nothing I could do. This AA rep was A LOT nicer and offered to get me a voucher, but her supervisor said no and they ended up giving me a distressed passenger voucher which is only discounted. A shuttle was supposed to pick me up but after I stood and waited for it for over two hours with a heavy backpack and carry-on bag, I desisted and ended up sleeping in the airport. Of course by the time I tried to get back to the gate, they’d already stopped allowing people in and had to stay outside until 4:30am when passengers could enter again. WHAT… a night.

Almost 20 hours and three gate changes later, I boarded to New York and thought I’d gotten the row all to myself, when a man came and sat next to me. He seemed nice enough, albeit a little chatty but I knew I’d doze off the minute we took off. Well, he had different plans. We took off and he promptly grabbed a nail clipper out of his bag and proceeded to loudly and slowly clip his nails. REALLY? Why on Earth are nail clippers even allowed on an airplane, and where exactly did he learn using them on one is acceptable under any circumstances??? I then wrapped myself in my hoodie in order to prevent being blinded by my new friend’s flying nails and eventually fell asleep, but was woken up every twenty minutes because the air conditioning was on way too high and the temperature in the airplane seemed to want to prepare me for the Cleveland winter.

I land in New York, my eyesight intact, and ask the AA rep at the gate where the connection to Cleveland was. She doesn’t even look up from what I’m assuming can only be as important as checking her Facebook and says “You can check the monitors”. Sometimes I feel my life is an episode of MTV’s Boiling Points. And if it is, then this is where I finally lose it. “No. I have been traveling for almost 30 hours, I have walked around the entire Miami airport because of gate changes so no. I am not going to look for a monitor. You can look it up, please.” She sighs and gives me the gate number, which thankfully was just 3 gates down from where we’d landed.

I board a little American Eagle plane headed to Cleveland assuming my adventure MUST by now be over, when halfway through the flight a man starts loudly singing. At first it’s just a few lines here and there and then suddenly he’s singing one song after another. And he doesn’t speak English, so every time the flight attendants come and tell him to respectfully shut up, he only turns up the volume. He’s drunk off his face, and again I’m wondering why drunks are allowed on airplanes? I didn’t think they were, and this man got drunk during the flight because I could smell the alcohol and I was two rows in front of him, so he wouldn’t have been allowed to board if he’d been drunk before. Anyway, I finally land in Cleveland, wait for my bags (no issues there, thankfully!) and get on a taxi who of course gets lost getting to where I’m staying, but 50 dollars later makes it and I drop myself on a mattress where I sleep for the next 16 hours.

So far I’ve really liked the city and I’ll talk more about that in a later post.

  1. travelingmad says:

    Sounds like a long and crazy journey!

    I’m glad you made it. I would like to read more about Cleveland. I have never been there but do wonder what the hype is about it (television shows).

    I hate those extra long trips and know the feeling all too well of wasting nearly a day just in recovery alone once I’ve finally arrived.

    Rest up. I will return to read more later.

  2. idwsj says:

    The last part of this post is very close to a practice torts exam I did in the fall. Memories!

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