~ Bertelson Bulletin ~


Remember the movie “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” ??
March 17, 2009, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Nils, travel

Welcome to Nils’ 2009 version – Nils just typed up the below of his nightmare return journey from Denver Colorado !!

HOW TO GET FROM DENVER TO FLORIDA IN 30 plus SOMETHING HOURS

Although I had the best snowboard trip of my life with knee high powder, great food and great friends I am sharing this part of the trip for your entertainment.

My flight plan was a bit of a puzzle but I really only have myself to blame as I clicked on the purchase button without looking at all the details. Although I look back and cannot figure why any travel agency would want to put someone through the hell that ended up happening to me as a result of their planning.

I booked the round trip ticket from West Palm Beach to Denver. The flight out was fine. American Airlines with one stop in Texas. No problem there.

The scheduled return flight went like this: Leave Denver at 11:55pm (United) to Washington Airport #1 (IAD – Dulles International airport) then get a shuttle to Washington Airport #2 (DCA – Ronald Reagan National airport). About 30 miles away, $ 40.00 AND I have to retrieve my baggage at IAD and take it with me to DCA as I will be on a different airline (U.S Airways). Then off to WPB and arrive at 11:30am Sunday. Total travel time 11 1/2 hours. WRONG…

Anyway after trying to reschedule my flight on the phone at Gary’s house to no avail I thought I would just get to the airport in Denver 8 hours early and talk to someone in person and maybe get a better flight plan.No luck here and my Nightmare begins …

It is 4pm, my flight leaves at midnight so I go find a place to sit and mess around on my laptop. (free internet) whoopie. Not an internet junkie (like my wife who can happily spend 8 hours on her laptop!) so that lasts about an hour. Off to get something to eat and try to nap. Had some food and a beer and found a nice comfy spot (NOT) on the floor to try and nap. Time dragged on, it’s around 7:30pm. I go to find another food and beverage place. Had a club sandwich and a couple Fat tires (good beer.) Time is now 10:15pm and I get the word that our plane has a broken window and we are going to be delayed…. GREAT!

United has now changed us to a smaller plane and they are over booked by at least 20 people. They are asking for volunteers to leave tomorrow. I’m game as you get a free round trip ticket good for a year to anywhere in the lower 48 states. No go for me as I have some funky ticket that utilizes 2 different airlines so I do not qualify – JUST my luck!

Now I am starting to get really tired, like I could fall asleep standing up tired. With all the confusion going on I just decide to lay behind the ticket counter and rest. Time is now 11:30pm I fall asleep for 25 minutes and wake up at 11:59pm. This is 4 minutes PAST the original departure time and our plane was suppose to be delayed. Well I look out the window and there is my plane backing away from the dock. OH NO! I wipe the sleepy dust out of my eyes and notice that I am the only one left in like the whole airport except for the 2 employees that are getting ready to go home.

I approached them and asked what do I do now. They felt bad as they usually double check on everyone who is supposed to be on the plane but with all the ruckus going on I slipped (slept!) under the radar. They began to work their magic. After a bunch of searching on the computer they came up with a plan for me.

I now have a new flight plan. But my baggage is still on its way to Washington airport #1. My first leg leaves for BOSTON at 8am. Time to find another really comfy spot to try and sleep some more. Very peaceful now as I am almost the only one in the entire airport except for a few workers that are vaccuming and cleaning and being very quiet NOT!!! I find a spot with no one working and set my watch AND my cell phone ALARMS and try and nod off.

Up at 6:30am and get an egg mcmuffin and a coke. 8am now and I am getting on an airplane to Boston. AHHH a nice comfy seat. I think this is the first time that an airplane seat in coach felt so good. 4 1/2 hours later we are landing in Logan airport. So I figure ok I am almost home one more flight. WRONG! …

I make it to the proper gate to find out my seat and they tell me that there has been some kind of change and I will be flying to Charlotte NC and then to WPB.

WHEN WILL THIS END? Flight to Charlotte is uneventfull and we are there in like 2 hours or so. Now I am headed to US Airways to find out which plane and gate I need to go to to get to WPB. Rush Rush Rush as my plane leaves in like 30 minutes. Get to gate C11 and wouldn’t you know, PLANE DELAY. IMAGINE THAT! Bar right next to the gate so I have a couple beers over the next hour while waiting.

Maybe a chance to make things worth while. The counter guy asks for a volunteer. I know what this means. I jump up and say YES I WILL VOLUNTEER!. They only needed one and I was it. I am already thinking of next year. FREE TICKET GOOD FOR A YEAR. Yeah that would make all this worth it. No luck. They made things work and all I got was to be the last one on the plane. The PACKED PLANE! Oh well at least I can now see the light and the end of the runway or tunnel. Whatever.

Last leg and I arrive in WPB at 9:15 pm. Alice picks me up (and BOY did he SMELL) and I am on my way home.

So there you have it. How to get from Denver to Florida in 30 something hours.

By Nils Bertelson

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