As I write this, Jay & I should be – that’s should be – lounging in front of the crackling fireplace at the JD Young Hotel in the quaint little market town of Harleston, UK. Instead, Jay is at the baseball game, where he will enjoy himself much more alone than he would if I were along, and I am vacationing at the keyboard.
We boarded the American Airlines flight to London at 7:05 pm, and were about 3 hrs out, well over Newfoundland, when the captain came on the sound system, using that voice you use when trying to convince your child to put the rattlesnake down gently and back away without getting excited.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are, unfortunately, turning back to O’Hare. We have some ‘concerns’ with the hydraulics, but don’t worry, we can fly like this for a lonnngg time.”
What he meant was, ‘we could fly this way for a long time, but landing might be a biiggg problem.’
When we finally did land, amidst ambulances, fire trucks & assorted emergency vehicles, it was 1:30 am. It took us till 3 am to get vouchers for a cab & hotel , collect our bags & get rebooked to another flight, another hour to find a cab that would take the voucher, and another hour and a quarter to drive all the way to Waukegan & find the Ramada Inn where we were vouchered to stay. We had to be perpendicular by 11 am to catch a cab back to OHare, where we were greeted cheerily by the AA rep & handed our ticket info for British Airways, where we were rebooked.
We took the rail transit to the international terminal, waited another hour and a half, and then – and THEN . . . the abjectly apologetic Brit Airways rep informed all of us that there were no seats for us, as AA had “grossly overbooked” last night, and we could possibly fly to Manchester that night, where we could “find a way” to London once we landed.
Exhausted and exasperated, we looked at one another and decided to call our travel agent, who, bless her heart, was able to finagle our money back for part, but not all, of our trip, and we trudged across the way to the ground transit station to wait for a bus back to Milwaukee. We were both happy not to be at the bottom of the Atlantic, but we were still aggravated.
This is the second time I have flown American Airlines, and the second time it has stranded me somewhere by canceling a flight. It will most certainlyl be the last. In September, when we plan an escape , we will be flying Milwaukee to either Boston or Newark and taking some other airline to the UK.
Fool me once, shame on you -
Fool me twice, don’t bother to apologize, just wave bye bye to my business.