I’m writing this column in a compromised state. Proceed at your own risk. I have just returned from a vacation, and I am a mediocre traveler at best. I’m basically travel drunk. You don’t care about my “Facebook experience” report. You can safely assume that on Facebook, I will portray my travel as nearly heaven. Great weather, perfect location, paradise, drinks, etc., etc.
Here is the reality. I generally like the places I go, but I hate the process to get there and home. The balance of liking the destination and hate for the process to get to the destination is fast approaching a standoff for me. I suspect in the next few years, the dislike for air travel will ground me permanently within the borders of this country.
This trip’s return was epic for me. Went to Belize for a few days. I’ve been before, it’s nice and relatively close. Got there in easy fashion. Had enjoyable time, blah, blah, blah. Started my return on Sunday. From our location, took a boat and small plane to get to the airport in Belize City. Took flight from Belize City to Houston and all seemed well. It was not.
Had two-hour layover in Houston. The TSA in Houston are perhaps the craziest military unit this side of Russia. I walked through the body scanner with a small wallet clip, because it had my cash in it and I don’t trust such matters to their X-ray conveyor belt. Carried it through the human scanners many times. This time, some guard nearly freaked out and that brought a thorough examination of the cash bills and credit cards in this small piece of fake leather. You never know how many middle-aged white guys are carrying a bomb in a twenty-dollar bill. Thank God for the TSA. Crisis was averted.
I also violated the oft changed laptop/tablet out or in your bag protocol and was properly chastised by a TSA with an assumed rank of private. Another, higher ranking TSA military member chastised the entire group around me for not picking up the loose conveyor belt trays. He seemed too busy barking at us to grab himself. Glad we could all help.
Anyway, we’ve now established that I am a travel moron and not fit for TSA approval, but the real story is the flight to Kansas City from Houston was canceled, first because it was delayed by staffing issues and then by the freak weather storm in Kansas City. United Airlines promptly loaded us on a plane while passengers were telling them that KCI was closed and then unloaded us from the plane when they figured out KCI was closed, an hour later. They told us to leave the airport and armed us with a QR code to figure out our way home on their cell phone app. I’m 55 years old and I barely understand their app, I felt sad for the 60+ crowd in the group.
We spent the night in Houston. We enjoyed it with a treat of $7 cashews from the lobby and learning the intricacies of the United Airlines app. This education gave us the wonderful opportunity of a flight on Monday night. We booked it, but I stewed.
I slept for a few hours and at 3 a.m., I awoke with a new mission. Get home. I searched every airline and nearby airport for flights that might be home earlier. No luck. At 3:45 a.m., my wife awoke and looked at me pouring over a technological grouping of my computer, tablet, and phone. She knew. “What you think?” I immediately blurted the plan out. “Here’s my plan,” I said (she sighed). “Going to get an UBER in the morning and go to a regional airport in Sugarland that is about an hour away. They have a Hertz office that has a car we can rent. We’re going to rent the car and drive it home.” Because divorce attorneys do not work at this hour, she returned to her sleep.
Because she has 30+ years of experience with this maniacal behavior, she awoke a few hours later, ready to go. We executed the plan flawlessly. I can report to you that it takes exactly 12 hours to get from Sugarland, Texas to Platte County.
In a way, I felt extreme pleasure in my plan that was a proverbial “crotch chop” to the air travel industry. In another way, I’m travel drunk and hungover on the same day, and I think it may take a week to recover from a 12-hour drive.
Would anyone like some airline credit miles?
(Guy Speckman cannot be reached. He is in a compromised state of being for the foreseeable future)