(((Forewarning---this could get to be a long story but trust me---its worth it!))) We won!!!
Arriving at the airport early is key to easy travel in DC airports and so we attempted to check in at the ticket counter 2 hours prior to flight time. That was 12 noon. After the electronic checker-inner refused us, we found a human (imagine THAT!) to help.
Southwest canceled our flight.
The next flight was at 4:30 pm and would arrive in Louisville at 6ish. Well, at that point, we realized that the 5 pm appointments we had set up at the Marriott just werent going to happen! The airline rep had no real solution for us except to go to the gate and put our names on the priority wait list for the 4:30 plane. Easy enough so off we went to stand in a 15 minute line at security only to have to be told by the guard that, yes, in fact we did need a boarding pass for a flight that we cant board to get to the gate in order to MAYBE be put on a wait list. Umm, okay.
So with security pass in hand (read: boarding pass for a non-existent flight!), we went through security where we were chosen to go through the special contraption that blows air puffs on you to detect any strange chemicals, etc. Cheap thrills in that thing and it looks like a Mystic Tanning booth. We get to the gate and stand in another line and end up the proud owners of spots 68 and 69 on the PRIORITY wait list for the 4:3o pm plane (it is 1:00 at this point!). But no fear, there is Fells Point Brew Pub right next to the gate. Yeah....not a brew pub because all it consisted of was 2 kegs and 5 folding tables. Seriously.....it was a SAD excuse for a brew pub. Well, we found ourselves a real bar at the other end of the terminal and sat down for a glass of wine and a 3 hour wait to find out if we had to wait another 4 hours for the 8 pm plane out of Baltimore.
Just as I was about to order a cold glass of Chardonnay, our contact in Louisville calls and tells us to RUN as fast as we can to the US Airways counter......on the other side of the entire airport. You see, there was a 2:05 flight to Pittsburgh and then, after an hour and a hlaf layover, we would arrive in Louisville at 6 pm. Perfect! So off we run (again) across the airport (again) i nthe hopes that the ticket counter had not closed the flight yet. At 1:25 pm, we get to the ticket counter and ask one of the men standing behind the counter to help us. Seriously....he looked at us with a blank stare and turned his back to us to help some other person who did NOT need assistance. Ummm, okay. Apparently, he missed the lessons of customer service in the training class. After waiting for 5 minutes (not that we had time to spare), an older man helped us and yes, we could buy the tickets as long as there were no bags to check. Nope....because we had already checked my friend's luggage on the 4:30 plane to Louisville---the plane we were not on. (((are you confused yet!?))) The nice man tells us we can make it all the way to gate D45 if we hurry through sercurity and run down the hallways starting at gate D1. As he tells us to hurry, he was typing with one finger at the rate of 1 letter every 10 seconds. Once on the plane (they closed the plane door after us!), things should have calmed down.
We landed in Pittsburgh with an hour and a halk layover. Ironically enough, my mother landed in Pittsburgh 10 minutes before us on a work trip so I give her a call and she is at baggage claim. So, off we go again, running through ANOTHER airport so that we could say hi to my mom. It took us 10 minutes to get from gate A2 to baggage claim...no bad considering we had to get on a subway style tram for 2 stops. As I stepped off the escalator at baggage claim, I make the phone call that started the tears (not from sadness but from pure irony and humor of the day)......
Me: Hi Mom. We are at baggage claim. Where are you?
Mom: Oh hi honey. I am in the car now. Bye.
Me: Ummm---what?! I just got here.
Mom: Yea I know. I have to go. Bye. click
My mom ditched me in the Pittsburgh airport.
Back to security (this is round 3 of the day for us). There is an alternative security place in Pittsburh so we thought we would try that one since the main checkpoint had a 30 minute line. Well, the alternate checkpoint requires that you walk upstairs, out of the airport, across the street, down a ramp, through 5 or 6 doors that say "Secure Area--Badges required" but the doors open for anyone, and then finally you arrive at a security checkpoint....with the air puffer thing AGAIN. We were the safest people in the air this week with all the checkpoints we went through!!!!
But at the end of the day, we made it to Louisville via Pittsburgh and only 3 hours late. AND we beat my friend's luggage there.
So, I guess you could say that we won our own "Kentucky Derby" this week!!!