Monday, July 14, 2008

The Friendly Streets and Skies

On Friday, I walked out of my air-conditioned-to-the-point-of-freezer-burn office building and watched three empty cabs go by before I could get to the curb fast enough. Once I got there, all the cabs were full. Then an empty one slowed and the driver rolled down his window.

"Where are you going?" he asked me.

"La Guardia," I said, hating this game, but hoping he would find the answer acceptable.

He sat there for part of a second. "Uhhhh...I wish I could, but I need to..."

"Then get out of the way!" I snapped. I couldn't help it; I realize he was trying to explain, but I was trying to catch a flight. You're either taking me there or you're not. I don't want to talk about it.

He sped off before the whole sentence had left my mouth. The next cab pulled up and the driver rolled his window down. "Where are you going?"

I murdered him in my mind.

I eventually arrived at La Guardia, with my carry-on bag, my purse, and a dozen bagels from Murray's. After checking myself in at the self-service kiosk, I walked towards security. I handed my boarding pass and ID to the woman at the head of the line, and she nodded at my bags. "That won't work," she said.

I thought I knew what she meant. "This bag goes into this bag," I said, gesturing to the bagels and then my purse.

She shook her head and indicated my carry-on. "If that doesn't fit into this metal basket, you have to check it."

"It fits," I assured her. "It's a carry-on."

But she made me show her anyway, and it did not actually fit. I've brought that bag with me on every short trip I've taken for the past two years, a fact that I quickly shared with her.

"Rules have changed," she said, and sent me back to the check-in desk, where they charged me $15 to check the bag.

"Whhhaaaa?" I said eloquently to the woman behind the desk.

"Rules have changed," she said.

There is much more to say about my weekend, and I will talk about it in future posts. But for now, I just want to mention what happened when I got back to O'Hare on Sunday for my return flight to New York.

I walked towards self-service, cursing the fact that I would have to check my bag. There was an airline employee standing near the computers.

"Do I have to check this bag?" I asked her on a whim.

"That?" she looked at me like it was kind of a weird question. "No. It's a carry-on."

P.S. Does it go without saying at this point that both of my flights were significantly delayed?


Jay Nicolosi said...

I've come to find that airports vary greatly in their interpretation of "rules," and to a lesser extent their cleanliness. I flew with the same attache (sp?) case for a couple years before I was stopped in Denver. I was accused of having a "weapon" in the bag, "some kind of long thin knife." I assured them I didn't, and gave permission to search away. After 10 minutes (I'm totally nude at this point), they produce a letter opener, which I had never used, nor did I know was in the bag. The scary part is how many people didn't catch this. Litterally, probably 30 security checks. This story is entirely true, except for the nudidty. I kept my socks on....

Colleen Snell said...

Oh dear. Yes, travel has lost its luster. Please tell me that you at least put the armrest down?

If not, this could have been your experience:

Colleen_Katana said...

Ohhhh don't get me started on the fucking cab drivers who don't go to airports. I don't even mess with it anymore...super shuttle all the way $15 and they pick you up at your door.