The Vacation 1 – The Horror

I won’t go day by day because there’s really no need, but some thoughts just have to be texted up. And the first thought consists of the memories of the whole first day, in which Delta Air Lines fucked us up.

We awaken early to get dressed and get to the airport. With an 8am flight I was up at about 4:30am. But we were prepared and ready, and at 5:13 Delta let us know our flight had been canceled. They kindly rescheduled us for a 9pm-arrival flight, meaning there’d be no way we could make it to her parents’ house that night. There was a 4-ish hour drive after we landed, there was no way I could be awake that late after waking up so early.

Erin got on the phone ASAP trying to get a rep to assist us with other options. After being on hold a while we decided to go to the airport anyway in the hopes that someone in person could help more readily. We had parked the car before she got someone on the line, and had just arrived in the terminal before that someone told us we were SOL. At the desk we did get slightly more help, in that they could get us on a flight that would arrive at 7pm instead. That was the best they could do. 

Oh, and all three of us would be separate. Including the 5 year old. The agent told us to ask the gate agents when we got there to assist.

Interregnum – I get that you have to allow for this kind of thing. The plans had given us a pretty good timeframe for dealing with unexpected issues… five or six hours’ worth would have been fine. But this was a ten hour break. We just weren’t able to cope with that. I understand that shit happens… this was apparently a mechanical issue that took our plane out of rotation… but this is an exceptionally popular route. Surely one of the world’s biggest airlines should have a contingency plan for these cases beyond just “welp, here are the other flights, good luck”. And I know there are planes that can be used as replacements: during the wait, we saw one flight at our gate delayed while they dug out a backup aircraft. Honestly. 

In the meantime, we had a 10 hour wait in the airport. We had plenty to keep the kid busy, and Erin and I were sufficiently busy calling relatives, friends, the rental place, etc., to update the schedule all around.

When the time to board was approaching, Erin checked with the gate agents about moving the seating around so that Zoe could at least sit with one of us. They told us to wait and ask the flight attendants.

Eventually our plane rolled in. At the gate we found ourselves sitting next to some folks who had also been on the earlier flight, but they hadn’t been as lucky as us with the seats: they were 38th in line for standby seats. We wished them luck.

As the flight crew arrived, Erin found one of them to ask about the seating stuff. She was told to just negotiate with the other passengers (though the staff was sympathetic and said they’d help if anyone was being stubborn). Erin chose to just sit next to Zoe’s seat and wait for someone to complain before asking if they’d trade. It turned out, though, that nobody showed up to complain. They either just sat elsewhere anyway, or didn’t make the flight. Interestingly, another family showed up to where I was sitting further forward having the same situation go on. I offered to move if it could help but they found a different plan. 

Way way later than we’d set out, we did eventually arrive in Vegas and managed to roll up to the rental car counter, at which I was assigned a 2012 Dodge Avenger. At the time I was extremely down on the car. It feels HUGE, the engine is weedy, the drivers side blind spot is supermassive, and the handling felt crappy (this later proved to be the roads… handling wasn’t bad, all the other problems stand). But by this point we knew we had to get a hotel for the night. Nothing fancy needed.

We at first thought perhaps we could just get a place in Mesquite, a popular gambling destination for those who don’t want to head an extra hour into Vegas. This was a mistake: On a Friday night, everything was full as the weekend partying started. So instead we went another hour forward to an acceptable place in St. George in southern Utah.

After a cramped night with all three in a king sized bed (all the double-queens having been taken by some kind of youth group), the morning dawned on a perfectly pleasant day.