You may or may not know that Joshua and I just moved from Portland, Oregon to Michigan so I could start graduate school. Either way, now you know. And here is a little slice of our adventure...
I got to the airport on Sunday morning at about 7:00. My flight was at 7:59 and I only had four hours of sleep, so I wasn't keen on getting there any earlier than necessary. An hour should do it--this is PDX after all, and I had checked in electronically the night before. Well, there was a bit of a line to get our boarding passes and the agent was trying to have a conversation with two Asian men in front of us about business class or economy class, only their English wasn't very good and the agent was getting nowhere fast. Meanwhile Joshua and I wait patiently behind them. By the time I got to the front of the line, I wasn't too worried, except about the screen of the next available kiosk: it was green and I didn't want to go through the hassle of trying to get it to work just to find out that it was broken. So I hesitated for about 20 seconds or so, then decided to go for it. So I get up there and put in my credit card. Do I leave it in? Am I supposed to remove it quickly? I can't tell . . . the screen says nothing. I wait about 30 seconds and then pull the card out quickly. Oh! There it goes! That's what it needed.
Wait. What is this?
"It is too late to check in for this flight. Please see an attendant for assistance."
What? Too late?
I look at the screen. "7:15 a.m."
I look at the sign: "Check-in ends 45 minutes before takeoff."
. . . . My flight is at 7:59 . . . it's 7:15 . . . I am one minute past the deadline! It takes another minute to flag someone down to help me. The agent says, "What time is your flight?" I tell her. She looks at the screen, taps it with her long acrylic fingernail, and says, "Oh yeah, way too late." Yes, by this time it is 7:16. That is way too late? Are you kidding me?
So we're put on standby for an 11:15 flight and our luggage is sent on that flight to Chicago with a connection to South Bend (our final destination). But we don't make that flight either. So we're put on standby for the next flight at 1:45--that flight we DO make, but by the time we land in Chicago there are no more connecting flights to South Bend. So Josh's parents drive 2.5 hours to come get us in Chicago and then we have to drive another 2.5 hours to South Bend to pick up our luggage. Oh, did I mention that the South Bend airport closes its luggage service at 8:00 p.m.? We got there after 10:00, but went in anyway and convinced some guy to help us and give us our bags. Then it's another 30 minutes to Josh's parents' house.
And of course I keep thinking: What if those Asian guys had spoken English? What if that kiosk screen hadn't been green? What if it had told me to remove my card quickly? Would I have made my flight?
I'll never know.