Vacation: No Way To Relax

If you can’t walk there or drive there, I’m not going.

That’s my new philosophy on vacations.

My husband and I recently went to Colorado for a vacation.  It started out just great.  After about 16 hours of computer time, my hubby had successfully navigated Orbitz and locked in a great deal on a hotel, rental car and roundtrip airfare originating from Allentown, which was one of my few requirements.

The trip to Denver went very smoothly.   Leaving from a small airport reduces the stress for me, and that’s what vacations are all about, right?

And it was stress-free, right up to our departure from Denver.  We returned our rental car and hopped on the shuttle to the airport with no hassles and arrived at the airport at 9 a.m., two and one-half hours before our departure time.  We were tired and ready to go home.

The lines to check in were extremely long – just one of the hazards of big airports.  After about ten minutes, a United Airlines employee graciously asked us if we had bags to check.  We told her we had only carry-ons but we needed to get our tickets.  She directed us to an automated kiosk.  Our relief at not having to wait in line for an hour was quickly dashed when my husband inserted his credit card.  The screen read, “Due to a flight cancellation or overbooking, you have been rescheduled to depart at 6 a.m. …”

My husband snapped into get-r-done mode (my cue to disappear), pushed me aside, and paraded back to the United employee who had sprung us from the hundred or so people lined up in the maze of people checking their bags.  This time she pointed him to a sign that read “Additional Services” where another maze was lined with disgruntled would-be fliers.  He motioned me to a seat in the corner.  I dutifully sat down with the bags.  The line did not move.  I mean, the line really did not move.  After an hour, he was face-to-face with a customer service rep.  From where I sat, I could see him making all sorts of “I am not happy” gyrations.  Another fifteen minutes passed and he finally waved me over.

Turns out our plane had mechanical problems and was grounded.

As much as I wanted to say, “What do you mean, your plane is broken?” the look on the young woman’s face clearly said NO WISECRACKS.

But seriously, United is a big carrier and Denver is one of their hubs.  Don’t they have another plane?

I said something cute like, gee I’m glad the plane broke on the tarmac rather than in the air, which was met with not even a smile from either my husband or the airline employee.  It was all I could do to refrain from saying GET ANOTHER PLANE.

The best we could do was to fly to Dallas and catch a US Airways flight to Philadelphia, arrival time 10 p.m., which would put us at the big airport I had wanted to avoid, with no car.

No problem.  We’ll just rent a car and drive to Allentown to get our car which had vacationed in LVA’s lovely little airport that I am so fond of.

My husband looked at me and said “are you okay with that?”  I weighed my options, which included spending the next 24 hours in Denver International Airport, and quickly gave my approval.

Next we spoke to a churlish rental car reservationist who dialed a phone number and handed the phone to my husband to reserve a car in Philly.  No problem, the guy on the other side said and quoted us $100.00 to borrow their car.  Once again, the options were limited so we reserved the car.

14 hours after we had arrived at Denver International, we arrived in Philly.  My husband picked a jazzy little two-door sports car for a very fast drive to Allentown.  After no fewer than six trips around and through the airport and two unfriendly encounters with the Allentown rental car guy, we found the place where they hide the rental cars.

It was 2 a.m. when we arrived home.  There were two messages from Orbitz waiting in our living room.  Apparently they thought it would be a good idea to call our house in Pennsylvania rather than our cell phone to reschedule our flight.

Boy, could I use a vacation.

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