How I got to the 12/28/96 show with 10 whole minutes to spare:
This adventure all started with the snow The blizzard pretty much shut down the city. People were sleeping in the airports, people were saying not even to bother going to the airport. However, this is the New Years run, and I don't miss these if I can possibly avoid it. I figured that my job was halfway from my house to the airport, so I ventured downtown.
It was a rough call if I would be able to get downtown. I had to literally run 3 blocks, carrying all of my stuff for my trip through 9 inches of snow, because the bus decided to take a weird loop. On the way down to the Columbia Tower, I saw the graveyard of the bendy buses- at the bottom of a hill on Eastlake Ave 15 or 20 buses were stalled, most bent at a 90 degree angle. Our bus driver was clever though, and she steered us through the obstacle course. I think she thought she was in a video game though, and if she picked up all of the chains that other buses left on the road she would get bonus points. She also made a pointed comment about how the only other bus driver we saw out on the road was female.
When I did arrive at work, it occurred to me to check to see if my flight was still running. It was a good thing that I did, because it wasn't. At first they tried to get me on another American Airlines flight that would land at 7:15 PM, but I was having none of that. They managed to find a path that would get me to Philly at 4 PM... on Northwest Airlines. I figured it would be no problem, I mean an airline's an airline, right?
We decided to close up shop at 4 PM because only two people managed to make it in. I left for a second reason; I had to try to make it to a wedding. Forty-five minutes and two completely full buses later, I finally managed to find a 36 bus that would let me in. It took fully 2 hours to make a trip over under 5 miles, but I did get there. After the wedding, I went got a ride to the airport at 2 AM. I decided I would check in early if I could. There was a line at the Northwest counter. I got to the front of it and they asked me if I wanted to leave on this flight tonight </joni_mitchell> I said yes, they started to check me in... and told me that I didn't have a ticket to board. I was wondering what the travel agency did to me.
I called American Airlines. Despite (or perhaps because) it was 3 AM I was on hold for 30 minutes. Finally I got through and was told I was a ticketless passenger. They told me that I could talk to either American or Northwest to get a ticket. I spent most of the night being first in line at the American Airlines line, but around 4:30 (line would be staffed at 5, plane would leave at 7) I decided that waiting in the Northwest line would make more sense. I was wrong
After waiting for the counter help at Northwest to show, they refused to do anything until I got that damned ticket from American. So I went back to that line. There were only 4 people in line. No problem right? Wrong again. There were these two people that had no evidence that they had ever bought a ticket arguing with the counter for a free ticket for over a half an hour. Finally I was able to get my ticket and ran to the counter. My luck running true to course, my flight wasn't in the real terminal; I had to take a subway to get there. I didn't even know the airport had a subway.
When I got there I was given good news and bad news. The good news was that I was fine for Minneapolis, the bad news was that my flight to Philly from there was cancelled. However, they got me on the next flight out, the one that landed at 6:15 PM.
That actually turned out to be a good thing, for a few minutes later they announced that my flight out of Seattle would be delayed until 8. As I watched CNN Airport News warn of the new storm coming over and over again, I began to worry. We boarded the plane at 8. Then we waited. 8:15 And waited. 8:30 And waited. 8:45... a storm is coming, remember... 9:00 And waited. We finally took off at 9:15, beating the storm.
There was one cool thing about this plane that I should mention out of fairness. There was this flight info thing on the movie screen that constantly updated our speed, location (on a map of the US), altitude, and distance travelled. You know how much a geek like me enjoyed that.
Anyway, due to the delays, I only had 30 minutes to make my next flight. Of course it was all the way across the airport, in (appropriately enough for a flight to Philadelphia) gate 76. Now up to this point, I figured I was just having a little bad luck, nothing really out of the ordinary. However, when I ran around a corner, suddenly out of nowhere, when I least expected it, a bat came flying at me. I managed to duck under its attack and got to the terminal and discovered, much to my surprise, that my flight was delayed 35 minutes.
At this point I was looking at nearly a 7 PM arrival, so the sudden announcement that passengers would be restricted to one carry on and would have to check any others kind of bothered me. However, a little stealth and a quick move got me in ok; I didn't even have to throw the bat at him.
At about 6:50 we arrived. "Ok," I thought, "I can make this. Run to the rental car terminal and book to the Spectrum." I should have known that Avis wouldn't be right at the airport though; I had to take a shuttle bus. By this point I was pushing people out of the way and cutting in line and I get to the counter and they give me a car in space A05. I go to space A05. There is no car there. I go back in and tell the woman. She starts arguing with her coworker about who has the right to which spaces, and then finally gets me a car.
I arrived at the Spectrum at about 7:20. After an aborted attempt to get my stuff together to tape, I sprinted across the Veterans' Stadium lot. Recovering from a stupid false turn, I made it across the street. There was a ring of ticketless people between me and the door, but I screamed "Get out of my way ticketless scum" and made it to the long long line. At 7:45 I made it to my seat, barely 10 minutes before lights went out. I'm still shocked that I didn't miss the Runaway Jim...