Not the geographic delta; not Delta Sigma Theta (whose members are having a blast in my hometown); but an unwilling prisoner (are there any willing prisoners?) of corporate giant, Delta Airlines, in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Seriously.
Now, I have never been to the great city of Detroit; it is on my bucket list. When my flight to Harrisburg, PA, included a change of planes in Detroit, I lamented the fact that I would not see any of the city. Nor would I be able to see a friend in Detroit whom I have not seen in years. So on Wednesday evening, when I and gazillions of others alighted at DMA, we were blithely unaware that one of the traveler's nightmares was about to unfold.
The airport is humongous. Up the escalator; down the escalator; on the moving walkways (and when you get off those, use your feet); a tram; indoor fountains; and a psychedelic tunnel that goes on for-e-ver. 11.5 miles of terminal, concourses, runways, etc. Good Lord. Would I ever reach gate C-29?
Stopped to ask for directions and was told that the flight had been rescheduled. Okay. When I reached the gate, it had been rescheduled again and, then, again, leaving at 8:00 p.m. Well, that shoots the evening with my brother, doesn't it? Flurry of phone calls back and forth with each reschedule. Okay, I can get something to eat. 30 minutes later, I returned to find not a single familiar face was in the waiting area. Where is everybody? Why has the flight disappeared from the board? Did they take off without me? Nope. The flight had been cancelled. Get out! "Everybody has been sent to C-2." Back on the walkways; down the escalators; only to be met with a mob scene reminiscent of the crowds on Black Friday.
An 800 number is circulating among the crowd for Delta to get rescheduled. I got a Latina who pronounced that the earliest that I could get out Detroit would be the next day, at 1:45 p.m., fly to Atlanta, stay for 5 hours, then fly to Harrisburg, arriving at 10:55 p.m. Are you serious? Tried explaining why I needed to be on the next thing moving or the first thing out in the morning. Flat out told her that...no...I would not fly to Atlanta, wait 5 hours, and land in Harrisburg, the following night. No cooperation. So...I can stay in the airport until 1:45 p.m., the next day, or get a hotel room. No financial help from Delta on a hotel room. "Weather." "Act of God." Please. I've got a hotel room in Harrisburg going unused. More phone calls with family. "What about the train? Check on that for me." "How many hours from Detroit to Harrisburg? Maybe I can drive." Seven hours. Not happening tonight. I've been up since 5:30 a.m. It is now after 8 p.m., and I'm running out of minutes on my cheap phone.
Westin Hotel, attached to the terminal, had no rooms. Out comes the laptop (which became heavier with each step) and rather than "call hotel.com," as instructed, I logged onto their web site. Booked into Days Inn because they had a shuttle. Into the gift shop. "Is this hotel in a safe neighborhood?" Assured that it was, I decided to check in and rent a car in the morning.
Down to get my bags. Another mob scene. After standing for-ever, the announcement was made that they were not "pulling any bags." Say what? This is contrary to what we'd been told upstairs. Reach the counter and politely go through my spiel about needing to be in PA first thing in the morning and since Delta could not provide that service, I needed my bags so that I could rent a car and drive to my destination. "So sorry for the inconvenience but we have so much baggage that we're not pulling any. The only way they will be pulled is if medication is in the bag." REALLY? "My medication, clothes, and toiletries are in my bag."
Well, looky here! "Two seats have just come available on the 8:45 flight." "I'll take it. Thank you so much." AND, I was given a toiletry kit. Woo woo! I'm off to ground transportation for my ride to the Day's Inn. Where is the shuttle? Not a one is labeled "Day's Inn." Call to the brother so he can check on it. Well, kiss my grits, it's a generic named bus and Day's Inn is nowhere on it. How many of those did I let pass me by?
The lobby is packed; however, the folks at the front desk are registering folks and passing out keys as fast as they can. I'm on the first floor. Hmm, the key card is not working. Back to the desk. "Has this card been activated?" Back to the room. After several attempts, it finally blinks. Back out for a cigarette and soda. The key goes through the same ordeal as before. Lawd, I'm tired.
Add minutes to the phone and collapse. It is after 1 a.m., and my wake-up call is for 5:30 a.m. Not sure I slept a wink. You know how you're afraid that you're going to oversleep? Not to worry. I was awake at 5 a.m.
Well, darn. The hotel is at the edge of the airport. You can see the Delta facilities from the parking lot. Actually you could walk about 10 blocks and be on the grounds. Here's the shuttle. Less than a 10 minute drive but a convoluted one to get to the terminal. Through security, again. And the plane is...delayed. What?
We took off at 9:30 a.m. I touched down in Harrisburg around 10:30. Lawd, what a trip.
Be safe. Be Blessed.
P.S., Delta sent me a survey to find out about my service. NO, they DID-ENT!