This morning I woke up with absolutely no idea where I was. I groggily rolled over to check the time on my phone and found it in its usual spot…on a totally unfamiliar end table in a unrecognizable room… For one surreal (and kind of terrifying) moment I could have been anywhere, until reality came crashing down, squashing me under the memory of Denver. Apparently the 40 hours with basically no sleep kind of did a number on me. Taking in my carry-on bag and one 2-day old outfit laid out on the desk I recalled that I was at the Holiday Inn Express Denver Airport and was going into Hour 35 of #strandedinDenver.
I found out it was too difficult to get to anything worth seeing in the actual city of Denver (there doesn’t seem to be a lot, mainly parks & art museums but it’s winter & I’m uncultured…apparently their public library is nice) so I got a late checkout and hung out in bed for awhile. Eventually I headed to the airport with hunger as motivation to get moving.
I took the chance to explored a bit more of my new home, aka the Denver airport, today. Before going through security I browsed the shops and halls in the main entry. Then I took the time to catalogue each of the stores & restaurants of Terminal B. Mainly I was on a search for a clean pair of socks (FYI I found some! They’re men’s but at least I haven’t been wearing them for days.). This adventure was inspired by a comment a friend made about looking into the DIA conspiracy theories. “What conspiracy theories?” you ask excitedly…or at least you would if you’re anything like me. I immediately took to the internet to read the blogs of crackpot fools and eccentric lunatics…or hard-hitting investigators, if that’s how you look at it.
It is “widely” believed that DIA is a secret headquarters of the Illuminati, New World Order or American Neo-Natzis. The last comes from speculation that the airport, taxiways and runways create a swastika when viewed from above. It’s believed that there are secret tunnels, chambers and bunkers beneath the airport that will house the new government of a post-apocalyptic government in our impending future. Backup for this can be seen “everywhere,” including in the creepy gargoyle in a suitcase mounted on the wall by the exit, the even creepier (and kinda disturbing) murals scattered about baggage claim and the creepiest red eyed horse (aka “bringer of the apocalypse”) statue in front of the building.
Anyway, back to my day… Going through the security line was super-duper, uber quick. DIA has this fancy thing called TSA Pre-Check where about 1/5 (that’s my observation approximation) of travelers are randomly sorted into a separate section. First you are swabbed for drugs/explosives/whatever they are always swabbing for. Then you go through the metal detector/bag X-Ray area. So what’s so different? The second part is basically half-assed. You don’t have to remove your shoes or jacket or scarves. You don’t have to open up your bag or remove your laptop. You don’t have to go through the full-body scanner. You just breeze through the shorter line and continue on your way. So convenient.
Once back in my trusty Terminal B I gobbled up a grilled cheese & french onion soup for lunch, got whistled at by another young man (seriously, my unkempt hobo look seems to drive the men of the Denver airport wild with desire) then headed to the gate to wait for my flight. I use the term ‘my flight’ loosely as I didn’t actually have a ticket to get on the plane. I know it’s hard to keep track of all the journies I’ve attempted to take so I’ll remind you: 6:01pm flight to Nashville for which I was 3rd on the waiting list. You might recall that I was 3rd due to a United system screw-up and that the oh-so-helpful Customer Service lady had made a note on my standby pass that I was actually to be first. As so as an attendant join me at the gate I presented her with the most valuable (to me at least) note. The gate attendant then preceded to do absolutely nothing about it. She didn’t seem to care in the least that I was being conned out of my rightful place. Jerk. In the end it didn’t matter though. Departure time came & went and 2 hours later, when the captain still hadn’t arrived & they had been unable to board the plane, the flight was cancelled. Again. If you’re keeping track that is 3 consecutive flights from Denver to Nashville that have now been cancelled. It had been approximately 36 hours since they successfully got a plane sent off to that particular location. Were talking unreal bad luck for me guys.
When they announced the cancellation everyone immediately lept to their feet and practically sprinted to the Customer Service lines. I was last to arrive because I made a stop off at the gate desk. I’d be rolled over to the standby list for the next flight, right? Wrong! The jerk told me the standby list didn’t roll over between days…even thought that was against everything every other United employee had told me so far. What?!? Seriously United, work your shit out. So, as I said, I was last to arrive in the 3+ hour long CS line. I guessed I’d be pushing for 15 hours total now?
Mom & I Facetimed again so that I could rant & rave rather than taking my anger out in a physical way. ‘Why is that crazy chick over there trying to pry up airport seats?’ ‘Check out that crazy chick over there bowling people over on the moving sidewalks.’ ‘Did that crazy chick over there just turn into Godzilla?’ Flight cancellations & delays are one thing, but the inconsistencies in the United policies and the glaring lack of compassion in their procedures was incredibly frustrating. Mama P wasn’t taking anymore of it either. If you haven’t seen Mama P in her crusader for good/what is coming to us mode you are missing out. When she turns Mama Bear she can get shit done and make shit happen!
She called up my arch-nemesis Ron 😡 to try and get some results while I stood in line. I told her there wasn’t much hope. The guy behind me had just called Ron 😡 to change his flight reservation and Ron 😡 had told him the wait time to talk to someone was over 2 hours. I told the guy to stay on the line because the odds were good he’d still get through before we were able to see someone in person. Oh, Fun Fact: United finally added Hold!
But Mom had been warned of Ron 😡‘s antics so rather than say she wanted to change a reservation she said she had other issues. This got her a On Hold wait time of 12 minutes! Go Mom! I ignored her for awhile so she could talk to a mobile representative. Also, I was already seething and you all know how Ron 😡 gets me extra fired up! Instead I discussed ‘weather‘ with 3 young men in front of me. They all agree that it is a bullshit excuse. The on-the-phone customer service person wasn’t able to get me on the standby list for the next flight (that has to be done in person at the airport) but she coudk book me on a flight to Nashville through Newark tomorrow. I said do it! It was the same flight track as my already book Thursday flight, but 24 hours sooner. Plus it would be nice to have a confirmed ticket and not have to sit there feeling sick about whether there’d be any room for standby customers. Now let’s keep our fingers crossed that it isn’t cancelled!
Thanking my mother and every god I could like of (God…Zeus…Thor…they all control the skies, right?) I left the CS line. I guess 11 hours total will have to do 😉 Retracing my steps from the night before I hitched a ride on the hotel shuttle to the Denver Airport Holiday Inn Express. Tonight I made friends with a young man from Atlanta and some Southwestern flight attendants. They told me horror stories of people they’d met at Laguardia who’d been stuck for 5 days. It made me feel a bit better about my 3 days…although they were stuck in NYC, basically one of the coolest cities on the planet, while I was stuck outside of Denver, basically Canada but more boring.
The hotel had a laundry room so I decided to wash my 3 day old clothes. The only problem with washing the one outfit you own? What do you wear while you wash it? I wrapped my LuLu Lemon Vinyasa scarf my sister had given me for my birthday as a skirt and zipped my jacket up over nothing. That would have to do.
Peace out from
The Least Exciting Place Ever Denver!
Love & hopefully more Luck tomorrow,