With my work wrapped up yesterday, I headed to the airport. I made two wrong turns along the way, but still made it in plenty of time for the flight. At check in, the agent told me that the flight was delayed, and since they might be sending a smaller plane, I could volunteer to get bumped for a travel voucher. The best she could do for re-booking was to get me home at 3:30 in the afternoon. That was too late, so I declined the offer.
There was no hurry to get to the gate, since the flight had been delayed about 30 minutes. When I did get to the gate, there was already a long line at the counter. After some time, they announced that the plane was going to be even later, and everyone should get in line to check on connections and re-book if necessary. As the line snaked along slowly, our flight continued to be delayed further, and nearly everyone was going to miss their connections.
While waiting in line, I called the airline reservation number to see what was available. I was told that my connection was delayed a little bit, and I should chance making the flight. The only re-booking option was the same flight that got me in at 3:30. By the time I got to the desk, the arriving plane was nearly here and the agent was pretty harried. She had no paper to print boarding passes on, she had an arriving plane, and about 20 people who still needed to be re-booked. She re-booked me on a morning flight and gave me a voucher for a nearby hotel.
As I was waiting for the hotel shuttle, I was talking to the pilots of the arriving plane that was to return back to Detroit. When I asked about the delay, I heard what is probably a typical story these days about incompetent maintenance personnel, understaffed airline staff, and the domino effect of evening delays as they push back morning flights due pilot off time. I finally got to the hotel at 9:30, three and half hours after arriving at the airport. I went to the Old Chicago Pizza restaurant. I had a draft local brew, a Michigan Brewing Co. IPA to wash down a Chicago style pizza.
Here I am, back at the airport waiting for my morning flight to Detroit, with a connection home to Raleigh. At least this airport gets it, and offers free wireless.