Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tales from the TRIP - Day 16! The Journey Home

Since we had booked our flights at different times, we weren't able to get on the same flight as Megan - especially unfortunate since she had a direct flight and we had another long layover in Boston. Megan had to get to a different Terminal, but the driver of the golfcart/shuttle from our hotel to Terminal 4 was able to direct her to the train that would take her right to her terminal.

Her flight had a departure time about an hour before ours so we went over to Terminal 4 together and then said goodbye. It was a very good thing that we arrived at the Terminal early...this is what it looked like when we got there:

They had a fairly orderly means of waiting in lines, with an airport employee guarding where they broke the line to provide a space for through traffic and they made sure no one used the break as an opportunity to jump in line ahead of those of us on the other side. They also had an area for weighing and re-packing your luggage, which we almost missed. We had to pull a few random items out of our suitcases in order to be within the weight limit, but they let me run each suitcase over and make adjustments and then rejoin Mom in line.

They had significantly overbooked the flight and were offering $1000 in flight vouchers plus a free hotel and meals to anyone who would wait a day to take a flight. It was a very tempting offer but Randy and I had arranged for Matt to stay with a friend for the day since Randy was leaving that morning for camp with Kelsey and Daniel. Mom was exhausted and we both were ready to be home so we said, 'No, thanks' to their offer.

After a grueling hour or so in line, we finally got checked in and found our way to the handicapped 'corral' to await Mom's transportation to the gate. We didn't have to wait too long and before we knew it we were sitting at our gate eager for the boarding call for the flight home. We were sitting in the two seats closest to the gate with Mom on the end and a small space between her seat and a pillar. All the sudden I noticed a man, in his 20-30's, who appeared Middle Eastern, squatting down beside Mom's seat, panting as if he'd been running and looking around nervously as if he were being chased. I said, "Excuse me, are you all right? Is there a problem?" He stood up, stepped across the aisle from us where a kid sat wearing a baseball cap, snatched that hat from the boy's head and placed it on his own, looking around as if he were hoping the hat would disguise him. I said, "You are acting very suspicious; I'm going to call security." The words were barely out than he tossed the hat at me and ran through the crowd back towards the main terminal. I started yelling, "Security!" When that only brought odd looks from the crowd of passengers seated around the gate, I approached the desk and explained to the Delta officials what had happened. They seemed barely interested in what I had to say and, as far as I could determine, security was not called - no one chased after the man, no security guards arrived to ask for a description - nothing!

Nothing, that is, until it was time for us to get on the plane and then I was 'randomly' selected for an additional security check - so they completely emptied my carry on bag, carefully checking every single item. I had to take off my shoes and was patted down from head to toe - for the second time that morning! Even worse - when I returned home and sent a message to Delta complaining about their lack of response to what certainly seemed like a security issue of some variety, their response was to send me a voucher for $50 off my next flight with them. They needn't hold their breath waiting for that reservation!

Once we boarded the plane, the flight was thankfully uneventful. I enjoyed watching a couple of movies - Adjustment Bureau and Soul Surfer and then we had another long layover in Boston before arriving home in time for Dad to pick us up and have dinner.

Thanks, Mom, for a great adventure!

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