I could have chosen to think of it as "mood lighting"... because the dim lights and darkened counters that I discovered at the Delta ticketing area at Las Vegas' McCarren International Airport at one o'clock this morning put me in a mood alright. But not a happy one, I assure you.
You see, I had chosen to take a red eye flight so that I could get to Birmingham in time to drive down to my Dad's, pick up the boys, and make it back to Nashville earlier rather than later. So, I stayed up last night and headed to the airport at 12:15 to return the rental car and check in for my flight. Even after trying to find my way into the airport because of road closures and returning a rental car, I walked into the terminal at 1:00am for a 1:50am flight. Since I was checking no bags and was armed with only a backpack, I thought it would be a breeze to board my flight and be home bound.
Not so much.
Because almost a full hour prior to my 1:50am flight, the Delta Airlines ticketing area showed no signs of life. No one to be found, Lights off. Self check-in kiosks beaming the message "Closed until 3:30am." WHAT? This had to be a mistake. How would I get my boarding pass for the flight since I was still under the typical 45-minute cut-off? I raced to the reader board and it said "Delta Flight 1788 to Memphis. Gate D36. On Time." So I knew there was at least ONE Delta employee in that airport checking folks in at the gate. But I did not have a boarding pass, so how would I get to them?
I ran to the security line, explained the situation and what was their Response Filled With Compassion and Humanity? It went something like this:
"Well, I can tell you this. You're not getting through here without a boarding pass."
Thank you. Thank you for that helpful tidbit of information.
Without going on about every painful detail of the next 20 minutes, I will give you a brief summary:
1. Dark ticketing area abandoned like a Wild West town without the tumbleweeds blowin around
2. Raced to D-gate security and encountered Ms. Congeniality and her faithful sidekick "I Don't Work for the Airlines So I Can't Help Ya"
3. Used white COURTESY phone (yeah, need a name change on that one) and was told to call Delta on their main 1-800 number. Yeah, that'll get me a quick local response.
4. Tried 10 more self check-in kiosks only to find them all glaring the words "Closed Until 4:15am"
5. Tried the white "Hotline from H-E-double-hockey-stick" again to discover a recorded menu "for driving directions to the airport, press one" (um, I'm already here? "for travel tips, press two" (um, yes, DON"T FLY DELTA would be my tip o' the moment.)
6. Used the white COURTESY phone one more time to have someone tell me "I talked to one of the luggage guys and he said you are now too late for the flight." IMAGINE THAT.
Needless to say, I spent a frustrating evening alone in a deserted airport surrounded only by the little Asian man buffing the floors and 5,300 slot machines singing "bing bing bing bing, bong, bong, bong, bong, Wheeeeeeeel! of! Fortuneeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" I will spare you the rest of the gory details about finally getting on a 6am flight, being charged a change fee to do so and the unbelieveable rudeness I experienced at the gate trying to board the plane. Needless to say, Delta did not make Katie's list of "Things I Love about Life" last Friday.
I lead a glamorous life, I tell ya. ;)