Monday, December 15, 2008

How To See The Continental US (In Just 10 short days!)

You too can have a trip around the Continental US for the price of one plane ticket! This is not a joke, nor is it a scam. With just two easy steps, you too can set foot in up to FIVE US states per day!

Sounds pretty cool, right? In fact, you might be wondering just how one might accomplish this.

It is very simple. Fly Continental Airlines... and have a layover in Newark, New Jersey.

Done! Ten days later, you've seen every state possible.

I was taken on this little trip against my will, and escaped after being held hostage for one day. In that one day I visited (and I use that term loosely) Nebraska, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and finally back home to North Carolina. Yes folks - 5 states in 12 hours.

The trip from NC to Nebraska (and vice versa) is roughly 3 hours long when traveling with no layovers. Unfortunately, Charlotte doesn't fly directly into Omaha, which is where the fun comes in.

All was going well until our pilot suddenly informed us (after boarding and being seated) that we would be sitting on the plane for over an hour, because Newark had a ground stop in effect, and we wouldn't be able to land when we got there. OOOKK.

Eventually we take off, and all is good. Until our plane was denied landing privileges upon arrival. Supposedly a 30 minute ground stop. Nice. The pilot gets on the intercom and says "Oh hey guys... we have a thirty minute ground stop, but don't worry. We've got enough fuel for 30 minutes, we're just going to circle around." The 30 minutes come and go... pilot says "Oops! Been extended another 15 minutes." (Note that he previously told us we had just enough fuel for 30 minutes.) Finally the pilot says "Bad news. (just what you want to hear when you are many thousands of feet above the ground) The ground stop is still active - we are flying into Allentown, PA so that we don't run out of fuel. We'll keep you posted."

I feel I should mention now that I was flying with my brother.
My brother who is scared shitless of flying.
I look over and he's got his eyes squeezed shut, trying to stave off a panic attack.

Anyway, we get fuel in PA, and eventually land in Satan's lair (aka: the Newark New Jersey airport). Unfortunately, we had already missed our connecting flight (obviously!).

No big deal right? Just get the next flight out.

The next two flights on Continental into Charlotte were booked solid. We just missed the one on USAir. Fab. So the ticket agent says "We can put you on standby tomorrow, but I can't guarantee anything."


OK, if we were some scatterbrained, lazy-ass people who missed our flight because we were screwing around, that's one thing. But it was THEIR FAULT, and oh well... we don't know when we can get you out of here. I don't think so.

Finally we finagle a flight into Greensboro (1.5 hours from our destination) and have to have friends pick us up at 11:30 pm). And what did we get for our trouble? Two $12 'meal vouchers'. Meal vouchers my ass. That $12 paid for one (nasty) ham & swiss on rye, one soda, and one banana. Woo hoo! That more than makes up for having more than FIVE hours added to our total trip time!

Needless to say, I'm not sure who I am most pissed at - Continental Airlines, or Newark, NJ as a whole.

I'll let ya know.

1 comment:

  1. LOL! What a story! I avoid Continental Airlines like the plague! I would have to be SORELY desperate to even think of flying with those clowns.