airport catastrophes, please @dulles_airport, call me back!!!

21 Apr

My work with a client had an earlier exit point than expected this week, so I was within 24 hours of my scheduled flight. I check on united.com and it says I can make a same day change as long as its within 24 hours of my scheduled flight for $75. I think cool. that is much cheaper than another night in the hotel and meals for tomorrow on the way home. Call united, she verifies that this is the right policy and tells me that there is plenty of space on the flight I am thinking about taking.

I arrive at the airpoint about two hours prior to the flight thinking I have plenty of time (can you tell that this sounds like foreshadowing?) I get in line and have to wait quite a while because they tell me I have to talk to a real person. I finally get my turn and she spends forever trying to figure this all out. She finally comes back and tells me that will be $150 plus some fair difference ,making it like $239. I tell her, you policy is within 24 hours. She says, “no, the policy is same day if you want the same day change fare, you have to come back tomorrow AM. I nicely explain that their website says differently as well as the person I spoke to on the phone. She says, well they are incorrect. I show her the site, she gets pissed off and tells me to go around the corner to the special services counter. So I do that. And have to stand in another line. A shorter line, but of course this is the line for the people who have problems, so each person takes a loooooog time.

By this time, I get to her, I have 55 minutes, She easily helps me, and in fact, shows me that they were wrong on the other side, I could have even done this myself at a self checking <banging head against wall. She tells me there are two choices, the one I planned on and another one leaving at 4:30 (half hour later) I look at the time, and say, maybe I better take that 4:30 one, I’m not sure I’m going to have time to get through security and to the gate. She says, “oh you’ll have plenty of time, no worries.” I say “are you sure.” She again beams at me and says, “our security here goes fast…no worries.” (hmm….more foreshadowing?)

I get down to security, and indeed, it looks like it is not too terribly terrible, but busy and long lines of course. Dulles is a weird airport for security. I get up to the guy who checks the ticket and I pull out my temporary drivers license (my new renewal is in the mail to me back home) but it says right on the paper that goes with it “valid for airport travel” or something like that. The guy at the checkpoint doesn’t believe it, so he has to call some other guy on a walkie talkie to come down and verify this. Of course, this takes forever. The guy checks it all carefully and lets me go.

At this point, the plane is now boarding. But its a big plane, so boarding takes a while. I get in one of the lines to actually go through security, a second wait, and at dulles this part always takes the longest. I am finally within range of the table to sling the stuff on and I have a guy in front of me who doesn’t start taking care of his stuff until the conveyor and table is already clear from the person in front of him and then he starts mozying to do his thing. I start gradually getting my computer, liquids and cpap into bins. Shoes. Bags, finally get stuff going through. Get through the Humiliator (the full body scan) and begin grabbing my stuff. I am golden, grabbing faster than the speed of light, throwing on my tennis shoes and putting everything in and running off.

Hmm, my backpack feels ligher than it should. Shoot! left computer! Run back as I havent gone far, and get computer, and also fitbit from same bin. Off I go again! Run past crazy amounts of people (which I NEVER could have done a year ago) get on tram to my gates. Get to my terminal and am thankful to see my gate is only a couple of down. I make it to the gate, and they were just about to pack it up. I get on, triumphant. I made it!

Get seated and begin to pull out my devices to turn them off. Where is my phone ? OMG, where is my stupid phone? Check the bag neurotically 3 or 4 times. Not there, not there! Realize I must have either left it at the checkpoint (I was using it right up to security) or on the tram. The flight attendant had JUST asked people to put away their devices. I sheepishly ask the two ladies next to me whether they could possibly Text my phone or my husband for me to start tracking down my phone. They (even the young one) start huffing about how it’s illegal, while sitting amidst a sea of people who haven’t yet powered down. Bless their integrity.

I stew for the first 30 min of the flight but take my mind off it by watching the stupid inflight movie. I still sporadically imagine a villain getting access to my email and Evernote where I store corporate and sensitive info. 😦

Land in Denver and immediately connect to wireless to ping my phone. Yep. It pings back. Smugly showing its location at Dulles Airport. Call hubby, and he tells me someone had texted and called to say they were turning it into TSA lost and found! Yay! They even provided the phone number. Hubby had talked to TSA and an iPhone with a case matching my description was enroute to central TSA lost and found. They sent him email instruction and a claim number.

Went home on last leg more relieved.

But sadly, it couldn’t be that easy. Of course not. TSA calls next day and says the phone matching my description had been claimed by a flight attendant and was not mine, that somehow they had confirmed it was hers.

So I call Dulles airport lost and found, hoping that I lost it on the tram, because then it would mean the person turned it into central lost and found rather than TSA. But alas, apparently Dulles airport lost and found is either swamped with calls to return or they just don’t feel urgency about retuning calls,because no contact back from them yet.

I hold out hope that since no one has tried to turn it on since it lost battery that it may indeed be in a lost and found bin rather than in someone’s hot little hands, but..I wonder what myriad of ways people can thwart find my iPhone….

Went and got a replacement last night using my hubby’s upgrade eligibility. Praying we still get it back ,that way it was worth it as he will have a new iPhone too.

On a separate note, backup from iCloud is a godsend. And the only bright spot? No way in HELL, that I could have ran from security to c gates in Dulles with a bag and heavy backpack a year ago!

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One Response to “airport catastrophes, please @dulles_airport, call me back!!!”

  1. Daphne Meyers May 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Hey Julie – glad there was a small silver lining. As someone who has lost (2 times) and damaged (2 times) a phone while traveling. I have learned a few angles that you might want to take advantage of. I know that Verizon (if you give them a good reason – business needs or kids home alone, etc.) they will replace it in the store. They will tell you that they have to send, because it is more to replace there for them. Just push. I ALWAYS invest in the insurance. It has paid for itself more times than I wish to admit – saved me probably $2000 in replacement phones. Not a scam for me.

    Lastly — do you have a Platinum AMEX? If you don’t, figure out how to get one if possible. Couple reasons – free airport lounge access on most carriers, but more so – there concierge service. I left my laptop in Orlando airport (similar to what you did) and they did all the calling around to find and even arrange for a nice airport staffer to box it up and put it on a plane to Fargo. At one point, the airport themselves said I would have to get someone to pick up and send to me and they couldn’t guarantee its security. As I was running my own business at time, it was my business. AMEX worked magic. Another service is they will call and get tickets (concert etc.) when the phones open for a small mark-up.

    Hope you are well!

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