From the Soldier who had to travel side: There's a good and a bad part about being in my Army National Guard unit. The good part is we may often be asked to go somewhere. The bad part is, we may be often asked to go somewhere. A little over a week ago, when I got home from my normal civilian job (if being a cop is normal), I had a message on my voice mail at home. It was a Thursday.
My "Guard" unit needed me to go somewhere.... on Sunday. I called work and told them I'd be gone the next week, but not to worry. By Friday afternoon I had been e-mailed a copy of my orders and made the call to get my flight etc set up. They said I'd be flying on an airline that starts with a "D". I didn't care, I hadn't flown on that airline in many years. I'm used to traveling with many other people going to the same place. This time I was on my own.
I left sunny Cali-fornnn-i-a and landed outside of Fort XXX. I did the "mission" and got ready to fly home. That was when I found that not all the Nazi war criminals had been captured. They were working at "D" airlines in the Baltimore airport.
I always arrive for a flight a few hours early...so the TSA folks can do all the useless stuff they do to make everybody think they're actually doing something useful. It's not the passengers we have to worry about. It's the underpaid guys loading our crap on the bottom of the plane, and the underpaid workers cleaning them and putting food on board.
Anyway, I got off topic...
So, I get to the airport early and find the signs that have "D" airlines on them. I look for the end of the line, but it appears that there was just gaggles of people. I ask one person with the logo on his shirt which line I need to get into and of course he points to the longest line.
Now, I warn you, I don't have PTSD, but I really, really hate to stand in any kind of line with more than 5 people. It has something to do with all the lines I've stood in for Army stuff. I hate lines. I can't help it. I recognized my faults, and I can get over this hate....and I did.
I got in the line to the computer things that "D" airlines forces passengers to use, even if there was nobody in the line with the human employees. I don't understand it....what happened to actually giving a shit about your customers.
So, I stand in line for 20 minutes, as frantic people are running up to the mobs of people trying to become human sardines on a plane. Some of these frantic people are yelling "I have a flight that leaves for ---- in 20 minutes!" The "D" airline employees start calling off flights that are leaving in 20 minutes and tell those dumbass people who got there late to get into a new line for dumbass people who got there late. Screw all of us who got there early, the dumbass people who got there late now get put in front of us.
Oh well I'm figuring I'll still get on my flight in time because I came early....unlike the dumbass people who came late.
So, I finally get up to one of those computer things and I couldn't figure out how to turn it on. Finally I get the attention of one of the "D" employees, who I was sure was on medication, and she says: "Oh, that one is not working." ...then she turns aways to look busy. I had to jump in front of the next person in line to get a computer that worked. I'm so glad I didn't have my .45 with me, I would have put a 185 grain hollow point into that computer. It's not that the airlines don't want us to fly armed because of hi-jacking fears, it's that they fear we'll get pissed off at the crappy service.
So, I enter my reservation number and get a boarding pass...but I have a bag to check in and the boarding pass making POS computer didn't take care of that.
So now I have to get into the line with the humans working for "D" airlines. I am very polite and I always start any request for help with: "Hi, how are you doing, can you help me?" or something like that. I didn't whine, yell or bitch at all. But I just stood there in what sort of looked like a line of refugees leaving Bosnia in the 1990's.
I waited my turn, but they continued calling names of dumbass people who got there late. Finally after a lull in the yelling, I asked if I could check in my bag.
I started to lift it onto the scale and the dude actually yelled at me and demanded that I not put my bag on the scale. I told him I had to check it in. He told me it would be $15.
Now, for those of you not aware of this....when the contracting company books flights for military folks traveling on orders, we do not pay for bags...and we can take many bags....for free.
I told the rude son-of-a-bitch that I was "Military". He asked if I had orders....and I wanted to ask: "Do you think I'd fly on your f--ing airline if I wasn't on orders?" But I remained polite.
I pulled out my orders and he pretended to understand what he was looking at. Then acted like I'd done something really bad, and said: "well, I guess we can check in your bag." I told him that would be nice, because my only other option was to leave it there since it had crap I couldn't carry on the plane.
Then I made another mistake....I asked which way to my gate. The assholewhoworks for "D" airlines just stared at me. I was still trying to not loose my cool, but I asked again: "Sir, could you please tell me which way the gate is. You see, I have never been here to your airport before and I have no idea if it's left or right."
He didn't answer me. I just took a guess and found it. What a rude asshole he was. He lucky I don't have PTSD.
By the time I got on the plane, I had talked to a Marine and an Airman. They both agreed that leaving Iraq we were treated better.
I'm not going to even talk about my connecting flight breaking down and getting stuck in Salt Lick City for hours. That's just part of flying. I just don't like being treated like shit. I will do everything in my power to never fly on "D" airlines again... at least out of Baltimore.
If I have to fly with them, I'm taking as many extra bags as I can find....filling them with rocks and crap and checking them in. Then when we land, I'll just leave the bags with "D" airlines.