Bumps Along The Road To California

Late last night I made it to Los Angeles, but it was a long journey to get here. I woke up to messages from United that my first flight was very delayed, and it only got more delayed. After too much time spent on the phone with a representative, we found a way to get here the same day but through Delta instead and through Atlanta, which is a little out of the way from Buffalo. There was a United flight leaving earlier through Chicago, so we went to the airport to try and get on that flight, but it was complete chaos! The line in front of the desk was almost to the door (rare for Buffalo’s airport mid-day) and there was no one helping the premier/first class line. After waiting a while and watching the two overwhelmed girls help the regular line over and over and over, I finally asked someone towards the front of our line how long they’d been there and what’s going on. She said she’d been in line for over half an hour simply waiting for the sticker to be placed on her bag as a first class customer. Another guy said he’d been there close to an hour waiting. First class/premier members are supposed to always be taken care of first, so this was ridiculous. After waiting almost half an hour and repeatedly asking for assistance, the representative kept saying someone was on their way and never came over to help or take care of the premier lane – only helped the regular – which defeats the purpose of having that lane. After waiting so long for help, another first class customer actually missed her flight and left. Finally this obnoxious older white male came over and started causing a huge scene. “Hello first class comes first! I’ve been high status with this airline over 10 years, you need to come to this lane!” The girls working were completely overwhelmed, panicked, and stressed – one even said it was her first day! This was not a good first day and they obviously didn’t really know what they were doing, especially when people started getting close to rioting. I respect anyone who can handle this kind of job because it is so fast paced and intense and people don’t treat them well for how hard they work. Once the guy started making a scene, the girls came over and quickly started helping the premier line. It was a crazy start to the day, and at this point, we had missed the flight we had hoped to get on and had to make our way to the Delta desk instead.

The Delta check-in area was so much more relaxed and pleasant with enough representatives working who actually knew what they were doing and could handle the intensity of the job and still remain kind and polite. They even had a bowl of caddies for customers! It was a total 180 change from the United check-in area. Once we got our new tickets and seats confirmed, we went through security. It’s nice to all have the TSA pre-check approved and get through quickly. We had time for a really good early dinner at the Anchor Bar (famous for making the first chicken wings ever – another thing Buffalo is known for besides the snow). And we found our gate. We were at the airport close to 4 hours before getting on the plane. The flight to Atlanta went smoothly and our time there was relatively fast – although I did have time for ice cream 🙂

Although it was bumpy, the flight to Los Angeles went really well. I was just happy to be on a flight where I wasn’t super sick after the last trip! Once we arrived, we had to wait a significant amount of time (nearly 40 minutes) for the rental car place’s shuttle to come around and take us there. We had to wait in line a long time for something that should be an easy fix, and then talk to a representative for almost 20 minutes arguing about something because she didn’t understand what we were asking and needing. Eventually she figured out what we meant and felt very embarrassed for how long it had taken for something so quick and easy. By the time we got our car it was after 1am – which was 4am in our bodies due to the time change. We didn’t get to our hotel until close to 2am. It was an exhausting day full of lines, waiting, and arguing. I love to travel, but these kinds of experiences give it a bad reputation and make it that much harder.

Now that I am here, I am so happy to be here! The weather couldn’t be better – sunny and high 80s in temperature. I spent the morning with a great friend, visited my grandparents, and spent the afternoon by the pool. That is what makes traveling worth it!!

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