This Third Trip to Beehive Home of Yuma was fraught with problems, beginning with making the reservation in February . . . I should have known then to back away from the plan, but I persevered.
When I attempted to make reservations with America West Airelines, the reservtions website would not work for me. Sign Number One to STAY HOME.
But against my better judgement, I persisted and finally was able to get through and make the reservations for myself and, of course, for Rico. His flight cost was still $160.00 RT, about the only item that did not increase in price.
In May, I called to make an appointment with Rico's vet for the health certificate; the receptionist told me that several airelines now want the health certificate to be validated ten days before the trip, not 30. So I called AWA, only to be told that - quelle surprise! - my flight had been changed and rather than 30 minutes in Phoenix to run to the gate for the Yuma plane, we now had a 3.5-hour wait . . . but no one at AWA had bothered to let me know. Sign Number Two to STAY HOME.
Oh yes, the health certificate was ok to be validated 30 days ahead of Rico's flight, so one thing went right, although it wouldn't have made any difference at this point as I easily could have moved up his appointment.
So I dragged out his Sherpa bag (which made him nervous . . . he now realizes what it means when That Thing makes its appearance), and made our plans to stay for ten days - 24 June until 5 July.
Thursday, 23 June arrived . . . my last day of work for the 2004-2005 school year. I had my hair done and finished packing.
On Friday, 24 June, VetteMan brought us to Milwaukee's aireport, Billy Mitchell Field, dropped us off and went back to Kenosha for an all-day conference. Rico & I checked in, I paid for his ticket, and we went to our gate, which was (still) under construction. Industrial-sized fans were blowing the heat & dust & stink around, but I figured it was only for about an hour, so who cares? It's still better than driving five days each way, I told myself.
The time came for getting on the plane. No announcement. The time neared for the plane to leave (7:35 a.m.); still no announcement. The time came for the plane to have left; it was announced that there would be a "slight delay", due to trouble with fuel lines and loading fuel. Should only take a few minutes.
(At this point, I'm just glad they found the trouble BEFORE we took off!)
Another announcement; another delay of "only a few minutes", as the aireline was awaiting contracted mechanics to oversee & verify the fuel loading.
Again, the same announcement; again, the promise of "only a few minutes' delay"
As I have a four-hour layover in Phoenix, I am not yet panicking, although many of the passengers are already making other arrangements with the reservation agent. Rico & I just relaxed; I watched The Tick on my portable DVD player, and we ate the sandwich I had brought with me.
Soon came the announcement that there was no mechanic crew available to assist in fueling, so a crew would be driving up from O'Hare Aireport (Chicago), which would take at least two hours. More passengers made arrangements with the reservation agent; only a few diehards were left in the waiting room.
After a few hours, we saw the baggage coming OUT of the aireplane, and assumed the worst. Sure enough, the announcement came that the problem was more than suspected, and the flight was entirely canceled.
Eventually, I spoke with the reservation agent and tell her that I would rather go home and try the flight again the next day, as I had no one awaiting me (or even knowing that I was coming that day). She is so grateful that ONE passenger wasn't giving her h*ll for something she didn't do that she puts me on First Class for the next day flight.
By now it was 1:30 p.m.; I called Avis & Best Western to cancel my car & motel. Then I called VetteMan, hoping to reach him even though he is in a conference. After much backing-and-forthing, a secretary in the building found him and told him I need to be picked up to come home and start all over again the next day.
Which he did and which I did. Deja vu, all over again, on Saturday, 25 June.