Ugh, today was another fun filled* day of standby. We woke up at 3am so we could catch a bus to Denver airport. Our flight didn’t actually leave until 8:15 but since it was a Sunday the bus options were very early or too late. We had breakfast and hung around the airport for the better part of three hours. We got on our first flight no problem and slept like rocks the whole time. Unfortunately, that was where our non-rev luck ran out.
All the direct flights from Denver to Chicago looked impossible. Any major city I could think of was equally overbooked. The most open flight was to Kansas City (MCI). That also seemed like a good option because my mom happened to be at a conference in Kansas City so we planned to meet up and fly home together. The flights were a couple people oversold but with a little luck it could have been a quick, easy day. Ha.
Flight after flight went out completely full with a list of standbys left sitting at the gate. Almost all the standbys were paying customers who were trying to get where they were going sooner. For obvious reasons they get priority over employees. While I understand the how and why it was frustrating to watch people walk up and immediately get handed a seat while I was left behind. To be fair, there were some paying customers that didn’t even make it on and they were just as discouraged.
I really think it wouldn’t have been as bad if we hadn’t been at MCI. That airport is ridiculous. There isn’t one security check point like at most airports. At MCI each group of three or four gates has their own enclosed area with individual security. The only thing on the gate side are chairs, restrooms and a little concession stand. Not even a drinking fountain. If you’re hungry or thirsty you’re forced to purchase insanely high priced food and drink. I’m talking $8 for a small, mediocre sandwich or $2.50 for a 20oz bottle of water or pop. There are restaurants on the other side of security but no liquids over 3oz are allowed back in the gate area.
This is what I liked to call the zoo.
There was one poor lady with several rowdy kids. She freaked out on the CSR because there was no way for her to get a cold glass of water without dragging her kids and loads of thing back through security. Not easy to do for anyone much less a lady with screaming kids. In the end I think she was forced to exit because TSA rules are what they are, CSRs can’t break them any more than passenger can.
I wish I could have just stretched out across several chairs and taken a nap but that wasn’t possible because of the armrests.
The skinniest of persons couldn’t fit under those. Just plain cruel.
We ended up spending a grand total of 9 hours in that itty bitty little airport. Finally, we were called for the very last flight of the day. I’ve never been so happy to get a boarding card in my life. The flight was so quick it was almost a joke. Up and down in just about an hour. We literally could have driven home in the time we waited. I love my travel benefits but I’m probably going to think really hard before I go anywhere any time soon unless the flights are wide open. We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto and boy am I glad.
*and by fun filled I mean exhausting