On Sunday I woke up at about 5:00 a.m., long before my husband could be expected to get up. I packed my suitcase and the garment bag and took the elevator down to get my morning Starbucks fix.
Ranging about the casino floor were numerous groups and individuals who were still up from the night before. As you might expect, most of these people were quite drunk and provided me a great deal of entertainment as I sipped my caffeine and ate my cherry danish.
Our friends K. and M. arrived at 9:00 a.m. to take us to the airport. They had a flight home on Southwest; we were headed back on America West because I'd gone the "bargain" route with Expedia.com.
We had a good hour before our flight took off and that seemed like plenty of time judging from our airport experience on the way in. We walked through the terminal doors and were greeted with a scene that gave the impression that everyone in Las Vegas had been ordered to evacuate immediately. The lines snaked around in all directions and I wasted valuable time trying to check in at an electronic kiosk, only to discover that I had no choice but to stand in a different, long line to check in personally.
It took a while to get boarding passes that would allow us to sit together, so by the time we checked our bags and reached the line for the security checkpoint, our schedule was getting tight. We made it through (no underwire this time - she CAN be taught!), boarded the plane and walked to the back to find our seats in the 23rd row. Unfortunately for us, the plane in question didn't actually have a 23rd row. We and four other frustrated 23rd row passengers were herded back off the plane and it wasn't long before we watched it take off without us, carrying our luggage to various destinations that none of us would see anytime soon.
It was still early in the morning, so the whole thing seemed like an unexpected adventure. We each received a $100 flight voucher and the airline staff worked feverishly to find us another flight. After a pretty good wait, our gung-ho airline rep told us to RUN! to another gate with her. She'd gotten us a connecting flight to Dallas (instead of Phoenix, our original connection destination). We ran as fast as we could on our pain-wracked feet and ended up sitting in separate rows among the many Texans who'd spent the weekend in Las Vegas at a big rodeo. The flight was supposed to take off immediately. Instead, it sat on the tarmac for an HOUR before it finally took off. I was reading and dozing the whole time, but my husband was fuming. He hates to fly and he's tall, so his discomfort level was off the scale.
When we finally arrived in Dallas, we had less than 20 minutes to get to our connecting flight home. It was in a different terminal. An airline employee told us that we could get to the next terminal if we walked "just around the corner and up the escalator" to a tram. "Just around the corner" turned out to be about a quarter of a mile. We finally boarded a noisy, bumpy, rickety tram which inched along the track...until it stopped altogether. By then, we had one minute left until our flight took off. We imagined we could see it taking off as we waited. I called my dad and told him not to swing by our house at 7:00 p.m. because we wouldn't be there.
The tram finally started up again and we reached the gate that would have been ours if our plane hadn't been long gone. My husband was a roiling cloud of low blood sugar and elevated testosterone levels, so I asked him to stand aside while I went to the counter and used the "We need your help" approach (which worked wonderfully). The woman at the counter got us on a flight leaving less than an hour later, which gave us time to eat some frozen yogurt and drink some water. At the airport magazine shop I had my only celebrity sighting of the entire trip: Anderson Cooper from CNN.
Our boarding passes for the final flight were for seats in separate rows again, so I approached the desk at the gate and asked if there was any chance we might be able to get seats together. Not only did they manage to seat us together, but we ended up in bulkhead seats right behind First Class. That meant my husband could stretch out his legs in the aisle and I could put my feet up on the wall. Hubby was very impressed with my powers of persuasion. I credit my sister with teaching me her motto: "If you want something, you might as well ask."
The flight was brief, relatively comfortable and uneventful. When we reached the terminal, we had to search for a while before we found our luggage, but we managed to retrieve it and we finally got home around 9:00 p.m. K. and M. had beat us home by probably 7 hours.
All in all we had a great trip, but I think it will be a while before I manage to get my husband on another plane. I'll have to start thinking of our next destination...somewhere within driving distance.