Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Going Home

Ok, I’ll give Jackson a second chance -- at 8:00 o’clock in the morning. At this time of day, the town is “do-able” as it appears that everyone in the area likes to sleep in. We finally get a chance to see a little of the town without mobs of people and by 9:00 are parked on the town square, snapping pictures, peeking into a couple of the many shops, and picking up some souvenirs to take home. Now, this, I can handle.

Then we head a little south of town to see what’s out that way, when Dave’s lead foot almost gets him in trouble again when the Wyoming Highway Patrol finds him doing 12 miles over the speed limit. Now, I will give this officer an A+ for courtesy – one of the nicest folks we’ve met on our trip and not just because Dave gets lucky and off with a warning, he was just one very friendly man.

It’s now time to turn in our rental car. Another darn “zoo” at the Dollar Rent-A-Car, which is as unorganized as it was when we picked up the car. The same people who service the in-bound travelers who are picking up a car are also servicing those that are returning one. No one waiting outside with one of those slick little hand-held gadgets that automatically provide a receipt. No -- must stand in line with everyone else to reach the clerk at the front counter, who then goes outside after every customer to check the car and sometimes physically moves it, before returning inside to provide a receipt and wait on the next customer. Later, I pick up a local newspaper where I see pages of want ads, so apparently Jackson has a shortage of people to fill positions, which probably explains some of the poor customer service. Anywho, it was an unfortunate experience and you can bet I won’t be using Dollar Rent-A-Car on future trips.

Then, we’re back in line at the United Airlines to pretty much find more of what I expect from this problematic carrier – yet another delay. However, at this point, it shouldn’t affect our transfer in Denver to Kansas City, so we settle in to have some lunch and watch the planes take off. At the same time, American Airlines, whose performance has also fallen dramatically, cancels a flight and half of them are booked onto our flight which, when it finally takes off, is completely packed. But, we’re still ok as it looks like we will still make our connection, though we may have to rush a little. Nope, about the time we make it out to the tarmac, the pilot decides that the plane is overweight, so back to the gate we go and 80 bags are unloaded from the plane. Whose bags, nobody knows.

Sure enough, we miss our connection in Denver, which was supposed to take off at 3:29 p.m. United will be happy to book us on their next flight at 8:40 p.m. – more than a four hour delay. No, after our 5 ½ delay in the Denver Airport ten days ago, I remember a little known airline delay policy, referred to as “Rule 240.” Most airlines have this rule and I have since looked up United’s, which provides for rebooking on another carrier when the flight is delayed more than two hours. So, I just simply bring up the delay time and ask to be booked on another carrier. No, problem -- we quickly have reservations on a Frontier flight to Kansas City, and though we still have to spend a couple of hours waiting, it’s not as bad as it could be. When you’re traveling, do a “Rule 240” check on your airline before you go and this may alleviate some problems and frustration. The agents will not bring this up unless you ask.

Then we’re off on Frontier – should have booked with them to begin with – nice folks, good customer service, nice plane, etc. Finally, we arrive in Kansas City about 9:30 p.m. and stand watching the baggage carousel go round and round. Surprise, surprise, no bags. And, we’re not the only ones. Seems as if there are others who were on that original United flight from Jackson whose bags are also floating somewhere between Wyoming and Kansas City. United didn’t get our bags transferred to Frontier and one bag is coming in on a United flight in about an hour and the other in several hours.

Thankfully, there’s nothing we have to have from our bags tonight and Frontier promises to deliver them tomorrow.

Falling into bed about midnight, we’re both exhausted and I can only feel terrible for Dave, who unfortunately, has to catch another flight out early in the morning for his “real job.” I, on the other hand, will be happily geeking away in my home office, in my pajamas for probably the entire day.

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