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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-12-10 07:41
Subject: [travel|cancer] My misadventures getting home yesterday to see the doctor today
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, omaha, personal, portland, travel, weird
There's no real way to make a coherent blog post out of this, so you'll have to settle for a bit of narrative.

Getting home from Omaha yesterday was an epic effort, but I made it. My luggage did not. My irreplaceable Mongolian camel fur hat apparently did not, though there's some hope I absent mindedly packed it into my luggage (which I never do on purpose).

I had five different flight itineraries yesterday. That is to say, at different points in the process, I was booked on five different flights out of Omaha before I finally managed to leave. American cancelled my original route through DFW on Sunday, the day before I was to fly, due to extreme weather in DFW more or less crashing their operations. I was rescheduled to a Monday flight through ORD.

When I got to the airport in Omaha early, they rescheduled me again at the check-in desk to an earlier flight through ORD, to help me make my connection to PDX. That flight began posting later and later, until was both later than the flight that came after it which I had been previously scheduled on, and late enough to make me miss my connection at ORD. It was also clear the later flight was going to be postponed.

I went to the American Airlines counter agent and said, "Look, I'm a terminal cancer patient. I have two oncology appointments tomorrow. I have to get home tonight. Can you reschedule me through Denver on another airline, since both Dallas and Chicago are such a mess?"

They're not really supposed to do that when they still have available seats in their own system, but he poked around and was very helpful, placing me on a set of Frontier Airlines flights that went OMA-DEN, then DEN-PDX. Since I'd already checked in, he called down to the American baggage room and had my bag transferred to Frontier.

The earlier Frontier flight was full, so I wasn't leaving til that evening. Then Lisa Costello texted me that the evening flight had posted a two-hour delay, which would again make me miss my PDX connection, stranding me in DEN. I went up to the Frontier gate agent and told him the same thing I'd told the American agent. He put me on stand-by, then got me on the plane in their 'stretch seating', which is what Frontier has instead of First Class. I'm pretty sure they're not really supposed to do that, either, especially since I wasn't even a Frontier customer in the first place.

I finally got on a plane leaving Omaha, my fifth scheduled flight out. I have no idea what happened to my bag at that point. My connection in Denver going to Portland was almost two hours late, but I got out of Denver and home last night. Frontier has no idea where my bag is, because I do not have a Frontier Airlines bag check tag, due to the interairline transfer back in Omaha, and they can't trace it through the American Airlines bag check tag. We're hoping it came in overnight from Omaha via Denver, but given the other delays, it may still be languishing in Omaha or in Denver. As me getting home was the critical issue, I am not grumpy about this. I would like to see my bag again sooner or later.

At any rate, on a day when well over a 1,000 flights were cancelled, thanks to the flexibility of two gate agents, one for American Airlines and one for Frontier Airlines, I got home. My first oncology appointment is at 8 am this morning, my second is this afternoon. I will make them.

So my thanks to both airlines.

Now I'm off this morning for some bloodwork preparatory to tomorrow's monthly consultation with my medical oncologist. This afternoon I have a screening and intake appointment for one of the clinical trials I am trying to engage with. Overnight has brought the Portland area radically unseasonal snow and ice, which will make getting around today a lot more exciting than it should be.

But I'm here, and I can make it in to my appointments. Thank you American, and thank you Frontier.

Post A Comment | 8 Comments | | Flag | Link

A wandering fellow on the long road
User: tsarina
Date: 2013-12-10 15:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It is so damn nice to read about an airline getting things together and helping a person.
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User: sillylilly_bird
Date: 2013-12-10 17:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
good for them! get around safely today.
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User: threeoutside
Date: 2013-12-10 17:46 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Kudos to those two kind folks! And I'm sorry you had to go through all that crap. Sounds like it was mostly weather causing the trouble.
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Soon Lee: Saccharomyces
User: soon_lee
Date: 2013-12-10 18:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good on them for being helpful & managing to find solutions. We so often read about airline horror stories rather than stories like this.
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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2013-12-10 20:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
good luck today.
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desperance: luke
User: desperance
Date: 2013-12-11 00:07 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's nice to hear someone actually applauding a couple of airlines, instead of the usual cursing. Nice too that you had cause to applaud.
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Agent Mimi
User: agent_mimi
Date: 2013-12-12 10:19 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We took Frontier last year from KCI to LAS and were reasonably pleased (one crabby flight attendant who hit me with a carry on bag was our only complaint). Both there and back, we were offered via text at the last minute the stretch seating, which we took on the way there -- apparently Frontier flyers don't take the seats that often, which is a shame because they are the most comfortable on the flight. I'm so glad they used those seats to accommodate you, and hope they get your luggage back to you soon.
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User: klwilliams
Date: 2013-12-12 22:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
After I was told by an airline (one I will never fly again) that my bag was permanently lost forever, two days later a van drove up and dropped it off at my house. If your bag is lost, there are apparently ways they get found.
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