As the title implies, I returned to Alaska before it got too cold for my thin Arizona blood. I got home yesterday at stupid o’clock (about 10 AM) after almost 24 hours of no sleep and umpteen hours of traveling, so needless to say I’ve been getting my much-needed sleep since then.
Delta’s genius trip planner decided to stick me on a completely illogical route of PHX-MSP-ANC – that’s Phoenix to Minneapolis, then back over to Anchorage. My flight to Fairbanks was through Alaska Air (props to them – more on this later), so not really relevant for this little bit of bitching here.
Why am I bitching? For starters, I hate Minneapolis. Hate it. Not the city, so no offense to any of you denizens of the place, but the airport. God DAMN it I hate that fucking place. Getting there was fine, I had a couple of lovely seatmates with me. Rosa and Manuel (if you manage to find this – hi!), daughter (not a kid, 20-something mind you) and father, it was her first time flying so I had the pleasure of reassuring her that we weren’t gonna die when the turbulence kicked up. Good seat/flightmates always make the trip a little easier. Always good to have someone to talk to.
So we get to MSP, part ways, and I find a flight monitor thing. Flight’s been delayed by a little more than an hour – great. Not all bad, less of a layover in Anchorage will be nice, I think. So I go and kill some time, dick around the airport for an hour or so. Mom calls me and lets me know of the delay (Delta had called her), which I had obviously already knew about but it’s nice to know Delta’s doing at least something right by informing her. Another hour of dicking around, charging devices, reading and eating, and I head to the gate as the plane *should* be leaving soon. NOPE. Delayed by another hour and a half or so. This makes the flight ~3 hours late. This is bad.
This means that I may be stranded in Anchorage for six hours until the next flight to Fairbanks, should I miss the one I am supposed to be on. Great. GREAT. Just what I needed. The scuttlebutt was that someone got sick on the plane halfway through the flight, so they had to go BACK to San Fransisco or something. Had they not heard of a sick bag? Whatever.
So there I am, freaking the fuck out and waiting for the damn plane to get there, really wishing I were 21 (or had a good fake ID. Don’t judge me!) so I could at least artificially calm the fuck down. I called Mom, she called the airlines (both Delta and Alaska) and told them the situation, trying to find out what can be done. They told her on the phone that if I miss my flight because of the delay, I am entitled to a place to stay, transportation, and a seat on the next flight to Fairbanks all at Delta’s expense. At this point I almost wanted that to happen, for revenge of sorts. An hour passes, some Delta crew show up at the gate. I go to talk to them, to see if they tell me what Mom was told on the phone. “You’ll have to rebook when you get to Anchorage.” How nice of them. They did, however, give me a seat that was closest to the exit door as possible in economy class. Better than the back of the plane where I was supposed to be.
The plane finally gets there, more crew arrives (including a very handsome pilot. DON’T JUDGE ME!), and we get on. My phone has little charge, and my laptop doesn’t get the greatest battery life, so I can’t even take advantage of the in-flight wifi (which is AMAZING, I’ll have you know). I spend the ~6 hour flight reading and listening to my iPod. They decide we’re not worth feeding here in economy class, so I live off many many packets of airline pretzels, still wishing I were of age to get a Jack and Coke or something.
We get to Anchorage, and I run like hell to the baggage claim. At this point I didn’t know I could have just had it booked all the way to Fairbanks despite it being a separate airline, but it likely wouldn’t have got there anyway. Ten minutes pass, the baggage carousel hasn’t even started running, and I hear the last call for boarding my flight. To make matters worse, the carousel is for multiple flights. I decide fuck this, and go to the Alaska Air check-in, and I think I may have cut someone off in line doing so – sorry about that. I tell them my situation. They tell me to forget the bag, they’ll try and deal with it, and RUN. So I do. Thankfully Alaskan airport security is never, ever busy. I get to my gate, and I ask them “I’m too late, aren’t I?” (There was more than this, a lot of panicked rambling nonsense, and me giving them my luggage reference tag, but that’s not good for storytelling.)
“Yeah… wait, no. You’re not. You’re not even supposed to be on this flight, but you can get on. We’ll try and deal with the bag. I’ll have [guy whose name I forgot] deal with the bag, and [another forgotten name] will unlock the door for you. Just get on!”
So I do. I get to Fairbanks, and naturally my luggage is not there. I really didn’t expect it to be. Jake’s outside waiting for me, I load what little I have into his vehicle, and spend about 45 minutes working things out with the lost luggage people. Poor Jake – he couldn’t leave the vehicle as he was in the temporary parking. Sorry about that. So they tell me they’ve sent a message to Anchorage, and I should get my shit the next morning.
Jake and I get to our hotel, and are greeted (not literally) by three cops doing what I assume was kicking some black dude out of his room, which REEKED of weed. Guy’s lucky that it’s decriminalized/legal in some cases in Alaska: if it were Camp Verde he would have been on the ground, tased multiple times and possibly beaten.
Fast forward to the next day, and I have a voicemail on my phone. Alaska Air had wrangled up my luggage – yay! I was getting pretty tired of wearing the same stinky clothes for a day and a half. They had even given me a $20 flight certificate for my lost bag, which wasn’t even their fault. Props.
In conclusion of this little airline rant, I can see why Alaska Air has been awarded by whomever to be the best airline. I’ve never had an ounce of trouble with them, and their “bags in 20 minutes or less” guarantee is no joke. Delta’s fine and dandy, but I’ve (obviously) had my fair share of shit with them. But I’ve put my life in their hands many times, and I’m still alive, and that’s what matters, right?
This post has become incredibly long, so I’ll stop it here. I have some photos, not anywhere near as much as the last time (as I would have been photographing the same things, only with snow on it), but enough for your viewing pleasure. I will say that I have returned to Arizona with the pleasure of saying I have shot an AK-47.
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