Thursday, March 01, 2007

Angels in ATL

Wednesday 2/28/2007:

I get to the Atlanta airport in plenty of time to make my 4:30 PM flight to Stockholm via Houston and Amsterdam (don't ask). I change out of my black suit and into my cozy striped PJs and meander over to the Continental area to check in. I try the kiosk first. "You need special help" it says. Well, I already know that... So I walk over to the counter to get help.

"There's no reservation under Anna Green."

Great - not again (I just had a very similar experience the night before at a particular Courtyard Marriott. It didn't end well).

"Where are you going?"

"Stockholm. But first to Houston and then to Amsterdam."

"OK. It looks like you are flying Delta to Houston."

Great. Delta is in the other terminal. So I walk over to the other side and get in line for the kiosks there. Again with the "You need special help". Hmmm, maybe I can't use the kiosk for international travel...? So where the heck is the international line? All the way in the corner apparently... And the line is HUGE! At this point, it's starting to get really close. (At least it feels like it. My phone, which I use as my watch, has been dead for at least an hour.) But what can I do? So I wait patiently.

Then the airport people decide that the line is indeed too big (go figure) and they herd the people in the back of the line (including yours truly) over to the First Class / Business Class counter. (I'm sure the First Class and Business Class travelers were thrilled about that.)

So I finally get up to the counter and Angel #1 (I just don't know it yet) looks at me, asks about luggage, and utters the words that I really, really, really didn't want to hear: "You are too late." NOOOOOOOOOOO! The tears start welling up and I try to explain between sobs that I was confused about the airline, so I stood in the wrong line and then I couldn't find the international line and now I'm going to miss my grandmother's funeral in Sweden. The sobbing and the funeral part (which was true) really helped. She said that there is a 5:30 PM Delta flight straight from ATL to Amsterdam and if I can get Continental to re-issue the ticket, I can come straight back to her and she will check me in.

I walk (sobbing) to the other side of the airport (again) and grab a Continental person. One look at me and she's all: "How can I help you dear?". I manage to blurt out my story and before I know it Angel #2 has booked me on the Delta flight and I am on my way back to Angel #1. I stand and wait for what feels like an eternity (I have no idea because my phone is still dead) while she finishes up her current customer and then jump ahead of some very annoyed graying business men to get checked in before it's too late again.

Angel #1 looks at the computer and says: "But they didn't re-issue, they just reserved your seat on that flight." It sounded bad (and expensive), so I told her that Angel #2 was going to re-issue while I walked over to Delta (which was also true). Angel #1 tries to call Angel #2. No answer...

So... Angel #1 actually leaves her post (and many angry gray-haired men in gray suits) and walks all the way over to Delta with me to get it all straightened out. Angel #1 and #2 talk and before I know it I have a boarding pass in my hand, approved tickets, and a luggage tag. I get the short-cut directions to the security checkpoint and off I go.

Wow - it really happened! I'm thinking that I'm probably running late at this point, so I try to hurry through security (except there is really no humanly way to do that) and then I hear: "Ms. Green! I knew I would find you here!" It's Angel #2. She has more tickets for me. Then she performs another miracle: She takes all my stuff and puts it at the front of the line. Kick ass! I touch her shoulder and say: "You are an angel!" She thanks me and disappears into the crowd.

Of course, once she's gone, I end up being one of the "chosen" to have to get special screening, so the devil or whoever is fighting the angels is still in the game. In the end though, it's up to me to get on that plane before it takes off without me.

Run Tabita, run!

As I run the final stretch toward gate E17, I hear the man in the speakers: "Final boarding call for Delta flight 3824 to Amsterdam". Yes - I am going to make it. I plop down in my seat, take a deep breath, joyfully notice that there is no one sitting next to me, and send a quick "Thank YOU!" to God Almightly for sending his Angels to give me some special help.

Because I know I need it.

1 comment:

katie said...

what a wonderful story...a tear came to my eye. I am so glad that you got the help that you needed