Fly United and You’ll See Places

After 3 postponements on my way from YQR to Peoria, IL on Monday via O’Hare with United Airlines, my flight back was postponed and then, wait for it… cancelled.

This would be the reason for my visit to Peoria, Ill in the first place.

This would be the reason for my visit to Peoria, Ill in the first place. (iPhone Photo)

After approximately 2.5 hours of standing in a line and at approximately 9:10pm, they, the United Airlines counter attendants, proposed option one, back at the airport at 4:30am for a flight through O’Hare and then home by about 4:00pm, or option two, fly from Peoria to Denver at 8:00am and then home by just before 3:00. Given my first O’Hare experience of three days prior, I chose option two. A little more seat time but a little more sleep time and home a tad earlier. In life, as in used car lots, there are always trade-offs.

The kind, and very well emotionally controlled attendant, Ann was her name, a late fifties pleasant lady of Spanish descent, proceeded to book me a shuttle to a hotel and presented me with two $7 vouchers for a closed restaurant. One for dinner and one for breakfast. I point her out as being “controlled” as she did an amazing job of not blowing a gasket considering the turmoil of all those lined up at her counter acting like someone just told them they’d just missed the slow boat to China.

A shuttle to the hotel and then TGIFridays it was, with a newfound friend from the Dominican Republic. José, a proud owner of a dozen tractor/flatbed units, husband to one fine 450DL driving woman (his words) and father of a two-year old swimming boy and six-year-old daughter who’s often more interested in Barbie Dolls than dad, was a spiritually driven lover of baseball and money.

We spent the time it took to consume a couple of pints and some really good Cajun shrimp and chicken talking of sports, the American Dream, and the two other characters we encountered during our wait in line at the airport. Character One was slated to join us but opted not for the arduous walk across two parking lots to get there. He too was a truck driver and you could tell from listening to his breath as he exited the shuttle and made his way into the hotel that this dude spent way too much time on his buttocks. The other, Character Two if you will, was an obnoxious self-absorbed socially incapable ass whose sole reason for inhaling was so that he could exhale incomprehensible drivel that he believed would somehow be helpful to all those within earshot. Earshot being about three miles. This guy would stroll repeatedly to the front of every cue and start loudly asking question about the state of the mechanical repairs required as if he would then just pull some parts from an orifice and fix the damn thing. The only thing covering said orifices was filthy greasy cut off sweat pants and a carnie tee-shirt. The guy’s hair looked like it was last cleansed was when they were cleaning him up to play a fat double for Jim in Taxi. (If under 45 years of age you may have to look that one up)

Across the tracks from the Caterpillar Visitor Centre. (iPhone Photo)

Across the tracks from the Caterpillar Visitor Centre. (iPhone Photo) I spent most of my week between this location and factory tours being educated on all that is Cat marketing.

The following morning, they, United / Candlewood Suites (A very clean and tidy chain hotel located in northwest Peoria) had me on a shuttle with just barely enough time to get to the airport and check in. On the way to the airport we ended up patiently waiting at another hotel next door for the flight crew, of my flight to Denver while they finished their white toast and coffee.

Eventually, and once again, at the airport in Peoria, the flight crew and those without checked baggage walked merrily on towards security whilst myself and another friendly Cat person, ironically with the last name Kramer but of no relation to the Kramer Ltd. that employs me, waited in line to check in. The check-in counter was having serious computer issues and the counter personnel, both of whom also did an excellent job of staying cool given the situation, were apparently “locked out” of checking me in and processing my bag. All the while I was being told my flight to Denver would be “held for me”, the idea of which made me feel rather special. As it turns out, not so much, I was not, the flight left without me.

Apparently I am now departing to Detroit (Delta), then Minneapolis, then home. Should get there about 7:51. All I can do is continue to smile and roll with it… Or shall I say fly with it. I’ve never seen the Motor City and if it all goes seamlessly (LOL), I will be home comfortably delayed only by 22 hours with a bit of a sore back but a ton of new friends and acquaintances.

Update: As of 5:50pm Friday we were taxiing down the runway in Minneapolis, MN while I was having a much-needed nap when we decided to turn around due to some obscene noise coming from the airplane undercarriage that was not my snoring although the some could describe the sound as similar to me grinding my teeth. We literally snaked around the tarmac for a while listening to this phantom sound come and go and having pilots of other planes peering out their cockpits at our landing gear trying to see any obvious issues. After several minutes of this nonsense and as of 18:30 we are parked in a service bay awaiting some assistance.

Now it is 7:00pm and I am back in the airport sitting on the floor in close proximity to a plug-in so I can charge my phone and Bose headphones. Without them I may well be in a much worse state of mind. We have been informed that there is another plane we can take possession of at approximately 9:00pm.

At about 10:50 Regina time I was back on familiar ground with my weekend cut rather short.

Thanks for reading. Fly safe everyone.

Larger than large. A couple of my classmates admire the stature of a 797 Mining Truck. (iPhone Photo)

Larger than large. A couple of my classmates admire the stature of a 797 Mining Truck. (iPhone Photo)