About a month ago, I spent a couple of hours on the phone figuring out how to get my dad from Florida to New England. The only flight I could get involved a five-hour layover in DC. So I made plans to fly down earlier, meet his plane, and spend the five hours with him. I planned to be at X airport at 7:00 this morning, plenty of time for the 9:00 departure.

At 6:30 last night, JetBlue cancelled my flight from X to DC. Given that the weather is a bit rough, understandable, I guess. But this meant (a) that if his flight wasn’t cancelled, he’d have five plus unaccompanied hours in DC. He’s 87, has some short-term memory issues, and other health issues.

So I called JetBlue. It took me over an hour to reach a human.

Advertisement

Do they have a lounge at DCA? No, they don’t. Does American (hereinafter AA) have a lounge at DCA? Yes, they do (I happened to have a day pass for American’s Admiral’s Club, and if they wouldn’t take that by phone, I could buy one there with credit card). Great! Can JetBlue do a meet and assist? Yes, But. Well, really, no.The Meet and Assist can take my dad between JetBlue gates, but not to the AA club. OK, does JetBlue know of anyone who can help? No, but I can call DCA and find out (it is now 8:45 pm). If I want, I can cancel Dad’s flight and reschedule it for some time next week (except that my brother and his family are leaving for two weeks in AZ at the same time my dad’s leaving to come up here. In fact, that’s why he’s coming here, and booking flights this time of year is a contact sport).

So.

Advertisement

I find a truly beautiful person named Lisa at the Terminal B information desk. It’s her first day on the job. She goes to work and finds Traveler’s Aid who, for free(!!) will pick up my dad at his arrival gate, take him to the AA club, make sure he’s OK there, and then get him from the AA Club to his departure gate. GREAT! She makes several calls, to them and to me, to coordinate things. We’re all set.

Advertisement

Except for one thing...

Six different numbers, including referrals by computer systems and agents, fail to get me through to the central AA club desk until—in spite of promises that it stays open 24/7—I reach the desk and it’s closed until 8:00 this morning. CLICK. At this point I lose it. I scream obscenities into the dead phone for a few minutes, then write that number down on top of my list of other phone numbers.

OK. Calming down, I figure I can call and take care of that no matter what it costs. Good. It’s 11:30 by now, and I hit the hay.

At 4:30 AM my brother calls. His one of the only numbers that gets through my “quiet hours” setting. He’s had an idea. He can get JetBlue to route Dad on a direct flight to JFK, arriving just after noon. I look outside. It’s snowing, but not too bad. We agree, he calls JetBlue, and I climb into the shower to wake up. Figuring it may take some time to drive the 90 miles south to JFK, I start immediately, pausing only to grab a bad cup of coffee.

Advertisement

I average literally 20 MPH on the way to JFK, well more than doubling the usual travel time. I see between 10 and 20 cars off the sides of the road, and in New York a couple of lanes are blocked with an ambulance and a pair of shattered cars. An idiot driving at 10 MPH on the line between lanes endangers all around themselves, myself included. A Jeep fishtales in front of me, and I keep wondering what one of those semis would do to my Honda Fit. I am extremely happy that I bought new tires earlier this fall.

At the airport, I discover that Dad’s flight is now expected c. 3:00 pm.Oh! An update just now! 3:49 pm.

Advertisement

So I have a while to sit. At least I found a coffee shop with chairs.

FML. FML. FMF,F,F,F,F,Fing L.