We (GFT) have had a very stressful couple of days. We have spent the last 2 days at SeaTac airport trying desperately to get to Nebraska to do a performance. Currently, I am exhausted, extremely irritated and smell heavily of lady speed stick; but I am getting ahead of myself.
It all started Monday morning. We arrive at SeaTac airport at 5:00am for our 7:00 flight. We check our baggage which includes most of the sound equipment we need to perform and all of our performance clothes. We have to pay extra to check 2 bags, but because of the amount of gear that we travel with, each member has to check one case of equipment and carry on one case of equipment.
Unfortunately, James could not make the gig in Nebraska so we have along a guest sub who lives in Sedro Woolley (which is about as close to Canada as you can possibly get and still be in Washington). He loses his ID somewhere between Sedro and SeaTac. He then calls someone to pick up some form of ID and drive it to the airport. Fortunately (and I use this term lightly), our flight is delayed because of mechanical issues and his ID arrives at the airport in time for him to board the airplane.
Our flight has, at this point, been delayed for 2 hours. We board the plane and prepare for take off. I should probably mention a fun little known fact about Groove For Thought and airplanes at this point. We ALWAYS end up sitting at the back of the plane. This time was no different. My seat was the LAST seat on the plane. Once we are all settled into our seats and deal with a complete lack of overhead bin space for our 2 carry on items, the pilot announces that we can not take off because the mechanical issue (that appeared to be fixed) was actually still broken. We get off the plane (remember where I said we were seated on the plane) to see a huge line of about 130 very upset passangers.
We stand in this very very very slow moving line for 2 and a half hours. While most of us are in line, Kelly and Jeff go back out to the front desks to see about how we can get to Nebraska before our gig on Tuesday night. Finally, Brennan and I get called up to talk about a new flight. The man at the desk suggests that we get a flight to Omaha and then drive (an hour and a half) to where our performance is. At this point we decide that this is our best option so we agree to this and he gets us tickets on a different airline to San Frinsico with a connection flight to Omaha. By the time we get our new tickets, we have half an hour to get from the S gate to the C gate which is 2 shuttles away.
We run (litterally) from the S gate all the way to the C gate. Meanwhile Kelly and Jeff start to head towards the C gate and get stuck in the security line because of a security breach. We all finally get to the correct gate only to find out that the flight to San Fransisco has been delayed. When we talk to the woman at this gate she tells us that we would be delayed to long to catch our flight to Omaha. So Brennan goes back out to the front desk to see about our options. In the end, the airline (whose name I won't mention) comps us hotel rooms in SeaTac and books us for a flight Tuesday morning at 7:00am. We leave the airport at about 3:00pm to go to our hotel.
We get to our hotel, which is actually quite nice, and check into our rooms. Keep in mind that we have checked all of clothing and toiletries. We have to sleep in the clothes we have been in all day and fortunately the hotel has some free shaving cream, toothbrushes, and deoderant (this is where the Lady Speed Stick comes in). So the next morning 7 grown men come down stairs to eat breakfast at 5:00am smelling like women's deoderant in wearing the same clothing we wore the day before.
We show up at the airport at 5:30am. Go to get our boarding passes and find out, that we aren't actually booked to be on any flight. Even though Jeff has our reservations in his hands they say we don't have tickets for our flight. Most of us sit down while Jeff and Brennan try to figure things out. They have to stand in 3 different lines. They get to the head of one line only to find out that that particular line is for a different airline (eventhough there is no way to identify the difference between the two), the get to the head of the next line only to have the woman at the counter refuse to help them because she "wasn't going to deal with this" because she "got off in 10 minutes". Finally they were able to speak to someone who actually was willing to talk to us about the situation, but was absolutely no help. We couldn't get to Nebraska (because of the delays from the previous 2 lines) until well after the performance would start and end.
Now, tired and extremely irritated we go about trying to figure out 1.) where in the world (literally) our baggage is. 2.) how we can get our money back after the non-comedy of errors. We find out that, miraculously, our bags made it to Omaha. I know what your thinking. How did they... and you couldn't...? Yeah. Still working that one over in my head. We set things up to get our bags sent back to us. Which needs to happen as soon as possible because we leave on Thursday to to fly to the Netherlands. Then we spend hours and hours trying to get our money back which at first seems like it is NOT possible.
Brennan and I go to see if we can talk to someone higher up than the people who work at the front counter. I ask one woman if I could speak to her manager. She replies "Ok. I'll go get Roy". About 5 minutes later a different woman asks if we are being helped. We say "Yes. A woman left to go get Roy". She replies "Roy? Roy is on vacation". We didn't see the first woman again, but the second (much more friendly, helpful, and attractive woman) [yeah. I said it.] went and actually found a supervisor. After another couple of hours we had finally gotten our money back for the tickets that took us nowhere. After another 6 hour day, we were finally able to go home. Poor Jeff had to call the people who were running the performance in Nebraska and tell them that we weren't coming and call Nick (our pianist who was already in Nebraska) that we wouldn't make the gig and that he needed to make arrangements to come back home.
How is that for a travel story? It was the longest and shortest trip of my life! Like I said, we fly out to the Netherlands on Thursday and we have all of Wednesday to emotionally prepare ourselves for the second leg of our summer tour.