Jim called. “Jet Blue screwed me,” he said. I couldn’t believe it.  I love Jet Blue. Although I was very annoyed at their complete lack of judgment in the snowstorm I did enjoy the San Jose to Boston route that doesn’t exist anymore. That was my gateway route to Europe.

Jim didn’t have any problems on the flight out from San Jose through New York (where I NEVER go) connecting to a flight to Rochester. The connecting gate was right next to where Jim got off. But the return through New-York-Where-I-Never-Go was a nightmare. When the passengers got off the plane they learned that they had to take a shuttle to another terminal to catch the connecting flight to San Jose. They all trouped outside losing time searching for the shuttle. When they arrived at the other terminal they wandered around through a construction zone and into the terminal where they discovered that they had to go through security again. By the time Jim got to the Jet Blue Gate, the flight had left. Oh, and it had left early.

“I can get another flight,” he said, “but not until tomorrow morning and I was advised to stay in the terminal all night because the security lines will be long tomorrow.” He sounded upset to me and his cell phone was low on bars.

I’m Suzi, not somebody else. I am utterly and thoroughly grateful to every adult, every class, every experience that turned me into an iconoclastic nutcase. I don’t know how to think inside the box. I don’t even know where the box is.  More to the point, my husband does not sit up in an airport all night like a cow in the barn. Since his cell phone was low on juice, I told him to go back to the service desk, take any flight leaving for California and I’d get him home. All he had to do was call and tell me which airport he would be flying into.

He called back. He had gotten a flight to Sacramento leaving in fifteen minutes.  Sweet.  I said, “Go. When you get into Sacramento, call me and I’ll tell you where you’re staying for the night.” Meanwhile, I called Nancy and we split up the list of hotels to call. Since Jim would be getting in after the restaurants closed we also begged the chef to keep a plate of food in the fridge for him. When Jim got into Sacramento he called me and I told him which hotel to go to and that I would pick him up in the morning.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “Your leg is in a cast.”
“Not anymore,” I lied. It was a walking cast. Optional. Used only when needed.
“Don’t worry. I’m going to Nancy’s tonight and the drive to Sacremento will take just two hours.”

I drove over the mountain to Nancy’s. We had a great visit and fabulous sushi. We decided we’d go to the airport to get Jim’s luggage. I’ll have to give out another Wanker Award here. The luggage was in the office. Not the husband, but you take what you can get.  But no. They wouldn’t give me Jim’s luggage. My logic was impeccable.

“If I’m the right person to be called when you kill him in an airplane crash, I’m the right person to pick up his luggage.”

“It’s a matter of security ma’am,” she said. I wanted to punch her lights out. I’m sick and tired of hearing that everything is a matter of security.

I’m also sick and tired of managers who wont  let their people use their own good judgment and a pinch of critical thinking. How many middle-aged women in walking casts were stealing luggage that week?

The following morning I arrived at Jim’s hotel just as he stepped out of the shower after a good night’s sleep in a bed and with food left for him by a kindly chef. We had to stop back in at the San Jose airport to get his luggage on the way home. The most interesting thing is that my “out of the box” plan added just two hours to his total trip time. The in-the-box plan had him stuck for 12 hours in the airport plus the six hour flight home.

The airports should have little hotels for people since these screw ups are becoming a habit. And, if the
passengers have gone through security once that should be it and I don’t care how these nutters fix this utterly stupid and inefficient organizational chaos. Stamp the connecting passengers’ hands with glittery, glow in the dark ink. Throw them on the luggage cart, the bags seem to always make it to the plane. Hire some  federally bonded butlers to bring the passengers to the connection point. But to make people run in fear and then treat them like barn animals (who do sleep while standing up all night), well, that’s unforgivable. Maybe now that we have a new Homeland Security boss we’ll see more common sense. Well, ok. I’m being stupid again. I apologize.