Come On Feel the Illinoise

IMG_3942In January I skipped town to avoid some bounty hunters. No, I’m just kidding. I flew to Chicago to surprise my sister. I just want to preface this story by saying how the trip itself was great. I had so much fun! It was getting there and back to Denver that was a disaster. BTW Frontier Airlines is the worst airline ever. It started early Friday morning just as we were leaving for the airport Bandit escaped through the open garage and took off through our neighborhood. Wayne took of running after him while I chased after him yelling for him to throw the car keys back to me. So after getting the keys I run back to the house to discover I had left the door to the house from the garage open and now Chubbs had escaped. So I had to corral her first and then drive around trying to find Wayne and Bandit. Eventually I located them several blocks away. Bandit was checking out everyone’s porches while Wayne was still trying to catch up. I whip into a driveway and take off after Bandit who came running once he realized it was me. A couple nearby residents who were leaving for work had stopped to observe our debacle. I’m pretty sure our neighbors hate us… Anyway, our short drive home was not pleasant. Wayne was pretty mad and Bandit was scared but quickly getting over it and had become giant love bug again. By the time we got home and everyone in their rightful places we were running late. We live an hour from the airport so I decided to check in online so that I wouldn’t miss my flight but no matter how hard I tried or how many times I reloaded the site it would not let me check in online. But I wasn’t worried because we still had enough time. When we got to the airport I had 42 minutes to get to my plane. Frontier always leaves out of A gates in Denver and has a separate security so I’ve always gotten through quickly. When I couldn’t check in at the kiosk I went to the check-in counter and told them I was having problems. This is the conversation.

“You missed your flight.”
“My flight leaves at 9:10.” I look at my watch. “It’s 8:30.”
“We lock the doors of the plane 45 minutes before takeoff.”
“You’ve already locked the doors of the plane even though boarding hasn’t even begun for the flight?” (I’ve taken this flight on Frontier several times before so I’ve memorized how much time I have to buy snacks or find a restroom before I have to be on the plane.)
“You can’t check in. You’ll need to take a different flight.”
Wayne, “Since when have you locked the doors 45 minutes before? Don’t you mean you have to be checked in 45 minutes before takeoff?”
“No, we’ve always locked the doors 45 minutes prior.”

I take full responsibility for being late to the airport but I never would have missed my flight if I would have been able to check in online. And I never expected that 5 minutes would make that huge of a difference. Since my trip was a surprise and the timing was coordinated with my brother in law arriving in Chicago from Mexico at the same exact time I couldn’t change my arrival time. The next flight on Frontier got in 3 hours after I needed to be there. I ended up having to buy a ticket from United and almost cried as I handed over my credit card to the ticket agent. I still cringe when I see that on my statement. The rest of my trip to Chicago was uneventful. I got to go through TSA Pre-Check which is very nice! But not nice enough I want to pay $90 a year for it. My seat was the very back which is right next to the restrooms and just not my favorite at all! I put on my headphones and got out my book and tried to enjoy my trip. When the snack cart arrived I was joking with him, asking if it was too early for a Bloody Mary. It was 11:30ish by this time and he laughed and told me it was never too early for a Bloody Mary. That was the end of our conversation but he returned a few minutes later with a Bloody Mary mix and 2 bottles of vodka….which I proceeded to drop. That’s no way to treat a Bloody Mary!!

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My flight got in early and happened to be the gate next to where by bro-in-law was landing so I grabbed some Starbucks and made myself at home at that gate until his plane landed.

It was so awesome to surprise my sister. They have floor to ceiling windows in their living room that overlook their driveway and my sister happened to be sitting in the living room so I had to sneak out of the car when we pulled up at the house. The driver must have thought I was crazy as I ran to the side of their garage. My brother in law went to the front door and then had to concoct a story about why he needed to go out to the garage. He told her he brought a gift back from Mexico and needed to get it. My sister’s face was absolutely priceless when she saw me. She told me later that at first she didn’t even recognize me because she wasn’t expecting me and the fact that we had been texting up until the minute our car pulled up into the driveway.

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The only thing that spoiled the weekend was when I had to call Frontier because they cancelled my return flight because I didn’t take the first flight to Chicago. I was on hold for an hour before being disconnected and then spent 2 more hours on hold with them before finally getting to talk to someone and getting my flight re-instated. Once that was over we put it aside and enjoyed the weekend. We talked over wine, went to the zoo, watched the Super Bowl during a blizzard and danced a lot. So much fun!

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After such a great weekend I was really hoping my flight home would be painless. My flight had been delayed the night before which gave me more time with my sister so I wasn’t worried about that. My car dropped me off at the airport 2 hours early and I was so happy I would be early and could maybe get lunch or some coffee.

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Inside the terminal I quickly realized that was not going to happen. I had to check my luggage and in order to do that I had to wait to see a ticket agent. Due to the blizzard (and I’m going out on a limb here….Frontier’s absolutely horrible service) so many flights were delayed. The line was so long I couldn’t even see where it ended. In the picture below it’s hard to tell but the end of the line was 5 of those signs down. Crazy!

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After an hour I finally made it to the front of the line and got my luggage checked but then it was time to go through security. It was another hour later before I made it to even hand my ticket to the TSA agent and 20 minutes later I was able to go through security. Yay! I had just enough time to stop at Starbucks and make it to my gate with time to spare. Just as I was arriving at my gate they announced my flight was delayed again. And again. And again. At one point there was some major confusion about when our flight was actually leaving. The agents at the gate kept telling us we would be leaving shortly but the airport departure board was giving a later time. Finally they straightened it out, our plane arrived and we were able to board. We had been sitting on the plane for a while when the flight attendants announced the pilots would be arriving at the airport shortly. I could only laugh at that point. It was only fitting that the pilots also be late to the party. The flight home was very smooth and my sweet hubby met me with flowers and a chocolate chip bagel from Einstein’s.

I will say this about Frontier…the actual flight itself was fine and the flight attendants are very nice. The customer service is atrocious and (as with all airlines) the fees are ridiculous. Why does it cost me more to carry on my luggage than to check it? I’m the one who has to lug it around the airport and shove it into the overhead compartment.

This was the worst travel experience I’ve ever had and I have had some doozies. It was a bad enough experience that I will never fly Frontier again. I’m flying again in a couple weeks and all I can wish for is that the travel is better this go around!

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6 thoughts on “Come On Feel the Illinoise

  1. well thanks for the heads up I am ever in the US and need and internal flight it won’t be with them,but at least you had a great time with you family,xx Rachel and Speedy

  2. Wouldn’t it be fun to just snap your fingers and be at your destination? If I could have a super power, that’s what I would choose. Glad the visit with your sister was fun though! Makes the headaches worthwhile.

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