Friday, December 21, 2007

A Cello of a Companion

I just completed the longest trip I've ever worked. Two days ago, I returned, nearly comatose, from a trip that consisted of eight legs and four days away from home. The last leg, from LAX to Denver proved to be the most interesting.

I'm greeting passengers at the front of the plane, smiling, making sure no one is drunk, and that everyone is abiding by the one carry-on plus one personal item rule (yeah, right!). Here comes a guy with his cello in a hard case. He confidently walks past me and heads for the back of the plane. About a minute and a half later, the cabin inter-phone rings.

"Hi, it's Christy. The gate agent mis-assigned this guy. You'll have to hold up traffic. He and his cello need to sit in the first row, window and middle." Wonderful. Now I have to hold back 85% of the passengers trying to board our flight that is already 30 minutes late so Mr. Cello and companion can make their way back to the front of the plane. Why is it always the last leg on the last day of a long trip?

Mr. Cello and his cello make it to the front and take their seats. Mr. Cello and cello are all strapped in and settled and boarding commences. Not three people later, a gentleman -- three small children in tow -- proceeds to carry his stroller on. That is a no no, people. Strollers are to be gate checked. Period. Supposedly this guy was famous and thought he could get away with it. (This, according to the gate agent. I didn't recognize him, and quite frankly, why would anyone with money choose our carrier?)

This could possibly have been the longest, most painful boarding process to date, but eventually, we plugged the doors, pushed back, and were headed to Denver. Mr. Cello and cello and all other 130 passengers and five crew members arrived in Denver. It is remarkable how a thirty minute delay and an excruciatingly drawn out boarding process help to expedite the deplaning process.

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