Several things come to mind when I remember that old slogan — NOT. They lie!

Going out to Iceland was okay – lots of walking through terminals, up and down escalators, onto and off of air trains (subways at the airport), onto and off of buses (at the airport), shucking off shoes, loafers thank goodness, to go through several x-ray machines, lining up for Passport Control, watching the baggage go round and round and round… my luggage was so new, so plain, so unencumbered by recognizable stickers stuck on, or scarves or gnomes tied on. I waited until most folks had reclaimed their suitcases and finally figured out which ones were mine. Except for a mostly raw, lukewarm Swedish meatball meal on Iceland Air (it wasn’t supposed to be like that), the experience wasn’t too bad. Flights left and arrived mostly on time and all my luggage arrived with me. Hooray!

Coming back home was a different story, however. Iceland Air checked my baggage through to Atlanta but not on to Florence. Their meal on the plane was very good this time, however. They get points for that. At JFK in New York, I walked some more, rode escalators some more, this time maneuvered onto and off of elevated trains, had to claim my bags and re-check them, which is when I was told they were only checked through to Atlanta and not Florence, went back through x-ray machines and Passport Control, then got to the correct – Delta – terminal and gate in plenty of time.

I was so ready to get home. But Delta was not ready. I kept watching the digital board behind the gate clerk’s head for information. The time came and went for us to be called to board the plane. Finally the announcement went out. The plane was arriving late – bad weather in Atlanta. We would take off about thirty minutes late. The red digital numbers flashed and there was a new departure time. Okay, thirty minutes isn’t too bad, I’ll still have time to make my connection in Atlanta.

Thirty more minutes came and went. No new announcement, but the digital numbers flashed several times and the minutes pushed back. Departure time was now forty minutes late. Ummm. That will cut it close, I thought. As I tried to read my novel, I heard a few disgruntled comments and several worried comments.

At fifty minutes late we were allowed to board the newly-arrived plane. It was very questionable now whether any of us would be able to make connections in Atlanta, some going on to Florida, some heading west. I sat with a lady and we talked for a few minutes about our various destinations. She and her disabled husband, seated directly behind her (both wanted window seats) were returning home to Florida after a vacation in Maine. Their connections were iffier than mine.

We watched out of the window as one of those little baggage carts pulled up and a hefty fellow began loading suitcases into the belly of our plane.

The pilot came on the intercom and announced that the delay in our departure was because “You folks brought along a whole lot of luggage, it will take a few minutes to get everything loaded.” Yeah, right.

A few minutes later we observed a lady with a clipboard jog up to the guy tossing bags into the plane. They immediately got into a shouting match. The lady gestured, he shouted, she pounded and pointed to her clipboard, and finally he started pulling bags back off the plane. They were the wrong plane’s stuff. Off he went with his baggage cart, and more minutes went by while we wondered if our luggage was on some other plane, headed for L.A., or Chicago, or Timbuctu!

After a while another baggage cart drove up, the same hefty guy started tossing suitcases into the plane, and an hour and a half late, Delta headed for Atlanta. Yep, you got it. We all missed our connections. To make matters worse, Delta didn’t even offer me a discount on a motel room for the night. Rudeness gone to seed, the Delta clerk shrugged it off as she handed us a new boarding pass for the next afternoon.

Not only is Delta NOT ready when you are, they aren’t even polite about it.

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