Friday, August 26, 2011

Flying Daze

Someone wise (Val) just reminded me that this is still an adventure. So as I tell the story of our last few days I will try to remember it. As I write this we are still stranded/stuck/tired/stinky at the Seattle airport in Washington. It has been a rough few days.

Monday we flew in to Jacksonville, NC to pick up Zero and drive closer to a neighboring base for her vet appointment.

Tuesday morning had us at the vet enjoying our last day in North Carolina before driving up to Raleigh. American Airlines has been added to the ban list because of all the issues we had flying with Zero. We spoke with 7 different associates and 4 of them had never heard of a mandatory four hour pickup on cargo. It is too hot in the South to have Zero fly with us so we were sending her ahead early in the morning. She would then wait in Seattle for us to arrive that evening. Unfortunately we got some poor information. A kind soul finally let us change our tickets to fly first thing in the morning and have Zero fly with us.... at no extra charge.

4AM - Drop Zero off at cargo. Say teary goodbyes coupled with Dustin's reassuring comments.
6AM - Boarded our Chicago bound flight. Flight is delayed 30 minutes.
7AM - Arrive at Chicago on the furtherest possible terminal from our connection. Dustin and I run (and I mean run, no jogging or skipping here) to our next gate. We arrive as they are boarding. Once on board we asked the captain to ensure that our dog made it on board. They hadn't even gotten her off our last plane yet, but he put a call in to rush her over. We waited 20 minutes, but we got her on board!

Once in Seattle we had nothing to do. It was 10AM PST and we were both tired and hungry. We put all our stuff outside under a metal art sculpture and took a nap. I got sunburned. Finally I got tired of the smell of mildew and urine and called Fred to get some hotel information. Doubletree is pet friendly so off we went.

Wednesday R&R
Thursday: For some reason the government flights require us to be at the ticketing counter at 2AM. Not sure why the government is all about the "hurry up and wait." We were first in line for the family line and got good seats right behind the bulkhead (lots of leg room and 3 windows). Zero didn't have to be back for three more hours so we decided to go back out to our metal sculpture.

Thursday 3AM
We ended up freezing out there so we snuck Zero inside the terminal under our blanket and grabbed some sleep. Security was peachy.. I got selected for the patdown because I forgot my chapstick in my pocket. Finally at 8:30 we get on the airplane and are ready to take off.

But, alas, it was not meant to be. The plane was having mechanical problems so we sat there for an hour before the airline decided to let us deplane. Then it was a thirty minute waiting game. Thirty minutes passes, update on how they are still working on the issue and will let us know again in thirty minutes. After 2 hours of this some of the families were getting upset. Some of the men (yay military, gettin' somethin' done!) got together and told them to reschedule for tomorrow or give us more concrete information. After some negotiating we were told we could pick up our pets but not our luggage and we would try again on Friday.

We were put in the Clarion near the airport. Zero was not a happy camper. It was noon by the time we made it back to the hotel so we slept for a little bit. I would not recommend this hotel. A huge spider was crawling up the wall and a man used his key and walked into our room!

We were disappointed to learn that we were very far from downtown Seattle and didn't have anywhere that we could even get high enough to see the Space Needle. Instead we opted to walk the streets with Zero. We found the largest hill we could and climbed to the top and were rewarded with this:

Mt Rainier
Friday: So here we are to Friday. We have been in these clothes since Tuesday and are ready to go to Japan! Hopefully everything will go smoothly this time!


Our Plane

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