February 25, 2003:
After a few hours sleep at the Hilton (a very comfortable hotel, even if we were only there for about four hours) Mr. Mohammed is back to pick us up for another try at actually getting home.
Eight am, back to the airport again, where we learn that the United Airlines flight that Egypt Air arranged for us from New York
to Denver doesn't exist (!) and stagger down to the Lufthansa
desk to deal with the options. We were offered the option of a confirmation
of a flight on Wednesday at nine in the morning -- which would require
a hotel in New York for the night.
And a $200 rebooking fee. No, thank you.
A note about booking flights is in order here. Had we booked the flight from Denver to New York at the same time we booked the flight from New York to Cairo (i.e., in the same "trip"), then Egypt Air and United would have gotten us home or reimbursed us for the flight costs without a hassle (or so they say). As it was, both airlines were treating the reservations as "unrelated" and basically telling us that it was our fault. It probably was, but I would expect at least some cooperation!
George gets us through passport control again, apologizes profusely
again, and we're off. We sat in the lounge for a bit,
then went to the gate since we have learned that the
tracking boards have lied to us in the past.
Checking in, they tell is all window seats are full in business class and that we'll have two aisle seats across form each other. Fine. The seats we're assigned end up an aisle and a middle
seat. I shouldn't be surprised. Oh, I shouldn't knock Egypt Air too much -- they really have been most accommodating up until now. Unorganized, and usually with a laissez-faire attitude about timeliness and customer service, but we're heading home, so it's all good. We're just tired and ready to go home.
The flight takes of at 12:15 -- only 45 minutes late,
which is about a record for Egypt Air Can you tell
that we're a bit cranky?
Boring flight. Slept some. Ate twice. If the armrests on the Business Class seats had folded up, it would have been perfect. I could have stretched out along he whole row and snoozed the whole way home.
During the flight, tried to call Mark B -- who is scheduled to pick us
up at the airport in Denver about the time we land
in New York. The phones on the plane do not work, but I bolt for the first payphone I see once we get past customs. At least I caught him before he headed to the airport.
We decide that it's just easier and cheaper to buy
tickets on a JetBlue flight from New York to Denver
-- which leaves about four hours after we land -- than
drive into New York, get a hotel, and drive back for
the flight tomorrow. It actually ends up only 20
bucks more to fly home now than stay in New York, which is a more than acceptable
tradeoff for being able to sleep in my own bed tonight.
I made the mistake of calling to check in at work, since we're running a day behind. They're very understanding about the whole thing, but do tell me that my next assignment will be in San Francisco...and I start on Monday. It's actually pretty funny, but I'm not going to make the mistake of calling the office again!
Off to JetBlue, which is comfortable, on time, and
very pleasant. Mark comes to pick us up at the airport
very late, and leaves us to sleep for the next two