I'm not a fan of red-eye flights; I doubt that I hold the minority opinion on this. Although I have no trouble sleeping on flights and am often asleep before the plane is finished taking off, I can't sleep on a plane at night – even on a red eye, even when seated in first or business class. Coming back from
Asia, coming back from , coming back from Hawaii , I can't sleep. So when faced with a red eye back from California , I chose to get sufficiently lubricated to put myself into a chardonnay-induced coma. San Diego
I was at the press launch of the redesigned Hyundai Elantra (more on it to come). The Hyundai travel folks made arrangements for me to stay in my room until my limo to the airport. They also kept the hospitality suite open until , a perfect storm.
The bartender in the hospitality suite was a chatty character. I carried a glass of wine back to my room and got a little work done. That glass polished off, I returned to hospitality for another, and carried it back to my room. My work finished, I headed back to hospitality and Michael opened a new bottle. I was the only journalist there. He admonished me that once a bottle was opened, he had to charge Hyundai for the entire bottle. I wanted Hyundai to get its money's worth. During the next hour I finished it. By this time he had broken down the bar and it was about . I went to my room, retrieved my bag and proceeded to the lobby to catch my limo. So far everything was going according to plan.
I arrived at Delta's ticketing, and not finding my flight on the departure board, bellied up to the counter. I was told my flight had been canceled. What! Why didn't Delta call me? I asked. They have my contact info. The counter agent, Yolanda, told me she didn't know why I had not been contacted, but should have been. She went on to tell me that because fog was expected that night, Delta canceled the flight. Despite having a load on, I was smiling, jovial and much more pleasant than Delta had any reason to expect. I told her that I had left a paid-for room at the Lodge at Torrey Pines to catch this flight. Had Delta notified me, I would have happily stayed there and come to the airport in the morning. She told me I was booked on the flight. I asked her what Delta expected me to do for the next 10 hours. She responded that Delta bore no responsibility for my being stranded because it was a weather incident. I gave her my best "you've got to be kidding" look.
Yolanda excused herself and disappeared through the door into the back. The minutes ticked by. She finally returned about 15 min later. She gave me a voucher for the airport Sheraton and another good for $7 toward breakfast. OK, it wasn't the Lodge at Torrey Pines, but it sure beat trying to sleep in a chair in the airport. The Sheraton was better than decent, the bed comfortable and the room quiet. I slept like a baby.
Upon arriving at the airport the next morning, I stopped at McDonalds for my free Egg McMuffin and decafe. I already had my cup of high test in the hotel room. I was in the aisle seat in the very last row of the plane. No biggie. After spending the flight out with a little kid kicking the back of my seat, I was happy that no one was behind me. I even managed to talk a free vodka and orange juice out of the flight attendant assigned to the back of the plane. I'm going to arrive in
about 9 hours later than originally scheduled, but there are worse things. In the meantime, I'm going to write Delta a letter that will convey my displeasure at not being notified of the canceled flight and then praising Yolanda, whose employee number I coaxed out of her. Ah, the tribulations of a frequent flyer…. Greenville