Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting to Italy, Part 1

As I mentioned before, out travel to Italy was not fun to put it mildly. I must add a caveat that I caused part of the drama by not getting truly packed for my trip until the last minute. I still was throwing stuff into suitcases at 5 PM on Tuesday. We flew out on Wednesday morning. Then, I decided we had to stay in Wichita rather than get up early to drive before my flight. I was already slightly wound up on the trip south to Wichita (my sister who was driving might have stronger words than this, of course.) I did not sleep much that night, partly due to my nerves and partly due to my toddler son who felt it was not okay to sleep in a strange place...

After eating a fairly relaxed breakfast at the hotel and running the dog and children to get some energy out, we went to Mid-Continent Airport at our appointed two hours before flight time. After arriving at the Continental Counter, I found out the the flight we were booked for (Wichita-Chicago-Frankfurt-Venice) was not going to work, because there was not a proper compartment for the dog to ride in on the initial hop to Chicago.

Problem number one.

The airline would find us another airline that would take the dog for us. However, because I had my positive attitude and a dear sister who supported that attitude, I remained calm. They would find us another flight and we would get to Italy at the same time as we were initially scheduled.  After some talk of flying through Paris, the flight changed again. The airline changed to Delta Airlines. Flying from Wichita-Atlanta-Madrid-Venice. After a major effort of checking the dog and some very over weight baggage; we headed to security to get to the gate.

But wait... my name was being called over the speaker to return to the ticket counter.

Any number of things crossed my mind, perhaps I'd left my credit card at the ticket counter or I had not completed some paperwork for the dog. Well, that thought was partially right. Because we were no longer flying through Chicago, but flying through Atlanta, the dog would not be accompanying us on our flight to Italy. There was a heat moratorium on animals shipped as baggage or cargo. So, our dear canine companion Shadow was not making the trip with us. 

Needless to say, I did not take this well. I had held myself together this far, but I had been kept waiting at the ticket counter for ten minutes, only to have a piece of paper shoved in my face saying I could not take the dog. The lady working the ticket counter was nice enough, the supervisor was annoyed that he had to speak to me or waste his time dealing with a customer. His attitude clearly showed through.

Oh...the trip just got better from here.

Because they had called me back to the ticket counter, I missed my flight. My sister, niece and the dog got in the car and left. So, it was me, the boys, a stroller, a heavy carry-on bag and no flight to get to Italy. It was somewhere at this point that the tears came. People who know me understand that I am a bit of a crybaby and tend to cry at things too much. Up to this point, they would have been proud of me. I lost it then and probably was quite a sight bawling my way back to the ticket counter.  I was pretty ready to stay in Kansas at that point in time.