Nothing out of the ORDinary

united-flightYou know you’re fucked when United gives you an estimated date for your flight home.

Herself is wheels up, jetting from Philly to Bibleburg via Chicago’s O’Hell International Campground, and on a whim I checked her flight status on the United website. The result of my inquiry is posted above. Seems the Soviet-surplus Aeroflot PS-84 inbound from Duluth ran out of bathtub vodka (for either the windshield washers or the flight crew) and is at least 90 minutes behind schedule.

A charging station in O'Hell. Has USB and everything. Hi, Uncle Sammy, it's your trusty taxpayer Herself, just keeping the iPad full of electrons.

A charging station in O’Hell. Has USB and everything. Hi, Uncle Sammy, it’s your trusty taxpayer Herself, just keeping the iPad full of electrons.

Happily, knowing through bitter experience that O’Hell is the aviation equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle (or perhaps the Hotel California), Herself has all her must-have items in her carry-on bag in case she has to kip in a plastic chair at Mickey D’s.

When reached for comment, Herself replied succinctly, “Shit.”

On the bright side, O’Hell apparently has these nifty little charging stations to keep one’s personal electronics ticking along like Chinese watches. All the better for the NSA to keep its files up to date, don’t you know.

• Late update: Well, she got onto that delayed flight, but now the Bibleburg airport is closed due to inclement weather and the sucker was rerouted to DIA. And after such a fun drive too. Funny, everything seemed to be on schedule right before I left Rancho del Perro Loco. The guy with the shovel must’ve knocked off early.

• Extremely late update: After dithering a bit, and herding people off and on and off the plane, United finally canceled Herself’s flight from DIA to Bibleburg, leaving her stuck at DIA around midnight, and from the sound of it their minions were none too helpful in (a) booking a Tuesday flight or (2) helping her find a place to lay her head for the evening. I may have to shout at some folks.

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27 Responses to “Nothing out of the ORDinary”

  1. John in GJ Says:

    Here’s a bit of O’Hare trivia that will do absolutely nothing to brighten her’s, or your, day: somewhere in the airport, I’m told, is a huge Brachiosaurus skeleton. This particular specimen was the first Brachiosaur ever discovered and identified, and it was found in a hill in what is now Grand Junction, Colorado, (where I’m at) in 1900! The mounted skeleton (most, if not all, of which isn’t actually fossilized bone) used to be in the main entrance of the Chicago Field Museum, but it was moved when the museum acquired Sue the T.Rex.

    I have no idea where it is in the airport because I’ve never actually been to O’Hare. As proof that I’ve never been there, I’m currently here, and I understand nobody gets out of O’Hare alive.

    So wish Mrs. Mad Dog good luck from all of us. But since she’s been with you all these years, I’m sure she’s had lots of practice at being patient and tolerating foul aromas in noisy environments filled with obnoxious people.

    Come to think of it, this might be working out well for her.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      John, I’ve been to O’Hare, and I understand that the Brachiosaurus is in charge of air traffic control. Has been since Ronnie Raygun sacked all the union fellas.

    • veloben Says:

      It’s wood and part of the Children’s museum in terminal 3? I think it is now gone. However an really F4F-3 painted up in Butch O’Hare’s aircraft marking from his MoH fight is on display in terminal 2. I observed part of the restoration process and seems the airframe was issued to the USMC and did fly from Henderson Field in 1942.

  2. Ira Says:

    Last time I was in O’Hare was in the 70’s, and it was crawling with Hare Krishna’s. Don’t suppose they’re still there, but it made the time pass between flights trying to duck the fuckers.

  3. Khal Spencer Says:

    I used to fly through O’Hare all the time when I lived on Lawn Guyland and flew to San Francisco for the AGU conference, and later, when I lived in Honolulu and flew to the East Coast. What I remember about O’Hare, other than it meant I was almost to Buffalo after a long ride from Hawaii, was the psychedelic underground moving walkway with the multicolored lights and echoing instructions that seemed to have a disconnected voice:

    “The moving walkway is now ending. Please step down”.

    Given the echos in the tunnel, it was quite amusing.

    Those walkways were the next best thing to getting stoned after a redeye from Paradise, and completely legal. Sometimes if I had a long layover, I’d just ride it back and forth for a while.

    Hope Herself gets back without too much shit.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Man, that’s a lot of frequent-flyer miles. Could be worser, though. Friends say the flight from Zone Interior to Australia is a ball-buster. I won’t go until Scotty invents transwarp beaming.

  4. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    I flew into and out of O’Hare more times than I can remember. I grew up 30 miles from there, Waukegan, and still have family there. Flying into O’Hare in the winter is like flying into DFW in the summer; weather delays are almost guaranteed. In my working days with the DoD, I flew often, 3 to 5 times a year. Add in at least one or two family trips a year to IL and KY, well, you get the picture. I have flown enough. And flying now is a giant pain in the ass. Cattle we are, nothing more. I agree with Herself the Younger. And being a temporary bachelor isn’t my favorite thing either.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve heard it said that if you fly into O’Hare after noon there’s a strong likelihood of your enjoying an overnight stay. They should have an REI kiosk a la Best Buy that dispenses sleeping bags and cots.

  5. Derek Lenahan Says:

    You can drive anywhere in the country in two days. You will lose sleep. You might have lost anyway and rarely do they close the roads.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      Two days? I think you are a little younger than me Derek. After 500 miles, all I want is a cold beer and a hot tub.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve slowed down a bit myself, even while flying Air Subaru. I can only do about eight hours at a crack before losing interest. I keep myself amused by trying to guess how many miles I can shoehorn in after the low-fuel light comes on.

      Maybe I need a more luxurious car. I see a lot of Mercedeses on the road around Bibleburg lately. I learned how to drive on a 1962 220S. Yeah, that’s the ticket … second mortgage for a third car.

  6. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Now if I had a Hayabusa and diplomatic immunity, I could make it to House Back East from the Sonoran wasteland in 8 hours. But, I would rather take two weeks or so and come on the Saga.

  7. Larry T. Says:

    ORD’s not THAT bad folks. The wife just flew outta there on her way back to SUX 30 minutes ago, so I guess the jet fuel’s not all gelled up as it was the last time things got really, really cold there. It’s currently the ONLY place one can fly to from SUX so we’ve been there many, many times the past few years. I’ve seen that skeleton somewhere in there, in stark contrast to the human types waddling around inside, who are anything but skeletal. A couple of times ago I saw a fellow carrying the effects of so many Big Macs around his middle section he sported built-in armrests as well as a shelf for his e-reader! SUPER SIZE ME! It was one of those instances where you’re thinking to yourself, “Please, don’t let that guy sit next to me on the plane! Especially when it’s one of those little jets!”

  8. James Says:

    I will agree with Larry on this: ORD is not that bad. Flew through there (coming and going) to Holland in 2010. The six hour layover on the first day of summer was not fun, but it was not THAT bad. The 20 minute layover after clearing Customs, the tram ride and the moving sidewalk WAS a bit too close for comfort, but then I was heading home via Denver. DIA was a pain in the rear. Somehow in the course of a 90 minute layover my gate changed three times! Ironically it was from one end of the terminal to the other, only to get changed back to…wait for it…the gate right next to where I started!!

    And yes there is a dinosaur ‘skeleton’ in the terminal at ORD. At the time it was a ‘must see’ event but I was more enamored with the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup banners. One thing I could see in any real museum, the other was a once in a lifetime happening. Until the Hawks won it again last season….boo!

  9. Liz Says:

    I second Herself’s emotion.

  10. hurbenb Says:

    I used to Fly into O’Hare 4 times a year when I worked for an American company,

    Each experience was like “Why the fuck are you putting up with this?”

    All the above comments are true.

    I’d pretty much decided to look for another job when they canned my arse in the 2001.Com collapse.

    Frankly, if I never fly into another American airport, it’ll be too soon.

    Sorry about that & take care out there.

  11. Jeff Cozad Says:

    There is a lovely place in ORD to camp out. There is an “Urban Garden” in the G Concourse. Nice chairs, power outlets, quiet. Generally there is just flight crew hanging out up there. I’ve spent a fair amount of “quality” time there on various trips throug ORD.

  12. Larry T. Says:

    Update: the wife made it home, only 20 minutes later than the scheduled arrival time. I’ll also second what Jeff wrote, the garden spot at ORD can be very nice if you want to get out of the hubbub. If they just put that Lavazza caffe joint back in (or I could find it again?) the airport might actually be better than “not that bad”.

  13. Khal Spencer Says:

    My wife thinks Atlanta and DeGaulle are the worst airports she has ever flown through and as quite the jet setter as a younger gal, she has a decent database. Last time I flew through ORD was in 2011 on the way back from Bremen, Germany. It was a polar route out of Frankfurt so it went fast. The worst part of that trip was staying awake for the two hour drive to BombTown after landing in Albuquerque at about ten p.m. after the three flights from Bremen-Frankfurt-Chicago-Albuquerque.

  14. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Came here to see that Herself arrived safe and sound. My guess is that you gave up and drove up. The treatment she received is what you get these days, in my experience anyway. The days of free hotel room, dinner voucher, and offer of a travel bathroom kit when they strand you somewhere are over.

  15. Dale Says:

    Don’t hate too much on the minions. Can you imagine how much shit they receive every day from the delayed/stranded public, and also from their supervisors.

    Many years ago, I was booked on a flight from Baltimore to Austin. The crew was at the gate, but the plane was stuck in some city far away with weather problems. Some self-important +++hole decided to demand that the gate clerk produce a plane – holding up a mass of people trying to re-book or re-route flights. After listening to his tirade for a couple of minutes, I nearly got into the only fist-fight since high school with the guy.

    We were both re-routed to San Antonio. I made sure I sat next to him the whole way. A rental car and a long drive got me to Austin anyway.

    Now I will do anything to avoid flying.

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