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Published: September 6th 2017
Geo: 39.103, -94.583
Our sleep time in the restaurant is much like that on an airplane. Trying to get comfortable while keeping one eye open on the lookout for who knows what. We're in and out of sleep even with little outside disturbance during the night. It's about 4am when a few lights go on and I see some people rustling around at the counter, cleaning and preparing things. They don't say anything to any of us but I feel it's probably best to leave. Standing and looking around I can see some of our temporary tenants have already left while others remain, determined to get that last snooze. Karen breaks down our beds puts the chairs back like they were and we gather our things together to move along while additional lighting is turned on. They must be opening soon. Somehow, as we trudge away with all our personal belongs rolling with us, I understand what the homeless must feel like when getting rousted from their hangouts. We take the service elevator downstairs and pick out some good seats, people watching seats, and settle back as we prepare for the unknown.
It's 4:30am and this place is bustling, at least for
Southwest. Lines are forming and people are crowding the terminal. I see that all flights out of Kansas City to Oakland are sold out. So are most on Friday too and those available are over $600 each. We take turns, one going to the restroom while the other sits with the luggage. Karen buys a couple of Kansas City t-shirts. Hey, we've spent more time here than most countries we visited. The lines are growing by the minute. By 6 they reach to the other end of the airport and the skycap business outside has at least two hundred in line. We can't get in a line now anyway. Our luggage can't be checked until 4 hours or less before our flight. That means we have to babysit this stuff until 4pm. I just hope the line goes down by the afternoon or we're going to have to get in line around 2pm.
Mom gets coffee and egg sandwiches at Burger King upstairs, you know, where we slept last night. We sit in our seats, watching people head to the gate for their flights while we sit, waiting for hours more. We've been up over 24 hours. Karen talks to
family on the phone since Southwest is now all over the news. Around 11, the line starts to diminish. I think all systems are operational with no outages and planes are moving. That's great. I just wish we were moving, doing something. Still, we are on a plan, even if it's a delayed plan.
Its 1pm, I'm looking on my phone and I see that Southwest has a flight open at 6:30pm direct to Oakland. Wow! A direct flight leaving 2 hours earlier. We get in the ticket line, shorter now than it was, with all our luggage to inquire about it. The ticket agent says, "Yes, it's available. Would you like to change?" Yes. We'll arrive in Oakland at 8pm instead of 11pm with no stops. We book this flight but we're still too early to check our bags. He tells us to return in an hour. We get back in line and by 2:30pm, wave goodbye to our bags. Now we can enter through security.
Security is no issue and we find some nice seats to sit in, the big lounge chairs with USB chargers. Ah. Like a millionaire. We hang for for a while, waiting, just waiting. We're both experts at that. At 5pm a sign comes on indicating our flight has been delayed until 9:30pm. Other flights are being canceled. This is making us nervous. We are so close to getting out of here, reminding me of the movie "Argo". At 6pm the sign changes to 11:15pm. At 7pm it moves back to 10:15pm while more flights are being delayed or canceled. The gal say, "If you want to come back tomorrow, all our flights are book as well. You can wait for the weekend." Now we're sweating.
It's 10pm, fifteen minutes before our scheduled departure, and our flight is moved back to 11:30pm. The plane is here but they have no crew. By 10:30, they have pilots and are waiting for another plane to land so they can steal the attendants off that flight. Sounds good to me.
Finally, we're called to board at 11:30pm, over 24 hours since we landed here in Kansas City. The flight is uneventful and we sleep most of the way. We know that we're tired when we can sleep in Southwest seats. We arrive three hours later in Oakland at 12:30am. Since we canceled our family shuttle with Larry and Louanne and Uber can't take us with all our bags so it's a regular taxi to Castro Valley for $50. It's another Democratic taxi driver talking about helping all the poor people. Who's helping me?
We finally arrive home with all our baggage intact at 2am, Friday morning. Figuring in all the time changes, we've been up for 45 hours, less some sleep in the restaurant as homeless and a little on the plane. Now for some rest and relaxation!
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