Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Travelling isn't always fun..

Ok, after going on about having an absolute laugh for what has been pretty much the whole of this blog I think its time I take a different tact...

Here's a (slightly) censored e-mail I sent to one of the lads after what I can only describe as going to hell and back... bad time

Friday 22nd July, 0600 hours: I awoke to the repetitive sound of my alarm and to the smell of some Guinness farts courtesy of the merriment the night before. However all this was ignored as today was the day Kevin and his proverbial teddy bears had their picnic (i.e. he was flying to America)

0620: Availed of the wonderfully frequent 11a DublinBus into O’Connell street where I took the Airlink service (also operated by DublinBus) to the airport and set to looking around for the U.S. Airways section and the gate to my 2 week freedom from the shackles and chains that is “the audit”

0700: Approached the gate with Philadelphia written over it and proceeded to check my bag in, however....
To give you some backing story,
The flights i booked were dublin-New York/Newark (via Philadelphia)
New York- dublin (via Charlotte, North Carolina (some shit hole))
.....when i requested to the lady at the desk if it would be possible to check my bags off at Philadelphia, as i had travel 
arrangements made
To ocean city from there, she said that this would be not possible and that I had to connect to New York (Newark) . When I queried her on this she said that if i got off at philly and didn’t catch my connecting flight then U.S. Airways would cancel my return flights. Maintaining a cool head I kindly asked her if there was somebody i could further query on this matter as i was becoming slightly distressed, but not overly panicked, with the situation. The woman, of eastern European origin, gingerly pointed me in the direction of the U.S. Airways main desk. This my friends moves me onto a new chapter, not just of my tale but a new chapter of my journey, even if the desk was a 20 second walk from where I stood at the gate. This my friends was where I encountered Alec....

Alec was an intelligent boy born of wedlock in Eastern Azerbijan. Making a quick rise through the ever prominent Azerbijani middle school system he was bestowed the highest honour an azerbijani can get and was allowed to do “airline cunt assistantry” in azerbijani international university (parallel to a Harvard medicine degree in azerbijani circles)

Upon approaching Alec’s desk i heard him speaking to a woman who had been living in America for 2 years and was moving back to Ireland. Unfortunately on her journey back she had lost what she claimed were the majority of her wordly possessions. As any young professional living away from home for 2 years would gather I felt her claim to be true and my heart went out to the girl and her lost possessions. However the girl had nothing to fear, Alec was on hand to save the day! Or was he.....
As I stood patiently behind this woman I heard him refuse to offer her any help and basically tell her “tough shit”. This put me at unease and made me slightly apprehensive as to my own predicament and to how much help this most chivalric of airline assistants would be able to offer me. I approached Alec and explained my situation to him of how I had booked my flights with the intention of getting off at Philadelphia and assumed it would be ok to jump ship at Philadelphia as I had already paid for my seat on the Newark flight and U.S. Airways would not be at a monetary loss pending my presence. Alec explained to me in no uncertain terms that this would not be possible and I had to board the flight to Newark otherwise my return flights would be cancelled! His explanation was basically a beat around the bush way of saying U.S. Airways is such a tight airline that if you were not to be on that seat of the flight then you have not left us with enough time to sell it on to somebody else bla bla bla.. I explained my situation to Alec of how I hoped to make it to ocean city that evening and the best he could do for me was to get me onto an earlier flight from Philly to Newark leaving 4 hours earlier than the flight I was previously booked on to. I agreed and saw this as the best and most efficient way to get to OC as early as I could. He charged me $150 to do this. I shrugged “feck it, I'm on my holidays”

1115: My flight to Philadelphia took off with me on board, I was still slightly peeved about the earlier incident however overwhelmed at the thought of 2 weeks in the sun, a bit of drinking and picking up some new threads. No in flight movie and a pretty mean dinner mattered little to me as my new book “game of thrones” by George Martin kept me company throughout the flight coupled with some tunes and I was happy enough!

1355 (local time): Touched down in Philadelphia, PA. Was in constant contact with my Girlfriend (herein known as “useless”) about possible ways of transport from Newark to Ocean City but she was proving un-fruitful and my plan B, to rent a car and drive down was looking ever more likely and expensive, however it didn’t matter “feck it, I'm on holidays” .Knocked around Philadelphia airport for a bit, went for a fag and then decided to board.

1630: while waiting to board at the U.S. Airways gate I noted another U.S. Airways flight departing half an hour after my own flight. It was to Salisbury, Maryland. Half an hour drive from ocean city. As both planes were no more than 30 seater planes the luggage being boarded onto the plane was in my sights and grasp and I could see my own bag right in front of me. Therefore i decided to chance my arm and offer the guy at the gate a bit of extra cash to let me throw my bag onto the Salisbury flight with me included as it didn’t look like there were many people boarding that flight judging by the luggage. What happened next? I was obviously rejected of this request. Meanwhile feeling more and more that today was certainly not going to be my day.

1745: Touched down in Newark in the middle of a searing heat wave and stepped off the plane to 46 degree heat, made my way to the terminal and grabbed my bags. Bag in tow I made my way to an information desk to enquire  about the cheapest possible route to Ocean City. Turns out Ocean city is a difficult place to get to and this made me nervous and more aware of how daytime was pushing into evening time and I was still a 4.5 hour drive away from my desired location with no means of transport to that location. The man at the information desk wasn’t even sure where the ocean city i wanted to go to was and so just pointed me in the direction of the train station, this is when shit went from poor to bad, I took this inter-terminal tram/train device (this tram would prove to be my biggest enemy come the end of the day)
from terminal 1 to the Amtrak station in this little un air conditioned train in 45 degree heat sweating balls and wondering if this ploy would be tactful. Upon arrival at the Amtrak station I questioned the employees working there who were very unhelpful however told me to go down to the bottom floor and enquire at the main desk of the station. Unsure of how to get down there I chanced upon a big glass elevator and decided this seemed the most prominent of a vertical mode of transportation to  the ground floor from my 2nd floor location. Getting into the elevator by myself I noted the searing heat as it was a glass elevator directly facing the 45 degree sun. Pressing the G button the doors closed. They stayed closed and to my dismay the elevator didn’t move. And didn’t move for a considerable period. As I stood there pressing every button possible and getting distressed and cooked more and more by the minute I had an epiphany that the public transport way was not the way for me. When the door did eventually open half an hour later I decided to get the little shuttle tram/train/cooker to the rental car section of the airport and drive down to ocean city!

2000(ish): Arrived at the rental car section of the airport and entered AVIS. Happy to be within an air conditioned building once again I enquired about renting a car and a possible drop off in ocean city. I could get this litte midget micra yolk for 200 quid for the trip down! Wahey, this pleased me. $200, no bother! I was getting there! “Can i have your credit or debit card sir?” “no bother kiiiiiiiiiiiiid here you are just get me out of this fucking airport!!!”... sorry sir I'm afraid your debit card is being declined... huh?.. turns out they don’t take aib shtyle debit cards in America... poos. Here theres 200 cash you little runt. “we wont take cash sir” heres 50 extra for you and the wife.. to no avail.. even pleaded with the manager of the place. No cash, no aib card no NAHTING... chanced all the other rental places. Either didnt take cash or didnt have an office near ocean city. No dice kevvie.

2100: got the little train thing once again to the amtrak station. Station closed. Train back to the terminal, its getting late and I'm getting nervous. 3 hours gone in this stupid airport getting little tram type yolks here and there and i still have no clue how I'm getting to where i want to go. Fuck this, I'm getting a taxi. Bartered with this African guy. Me:200 him: 500, me:200 him:400, me:250 him: 350.. 300 settled. Agreed. Handshakes, the works. I was delighted, finally getting out of this disastrous place and down to OC

2125: Driving around in his cab the African guy is on the phone constantly and he doesn’t seem to be leaving the grounds of the airport. He is blabbering away in African or afghan or irish for all i knew and ten minutes in to the journey he decides to tell me he doesn’t trust his car to go that far. This is when shit went from bad to worse. Spoof, somebody obviously told him I was ripping him off ( which i was to be fair) so he hops out of the cab, throws my bag onto the highway/road and tells me to get out. Not wanting to leave my bag in the middle of the road I get out of the cab and he drives off. Dickhead. I climb over the railing at the side of the road and take the long slog back through 2 or 3 car parks to where the nearest of those little tram stops was.

2140: Arrive at the rental car place as it is the nearest place to where I had  been ejected from the taxi. I smell terrible at this stage. Hop into the little train/tram yolk and go back to the terminal defeated. Alice (useless) has somewhere along the line texted me and told me there is a flight going to Baltimore at 21:55. Its $230 dollars to book online she says. Check the screens, just my luck its been delayed. Run to the service desk and pay cash to get this flight to Baltimore. $279 with baggage charges. Fuck it, I'm on holidays. Run to the gate, its ok the flights been delayed again until 22:45. I relax for ten minutes then realise I STILL don’t know how I'm getting to ocean city, I look up flight is delayed again until 23:30. I text alice(useless) and she informs me that Baltimore is actually 2.5 hours drive away still from Ocean City therefore a taxi would be in the region of $300, I have spent far too much thus far on top of flights. No Taxi for me. Read my book for a while, look up again. Flight delayed until 00:25. Bollox. Find a comfortable seat to go to sleep in however sleep is the furthest thing from my mind still, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW AM I GETTING TO OCEAN CITY. I HAVE SPENT 430 dollars and I'm still at square 1. This is when I started tearing hairs out of my head. Telling myself I wasn’t going to kill alice, however much i wanted to. It was here at some point that I decided I needed my mam, i was about to emotionally break down!

01:30: Flight still being delayed, unrest has started in camp Newark – Baltimore. Passengers are teaming up against continental airlines and we are as one. We hate the airline, they hate us. Realising I will face an over night stay in Baltimore airport this further frustrates me, had i stayed in Newark i surely would have found a cheaper way to ocean city the next day, what with having the whole day to suss it out. However the flight is paid for, game over, ball bursht. As us angry passengers gather together in unison I start conversation with the woman next to me and her boyfriend. Telling her my predicament she whips out the auld iPhone and finds a bus that runs from Baltimore airport to ocean city at half 8 the next morning. Halleluia! I want to kiss her, i want to pleasure her, i want to do dirty things to this most average looking of women.

02:45: We board the flight. Thank GOD

03:30: Touch down in Baltimore, find a corner to go to sleep in. Find it hard to sleep after seeing airport staff rob phone off of the chair next to already sleeping man. Rest eyes while hugging all of my possessions.

06:30: Airport sleeping is hard, i get up and go for a wander.
07:30(ish): Go to the information desk. Man at desk informs me bus at half 8 isnt going to ocean city, must wait til half 10 bus which is. Gives me permission to go into closed off lounge area after hearing my story. Nice man. I like this man.

09:00: refreshed after hours nap in lounge area go to get a subway. Start conversing with African-American airport staff in queue. Baltimore natives, pure ghetto dudes. Supposed to be cleaning floors however one buys me a coffee and i spend roughly an hour outside speaking with these men and smoking there cigarettes which they are kind enough to offer.

10:30: Humbled by the generosity of these most funny and gangster companions I take my leave to get this “bay runner shuttle” to ocean city.$100.

11:45: Stops at Maryland airfield, man next to me comments on airfield. We begin talking, him and his fiancée are making there way to ocean city for a vacation, she is not that hot, i pay little attention to her. Turns out he is a photographer in New York and has travelled the world. Fella he works for/with is one of the biggest photographers in the world. This guy has photo’d everybody from kanye west to the obamas to kid cudi. ( who by coincidence is playing a free concert in ocean city that evening) I find this photographer guy interesting and his fiancée also so we begin chatting shit about life and what not. 15 minutes out side ocean city Chinese guy wakes up in shuttle. He is baked. Overhear him talking about a soundcheck or something. Photo guy asks him about why he is sound checking stuff. Turns out he is in the support band for kid cudi, tells us he will get us backstage if we can catch his attention at the show and we can meet kid cudi etc as he has played with him loads of times (he was bullshitting, never got back stage)

13:00:Finally arrived in Ocean City and found where I was staying.

36 hours travelling
Flights from Ireland: €687
+        $279
+       $100   
=               $529

AKA too much time and cash for my liking.... puke

Altogether = GRIM

Kevin O'Brien | FS Audit

2 Harbourmaster Place

Dublin 1
Tel: (+353) 01 410 1224


  1. Sounds absolutely hilarious now but obviously wasn't at the time! At least you won't forget that trip in a hurry anyway!

    Ps. KPMG??

    1. Yeah it was like going through hell and back at the time but at least its a funny story that I can just have a laugh about now!

      Emm, yeah? I was working there at the time, I sent this email while at work..

  2. That's the good bit about travel though. Even the travel nightmares make unreal stories!
    Still makes me want to go on holiday! :P