Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 1276: Grammy and Grampy Don't Arrive!

I went to bed last Thursday night expecting to run over to Kotoka Airport late Friday morning and grab my folks with Mr. Lartey while Ruth and Melissa made them a welcome sign.  I checked the flight status and saw that they'd left the US on time.  Whew.

Alas, it was not to be.

Google, please index this post as Delta, Delta Sucks, Delta is Terrible, I Hate Delta, F*** Delta.  You get the picture.

I woke up Friday morning to a somewhat cryptic email from my folks saying that their flight had turned around.  It turns out (and here I'm sparing you the convoluted process I took to get these answers, so some of this I only learned once I finally saw them) that there was a problem with the bathrooms on the plane.  The flight crew said that they would start working when the plane hit 16,000 feet.

Guess what happened!

My Mom, about 5 hours into the flight or so, decided to check the flight path display, and huh, saw that it seemed they'd turned around.  Oh, wait, did you expect the flight crew to inform the passengers?  Oh, no no.  They'd gotten 3.5 hours out, half the bathrooms didn't work, and so they turned around.  Delta, in its infinite generosity, put them up in a cheap hotel room and gave them a $6 voucher for breakfast.  Score!

I had carefully planned a trip for the family to the Tafi Atome Monkey Sanctuary and a stay at the Biakpa Mountain Paradise.  I'd arranged for a bus to pick up the family and a bunch of other interested obruni from campus, and we were going to spend a relaxing weekend in the rural Volta region.  Importantly, I'd scheduled this for the only weekend that both Melissa and my folks were going to be in town, and we were scheduled to leave at 7AM on Saturday.

Anyway, my folks had been rescheduled onto a new flight, scheduled in at 5AM on Saturday. I re-arranged the bus to come at 9AM, and figured my parents could sleep on the bus and we could salvage things.

Friday night at about 7PM our time, I checked the flight status, and it was listed as having departed about 5 minutes early.  Whew!  Melissa and I had some beers and relaxed.

Meanwhile, back in Atlanta, my parents got on the plane.  One of the passengers found the headphones he'd accidentally left behind in a seat pocket... because it was the same plane.  If you were thinking, "oh, they must have fixed the bathrooms, great," you have never flown Delta.

As I was about to go to bed, I realized that in my smitten-ness with my wife, I'd accidentally left my computer on.  Just because, I hit "refresh" on the flight status page... and now the flight was listed as "boarding."


I mentioned this to Melissa. I couldn't figure out how a plane went from "in flight" to "boarding."  It sounded dangerous.  Did they lower ropes?

I called Delta.  They told me they had no idea what I was talking about, the plane was delayed coming in from Barcelona, and was undergoing routine security checks, and it had never been listed as in flight.   I'm pretty sure the rep I got was Ari Fleischer.

Meanwhile, my parents had flown out 1.5 hours... and then flew back to Atlanta because the bathrooms didn't work.

Yeah, basically Delta lied to me (Google, you can index that phrase too).

I had already arranged for Mr. Lartey's cousin to pick me up at 4:30AM the next day, and so I figured that calling Mr. Lartey at 11PM would be obnoxious, but not as obnoxious as Gabriel showing up in the wee hours of the morning and being told to go home.  So I did.

Melissa and I agreed that she would go ahead on the bus with the rest of the crew, I would get my folks when they finally arrived (now scheduled about noon), and then I would pay Mr. Lartey whatever it cost to get him or one of his crew to taxi us out to Volta.  I finally got an email from my - exhausted - parents telling me to go ahead, they would just crash at the Guest Center and recover from their ordeal. So, with great reluctance, we did.

After pushing back from the gate again and returning (but not actually getting into the air), they finally made it here.  Fortunately, they met a man named Stephen on the plane, who was a "big man" (my Mom is great at meeting people).  Stephen not only agreed to drive them to the Guest Center on arrival, but he greased palms all the way through.  Walking behind him, passport control waved my folks through without checking.  My Dad started to get his out, and was told, "oh, that's OK, I just wanted to know that you had one, I don't need to actually look at it."

Next: the fun story about monkeys, and some actual pictures.

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