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January 20, 2014     Times
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Bob Metz Flies to Vegas Eventually Or- Then it was announced- Cont'd From Front Page Ground crew was late get- ting to the airport because of the snow and the plane had not been warmed up from sitting over night. Everybody waited for 15 minutes while plane was warmed up. On board the plane, 20-minutes passed. Ground crew was unable to get water into the plane's restroom; external valve was frozen but they were working on it. After all, they did not want to depart with no func- tional restroom. After 15 minutes, ground crew was carrying hot water down the aisle to the restroom. Finally, restroom was func- tional. Plane was then shoved back for de-icing. De-icing truck wouldn't start. Once it started, ground crew only got 1/2 of the plane de-iced. Ran out of fluid. Had tomix more. Said it would take 15 minutes. Hydrant used for water to mix deicer was frozen. Had to use a garden hose to fill the tanks to make the mixture for de-icing. Hour later (10:30am) they were back. Plane is de- iced. Then it was announced- "We've held you on this plane away from the terminal, to the limit allowed. If anyone wants off the plane, we have no choice but to take the plane back to the terminal. That's the law." No one complained, so we did not move. Then it was announced- "We have sat here with the engines running so long we do not have enough fuel left to make the trip. A fuel truck is coming, but he has to go get fuel first." The 8:30 flight is still in Peoria and it is 11:15am. Fuel truck shows up and fuels plane. Then it was announced - "By law, because of the time we have held you we have to take you back to the termi- nal and let everyone off for 30 minutes. We will be towed back." Then it was announced- "The tow vehicle will not start, we are getting another vehicle to tow the other away and take us back to the terminal." Then it was announced- "Since all the food we have on board is cookies and water - That you have already been served- you can get something to eat in the terminal.., but we can not delay." While being towed to the terminal... Then it was announced - "Because of the road condi- tions the airport has allowed all of the food service people to close up and go home." Some of the passengers rebel and won't get back on the plane until they get some food. Then it was announced - "One of the food service employees is still in the ter- minal and she will re-open the cold sandwich stand for drinks and sandwiches." At l:30pm passengers are fed and back on the plane it being the 8:30am flight. Only 7-hours behind schedule. Plane was then shoved back for de-icing again. Another plane was being de-iced before Bob's plane. At 2:45pm the 8:30am flight finally is in the air headed for Denver. Surely, Bob thought, the air- line would re-schedule another connecting flight in Denver, as Denver weather was good. Approaching Denver, lob heard the announcement - "Chicago bound flights were being diverted to Denver for re-routing of passengers around Chicago." At Denver, the terminals are full of people. Bob and fellow passengers were held on the flight for another 30 minutes trying to get a spot to unload. It was 4pm. A representative met the passengers inside the terminal with arrangements for con- necting flights out of Denver. That's when Bob heard, "Mr. Metz, your flight to Vegas will be at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday."But this is 4pm Sunday afternoon! What's Bob to do? He was told, "you will have to make your own arrangements." When Bob objected he was told to go to Gate 31 or Gate 39 to talk to a United Airline rep- resentative. Gate 39 - no less than 80 - 100 people in line. On to Gate 31 - no less than 80 - 100 people in line. Spot- ting a friendly face about tenth in line from talking to a repre- sentative, Bob asked, "Can you tell me hov long it took you to get this far?" The response was - "Almost 3-hours." Walking the terminal, Bob saw a gate with no one in it and a lady at the desk. Bob asked for just 5-minutes of her time. He explained .his status. She checked the computer and said, "Mr. Metz, I'm sorry, but you are traveling on a United Mile- age card, free flight. We do not re-book such passengers on other air lines, as we have to pay that airline." Bob then asked to be put on the night flight from Denver to Peoria so he could go home. She checked and said, "Peoria airport is closed, no more flights in or out until Wednes- day." And it's still Sunday - but a little later than it was. Bob said he'd get a cab into Denver and get a hotel room. Then he was told, "Mr. Metz, with all the Chicago passen- gers who arrived here 3 hours ago, there are no rooms in Denver. You will have to stay in the terminal until Tuesday." And, it's still Sunday - but a little later than it was. Bob offered that he'd go to other terminals in the airport and search for some airline with a vacant seat. To that the representative said, "Good luck with that, and if you leave this United Terminal, you won't get back through security as your ticket to Vegas is expired until they issue you another ticket for Tuesday, which won't happen until Monday." Over 30 Years Experience General Contracting Professional Service. Home Town Commitment Fully Insured. Bonded & Licensed Ucense # 00o4-oo8s27 454-3090 / Creek 10SrUt00:rd0ntics00 Discover the reasons our office has become a destination for quality orthodontic treatment in Central Illinois. Creating beautiful, healthy smiles for children and adults. 400 N. Chicago St. Lincoln 217-732-1073 Salt Creek Attic" Unique lhndmfted Treasms Flor00 Country Decor antiques & So Much More 106 S. Washington Mt. Pulaski Tues-Fri 10-4 & Sat 9-1 792 5117 6 Avoid standing in line.., call for reservations! 217-947-2770 Carry outs & Walk-ins also welcome! For our full menu please visit us at: www.htott.com, It is now 4:50pm, Sunday aftemoon and Bob calls a friend in Decatur. He explains that he'd give this friend the . name of every airline that is listed as flying out of Denver Airport Sunday night. E. Bob asked his friend to . Google each of them and g then see if one had a seat that allowed booking on short notice. After 20-minutes Bob's * friend called back and said he o did get into the Frontier site .," and it showed there were seats. Two trams later, Bob was at the Frontier check in with ticket in o hand. g Bob arrived in Las Vegas at 3:30am Monday. Naturally all of this left Bob's luggage floating some- where. United told him they couldn't possibly find it with the amount of luggage they were dealing with. Monday morning Bob began search- ing. Calling Las Vegas Airport, the airport reported that United showed his suitcase was still in their system. Bob heard the first really good news of his trip - "Mr. Metz, I have you bag, what do you want me to do with it. For $25 I can send it to your hotel. It will take 3-hours, is that okay?" And 3-hours later Bob had clean socks. We all know this was weather related, something the airlines had no control over.., but still... what a story. Delta has reffrl its last DC-9, the oldest plane still in the U.S. fleet.