US Air and USA: Total Fail?

I wonder if US Air stands these days as a metaphor for the USA: Trying hard, but pretty much failing at most everything. OK. Maybe I’m being too hard on the United States, even though a new poll points to some 72 percent of us believing that the nation is generally heading in the wrong direction.

US Air clearly had me heading in the wrong direction yesterday. But I guess I should be thankful that I ending up heading anywhere at all.

Here’s the back-story.

I was in Charleston, S.C., on business for two days. And full disclosure. I hate any business-related travel these days; if it wasn’t for the strip search by the Homeland Defenders, it would be no fun at all.

Anyway, I started my return trip to Akron yesterday a.m. at 11 with a choice of stops in either Atlanta, Charlotte or Newark before touching down on terra firma in Akron/Canton. As most know, picking any one of these layover cities over another is equivalent to selecting a headache over an upset stomach. I opted for Charlotte.

And I made it to the Fox Sports Bar in Terminal E right on schedule. But when quaffing a cold one, my BlackBerry began to vibrate like the “personal item” found in a passenger’s bag on a flight to Dublin.

2:27 p.m. — First text message from US Air to Robert Jewell about Flight #2264 — scheduled to depart for Akron/Canton at 3:46 p.m.

Your flight # 2264 from Charlotte (CLT) to Akron (CAK) on Oct 25 has been cancelled. The aircraft is unavailable because of a prior cancellation due to aircraft maintenance.

Please call 1-888-204-6170 for re-accommodation assistance.

We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for choosing US Airways.

Say, what? Cancelled?

2:28 p.m. — Text message from US Air to Robert Jewell about Flight #2264

The departure time for flight # 2264, from Charlotte to Akron on Oct 25 at 3:46 PM has changed. The flight is operating behind schedule due to maintenance affecting a prior flight. Your estimated time of Departure is 3:46 PM. Since we make every effort to be on time, please be at your gate as originally scheduled as US Airways continues to make every effort to return your flight to an on time schedule.

You can view the flight status of your flight on US Airways by clicking here

Your updated flight information:
Departing on: Oct 25
flight # 2264
Depart: Charlotte (CLT) at 3:46 PM
Arrive: Akron (CAK) at 6:09 PM

We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for choosing US Airways.

Hmm. That’s interesting. Flight originally scheduled to depart at 3:46 has been delayed to, ah, 3:46.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, “Something is rotten in the state of North Carolina.”

Recognizing that cowards die many times before their deaths, I approached the gate attendant and opined that while parting may well be such sweet sorrow, I really had no desire to remain in Charlotte tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. (Wonder if the Bard was a frequent flier? Just askin’.”

And the quality of mercy on her part was not strained. There was another flight leaving for Ohio. Unfortunately, it wasn’t departing for Akron/Canton, but for Cleveland.

Me: “But alas, madam, my vehicle be at Akron/Canton.”

Her: “You’re fxxxxd big guy.” (Well, not exactly, but allow me some poetic license here. And you get the picture.)

So I made it back to Ohio, albeit the wrong city.

And sometime today I’ll make the trek to the Akron/Canton airport to retrieve my Jeep.

The drive by auto from Charleston to Akron is about 12 hours.

Total fail.

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