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Half Good/Half Bad - W11.D6

Friday, July 09, 2010

I woke up at 4am yesterday morning. (Did you know they have one of those in the morning, too?) By 6:15am I had finished all morning prep and was headed to Columbus to catch a flight to NY.

The flight into New York went wonderful. I actually enjoyed flying (for once) and it was clear most the time so I got to watch the world go by under us. I think I drifted off to sleep a couple times. *lol* Once I got there, I made a quick change and grabbed a cab. The cabbie was great! He was aggressive, but not crazy (hard to come by! *lol*) He dropped me off in front of the building at just after 2pm and I had just enough time to grab a quick bite to eat. (I had researched earlier and knew there was a pita place on 14th street. YUM!) Got a really healthy pita with grilled chicken, hummus, grilled eggplant on a whole wheat pita. It was SOOO good! A little too early for my taste, but too hot to just wait outside, I headed up to my interview. (BTW - I'm standing outside the pita place with my suit on and some girl comes up to me to ask me where the pizza place is around there. *lol* She thought I was a local...that's so cute! I laughed and told her I had no idea! *snort*)

It went brilliantly. The VP seemed very happy to meet me and it seemed to me that I had all the qualifications they were really looking for in that position. She kept mentioning my journalism background and a small amount of PR-type experience from my other job. I asked a lot of questions about the job, and it sounds brilliantly wonderful. Like...perfect job. I WANT this job. I want to work for this woman. She's wonderful. The job is wonderful...and a real starting point to where I really want to be the rest of my life.

Problem? The pay. It's entry level pay. Suckage! But, if I put in two years or so, I could eventually move to something better paying, something more up to the place I have always dreamed of being. So for now, we wait. We see if they make an offer and then we try to figure it out. Whether we can do it. Whether it's worth it. Whether there are sacrifices I can make to make it work. We wait and then we decide.

It was all great. I finished my interview, walked to Union Square and sat down for a while to de-stress a bit. Then bought a Metro Card and took the subway through Brooklyn and on to the Air Tran to get to JFK in plenty of time for my return flight. All was well...and then they canceled our flight. It all fell apart after that. I ended up dealing with some really horrible girl at the Delta counter who gave me a ticket to Cleveland leaving at 9:10pm. She told me I could drive an hour to Columbus in a rental car. No big deal, right? HA! Cleveland is 2.5 hours from Columbus! She told me this was my only option other than spending the night at a hotel and flying to Minneapolis and onto Columbus the next day at like 4pm. She was horrible. She didn't try to find another flight (there was one on another airline that left at 8:55pm, btw.) She didn't offer to find me something out of LaGuardia. She made a Korean guy cry. She was HORRIBLE. I tried to talk to someone else, but my flight (for Cleveland) boarded before I could. The girl basically shrugged her shoulders at me and told me "tough luck." (BTW - totally their fault. It was a mechanical issue that canceled our flight.)

I figured I'd get to Cleveland and try to figure it out. And then I spent half the flight without a seat belt. Yep, you heard me right. I asked the flight attendant for an extender when I first got on the plane. "Don't worry honey. I've got you. I won't forget you. I'll see if we have any extra, and if not I'll give you the one I use for the demonstration when I'm done." And then she forgot. She did her demonstration, and then sat down and turned off the cabin lights. I tried to wave her over, but then we were headed down the runway. And then taking off. And then the pilot decided to keep the seat belt light on because of the storms, which I could see out my window, over the wing (which freaks me out already, btw). And then she finally decided to give out drinks...VERY slowly. And I was in row 15...in the back. Once she got to me, I was a wreck. I cried so much and was shaking. I nearly had a panic attack on that plane. Once she got to me she asked if I wanted a drink. I held up the undone seat belt and said, "Can I have a seat belt now?"

It was the most horrible hour of my life. Honestly. And while I hadn't intended to complain when I got to Cleveland, by the time I got there, I figured it was necessary. The guy at the Delta desk looked shocked to hear that I had no seat belt. (Yeah, really? I'm sure the FAA and TSA would be pretty peeved too!) They eventually got me a cab to Columbus to make up for the mechanical issue on the flight out of JFK (which they didn't even pay the cabbie the full fare...which made me angry!). I slept most of the way to Columbus. The cabbie was very sweet, and I tipped him what I could. Then I drove the 2.5 hours home.

I got home this morning at 4:30am. This means I was up for more than 24 hours with only a nap for about an hour and a half to two hours. SO tired.

Today I'll be writing an article about my trip. (How silly of them, to screw with a journalist...who wants bad press that bad?) After that, a strongly-worded letter to Delta customer service...and maybe a little sharing with the FAA. I'm not sure what I'll do, honestly. I just know that I don't want this to happen to anyone else. I realize I'm not a priority member, but that doesn't make me a piece of dirt. I realize that I'm overweight and need a seat belt extender, but that doesn't mean I don't deserve the respect and SAFETY that other people have by right. They have extenders on those planes for a reason. I always ask and never assume anything. I've never had any problem before. But here I was, unbuckled..and the girl managed to squeak out an "Oh, I'm sorry" and that was that. I don't want another overweight person to go through this. (Delta SUCKS at dealing with overweight passengers, btw.) This girl helped a bunch of other people feel "more comfortable" and all I wanted was the basics.

Think just what could have happened (I did for over a half hour without a seat belt). There MUST be a reason for seat belts on a plane. I thought about turbulence and how, if we were bouncing around, I could injure myself or fling into another passenger and hurt them. I did not want to hurt anyone on that plane. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed. I felt like it was my fault. And then I realized it wasn't.

Sometimes this weight thing is a challenge. And I'm working on it, and I hope to one day not have to deal with issues like this. But I will not stand for someone being treated differently just because of what they look like. I work for an anti-discrimination agency right now. I was in the Columbus Council on World Affairs when I was younger. I have stood against racist comments from others, or someone being treated differently because of where they're from, what language they speak, what race they are, what sex they are, etc. How come it's not okay to treat someone horribly because they are a minority, but it's okay to treat someone who is fat so horribly...to deny them basic safety precautions. Why is this issue argued again and again, but nothing is ever done about it?

*sigh* I'm angry and saddened. I *hate* that this overshadows the beautiful day I had before this last flight.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • -SHIMMER-ANN-
    Lame!!!! I hope you get the job... :)
    3841 days ago
  • _TRIXIE_
    Wow. What a crappy end to an amazing day. I hope you write an amazing piece and that it gets picked up EVERYWHERE. Or at least places like Nat Geo Traveler or something. To not get a seatbelt extender is simply wrong.

    But, I will focus on the positives. Congrats on rockin' the interview! That must've felt so good and so empowering to walk out of there with your head held high knowing that you kicked ass. :) I can't wait to hear what happens for you and your family next!
    3842 days ago
  • STLRZGRRL
    YAY YOU!!!

    You DID kill the interview!

    And NOW... DUN DUN DUN!

    CALLI THE DRAGON-SLAYER... BE SO AFRAID, DELTA BOOBS!!!!


    emoticon
    3842 days ago
  • _COSMOPAULATAN_
    I am so so so sorry that this happened to you. Definitely write to Delta to let them know of your experiences, it completely unacceptable. Don't let the negative overshadow the positive energy of your interview, though. If you want this job, MANIFEST this job. I will certainly think positive thoughts and send them your way. emoticon
    3843 days ago
  • -JENSSPARK-
    Congrats on the good interview! I can't wait to hear what happens!!

    That really sucks about the flight. I'd have been so mad! Stick it to them using your words!
    3843 days ago
  • LUCYSUNFLOWER
    I had a bad experience with another airline several years ago and I collected the name of the offender and the ones who saved me and I wrote a letter! It felt good to speak up about the problems (checked me in under someone else's name and destination) and the successes (the lost baggage person was a saint!). I think you should let rip and copy FFA and TSA and anyone else who might care.

    Besides that... WOOHOO on the interview!! If that job would make your heart sing then take it when they offer! Maybe you can do some freelance stuff to add to your income... I'm so glad you did so well!!
    3843 days ago
  • TEAM-SARAH
    That's ridiculous! I'm so sorry you had such a horrible experience on your return flight. Safety is a basic right. You paid for your plane ticket and you need to buckle up. Utterly ridiculous! I'm just so glad for you that it was your RETURN flight and not before your interview!!!! WHICH btw I'm so happy that it went well for you. I hope you get it and that you can find a way to make it work. It stinks that it's entry leave, but if it's going to put you on the right path... that'd be amazing if you can do it. Fingers crossed for you.
    3843 days ago
  • THEWEIGHTSOVER
    Well congrats on how well the interview went. I can totally understand how angry, frustrated, embarrassed etc. the seatbelt incident made you feel. I have not dared to fly for years because I was afraid, 1. they would make me buy a 2nd seat. or 2. the extender wouldn't be long enough, or 3. I would be squishing everyone near me. I even missed out on a trip tp Disney my whole extended family went on because I was too scared to face the possible humiliation. I give you huge kudos for being brave and even speaking up when you weren't treated fairly. I hope are offered the job and it works out. Keep positive. emoticon
    3843 days ago
  • KNOWMOREBBK
    I have had nightmare flights, but yours borders on living-hell. Stick it to them. I can't stand how poorly customer service has become in this country, but to actually put someone in danger? Come on.

    Having said that...HOW AWESOME WAS THAT INTERVIEW!!!! WOOO-HOOO!!!!! It definitely sounds like a life-changer. I really hope it works out for you!

    emoticon
    3843 days ago
  • HEALTH-E-CLARE
    I'm going to focus on the positive... You had an amazing interview (Yeah-yah) and what sounds like an incredibly nutritious delicious lunch (Hurray) and got to go to NYC. I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything works out with the job.

    Oh and now I think delta sucks....
    3843 days ago
  • OTTAWABOUND
    Ouch. I've had a few flights like that. And, as you say, it really isn't smart to play that badly with a professional writer.

    I hope the job comes through for you. And I bet you won't be flying Delta if you get it :)
    3843 days ago
  • RAVENSONG37
    I'm happy and angry! Happy to hear that your day was awesome and the important part of the day all went really well. I'm angry that your return home was so stressful. I'm proud of you for being so prepared and kicking that interview's arse! I think you are amazing for so many reasons...none-the-least of which is speaking up for yourself!
    3843 days ago
  • BECKYB73
    Sometimes you have to take a step back, to be able to move forward professionally...that's something I've done and I haven't regretted it a bit. One thing I would suggest is that if this company isn't paying you for your travel or covering it, they should be. I don't work for a huge company, but EVERYTIME I bring in candidates from out of state, either we make their travel arrangements on our dime, or we reimburse travel expenses...whether we hire them or not. (you may already have all this covered, but I'm a mother hen, so I cluck)

    Also, REAM THOSE ()*!@*!#&!!! airlines. I effing hate how they treat people, but the way they deal with us fatties and people with kids is usually unconscionable. Props for insisting on your seat belt. I never wear mine, cause I'm a rebel, but I probably should. I figure I'm wedged so tight in that tiny chair there is no WAY I'm falling out of it...crash or no crash. LOL
    3843 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7182164
    Well, way to go on the interview, first of all. And second of all, I HATE flying. I can totally relate with your experiences, well sort of, mine was a little different... my flight was delayed like 3 hours (ON THE RUNWAY) because of a little rain (UGH!) and then when I got to my destination (still 2.5 hours from my home) I wandered around looking for my suitcase for an hour until I decided that they must have lost it. That set me off... I cried like a baby. I was already so overwhelmed because that was the first time I had flown alone, and only the SECOND time I had ever flown. I have issues with flying, because of a.) all the other people and b.) I'm not in control. So.. 4 days later, my bag was due to arrive... well, Southwest gave me a form to fill out and sign saying that I didn't require the bag to be signed for (because I would be at work). So I left that for the driver but they didn't leave it!!! I had gone home on my lunch break to see if it came and I saw the sticker on my door... and then I saw the Fedex truck turn down another street... so I chased it down. I scared the crap out of the lady but dammit I needed my bag!!! Whew, that was a little bit of a rant, sorry! You'll have to keep us posted on how your reaming of Delta goes! :)
    3843 days ago
  • MEGSFITNESS
    Oh my gosh! that's so terrible :( I'm sorry they made you go through that... :(

    If you want me to write an angry letter and boycott Delta, I completely will.

    P.s. if you ever need to layover in Minneapolis, TAKE IT! and call me :D I'll meet up with you and tell you all about this lovely town that I call home.
    3843 days ago
  • SUGIRL06
    You must feel better after writing that all out! I am glad your interview went well and since you seem so pleased with the job, I hope you can figure out a way to take it! I'm sorry for the bad airport experience though. I have worked in customer service, and I don't care HOW BAD of a day you are having, you always should try to help the customer. She was just inconsiderate about the flight. I would definitely write about that at least. And I'm sorry the attendant forgot your seat belt. Don't they usually walk down the aisle and check each row? At least glance and make themselves available for help? UGH! Ok, I'm done now. Have a better weekend!
    ~Ang
    3843 days ago
  • MERROWKNEAZLE
    Oh, honey, that sounds absolutely awful! You should definitely complain about Delta in as many places as you can. Someone deserves to be punished for the way their customers were treated. It sounds like you had a hellish time. I've never been on a plane before and this makes me never want to ride in one, especially not from Delta.

    emoticon

    As for the job, if I were in your position, I'd take the job. But that's just me. If I were faced with a job I wanted more than anything, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

    Anyway, I hope you make a good decision.
    3843 days ago
  • KARVY09
    emoticon

    Now that I got that out of the way.

    I was in the same position as you as a journalist. I wanted to move to NYC but I couldn't deal with the low pay living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. And yes, it was expensive in NJ and the other boroughs too. I hope that you make the decision that is right for you and your family.

    You totally should ream out Delta in an article. That behavior from the check-in desk to rerouting you to Cleveland to refusing to make sure you are safe on a flight is completely unacceptable and dangerous behavior. I'm sorry you had to go through that.
    3843 days ago
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