For the first time ever I traveled to Florida without my family. Since my oldest was born, I have always traveled with either my wife or with my entire family. On September 23, 2016 my flight was delayed for over four hours and it was a rather interesting experience.
The Week Before
Before the week started I got my flight booked after going back and forth on which airline to choose. I was traveling alone so I decided that I did not need a fancy airline to get me from point A to point B and I do not have any miles to redeem for a free flight. I found the cheapest flight I could find and ended up booking a round trip flight on Frontier Airlines. I know what you are thinking, WHY??? Well after reading the reviews and talking to some people I decided to get on a direct flight from Austin to Orlando and book the first flight out which was 10:44 AM.
Most of the reviews I read were 1 and 2 stars because of delays and missed flights and not compensating people for their delays and the outrageous fees the airlines impose on checked, carry on, and seat reservation fees.
The Week Of
After some research and talking with people who have flown Frontier before, I found out that they allow ONE personal bag for you to carry on (think laptop bag or purse) so I packed everything I needed in one backpack.
I first thought to use Uber and Lyft to get a ride to the airport, but they pulled out of the Austin market due to city and political pressures. I asked my wife if she would drive me to the airport, but she declined. I turned to my uncle and asked him if he would drop me off, he obliged. After a few texts back and forth he said he would pick me up at 6 am. He had to work at 8 am and he is doing me a favor so it didn’t bother me.
The Night Before
Since I had found out that you could bring one bag with you I packed all my clothes, my toiletries, and my laptop and headphones in my backpack. I had rolled everything up tight and packed the bare minimum. Sorry people I am meeting with, you are getting jeans and a t-shirt. I am we are going to Florida and the forecast said it would be in the high 80s.
The Morning Of
The night before I had set my alarm for 5:15 am, 5:30am, and 6 am. I knew that my uncle would be on time so I thought to myself, I need to get up early and be ready!
He arrived at 6:04 am. He was in the military and I knew that he would be on time and exactly when he said. He shot me a text, “Aqui estoy vato (I am here dude).” I text back, “Putting on my shoes, be right out.”
Prior to him getting there I got dressed, combed my hair, and got my oldest boy dressed and ready for picture day since he had picture day that day. We had gone to get a haircut on Tuesday and he had picked out his outfit, he was ready. His hair just needed dads touch when it came to styling it.
Traffic in Austin at 6am isn’t too bad and we got to ABIA at 6:48 am. He dropped me off and I walked right up to the desk to ask if I needed a boarding pass. I had checked in the day before and had my boarding pass so the lady at the counter instructed me to head to security. (I am flying novice please don’t judge!)
I walked over to the security check point which wasn’t busy at all and got through with ease. Took off my shoes, emptied my pockets, and removed my laptop from my backpack, and walked through the metal detector with out any problems.
As I got everything put away and stuff back in my pockets, I received a text message from my wife, “Have a good flight, I love you.” I love her so much. Then I received a another text message that read, “Frontier Travel Alert! Frontier flight 1602 departing Austin is Delayed. Departure is now estimated at 01:47pm.” WHAT?!?!?
WELL CRAP! I just passed the security checkpoint there is no going back now! So it’s 7 am and my flight is not leaving until 1:47pm. What do I do? Well I’ll tell you.
First thing first I found my gate which was at the end of the terminal. The first flight left from Austin to JFK at 8:11 AM and they were just about to board. I sat there for a while and texted a few friends and over heard a guy, with a heavy NY accent, tell a story about the time he gave up his seat and the airlines comped his night stay and gave them food vouchers. He used his food vouchers at the bar at the airport and got drunk. He proceeded to tell the party he was with that he called his boss and his boss already knew that he gave up his seat and wouldn’t be into work the next day. The entire time he was talking I couldn’t get over his thick NY accent. I am pretty sure he laughs at our Texas Twang too.
After I sat by my gate for thirty minutes I decided it was time to get some food. My tummy was making noise and I was getting hungry. I had been up since 5:30 am and it was already 7:15 am, time to scope out the food scene inside ABIA.
I walked up and down the terminal trying to decide what to eat. If you have ever been to ABIA there is no shortage of food and places to eat. So many choices, Austin Java, Mangia Pizza, The Salt Lick, Nuevo Leon Tacos, chick and waffles, what should I get?
I walked into Book People that is located inside ABIA and thought to myself, “I can buy a book and read it while I wait.” Then I thought, “who am I kidding I am not going to read it, it’s just going to take up space in my backpack. I mean lets be real, I am going to be busy or asleep this weekend and I just downloaded Deadpool for the flight.”
There was no shortage of interesting people I came across while waiting for my flight.
The Overly Enthusiastic Morning Guy:
Inside the Saxton Pub I found a seat and opened up my laptop. I figured I could do some school work and read some emails. I decided to finish up some blog posts and upload some videos to YouTube. I opened up my laptop and logged into the WiFi. The first 90 minutes of WiFi was free! Shut up!!! A whole 90 minutes for free! Thanks ABIA! (sarcasm)
While I was sitting down a waiter walked up to me and said, “Hey man! How you doing?” I replied with, “My flight is delayed so I will be here for while bro.” He was a younger guy and a bit over enthusiastic for it being so early! He said, “You want something to eat? To drink? Beer? Bloody Mary?” He shot those questions off in fast succession I didn’t know what to say. I ordered a Dr. Pepper and a Egg Sandwich which came with potatoes. Which was amazing by the way. Maybe because I was hungry or because the sandwich was $9 dollars. It sure did taste amazing!
The table I chose didn’t have any power outlets close by and every so often, the guy would come by and ask how I was doing and if I needed anything. He also commented on my shoes; I was wearing my bright red Vans and he ask if my favorite color was red and if I was a Blood. I responded with, “Blood gang for life!” He started laughing and said, “If you need anything bro let me know.”
After sitting at a table with no power outlet I slid over to the bar to use some free power. My 90 minutes were up and I needed more WiFi. Once my card was charged $7.95 to gain access to the interwebs I decided I need a beer. I mean it was only 10 am right!
I encounter a lady sitting at the bar, about mid 30s and she just happens to be on the same flight, we are both stuck at the airport. I overheard her snap chatting her frustrations about the delay and about her food and drink.
I lean over and say, “You headed to Orlando too?”
She responds with, “Yea and right when I got here the flight was delayed.”
I said, “I got here early too and then I got a text saying the flight was delayed. It sucks.”
She then tells me, “Yea know I need to eat here and its going to cost me a grip.”
I chuckled and said, “Yea.”
I think everyone who has been to an airport in their life has an understanding of pricing at the airport. Nothing is cheap, of course everything is marked up. You are in a airport, you can’t leave and come back it’s going to cost a bit. She ate her food, snapchatted a bit more and then asked for her tab. The bartender who was a great dude, normal dude, beard, mid 30s, rang her up and gave her the bill. She put her card down and he rang it up. She signed the receipt, picked up her card and left. The bartender was busy and didn’t get around to grabbing her receipt for a while. When he did grab the receipt he read it and laughed and said “Unbelievable!”
I asked him, “Did she write something on there?” He laughed and brought me her receipt.
She circled the price of the beer which was $9.50 and wrote, “Y’all wrong for that!” and circled the taxes for that the pub charged on the food and beer and wrote, “There’s your tip right there!” and on the tip wrote a big fat zero.
I couldn’t believe it. The bartender didn’t set the price and taxes are taxes what could he do about it.
The old ladies that got flattered when the bartender carded them
I had been sitting at the Saxton Pub for 3 hours and the bartender carded everyone. Old looking, young looking, men, women, anyone who was breathing he was carding the. Three older ladies sat at the bar next to me and said that they needed a quick drink before their flight boarded. One lady said to the bartender, “Are you serious you want my ID?? How flattering!”
They were headed to Tampa and I stuck up a conversation, I said, “How long have y’all been here? Did your flight get delayed?” Their flight was on time but they were just a bit nervous and wanted a drink before they headed out.
The military wife
The military wife was seated at the bar to my left and she ordered a Bloody Mary, she stated that she was headed to go see her husband and she hadn’t seen him for a while so she was rather happy about heading out to meet up with him. I felt like i hadn’t seen anyone I knew for a long time but it was just me being stuck at the airport.
The graphic artist
A graphic artist or photographer was on my same flight. He was in his 40s and was dressed to the T. While I was waiting at Saxton Pub he was editing some photos. I glanced over and the photos were amazing. He spent about one hour on photo and he made the lady in the photo look amazing. We didn’t talk at all but it there was a mutual frustration we acknowledged due to our flight being delayed for so long. I think he paid the $7.95 for the internet services too.
The guy with the pinky ring
As I was boarding the plane the guy was yelling at the desk clerk because they made him pay $60 dollars for a checked bag. He was rather irate but what stood out to me the most was his diamond pinky ring. It was so low key but bling bling at the same time. It reminded me of a ring that Pauly from the Sopranos would wear. I over heard him tell the desk clerk that Frontier made him late to his own party in Orlando and he was supposed to cook for his family and was yelling how is he supposed to cook when he is 3 hours late?
Time to head out
It was 2:55 pm and we finally departed from ABIA. I spent close to 7 hours stuck at the Austin airport. I ate one meal, drank two beers, and met some crazy awesome people.
One thousand texts, a viewing of Deadpool on the flight later, I safely landed in Orlando at 5:47 pm and was late to the dinner I was scheduled for but now I have a great story to tell!
What has been your craziest airport experience? Have you ever been stranded at an airport?