Delta Airlines, Detroit Airport, and the disappearing iPad

We were at GSP (Greenville, SC) by 8:30 a.m. for our 9:30 flight. We arrived at the Detroit Airport at 11:30 a.m. A two hour flight, which had an echo of Gilligan’s Island…and from that point forward it was an adventure.

Our flight from Detroit to Minneapolis was scheduled for wheels up at 12:30 p.m., which meant our arrival at concourse C would be followed by a half-mile trek to concourse A.

Along the way to “A” my youngest informed us that she left the iPad on the plane from Greenville. I sent the family ahead to the “A” gate, as I doubled back to concourse C to find the iPad.

Our next flight was leaving in 25 minutes, which meant I had to run the quarter-mile back to C, find the iPad, and then retrace the half-mile back to “A” to make it to Minneapolis.

The “moving walkways” were fabulous.

Upon arriving back at concourse C, I stopped at three different Delta agent’s desks, receiving no helpful help from any of them. They were either too busy or too disinterested. (My nine-year old back at concourse A was in tears.)

With no iPad and ten minutes left before wheel’s up to Minne, I high tailed it back to A. The wife texted, saying they were loaded (not drunk) and waiting for me. (My nine year is really crying now.)

Stink eyed lady

I ran most of the way back (I’m 56 years old), and by the time I got to the gate, the door was locked, and a not-so-nice Delta agent (as affirmed by four other people) would not let me board. I was texting my wife, appealing to her to use her charm to see if they would let me on.

She has more charm than I do.

The “stink eye” Delta lady (SEL) was adamant, in easy-to-discern and unkind tones that I would not be boarding the plane.

And then she was summoned to the plane where the pilot was making plans to pass my computer bag out his window to her. (I texted the wife, saying I needed my bag. With an anticipated long stay in the airport ahead of me, it was imperative that I could do my job.)

About ten minutes later SEL came back with two passengers, who apparently were on standby, and since I was not on time, they got my seat (plus the last empty seat on the plane).

They had to find another flight, which seemed to give them the stink eye too.

The plane was now fifteen minutes late.

Eyeballing me

It is surreal to get on a plane with over 200 eyeballs staring at you, none of which were appreciative that I held up the plane. Plus, I did not get the iPad.

Pouring sweat did not garner any sympathy from the eyeballs–except from my family. My youngest stopped crying, though she could not alleviate the guilt for losing the iPad. My oldest laid her head on my shoulder. My son was amused. My wife was slightly stressed.

It was about five more minutes when the pilot informed us there were some maintenance issues. Those issues lasted another 30 minutes or so until they said we would have to deplane because they could not figure out the mechanical problems.

This gave me time to take another half-mile jog back to concourse C in pursuit of the missing iPad. Upon arrival the same lady that I met the first time was there.

She was not as harried as the first time, though she was not sure of the protocol for finding a missing item. Undeterred, I appealed to her to call someone.

She did.

She said I could find the iPad at concourse A. Since I had been there twice already, I knew how to get there. A half mile later, I was informed by four different people of my options.

  1. The hospitality guy had no clue.
  2. A gaggle of airport workers said I could go to luggage claim, which meant I would have to re-enter through security, etc.
  3. A security guy was somewhere between impatient and angry, while mumbling something as he was walking away from me.
  4. The wife called, saying, “Muhammed had the iPad” somewhere between concourse B and C.

Almost there

Upon hearing this good news, I decided to go back to the gaggle of workers, who had no idea where lost and found was between B and C, which led me back to the hospitality guy, who was unsure where lost and found was, though he did know how to find concourse C. (The mumbling security guy was too far gone by that time.)

Arriving back at concourse C for the fourth time, albeit a different location, I met the same lady that I had met two earlier times. She was somewhere between embarrassed and confused to see me for a third time.

I asked her if she had a twin since I met her doppelgänger twice before at the other end of the concourse. Before she responded, another lady asked if I was Mr. Thomas.

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “I have an iPad for you. Wait just a moment.”

She went to a back room, and about seven minutes later…voilà. She came out with the iPad, asking me for the security code, which I did not know since my youngest had changed it. I called the fam, got the code, unlocked it, and headed back to concourse A.

By that time Delta had prepared another plane to Minne, which meant (1) we would miss our connection to Anchorage, (2) we would have to stay overnight somewhere, (3) we would not arrive in Anchorage to connect with our friends for the two hour drive south to Soldotna, and (4) I would not be speaking the next day.

On time

Fortunately, I was on time for boarding our second flight to Minne, and it was obvious that a few of our fellow passengers were glad I was on time.

One kind lady said it was an “omen” for me to be late for the first flight because, from her perspective, we would have been in flight, and the mechanical problems would have happened in the air.

She was grateful. A flight attendant affirmed her omen theory. Not sure what to think about that.

We left Detroit at 3:35 pm, three hours and five minutes after our original flight. It did not seem that long since I had been running back and forth through the airport all afternoon.

Upon arriving at the gate, I passed the stink-eyed lady, who was doing her duty with another long line of guests. I chose not to let her know how (1) I averted an airline tragedy, (2) erased my daughter’s guilt and crying issues, (3) reaffirmed my families love for me, (4) caused 100 people to rethink the wisdom an impulsive critical spirit, and (5) lost five pounds.

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