Capture the Phonetic Moment
The Princess & the Pantyhose (aka Blogher '08)

Well, At Least I'm Not In Newark

Or, How I Almost Missed Blogher Completely

As we pulled up to the airport early this morning I sighed and whined (for the zillionth millionth squillionth time) about how much I hate airports. Flying, I can deal with. I was actually looking forward to this flight, since I'd managed to score a fairly awesome deal on a nonstop trip via Virgin America (of the leather recliners and touchscreen entertainment consoles and wheeee, self-serve bottled water minibars), but first, I had to get through the fucking airport.

"I'm just always convinced something is going to go terribly wrong, you know?" I continued, chewing nervously on my index finger. "Like I'll get bumped to standby or find out that my reservation never went through or...or..."

I paused, trying to think of a few more worst-case scenarios, but lo, we were at the gate and it was time to say goodbye. I begged Noah not to grow up any and squeezed in as many kisses for everybody as I could before finally making my way to check-in.

The self-service kiosk was out of ink and served me up a blank boarding pass. Glitch for the trip, I figured. Pretty okay as glitches go, especially since the Virgin counter was absolutely devoid of anyone else checking in and I was able to walk right up to my choice of Actual Human Ticket Dispenser Types.


The woman behind the counter frowned a bit, and asked if I was going to LA.

"No, San Francisco."

She stared at me. "Then...why are you here NOW?"

"8:40 am? Boards at 8:10?" I helpfully suggested.

"We don't...have an 8:40 am flight to San Francisco. Our morning San Fran flight has already left."

I pulled out my Travelocity confirmation email, the tiniest bit of panic starting to creep into my brain. See, when I'd originally booked the flight, I could have SWORN the departure and arrival times were slightly earlier than the ones listed on the confirmation, but I'd just assumed I'd gotten them mixed up or that the flight had just been pushed back 20 minutes or so. It had never occurred to me that I was booking a flight that apparently, just didn't flipping EXIST.

Oh, but it turned out it DID exist. And I was very, very, very, very early for it.

A good 12 hours early.

"PM!" I screamed in horror. No way did I do that. Fucking shit ass no.

I started hyperventilating. "Oh my God oh my God oh my God."

I now had two Virgin America employees frantically tapping away at their computers, telling me not to panic...the morning flight to San Francisco was delayed and was still at the airport, although boarding had already started.  I had a crystal clear vision of myself waddling frantically up to some remote gate just in time to watch the plane taxi away. I put my hands over my face and wailed.

But the employees were all, NOT ON OUR WATCH, LITTLE PREGNANT LADY, and in lightening speed, printed out a new boarding pass, scribbled PREMIUM all over it, and then one of them jumped over the baggage scale and said they were going to take me through the employee-only security line. The other picked up the phone and called the gate, begging them to hold the plane. By some BLESSED MIRACLE of UNPARALLELED COMMON SENSE on my part, I'd kept my suitcase small and within the carry-on limits, right down to my little Ziploc bag of Sephora sample cosmetics.

"GO GO GO!" hissed the guy on the phone. Then he looked me up and down with a bit of concern. "But don't, like, run."

(Translation: Please don't give birth here.)

The female ticket agent calmly yet briskly led me past the INSANE security lines and down some escalators to the employee security check, which was 1) short, 2) downright effing jovial, with everyone discussing their hangovers and such. I struggled to extricate my laptop, completely befuddled by the zippers on my stupid bag, like I was in one of those nightmares where you're trying to run away from something but your legs are made of cement. The security guard looked at my name and was all, "Storch? Like Larry Storch? Like from F-Troop?"



I got through the line without a frisking, at least. I only sort-of shoved my stuff back into my bags (which felt like they were multiplying by the minute, and my shoulders suddenly seemed to be coated in Crisco), and booked off towards my gate, taking a couple seconds to watch the ticket agent disappear into the crowds and wishing I'd gotten her name. Or given her a hug, or managed to squeeze in a few more dozen breathless thank-yous.

My gate was...up an elevator.

Get on, hit button, pound CLOSE DOOR CLOSE DOOR, doors start to close, guy dashes through and -- thinking I'd held the door for him -- says "thank you!"

Pound CLOSE DOOR CLOSE DOOR, and oh my GOD, it happens AGAIN, right down to the "thank you!"

I gurgled out a semi-stifled scream in response.

And then...oh, OF COURSE, I had to take a shuttle. I got on and made my way to the opposite end, snagging a primo seat by the door. I called Jason and told him to pray for me, and for the first time I tried to replay everything and figure out what, exactly-the-fuck, had gone wrong with my reservation. How I had only asked for Travelocity to display morning flights. How the original time I thought I'd booked wasn't even the one on my reservation, be it AM or PM. How this was the only nonstop flight remotely in my price range -- booked mostly because of the nice early arrival time, which ALSO changed by the time the confirmation email showed up. And how I could have POSSIBLY read that email so many damn times and NEVER NOTICED the flight was clearly marked as PM, or at least listened to the alarm bells raised by those weird non-jibeing, not-what-I-booked times.

The shuttle crawwwwwwled across the airport and approached the gate and...oh for the love of crackers, it decided to turn around and pull in so I was on the OPPOSITE end from the exit. I shoved my index finger back into my mouth and bit down. Hard.

I dashed out, spotted my gate and took off. The plane was...was it still there? oh, please still be there...STILL THERE! IT'S STILL THERE!

Of course, the doors were closed and the monitors said closed and the attendant was making announcements for the next gate over and put her hand up to shush me when I lumbered up to offer my boarding pass (which was now marked "PRESHSDKJDFHU" since the ink had smeared all over my desperate, sweaty hands).

My eyes were probably the size of dinner plates by this point, I was half-gasping and half-just-trying-not-to-cry and I could NOT believe this: ME, the girl who arrives at the airport hours early for everything, including the fucking commuter shuttles, and who always checks and double-checks her reservations to the point of compulsion, standing at a closed gate for a closed flight that was supposed to have taken off an hour earlier, and oh, crap, here come the waterworks.

It turned out they HAD been expecting me -- "This is Amy," the attendant said to some guy with a walkie talkie, who ran down the hallway ahead of me to tell the plane that there was indeed one more person, hold up.

I got onboard, blubbering out thank-yous and apologies to just about every person on board, in between likely whalloping a lot of heads with my bags, which were in complete disarray and hanging from my elbows. An attendant got me to my seat and kept asking if I was okay (what, is a sweaty, crying and hyperventilating pregnant lady a WEIRD THING, or something?) and I tried to get out something coherent about changed flights and Mistakes Being Made and how It Wasn't My Fault, At Least I Don't Think So, I Don't Knooooowwww Anything Anymooooooore Sobbbbb. She patted my back and told me everything was okay now.

So I made the flight, barely. I was dehydrated and starving (the two big no-nos my doctor had warned me about when clearing me for travel on Wednesday, but of course I'd assumed I had TONS of time to get water and breakfast before my flight, since I was all early and conscientious and HA HA FAIL) and was having occasional Braxton-Hicks contractions. My index finger, chapped from all that nervous chewing, was split open and bleeding. There was no time to call Jason and tell him I'd made the flight.

(Hi, baby. I made the flight! Hooray!)

I still have no idea what happened with the reservation. I am pretty sure Travelocity shoulders some of the blame, since there did seem to be something pretty glitchy with the confirmation containing flight times I'd never even seen online, and I ended up arriving right at the time I THOUGHT I'd originally booked. But I am certainly not going to pretend that there isn't a decent chance that I just fucked it all up, start to finish, in addition to NEVER NOTICING that the flight was marked PM on the confirmation. Which: Jesus Christ, girl. Remind me to slap you once you're no longer in such a delicate condition.

Huge huge props to everyone at Virgin America, though -- I've never ever had any sort of preference for one airline over another, in fact, I'm generally an equal-opportunity hater, but...goddamn, they did not have to help me get on an already-delayed flight that may have cost a lot more than my cheapo Travelocity deal, especially since I was the moron standing there with piece of paper that was clearly marked PM and acting like I had no idea how that possibly could have happened.

Every time I went to the bathroom (which was a lot, as you can imagine), someone from the crew double-checked that I'd calmed down and was okay and did I need more water? And oh yeah, they've TOTALLY heard of PM flights getting marked as AM online before, or reservations just going completely haywire, happens all the time, sweetheart. Which: probably a lie, but sometimes lying is just an essential part of good customer service, you know?



Holy airline going out of its way to help someone?!?! I always get the SNL type airline workers from hell. I'm sure the being pregnant part didn't hurt. So glad you made it and didn't have to go home or wait forever.


Geez, you'd think with their fancy little garden gnome that Travelocity would be able to get their junk together. Glad you made it alive!


I'm glad they were so nice and so helpful to you. That's practically unheard of these days. Have a safe return home. And is that flight AM or PM? Might wanna check that out. Just sayin'.

Suzy Q

Oh! What a fucking nightmare!

Glad you made it and they took care of you. Being pregnant I'm sure helped (you get attention/service). So, TiVo already gets a big high five.

I hope your seatmate was understanding. Or that you bought him/her a drink.


OOohhh so jealous of you Americans with your Virgin Airlines now! Have fun at blogher. Party with dooce and the queen of spain and everyone else worth name dropping!


Jesus. Promise you've checked your return flight confirmations?

Also, yay for an airlines that isn't all jaded and angry that you would *scoff* pay them to take you somewhere. As if.


Holy Lord that is all insane. I am SO glad you made the flight, and that you got there! I am sure that in this situation your being pregnant was definitely a plus... I am quite impressed with Virgin Airlines now though!


Too funny! Loved this post.


Holy crapping mackerel, Amy, that is QUITE a story. I've never, ever heard of an airline ACTUALLY WHISKING ANYONE THROUGH ANYTHING, much less those bitching security lines. Pretty sure I would have been drinking heavily by the time the plane was airborne.

So see, being obviously pregnant DOES in fact have its advantages.

Better luck on the way back, and have fun!


Looks like Virgin America gets some gold stars. Awesome customer service. If they flew anywhere remotely close to me, I'd totally give them business after that.

And P.S. totally flying next Friday, and I couldn't figure out, what happened to my flight, where is it! Why isn't there a flight out of Rochester when my ticket says there is a flight! After oh, about a half hour of searching on United's website, Expedia's website, my email, etc. I FINALLY noticed that I'm flying out of airport close by. Oh. That would do it. And I totally did that RIGHT BEFORE I READ YOUR POST. So you're not alone....


Um, delurking just to say *hugs*


Ohhhhh that sounds incredibly stressful, I'm so glad it all worked out in the end.


Wow, I'm stressed out just thinking about it! Whew!


Oh my God, what a mix-up. Im flying tomorrow and hope everything goes smooth. I'm off to triple check my fligth info...


Virgin America's PR department is loving you right now. I say that with love. I think those employees totally deserve a bonus or star for their name tags or something. They totally went above and beyond. Glad you made it safe and sound.


K, I lurk a lot, and I decided to comment because I WAS ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT THE WHOLE TIME I WAS READING THIS!!! I'm glad you made it and highfive to Virgin Airlines!

Have fun in San Fran!


wow- props to virgin airlines!


Nightmare... but so happy it worked out! Have fun this weekend and come back and tell us fun things to do in San Francisco - I'll be there in a couple months and can't wait!


I BEG you to write a letter/e-mail to Virgin when you get home and have a free second (maybe sometime in 2011?). I bet that the company can pull up your reservation and see who checked you in for the flight, or at least see who was working that day and pass a message along to the team.

Think of the complaints those people probably get every day... they deserve a little warm fuzzy too. :)

(nope...not an airport employee... but I once worked a phone job where I got yelled at for about 7 hours a day)


In the slap-your-forehead department, I booked a flight way ahead in March for June, filed away my paperwork. Got an automated phone call saying my flight "details" had been changed, so I checked online. Pulled out my paperwork. The takeoff time had been changed 10 minutes, big deal, and WTF?! I booked to leave on Thursday, yes, but to come home on MONDAY? Effing MONDAY? No, you don't understand, paperwork, your paperness, I always come home SUNDAY.

But it was my fault. I looked at the dates wrong somehow when I booked. You screwed up by 12 hours, I pulled an entire DAY. So yeah, I called the airline and they switched it, FOR 150 DOLLARS.

Love the flying. Love it.


Almost the same thing happened to me with Expedia. They out of the blue two days prior to my flight sent me an email re-confirming my flight and I just happened to notice the next day that they had moved up my leave date by one day... Holy shit, I called after missing the new flight and luckily the airline changed it back to the right flight, but Expedia wouldn't return my phone calls and said I must have done something wrong! Bullshit.


I've actually had that AM/PM bullshit happen to me a long time ago in Atlanta. We showed up for our 10pm flight home and HELLO! There IS no 10pm flight to Tampa and the 11pm flight? Is full. We were young and poor and couldn't afford to miss work the next day or buy two 1,000 tickets so we flew into Orlando and pleaded with one of our friends to please come get us in Orlando at 3am and drive our cursed asses home. Our itinerary SAID 10PM, dammit! Totally their fault. So there.

Glad you made it okay, not dehydrated etc. Have fun :)

PS: I sent you a Twitter invite by accident. I was looking to see if you were on the Twitter crack and sent an invite thing instead. Sorry. Feel free to ignore.


Yay! I am so sorry that you had to go through that, but glad you are out here. Also, very sorry I waited too late to buy tickets. It was so nice to meet you and your hubby at the Blogher in San Jose!


OMgosh, thank you so much for the hearty belly laugh tonight. I mean, I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but it's sure as heck flipping funny right now. Seems everyone wants to give you *hugs* and here I am being an ass and laughing. Sorry. Blame it on 11PM and wine.


and i asked you to mourn my bad haircut when i saw you tonight? see, this is why i need a laptop. i had no idea you'd been through this mess!

i have to say, though: it is quite the classic amalah post.


I hate to fly, but this makes me want to plan a trip with them. I thought good customer service was old school.

Glad you're okay.


It happens all the time would you believe, usually it's the other way round though, people turning up 12 hours late for their flight.

I've never been pregnant but I reckon I have wept in front of airline staff at least 7 times in my life and every time they have been absolute angels.

In my defence, I don't just weep all the time, I travelled a lot by myself as an unaccompanied minor. Weeping was caused by and not limited to: Missing connecting flight, being delayed for 16 hours after already flying for 20, standing at the wrong baggage carousel for half an hour after 27 hours of flying, bursting my eardrum and thinking I was going to be forever deaf and missing my connecting flight on Christmas which my 90 year old Grandpa had paid for so I could be with him on Christmas Day.... waaaahhh


That was a very self-obsessed comment. It was meant to show empathy. I am glad you are ok, have not given birth, got there and are not in Newark.


Typo: lightening = lightning

Ms. Huis Herself

Oh, Lordy! Even knowing you'd made it, I was still on the edge of my seat reading all that, and even shed a few tears on your behalf throughout. (Dang PMS.)

I've traveled transatlantically alone with a toddler a few times, plus flew with my husband, toddler & my 34-week pregnant self transatlantically, too. In general, the airport staff were so nice and helpful. I guess it pays to look desperate, huh?

Anyway, SO glad to hear you made it after that stressful and harrowing start!


Holy shit! That's terrible! But at least you were pregnant, therefore able to get a little sympathy. If it happened to me, they would just laugh at me and point there fingers like that nightmare I used to have.


stuff like that can only happen to you. They would have said"sorry,hope you can entertain yourself for 12 hrs." to me.
I'm so jealous. Wish I was at blogger instead of the inlaws.


Yay, you! So glad everything worked out. Can I just share an opposite story? Nine months pregnant, on The Ohio State University campus, car stalls out in 2 freaking feet of snow - the entire office full of men at public safety and parking couldn't do more than offer me a telephone. Jerks.


Wow. I totally thought this entry was going to end with, "... and that's how I ended up living in the airport for a couple of days." Heh. I'm glad you got on your flight (and, by extension, to BlogHer), and hey -- way to go, Virgin Airlines! And way to go Amy, for addressing the mix-up in a way that got you assisted and on the correct flight! I have not yet figured out the magic tone for dealing with airline employees, so clearly you've got some kind of skillzzzz.

Daily Tragedies

Love love love the re-telling of the story, but the big take-away for me is that last line. I'm printing it out and putting it up at my desk at work because, so help me god, I need the daily reminder that IT IS OKAY TO LIE IF IT PRESERVES EVERYONE'S SANITY. (Especially mine.)


Holy crap. I'm going to Oregon this fall, and I'll definitely give Virgin America first preference when I book it.


That's amazing! Lately, I've often felt like the airline employees enjoyed having us wait and miss out flights. It's nice to hear a story like yours.


you really need some sort of warning about posts like this for those of us with hearts that like to race out of control from worry. i'm glad you made it.


I'm out of breath just from reading that! I'm glad they were so nice and that you made it to BlogHer.


Lying is a major part of customer service...anytime we say "our systems are updating" we are actually saying "every damn system-and we use that term loosely-has crashed crashed crashed and our IT dept is too busy playing WOW to fix it right now"...:)


But you got a great blog post out of the deal!


Wow! You should be looking for a sponsorship from Virgin. That's an awesome write-up for the company and its employees.

So glad that you made it to BH and you're all in one piece. What a great outcome from what could have been a disastrous event! YAY!!


I can totally see your pregnant self just leaping over turnstiles like OJ Simspon used to do in those old Hertz commercials.


I do the same damn thing whenever I have to reset my alarm clock, either the time or the alarm gets set the opposite of what it should be and yet I still manage to wake up on time. Weird.


Wow, Vigrin ailines rocks. I cried on a plane yesterday. Somehow, while getting into my seat I sprained my knee badly. The pain, the panic, the sobbing. I feel sorry for the girl sitting next to me.

Lisa L.

Virgin (Atlantic in my case) *** totally rocks***. We were flying to London for Spring Break with our kids. My son had some strange medical emergency where he started swelling and turning purplish and getting crazy hot on the fist sized swollen lumps (it turned out to be some super random reaction to the Lyme's bacteria). My husband was in the back of the plane with our other two kids. My son's ears swelled shut so that he couldn't even hear anymore. I just anticipated the throat next. Holy crap I've never been more terrified. This one attendant became my point person, while the entire crew got into support mode. We had 80 minutes to landing. I was shoving benedryl down his throat as fast as he could swallow and 4 times the dose. Virgin called ahead and arranged a medical removal for my son and I. We screeched to a halt on the runway and the air ambulance was waiting for us. He was carried off by commando type medics out the back of the plane and I followed. They also had a customs agent to process us on the way to the hospital. They helped my husband and other children get processed and to the hospital to meet us ASAP. My son spent 24 hrs in the hospital and was released. He looked really funny but was stable. Thank f*cking god.

When we were ready to go home 9 days later, they made us get approval from a nurse and airline doctor right before the flight. They were all apologetic about making us do that. They were talking about how far we'd be from the nearest landing at points along the flight, etc. I was not upset in the least. In fact, I was ever so GRATEFUL that they were making sure nothing fishy happened again.

Virgin Atlantic has my vote for best airline ever. They helped save my son's life. What more can you ask of an airline?

rachel beto

I just discovered your blog and I love it but do you have to yell and swear SO FUCKING MUCH?!


Amy, I LOVED this post! I'm sorry that you had to go through all of the stress..but wow! One of my favorite lines is, "Oh for the love of crackers" LOL! You have a gift for storytelling for sure!


Holy Crap, woman! You can't even have a drink to calm down from that situation!

Glad you made the flight. Note to self: check out those virgin flights from Tampa to San Fran for next year's Blogher! :)

Sprite's Keeper

Come on, admit it. You clutched your bump for added drama, didn't you? Very glad you made it to Blogher (on time, no less!) and please bring back stories of drunken partying, because only the sober remember. (And as an added bonus, try to get some of them to post while plastered!)


you are such an excellent writer. HA!


Oh my god! As I'm reading this post I suddenly feel my heart rate speed up. Then I realize I'm breathing faster. Then my hands are sweating. I felt like I was running thru the airport with you! What an awesome job of telling that story.


Wow. Props to Virgin America! It's always a pleasant surprise when the airlines are actually helpful & go the extra mile.


OMG. I could visualize every step of this because it is the exact kind of mistake / glitch / clusterfuck that happens to me.

Dear North America: please start using the 24-hour clock. This will help. Love, Me.


Sheeyats. That's insane. But those Virgin folks were so nice! Yay for good customer service!

BTW, I was so nice to meet you this weekend. Yes, I sort of ambushed you in the hall and was all like "Amy! I love your blog! You're so cute!" But it was nice to meet you anyway. You are incredibly cute. ;P


Wow. Now I want to fly Virgin Atlantic. American wouldn't even switch me to a window seat so I could lean my head against the window 3 weeks after brain surgery.

On the other hand, the woman at Delta let us get by without paying the fee for an overweight suitcase. It might have had something to do with the fact that I was uncontrollably sobbing about how we'd just been robbed and that if she wanted our last 17 dollars we'd give it to her if she's just let us check in so we could run to our flight which was boarding.

But yea, definitely going to add Virgin to the list...


OMG, this would so happen to me. I am one of those "at the airport hours and hours early" and I also spend the hours leading up to getting there fretting about all the mix-ups possible. This post kind of gave me anxiety.

Glad you're not missing BlogHer!


I totally had a similar experience a few months ago (only I was running late because I slept in - whoops). I got rushed through to a delayed flight and made it, even though I got to the airport 11 minutes before the scheduled take off. Bless you, Virgin Blue Australia!



I just voted for your blog for Bloggers Choice awards.

Could you return the favor at:




i used to love you best but now i just want to make out with that virgin america crew.


Wow, way to go Virgin Atlantic!


oh this totally happened to me a few years ago when I was living in DC and flying out of DULLES of all god forsaken places.

I was scheduled for a 9 PM flight not a 9 am flight and since I lived in Maryland and traffic in DC is like Dante's fourth ring of hell, I got to the airport at 6:30 am via the METRO and then SHUTTLE from Vienna and did I mention it was pouring rain? and I got up at 4 am? And stood in stand by lines all day long for TEN HOURS until finally getting on the plane?

I'm glad you had a less horrific experience than me...but I had the same thing except it was Expedia and I swear to GOD it said AM. Aaa Emmm.


I work for San Diego Training and Conference Center, and Virgin America did their new-hire training here for their new San Diego branch. They were all so nice - from the new-hires to the training staff.

(And, uh, yep, I get to meet SIR Richard Branson. Got the picture. Yeah, baby.)


...and I don't mean "Got the picture" like "Do you understand, dummy." I meant it like "I actally have a nice 8x10 glossy photo to commemorate aforementioned experience, and I don't look like a bloated cow in a miniskirt like I did in that picture with Chris Isaak."



Have such a good time! I might go next year. Especially if, on the off chance anyone except my Mom reads my blog before then. Enjoy San Francisco!

Destiny Vandeput

Your blog just stressed me out!


Whoa stressful, I am not pregnant and would have reacted worse then that! Props to you and yay that you made it to San Fran!

Sally Cornwell

I am moving to America! They would never be so helpful in the UK never! Or maybe I just need to get pregnant. If it is any consolation I work in travel, fly all the time, never get anything wrong and yet turned up for my flight at the WRONG airport recently! I made my boyfriend swear not to tell anyone.


Oh my god, I have done a lot of flying and I have never seen nor heard tell of an airline being all... NICE... like that. Kudos to Virgin America!

Being the sweaty, hysterical, apologizing person boarding the plane is never fun, ever, even when you're not pregnant.


Moral of this story? Bring a pregnancy pillow just in case I'm ever in a situation like that! :-)


i hope you then enjoyed watching hours of top chef on bravo. or in my case, kathy (argh) griffin. blech.

Jackie @agsoccermom

I actually had to catch my breath....glad your ok and made your flight. Great site!


Holy crap! I was out of breath by the time I got done reading! And yes, thank the Baby Jesus you did not end up in Newark.

If we ever fly again, I will definitely give Virgin a good close look...I'm very impressed with their service!

yet another from the legions of Amys

I once flew pregnant (8 months!) and everyone I encountered in the airport and on the plane bent over backwards to make sure I was taken care of. People love pregnant ladies! :)


Wow. They REALLY didn't want you to have the baby on board, eh?

Kari Weber

Delurking to say: Did you cry? Because I would have cried! I don't deal well with that kind of total panic inducing stress! Hope Blogher went well! Can't wait to read about the return flight!

Sorry for all the !!!!'s

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