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Airline Delay Jeopardy.

“Welcome to Airline Delay Jeopardy the game that costs you time , patience and maybe a few years of your life.

“Lets welcome our next contestant Dan. He is an engineer from Colorado. Welcome to Airline Delay Jeopardy Dan.”

“Thanks Alex but they know who I am, I was just here.”

“Oh contraire Dan. It may look like the same set as our other game “Airline Fee Jeopardy”  but the stakes are quite different. You will be risking your precious time , patience and perhaps your entire trip.”

“I suppose you want me to be excited about that also Alex?”

“ Of course Dan. What could be more invigorating than the apprehension you feel from your first flight delay to finally boarding, perhaps hours and even days in the future.”

“Yea , be still my beating heart Alex”.

“Are you ready to play Dan?”
“ Do I have a choice Alex?”

“No , No you don’t Dan so put on your big boy pants and lets play “Airline Delay Jeopardy.”
“Um, yeah they’re on, my pants that is. Oh yea, lets play”.

“Now you’re talking Dan. So pick a category.”
“Lets go with “What Else Could Go Wrong “ for 50 Alex.”

“Good Choice Dan.”
“It’s the only category Alex.”

“Yes but none the less, here is your question”. “Dan you are traveling from Washington Dulles and your plane has changed gates. What obstacles await you”

“The new gate is not near a bar Alex?”
“Funny Dan but that is not the correct form or answer. Remember to answer in the form of a question.

The correct answer Dan would be “What is to get to the new gate you must either go back through security or take a shuttle that will take you to the new gate.  Once you get there you will find that the gate assignment has been changed back to the original gate. I hope you like shuttle busses Dan”.

“But I am not going to DC Alex.”
“Well lets face it, your final destination is a crapshoot Dan.”

“Quickly choose your next question Dan, we have more people to delay.”

“God forbid I get in the way of that Alex. I will choose , hmm, how about the next question in the same category for 100 Alex.”

“I sense sarcasm Dan.”
“Who me? Of course not, it’s more closer to smarminess”.

“Dan you are flying out of Kansas City. What exciting reason for a delay could be headed your way?”

“Your definition of exciting is different from mine Alex so I have no clue.”
“ Now you’re not even trying Dan.”
“Yea I’m sorry Alex, when it comes to airport delays I’m an underachiever.”

“Well Dan in this case your delay is due to your plane has no potable water. You can’t go anywhere when your bathrooms are out-of-order Dan.”

“Apparently  you also have a different definition of potable Alex, unless you are traveling with your dog.”
Now that you mention it Dan, it really is more smarminess than sarcasm. Choose your last question Dan. “

“Oh goody Alex. I choose……the next question for 150.”

“Dan you are traveling from Denver to Kansas City ,what uncomfortable situation could you be in?” “Well Alex, the fact that we are finally following my flight plan tells me that I am in for another delay. I hope it’s just a slight one”

“Well Dan you would be kind of, sort of, wrong. When you get to the airport you discover that your plane has changed gates. This in itself is just a minor inconvenience. When you get to the gate you find out that the plane has been delayed by 15 minutes.”

“So I was right Alex.”
“Dan haven’t you learned by now? It’s the old bait and switch. Once you get on the plane , runway delays will cause it to increase to 40 minutes.”

“Well that is still not too bad.”
“Your a half full kind of guy aren’t you Dan. There is one more part to this answer. There is no cool air flowing through the cabin and your plane is waiting with the sun shining on your side of the plane and from what I hear you’re a human furnace.”

“Oh swell Alex. That’s sarcasm by the way. I am having a hard time trying to fill the glass on this one Alex.”

“Let me help you with that Dan. This is a great chance to enjoy a sauna that you would normally pay for.” 

“ I am paying for it Alex. Believe me , I’m paying for it.”

It’s Time to Play Travel Fee Jeopardy

Welcome to  Travel Fee Jeopardy, the game that tests your patience and your wallet.

Let us welcome our contestant Dan. He is an engineer from Colorado and he lists his hobbies as writing and outdoor recreation and he is on his way to his nephew’s graduation.  Welcome to Travel Fee Jeopardy Dan. Are you ready to play? “Yes Alex I suppose so”.

Camera Cuts to Commercial.

“Come on Dan show some excitement will you?”

“Correct me if I’m wrong Alex but basically the point of this game is to find out what travel fees I will be paying for on my upcoming trip. Correct?”.

“That’s correct. My Dan is a sharp one isn’t he.”

“Well how is that exciting?”, asked Dan.

“Well Dan that’s a good question. The excitement comes from the trepidation of what unusual and perhaps unreasonable fee could be levied. It is possible in some rare instances that the feelings you experience will be ones of relief. Now don’t you find that exciting?

“Yes, In the way that I find filing my taxes exciting,” replied Dan.

“Now your getting it Dan.”

”Glad I could make you happy Alex, it’s all about you”.

Back from Commercial:

“Well folks we just had a lively discussion with our contestant and now it’s time to play the game.”

“I’ll take Would You believe for 50 Alex”.

“Good choice Dan.  Dan your flying in to Kansas City and renting a car. What additional tax will you be required to pay?”

“Um, I don’t know a Barbecue Tax Alex?”

“Well that’s an interesting answer but it is not in the form of a question now is it Dan?”

“Um, What is no Alex.”

“You have the idea but you’re still wrong Dan.  The tax we are looking for is assessed by the car rental company that goes towards the new Sprint Center in Kansas City.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“ Sorry Dan , That is not a category but you are getting the whole form of a question theme.”

“But I am not going to use the Sprint Center Alex.”

“But how do we know you won’t change your mind Dan. Lets move along now. Choose your next category Dan and remember “Are Kidding Me?” is not a category. Ha Ha.”

“You’re a stitch Alex. I will take “Would You Believe for 100.”

“Feeling lucky in that category aren’t you Dan?”

“No but the sooner I get this over the quicker I can end this charade and get my reservations .”

“See I told you this was exciting.”

“Yea, it’s a thrill a minute Alex. Can you give me my next question?”

“Glad to see your anxious now Dan.”

“Dan your flying out of Denver International Airport. What fee is added to your ticket when you fly out of Denver?”

“What is the Snowball Tax Alex?”

“Ha Ha . I can see our contestant has a sense of humor but no the fee is not a Snowball Tax.   The tax you will be paying is the Denver Airport Tax which pays for the building and operation of the Airport.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Ha Ha, I guess Dan wants us to rename the category. We’ll take that into consideration. But, no I am not kidding you. The Denver Airport does not get tax dollars from the city or the county.”

“But doesn’t the city and county get funds from taxes on tourists Alex?” “ Oh come on Dan it doesn’t work that way. If it did you wouldn’t have to pay the Sprint Tax in Kansas City and then where would you be?”

“I would more likely to be in Kansas City Alex.”

“Ha Ha, my our Dan has a sense of humor now doesn’t he.  So Dan would you like to choose your next category?”

“What is Can I say no Alex?”

“Well that is in the form of a question so I will allow it. Besides I can see that you will be checking in a couple of bags and we make out like bandits on those.”

“ Yea I’m happy for you Alex.”

“Well Dan thanks for playing our game and being a good sport. Drop by again and play the game when you are in the area.”

“Snowballs chance in heck Alex, Snowballs chance in heck.”

“Ha Ha, You are a card Dan.”

Three Cab Monte (Dante’s Dilemma)

I arrived at Denver International at a little after 11:30pm  and immediately began  a journey through Dan’s 14th level of hell, lost-luggage-land.  I have no idea why Dante stopped at 9 levels.  I am sure he had a deadline.  Perhaps my outlook on life is a bit cynical.  I have 59 levels and counting.  My 14th level is the afore-mentioned lost-luggage-land and I was staring it directly in the face after 25 minutes of waiting at the luggage carousel produced the usual black , red and an occasional pink bag but none that matched my generic black one*. When it was clear my bag was not coming I schlepped over to the baggage office where I was promptly directed back towards a podium by the carousels and asked “Have you talked to that women?”.  “No”, I replied and then thought “15th level, merry-go-round-land, here I come”. I answered the prerequisite questions for entrance into merry-go-round-land, type of bag, color etc and resigned myself to never seeing my luggage again.  The next problem on my agenda was how I was getting home at this late hour but before I started to tackle that problem my luggage had been granted a last stay of execution. It seems it “had wandered away from the rest of the luggage” and was found  cowering in a corner somewhere.  Lets hope I did not just use up my travel karma I thought as I headed over to ground transportation.  When I am gone for weeks at a time I always leave my car in my garage and take the airport shuttle. For return trips the shuttle folks tell me a reservation isn’t necessary. I was now about to put that advice to the test. Sixteenth level of hell, stranded in airport-land here I come.

Fortunately the shuttle desk was still open complete with a long line of customers.  My luck seemed to be holding until a minute later some official looking guy, well he wore a uniform anyway, announced that I was now entering the 16th level, the shuttle was shutting down. He was trying to contact the drivers that had just left for home to see if they could come back for one last run. As optimistic as he sounded, I for one was not convinced that he was going to be successful.  So there we were about twenty of us hanging around for Beelzebub to greet us while uniform guy wandered off in the direction of what I only could hope was a shuttle and not a donut. I am sure those were easier to find. I being of Polish descent (ie, sweaty) was content to wait outside away from the desperate masses. Soon the refugees started to break into small groups. Oh-oh, Lord of the Flies level here we come. My trepidation turned out to be premature. The cliques were based on who was going where.  Unfortunately the leader of the Boulder group was a very young , very desperate and who I assume was a about to be victim of a hustling cab driver.  The desolate look on his face screamed  “I’m vulnerable , please take advantage of me”. He and two others bound for Boulder had secured a $20 dollar a piece ride to Boulder.  I believed that about as much as I believe the Cubs will win the word series in my lifetime. I am making plans for my ashes to be sprinkled on the field when the blessed event takes place.  I declined to be a passenger  on the road to level “stranded by cabby because we did not have $200”.  Soon another “choice” opened up. For $60 I could have the privilege of accompanying 5  strangers to unknown parts of Denver before making it to Boulder. For that I get a discount of $20 off of average cab fare of $80. Sorry, I can get lost in Denver on my own and for free. I was starting get a feeling that this evenings  odyssey had a few more chapters in it that would rival “After Hours” (it’s an awesome movie, check it out)  but so far nobody had died. Risking that record and taking matters in to my own hands I talked to one of the cab drivers still hanging around the ground transportation island and “negotiated” an $80 fee. Yes steep compared the other “bargains but from I what gathered by talking to ground transportation personnel earlier, it was within line of a normal cab fare to Boulder. At this point my gut told me to shoot for normal rather than bargain and I alway’s listen to my gut. Well these days I do. Just ask my friends about the times I didn’t and you will get a litany of psycho ex girlfriend stories.

The ride home was uneventful. Sorry folks, no murders , no mayhem and no running out of gas. It was however 1:20 am. I suppose that was not too late considering I had just left level sixteen. Thankfully level one of heaven on earth was just around the corner. “Posturpedic-land” was calling me.

* Note to reader: I am color blind so it is highly probably that any one sample of the worlds luggage collection will contain much more than three colors.

This Time; Nothing Happened, Almost.

It was an uneventful trip. Almost.  I did not realize at the last minute my flight out left too early to finish up some work before leaving for the airport and had to reschedule it.   In no way did I work until the very last minute and do an impression of a formula one driver in a Fiesta on the way to the airport.

Once arriving to said airport checking in was as smooth as a babies bottom. The checkin process did not require intervention by a pleasant but harried agent because the checkin software froze in a manner the agent “had never seen before”. Not causing me to wonder how many other ways had he seen it freeze.

My seat was not next to an older couple who, in response to the attendants standard announcement about electronic devices, disdainfully looked at my computer and  exclaimed that they did not like any form of electronics. At this point no thought crossed my mind that I believed they also meant the electric light bulb.

I did not arrive at my destination to discover my luggage was back in Denver and receive the airline gift of a toothbrush and tiny tube of paste designed for a “my first toothbrush” kit.  I did not enter the hotel shower intending to cleanse the plane grunge away to discover there was no soap and be thankful for the “my first soap bar” from the airline.

I absolutely did not go to bed with the fear that my instructions to hold my delivered luggage at the front desk until I called would be ignored and I would be woken up at two in the morning by  a knock on my front door by an overzealous bellman.

On the return flight I did not  discover the very last seat on the plane had even less leg room than all of the other seats due to some strange bulge under the second to last seat. I also did not discover that that last seat was mine.

I absolutely did not have a passenger sitting next to me who not only felt the middle seat included both armrests on either side but also could fall asleep in such a manner as to occupy more space than should be physically possible by any single person let alone a fairly thin man in his seventies.

No matter how much I refer to denial as a coping mechanism the one thing that can’t be denied is that I was able to spend some time with some very good friends of mine and that made all of the things that did not happen worth while.

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