The Clampetts go to the Big City / Adventures with Flying Machines


My daughter left last Monday for a 3 week visit to Atlanta. She flew out of Dallas. Depending the traffic, we are either 3 1/2 hours or 17 hours from DFW. The absolute drama involved in getting her on the plane on time was worth at least two blog posts and a couple sessions with a psychologist. Now before you read this, you should know that I’ve only flown once, when I was 12, and my daughter had never flown before. We don’t know how airports work. (Hell, we just got the new fangled flush toilet last year, but Pa keeps clogging it up with the Sears & Roebuck catalog.)

Due to our own poor timing and judgement concerning where to stop for lunch ( a story for another time), we arrived at the airport about 25 minutes before her plane was due to leave. Thanks to no less than five American Airlines employees, she was able to make her flight.

Here they are, in chronological order:

Dear Ancient Curb-side Check-in Guy ,

When we came up to you, stupid and confused and ready to give you a fistful of wadded up bills to make it all better, you refused the cashola and instead, after learning the flight time, told us to get our bony asses into the airport right fast. Ok, you didn’t say bony asses, but we both know that’s what you meant, Ancient Curb-side Check-in Guy.

Dear Random Guy Who I’m Not Sure What Your Job Is Exactly, But I Think You’re Swell Anyway,

You spotted us trying to print off a boarding pass at one of the self help machines and obviously realized two things simultaneously. One, that we weren’t very smart and two, that it was too late for us to do self check-in and we needed to see the agent at the desk. You kept thing One to yourself (and we appreciate that), but told us thing Two, thereby saving us the precious minutes we would otherwise having wasted on that infernal contraption.

Dear Desk Agent Who Is So Very Pretty,

While getting the boarding pass ready to go (which you did in what must have been a record setting time, btw), you realized that we would not be able to check my daughter’s bag, and that she would have to carry it on in order to assure that it got to Atlanta when she did. This may not seem like a lot, but I shudder to think what my baby would have done if she’d gotten to Atlanta and she couldn’t have her skinny jeans and new black pumps.

Dear Security Guy Who Was Obviously Raised Right And God Bless Your Mama and Daddy For That,

Upon realizing that daughter had packed for her luggage to be checked and not carried on, you did something rather extraordinary. You walked my daughter over to us and helped her sort out what she could and couldn’t take on board, thus sparing her from having to throw a lot of stuff away. Then, you expedited her back through security, all the while telling her that she was fine and that everything was going to be ok. Basically, you were the person that every parent hopes their child will run across while making their first forays out into the world by themselves. You cared for my child the way I would have. You soothed her fears and let her know that she wasn’t a lone goober in the wilderness. I think I’ll miss you most, Scarecrow.

Sadly, I didn’t catch anyone’s name, because I was too busy freaking out (Oh Lord, please let her catch this plane. Dear Lord, please don’t let this plane crash. Dear Lord, do you know where the bathrooms are?). I regret that I didn’t take the time afterwards to find out their names, because my daughter plans to write a thank you note to American and would have loved to have been able to spotlight those folks.

Oh, the funniest thing about the whole deal was that 3 of these people told us that my daughter would never make the flight, yet they never slowed down helping us.

American Airlines: All that and a big ass bag of chips.

5 Responses to “The Clampetts go to the Big City / Adventures with Flying Machines”

  1. bro/unc Says:

    when i went to Leavenworth in ’04, i went through something similar.

  2. Woman with Kids Says:

    Thank goodness for helpful people! I used to fly alone every summer, and could never get over how helpful everyone was to me. And so I worked it for all I could… little plastic airplane pilot wings, here I come!

  3. Fishie Says:

    Wow, I haven’t had that good of an airline experience since I was 6 and flew to California all by myself. On Braniff, I believe. Kudos to American and all the nice people at DFW. I love to fly places, but sometimes they can make it really difficult if they choose.

    Getting through Atlanta on her way back ought to be a breeze; they seem to be a nicely run airport. Just make sure they get her there with a little more time. I don’t blame you; Lord knows estimating traffic is a mess of a chore. Which is why they tell people 2-3 hours before their flight; so goobs like us actually get there in time, sit around, and then spend lots of money on jacked-up airport fare.

  4. mrschili Says:

    There really ARE good people in the world – they’re just harder to find then the rest of the assholes…

  5. AndyThePug Says:

    Hmm. My only noteworthy experience with AA was the exact opposite- we found them rude, unhelpful, and just all around not very nice people. That was at DFW, too. We’d missed a connecting flight (because our flight had arrived late), and there weren’t going to be any more AA flights to Little Rock that evening. There also weren’t any other flights out of DFW for Little Rock that evening, not that the AA people helped us find that out. Finally, not pleased with the prospect of spending the night in DFW, we called a taxi and headed over to Love Field to catch a Southwest flight. They, on the other hand, were some of the nicest people I’ve ever dealt with, both the airport and the airline.

    I guess maybe you got lucky. Or we were unlucky. Any way, that’s my AA-DFW experience.

    As someone else pointed out, Atlanta is a very good airport. She shoudln’t have any problems there. I hope she enjoys her trip. When is she getting back?

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