Flight Log: MotorCity USA


My journey from NYC westward continues.  A five hour non-stop flight has morphed into a surreal 2 day experience with stops at JFK (with 2 plane changes), LGA (with full airport evacuation) and now Detroit.  There are still two legs to go however let’s camp out in Detroit for a moment.  (Prior posts for this trip are referenced below.)

Heading to MotorCity USA.

We are descending on a gentle, clockwise turn into Detroit Metro. The pilot touches the giant bird down – a 30 ton sparrow gliding into her feathered nest.

I catch myself humming a tune from one of Detroit’s finest: Seger.

I think I’m going to Katmandu,
That’s really, really where I’m going to.
If i ever get out of here,
That’s what I’m gonna do.

I step out of the jetway at Detroit Metro Airport. It’s gleaming. Lined with wine bars, a Spa, a Suishi Bar and a Online Café. My lungs are pulling me to the aromatic L’Occitane En Provence body soaps drifting onto the walkway. I’m traipsing through a meadow in the South of France.

I’ve lolly gagged over to Gate 38. My flight leaves from Gate 30. Plenty of time.

Then. I stop.

I’m in the Delta Terminal. I missed my connection from Detroit due to delays out of NYC. Shara re-booked me on American Airlines: DET – CHI – West. Yes, another painful connection via Chicago but we’re advancing.

I’m in the wrong terminal. My heart is racing. This “miss” is on me.

I need to take a shuttle bus. The Blue Shuttle to the North Terminal.

I glance at my watch. 5:00 pm. Flight departure is 5:40. Still no shuttle. I’m rattled. Sweet Jesus.

I arrive at the North Terminal. 5:20. Agent states that the final gate call has been made. “You need to hurry.” I get through security and run to the gate. A-30. Last gate in the wing down a long corridor. Natch.

5 passengers are left to board. And 3 others hover by the desk…Wait List passengers hoping for no-shows.

I hand the Agent my boarding pass and my ID.

Agent: Sir, you are now booked on the next flight.

DK: Can you please check again?

Agent: Sir, you are on 8 pm flight. It’s right here on your boarding pass.

DK: Ma’am, I have a reservation on the 5:40 pm flight to Chicago connecting to another flight heading West at 8pm. The boarding pass is wrong. Please check again.

Agent: Sir, did you check in late at the ticket counter? Your boarding pass has you ticketed for the next flight. These other Wait List passengers are now entitled to a seat because you arrived late at the gate.

DK: (PAUSE) Ma’am, I don’t want to be difficult. Can you please do me a favor? It will only take you a minute. Check my flight connection out of Chicago. If I miss this flight, I miss my connecting flight. (I lean forward and whisper. She leans in.) Then, would you kindly check my mileage status and my lifetime miles on your fine airline? Then, I might suggest that you can make an informed decision whether or not to bump me in favor of these other passengers that didn’t have a confirmed seat.

The Waiting area passengers have been watching the show with interest. So what’s it going to be? The Rules or the pushy Mustachio Slav from NY.

The gate area is Silent but for the Agent tapping on her keyboard.

Agent: Mr. Kanigan, you’ll be seated in Seat 11c. Thank you for flying American.

Off we go to Chi-Town.

Same trip – related posts:


  1. No words……


  2. Ditto…we are ALL speechless at this point.


  3. Call me next time. I’ll be right down to straighten things out!


  4. Phew!


  5. Four words: You are my hero.


  6. You brought your “big” with you…congratulations. I can’t wait to read the rest of the book.


  7. oh captain, oh captain…..


  8. Time to pull the trump card David!


  9. Lucky you asserted yourself. Oh wow! What a nightmare. Will you ever wake up from it? Is there an end in sight?


  10. Routing through Chicago … in winter … do you frequent Vegas per chance?


  11. This reminds me too much of the years I had to fly all the time. No fiction! Countless multi-day 2 hour legs and false starts. I admire your relative patience, and I’m happy you used the “look me up” whisper-lean-in sequence. I wish you plain ordinary and rightout boring flights for the rest of your trip.


  12. Your ongoing saga is beginning to give me the shivers. It has all the components of my worst nightmare. Especially the wrong terminal bit. So well done for the whispered conversation, I bow down in awe at that.

    There’s a positive out of all this: you are getting some great content for your Blog, as well as a chance to develop those Emotional Intelligence muscles!

    Now let’s see what you have for us at Chicago…..


  13. You have got to be making this s@%t up! It’s time to wake up from this bad dream and have a cup of coffee! Keep moving, Tiger!


  14. Oh David..


  15. Sometimes ya gotta pull out the big guns. Westward Ho….


  16. How do you plan on getting home?


  17. Peggy Farrell Schroeder says:

    Customer loyalty should win. Glad the gate agent made the right decision and kudos to you for getting through what sounds like a never ending, harrowing experience. Hope the weather cooperates and you have an easy return trip.


  18. I think it’s time to give up your day job and dive into pro-blogging… 😀


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