SOUTH AFRICA: TIA

Sourdough

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TIA. You’re probably thinking “This Is Africa”. Not this time. Now it’s “This is America”.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is the story of our month in South Africa which as of this moment hasn’t started because of the ascension of the mental midgets into the work force in America.

It all started two days ago. Some kind neighbors drove us to New Orleans, the Hilton at the airport to be exact.

It was hot in the hotel when we arrived. A lot of glass so we didn’t think a lot of it. Got to our room and it was even hotter. We complained, we changed rooms and the same thing.

I told the front desk they needed to change us to a different property, one that had working air conditioning, and they would have to take us there in their airport shuttle as we have two gun cases, two big bags, and four carryon bags.

While they started on that I went up and down to the sixth floor and retrieved our items two at a time. Meanwhile my fiancé learned that the A/C had actually failed the day before. This is a Hilton. But now run by mental midgets.

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Off to the other property and it had working air conditioning. But to get our bags to our room all they had were those triangle luggage carts. What mental midget thought those up. Had they not seen the Top Gear episode where they are driving those stupid English tricycle vehicles and tipping them over constantly?

The staff saw our struggles and everyone came to help, even the housekeepers. Huge kudos and thanks. Kinda reminded me of the earlier days before the self-centered it’s all about me mental midget generation took over.

Finally we were cooling off. A good nights sleep and off to the airport (yesterday morning now). We got there and I was prepared to moved out eight items ten feet at a time until we got to the ticket counter.

Out of the blue a porter appears with a big cart. Yea no kidding a porter, like it was in the days before the shamdemic. Wow. He was a god send.

To the Delta ticket counter we went. Tipped the porter of course. Put the red tags in the gun cases and on the conveyor belt they went. The two big bags next, one weighing over 50 pounds but not over 70. Hundred dollar overweight charge. Why? Because this leg isn’t International. Fine, I paid it.

Let them know I had ammo in both bags They made a note in the records. Couldn’t care less to weigh it. Funny thing they had me add the red firearms tag to each bag. Questioned them on it and they said it was a new rule even though it’s ammo not firearms., I have my doubts that is correct but whatever. I would watch the air tags and expect a call from TSA.

Off our bags went and off to our gate we went. Next stop Atlanta.
 
Landed in Atlanta. Checked the AirTags and yep everything made it. Five hour layover. Off to find lunch. Found some Irish pub. We’d like an ice tea. Don’t have it. (WTF, I’m pretty sure Atlanta is in the South- okay water). We’d both like a hamburger and fries. Don’t have it. What? More mental midgets.

Hour ahead of flying time we arrive at the gate. Airplane is there. And it’s empty. Awesome we should be out of here in no time.

Flight crew is there, waiting to board. Gate attendant comes over the intercom. Aircraft needs to be cleaned and that will take an hour. Okay so our 5:50pm departure will be pushed back to 6:30. We can live with that. And then it’s pushed back to 7pm. Then 7:30. Then 8. Then 8:30. Then 9. Three hours to clean a plane? Mental midgets!

We head to the front, the bed seats. Take our seats and my fiancé has a huge smile on her face. She’s flown first class with me many times but never in the beds. She is happy.

We settle in and wait for steerage to load. I’m playing with the bed. Checking out the 192 movies to choose from. Boy it’s sure taking a long time to load the plane. I check our Air Tags and yep, everything is with us. The Captain leaves the cockpit and walks past us. It’s now 9:30pm. Four hours late.

A flight attendant comes on the Intercom. The Captain had to leave, he ran out of time on his shift. We are looking for another Captain but the crew may run out of time as well. Waiting for the shoe to drop I’m thinking TIA, This is America run by the mental midget generation.

And then it happens. The call. Time to de-board the plane.
 
Text messages hit my phone. Links to hotel and meal vouchers. 7am is announced as the new boarding time. Chaos as everyone is either rebooking, trying to get vouchers, or scrambling for cabs and shuttles to the hotels.

We decide since we didn’t get dinner on the plane to grab something from the food court first before heading to the hotel. Tacos and Quesadillas. I’m WhatsApping our PH and calling Gracy Travel.

Meet a nice young man doing the same as us. Born in Zimbabwe. Moved to Zambia because of…well we all know. Lived there for 20 years until Zambia became worse then Zimbabwe (hmmmm, I’m missing some geopolitical information apparently). He an his wife now live in Bozeman. She is a pilot, 600 hours in jets. Corporate. He wanted to get in the IT field but everyone told him to buy the biggest, black luxury people hauler he could find and he’d make a bunch of money hauling rich tourists to Yellowstone. And he is.

My lady and I are debating whether we should head for the hotel at this late hour or just stay in the airport, after all we fly at 7am.

Text message from Delta. Our plane is flying at 11pm. WTF! I beat it to the gate. Gate attendant says nope, 7am. WTF? Mental midgets.

Back to the food court. I call Gracy Travel. They check their system and Delta’s. Yep 11pm departure. Mental midgets.

Now we are really confused. What do we do? Text message from Delta. Flight now leaves at 11:30pm. Back to the gate I go. Nope 7am. Back to the food court. Mental midget generation at work.
 
Phone call from Delta. Are you still in the airport? Yes. Come to the gate flight leaves at 11:30pm, we are trying to reach everyone that went to the hotels. WTF? We run to the gate. Get there just before 11:30. We are the only ones there. Finally a maintenance guy shows up. He gets on the phone. Yep 11:30 have a seat.

Phone rings, it’s Delta, are you still in the airport? Yes? Get to the gate the flight leaves at 11:30. We are already here. Others start to show. No way all 300 passengers will get here in the next few minutes. And that means all the bags will have to be removed from the plane.

Come on you mental midget generation. Take you face away from Facebook and use your brain. Sorry, I know, you don’t have one. Oh stop crying and go to your safe place.

Delta manager shows up. Yep mental midget. Yes he says 11:30. That becomes midnight. He says they are calling everyone and we are definitely flying in less than 20 minutes- and no one’s on the plane yet and there is maybe 30 of us. Mental midgets.

Here come two complete new flight crews. We are almost ready to fly.

Then it’s the intercom again from the manager. There’s now maybe 60 of us. The flights been cancelled for tonight because we can’t possibly get everyone here and that means we have to take all their stuff off the plane and that would go past the time for this flight crew so we couldn’t fly.

Well you can imagine the confusion anger and chaos amongst us 60. What are we supposed to do?

Manager says everyone will get vouchers for hotels and food and we fly at 10:00 am.

I walk up to the manager. I say for sure 10am correct? I mean we are not going to go to our hotel and wake up in the morning to find you’ve already left because you changed the time again?

No, absolutely not. We can’t possibly fly before 10am because the crews have to get ten hours of sleep. No, no way we fly before 10.

I sit down knowing the mental midget generation isn’t done.
 
Not 5 minutes go by and the manager is back on the intercom. Ladies and gentlemen the flight will now leave at 8:30am, not 10:00am.

You can imagine how the 60 reacted. My fiancé begins a meltdown but I calm here. The two full flight crews stand there next to each other. The pilots and first officers gray hairs, you know, the last competent generation. I can tell looking in their eyes that they feel exactly as I do, our country is already in the toilet and be flushed flushed down by the mental midgets. They turn and walk off, I’m hoping to crews quarters here at the airport so we have them at 8:30am or when ever we fly.
 
Most of the 60 are banding together and all agree it’s best to just stay right here instead of heading to a hotel. No telling what the mental midgets will do next.

We take our places. The aircraft attendants and gate personnel eventually bring our crates of water. Then the same nuts and twigs they serve us on the plane. Then here come hygiene kits. Then those thin blue blankets, then the pillow and blanket packs we get in the beds. Enough for everyone. They are doing their best and we all appreciate that.

Half of us try and sleep, some do it, my fiancé is one. Spanning two handicap seats as they have no rails between them.

I stink. Badly. I hide under one of those blue blankets, strip my shirt and pants and bathe with baby wipes that we always carry, no, no babies.

My shirt smells really bad. She takes a blue blanket, takes apart the razor in the shaving kit and cuts a head hole with it. I’m wearing that now like a poncho. It’s 3:49am. I can’t sleep like this so aim sharing my adventure with the mental midgets with all of you.

Our PH is waiting for whenever we show up. All our bags are still on the plane. The plane is fueled. Food is already on the plane. The plane is clean. The two crews are presumably sleeping in the crew quarters.

What could possibly go wrong come 8:30am?

No telling, after all, TIA, This Is America.
 
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I’m very sorry to hear this and really feel for you, your fiancé and all of the other passengers. This is the most FUBAR thing I’ve ever heard about regarding an airline fiasco within the US while just trying to fly out of the US! Hang in there as they’re isn’t much else you can do at the moment.
 
That’s so bad it’s almost tragic. I can say that I have been there soooo many times with airlines it’s mind blowing. No wonder their finances are always belly up.

Good luck, you’ll get there eventually. The sundowners will taste better and the sunrises more vibrant as a result.
 
Oh my lord. What a test of endurance! Good luck, and I hope things get a whole lot better for you.
 
It’s almost 8am. We are in line again. Two new full flight crews are here. Guess the fresh ones from last went somewhere else.

Crossing our fingers.
 
It seems these days when one thing goes wrong it goes downhill from there. The airlines can't get anyone to work the basic low wage jobs since the govt decided to pay everyone to stay home for two years. The biggest issue here is the moving target of the new departure. This is unacceptable.
I think everyone here appreciates your endurance of this travel nightmare. I hope it all gets better soon. You do have the lie flats to look forward to!
Philip
 
Hang in there @Sourdough, yes it is a miserable start to a safari and Delta should be ashamed of their poor performance.
 
On the plane. It’s amazing how a shared experience of misery brings people together. Yesterday everyone boarded quietly and sat down with no conversations. This morning it’s like we are all friends, everyone carrying on and talking with each other.
 
Hope the flight goes smoothly from here. Best of luck on your flight.
 
We are flying! Flat bed is certainly nice. Not as nice as British Airways. Nor is the food. But…. British Airways has Eco Terrorists in the ranks of baggage handlers who sometimes destroy hunters guns

I’ll give the flat bed a serious workout in about an hour after taking a sleeping pill. Hopefully I’ll wake up in Joberg around 6am.

I’ll continue posting about this trip. Part of it will be hunting. Part of it will be looking at hunting farms with an eye on probably buying one sometime soon. Part of it will be sight seeing. Part of it will be talking to accountants, bankers, lawyers, importers. Looking at bakkies and vans. Solar and generator suppliers. Etc.
 

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