Friday, August 15, 2003

Stranded at Sea-Tac

The Radisson SeaTac isn’t a strip club, but it’s sort of a strip mall of a hotel. Each wing consists of a poorly lit staircase leading to a three-mile-long hallway with no signs of life beyond a couple of dinner trays languishing next to doors. My room was conveniently located next to the ice and soda machines, which comprised the full range of room amenities. I was able to sleep until 4:30 AM, when I awoke with the disorientation you can only get in an airport hotel. It was almost, but not quite, as bad as the Burlingame Hyatt. The first flight leaves SeaTac at 5:04 AM sharp, in case you were wondering.

Actually, I'm being a bit harsh to the poor Radisson. Let's see what they have to say about themselves.

Each beautiful Guest Room at Radisson Hotel Seattle comes well equipped with Data Ports and Voice Mail for those that need to stay in touch... even Coffee/Tea Makers & In-Room Movies for extra convenience. Then to better understand the meaning of ` Radisson Service `, include: USA Today, Hairdryer and Work Desk.
It's even better than it sounds, believe it or not.

I checked, and they finally had the previous night’s flight listed as cancelled. (Unlike at 11 PM the night before. Great job updating that status!) I was going to be sort of pissed if it had made it out. Then I checked my morning flight, and what do you know! It was also cancelled. I’m still awaiting the flight status email. I’m sure it’s just delayed in cyberspace.

I called American to figure out how the hell I was getting home. They put me on hold for about 45 minutes. My plan at this point was to just get to the northeast – NYC, Hartford, DC, Boston, Philly – and then get home somehow. They had one flight getting to LGA, but by the time they tried to book the first segment, it had been oversold. My original red-eye was overbooked for Friday night. The flights to Boston were overbooked, but they could send me to Dallas at 10 PM, then fly me out to Boston at 6 AM. We went through every permutation, until we finally found a Saturday morning flight to LGA ‘connecting in Chicago again.

By now I was happy to get anything out of Seattle. But it was my duty to ask about my first-class upgrade anyway, since the miles were already in play. They confirmed my upgrade seats on both legs – 4B and 4B. No problem. Next, I called the front desk to get the room for an extra day. They said that since I booked through Expedia, I’d have to go through them again if I wanted their special rate. I asked what the hotel rate was - $109, only $20 less than Expedia gave me! Thanks for all the help, everyone.

I spent a grueling day eating. Pancake Hut at 10:30. Typhoon at 12:45. Renton Choice Chinese at 7 PM. Then back to the Zombie Hotel to order my delicious brains for my getaway breakfast. One thing that Microsoft people are hardcore about is logo wear. My clothes were down to two Microsoft t-shirts I’d just purchased at the store. Everyone – everyone – saw me and said “Ran out of clothes, huh?”

I actually hadn’t run out of clothes. I sent a travel outfit down to the valet to get them cleaned same-day. The good news is that the laundry wasn’t run by zombies. No, they hired werewolves for this one, as the boxer shorts came back with that strong scent of burning rubber that only werewolves leave on elastic.

The local Seattle papers provided memorable coverage of the events back home. The P-I led with:

Largest Blackout In U.S. History