Monday, December 03, 2007

FAILURE to make Concert

Well I could not make the Church Christmas concert. My pastor joked (I hope he was joking. . .) too bad Chris has to find another Church to go to. . .

You see Pastor Wade is an excellent trombonist in his own right, and now, with me stuck in Mobile, AL . . .or actually flying somewhere over the great U.S. South or Southwest on my way to LAX. . .well, Wade had to go it alone on the Christmas concert. I'm going to really have to make it up to the man. . .to all the guys and gals at the concert.

Maybe I can fix them some kind of great dinner or something.

At least a representative of the Tune family was able to make the concert. Adam played clarinet on the performance at 5pm Sunday. He thought it went well. I know the choir is sounding great, so I had every reason to expect a great concert.

I've learned what happens when you try to stuff a lot into a complicated weekend of air travel and musical performing. Things can go very, very wrong indeed.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Absolute Nightmare with Airline Travel

This is the worst I've yet experienced with airline travel in doing music. I accepted a gig to go with Direct From Vegas - The Rat Pack and, of course the gig part of this trip went very, very well. However, the airlines and the connections were very bad:

In setting up this blog entry I should explain that the flight out was provided by the producer and this involved getting to LAX Thursday morning. I was told by my company, however that I absolutely could not be out Thursday. So I first figured that I could get a separate leg flight out from Burbank airport and would be able to fly in to Chicago later and join the orchestra and cast in Elgin, IL.

I was able to pull this off with an arrival in Elgin at around 2am Elgin time. So far so good. . .

Now as we flew from O'Hare to Mobile, AL the really bad things began to happen. The set of flights purchased as part of the Rat Pack gig, were designated by the airlines as "use all, or lose all". This was NOT OBVIOUS from an examination of the usual documents seen when scheduling flights. I had very carefully read the internet emails and documents that were provided for this set of flights.

Now, once we spoke to the O'Hare airport ticketing agent SUPERVISOR at the American Airlines desk, we now understood that American Airlines was going to ADAMANTLY stand by this policy of use all legs or lose all legs. Despite the fact that there were plenty of seats available and that the supervisor was aware that this was a group reservation for an orchestra and cast travelling for performances. And also despite the fact that this is the Christmas season, and would normally be a great time for charitable help to others. . .

Nothing was done to truly mitigate the situation. We received sympathetic facial expressions and statements from the desk persons and supervisor at AA ticketing, but there was no way I was going to get on that flight that we had bought and paid for. The steadfast position of AA staff was that each and every dot and tilde of the legalese in the contract MUST have been read, in order to have checked off "I agree" on the website and thus, their part of the contract was complete and no amendments would be able to be made.

Thus, I now had to buy for myself an additional ticket in order to join the cast in Mobile. We had had a very successful concert in Elgin, IL and then went on to have a very, very successful concert in Mobile, AL.

Now this meant four hours of sleep the evening of Fri/Sat and also four hours of sleep on Sat/Sun night's shift. When we transported our nine person group to the Mobile, AL airport, the next really, really bad news came out.

There was a large police blockade on the main roadway into the airport from downtown Mobile. A dead person had been found on this roadway and fully a dozen police crusers were blocking any passage through the road.

This meant that we arrived eight minutes late for check in for my US Airways flight. Once again the desk could truly not help. The theme is consistent, and we realize that we need to be very careful in arriving at airports on time, but also I do not understand why everyone at a ticketing desk has not one scintilla of lattitude in helping the other persons arriving at their desks.

I had now spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars in order to get out on Thurday, as my company needed, and back on Sunday afternoon as my Church Concert needed. But nothing was coming off as planned at all. I was spending money hand over fist in order to get to my gig and to get back from my gig.

The expenses tally:

Roughly $155 outbound flight Burbank to Chicago
Roughly $80 taxi from O'Hare to Elgin
Unexpected $135 cost connecter flight from Chicago to Mobile
Roughly $390 flight home from Mobile (destroyed by the police blockade)

or $760 cost before parking charges
thus I had lost roughly ninety five dollars as I sat in the lounge in the Mobile Airport.

Also, my cell phone battery had died. So I could not be sure that I could communicate on this stuff.

So here I am posting from Mobile, AL and not able to say when I will be back HOME.

and now

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