Greetings and welcome to Dinosaur Bear!
This post is going to be a bit different than my usual lineup. Largely because it’s about an event to which I am only an ancillary character – of course this being my blog I’ll do my best to keep myself in the spotlight via copious amounts of the usual whining. 😀 In fact, this post – as reflected by its title – is both about a joyous event (Daryl 1’s wedding) and my newfound disdain for a certain airline (which we will call… Spewnited Airlines – any similarity with the name of the airline in the title of this post is just pure coincidence).
Of course before I get started, this is probably a good time to remind everyone – new and old – about the “Who’s Who?” page over on the sidebar. That page, while sometimes slightly outdated due to my own failure to update it, is a useful repository of the pseudonyms I use here on the blog. However, I did update the page pretty substantially prior to this getting posted, so check it out! On that note, since I haven’t mentioned it in awhile, I primarily use pseudonyms because I think it’s fun to build a cast of characters who are (mostly) based on real-life counterparts. While this has the secondary benefit of making my identity hidden behind at least 5 seconds of Google searching, it’s mostly to keep the theme of the blog (which is my semi-factual take on reality) more consistent. Of course it can also be confusing as to just who I am referring to when I name-drop. Thus I’d recommend looking over that page, not only for this post, but just in general.
With that out of the way, this post is all about SB and I’s first trip back to the United States since we left last year. The reason for our return? Daryl 1 decided to dun’ git’ marruh’d to DBH. This is of course a happy occasion that we didn’t want to miss, and thanks to a massive subsidy on the part of Meem, we were able to make the trip home. Plus, since last time the weather here hadn’t really improved a whole lot.
So, with the prospect of nice weather and some family fun awaiting us we began to pack. One additional advantage of the trip was that it allowed us a whole extra round of suitcase travel (since we moved here with only suitcases). We opted to use this round for our heavier winter gear, though knowing Iceland that may yet prove to be a mistake. 🙂 I also used the opportunity to pack up my nicer clothes which, aside from a thesis defense and graduation, hadn’t seen a whole lot of use here in Iceland – not that I mind. Plus, I had a job interview on the day of Daryl 1’s wedding rehearsal, and while I had my other suit back home already, I saw no reason to keep one in Iceland considering our plans for the remainder of our time here.
So, with suitcases all packed up we got ready to head out on June 26th. We were pretty excited that our flight wasn’t super early and that we could have an almost usual sleep schedule. Of course that schedule got messed up right from the start – and thus was the beginning of what would be the worst flying trip of our lives – brought you to courtesy of Spewnited Airlines. Yes, Spewnited Airlines gave us the worst experience we’ve ever had. Again, Spewnited Airlines = terrible flying experience. I am saying that multiple times to ensure the Google spider finds this post which is about Spewnited Airlines being terrible. Spewnited Airlines is bad. Spewnited Airlines had ZERO on-time performance for our entire trip. That’s 0/4 flights going as intended, Spewnited Airlines, where not even 1 flight working correct is possible. Spewnited Airlines, purveyors of horrible travel experiences. 😛
In fairness we got where we needed to be safe, though maybe not sound of mind. 🙂 So it could have of course been worse, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t terrible logistically. Things started off with our first flight experiencing an over 4 hour delay which of course made us miss our connecting flight. In fairness to Spewnited, who did not automatically reschedule us like they said they would, we were able to call and get that connecting flight issue fixed… at least sort of. What they didn’t tell us was that the connection they gave us was below the minimum allowed standard for connections, but we’ll get to that joy in a moment. Once we got to the airport (on a bus which was also late, and while Spewnited has no control over the bus, we’ll blame Spewnited for that too) we got into a line with 6 people. Six people. Because Spewnited Airlines doesn’t care, they had opted to staff the counter with a single person – who, rather than help people in a triage fashion – decided to spend an ENTIRE HOUR on ONE PASSENGER (who, for reference Spewnited had deleted the ticket for – because Spewnited Airlines hates its passengers, *insert joke about the passenger who got the shit beat out of them here*). So, eventually Spewnited decided to spare a second employee, who also took their time. Case in point, we waited over an hour for 4 people to move ahead of us, all the while the employees were making passive aggressive remarks towards the customers about everything being so far behind.
Did I mention that you should never fly Spewnited Airlines? Anyways, when we FINALLY got through the check-in (which took all of 60 seconds for us because we were, you know, actually prepared) we then had to get through the entire airport – including not only security but border control – when the plane was already boarding. In an effort than can only be described as herculean, we made it – only to be interviewed by security at that gate, probably because we were acting “strange” at the check-in counter (5+ hours of delays with not even an inkling of customer service will do that to people). Also, while Spewnited Airlines can eat a bag of donkey weens, I do give HUGE props to the baggage people who managed to get our luggage from the check-in belt to the plane in an extremely short amount of time. They also did so without destroying the bags. So thank you unknown baggage dudes & dudettes. Anyways, back to the gate – they were paging us as we walked up, but we made it. They also placed some stupid little security sticker on our passports (from where we got interviewed) which left a ludicrous amount of residue behind, but I digress.
After more delays, supposedly related to the Spewnited system conveniently being screwed up – because when in doubt blame some abstract system issue. We finally got to the plane (we had to ride a bus out to the plane) and then were on our way.
Fortunately, that part of the trip was pretty seamless, and before too long we were leaving the land of fire and ice behind.
One exciting bit is that since Spewnited is an American carrier, they actually feed you. This is unsurprising since us fat diabeetus-ridden Amerilards will riot if we go more than 30 minutes without food or the sound of gunfire.
The lunch was pretty decent, though the later snacks weren’t as good as Jet Blue’s. The real treat was the fact that on international flights with Spewnited you can get the beer and wine for free. SB and I aren’t big sky-drinkers, so we opted to split a beer – something we’ve done before.
The beer was good, and likely helped to numb us a bit to the yet-more-agony that Spewnited had in store for us. But before I get to Spewnited’s next failure, I have to share some beautiful photos we were able to get as we flew over Greenland. As soon as we boarded the flight the Captain (who must be credited for a smooth and timely flight – even if Spewnited still sucks) mentioned that we’d be flying over Greenland and that the cloud cover was such that it looked likely that we would see it. Fortunately, not only did the clouds cooperate, SB and I ended up being on the right side of the plane (literally and figuratively) and since we had the whole row to ourselves (likely due to the delay) we got to take turns looking out the window.
Now, SB and I have been to Greenland in winter – which was amazing (and uh.. quite cold) – but aside from that return trip (which was further north) we hadn’t yet got to see the southern portions from the air. So, while we might not have been quite as excited as some of our fellow passengers (not that I blame them, nature is awesome) we were still pretty excited.
What was really amazing was getting to see some glacial flow from the air. I mean yes, we’ve been on such things before, but to see them from the air is an entirely different and incredible experience.
One we got beyond the coastal area we flew above the mind-boggling Greenlandic ice sheet, something which you just have to see with your own eyes and which I discuss in depth in this post.
After we had left Greenland behind things clouded up for most of the over-ocean flight, though once we were back over U.S. territory things cleared up and we were treated to the most green we’d seen since Ireland!
Shortly thereafter we landed – and even just a little bit early – if you can consider over 4 hours late early. But, alas, this was only but our first flight of the day. We needed to connect to a domestic flight, which involved border control, picking up our bag, customs, rechecking our blag, re-entering security, and making it to our next gate. All of which needed to happen in a transfer time that was below the minimum allowed time for such connections. HOW Spewnited was able to schedule us that way, and WHY they did so without telling us is beyond me. But they did – and unsurprisingly we missed our flight – by about 5 minutes. To say we missed the flight is actually kind of off, as the plane was still there, we just missed the boarding – by 5 minutes, this despite us literally running through the airport whenever possible. In some retroactive research I determined that the connection time we were given was, in fact, below the minimum time that Spewnited should have been allowed to schedule us on, even under the best of circumstances. So while I guess you can in some way blame us for.. uh.. TSA being slow? For the woefully undermanned customs counters? For the absolute sh*t design of the airport that requires you to go through 5 security lines to transfer terminals? I guess blame us for that stuff.
Anyways, here’s the funny part. After some more passive aggressive verbiage from the Spewnited gate worker about the “last flight of the day” and such, they got us on a later flight – and the only reason we were able to make that flight, is because IT TOO WAS DELAYED. And, as you can probably guess – it got delayed again.. and again. Eventually we boarded the plane and – again to the crew’s credit alone – had a fairly uneventful flight the rest of the way home. Of course all of Spewnited’s delays meant we landed at 12:15am.. a full 6+ hours late, but to Spewnited’s credit our luggage – which arrived before we did – was unharmed. Meanwhile, Spewnited sends SB an email asking why we didn’t make the connection. I
don’t feel bad for whoever gets to read that response.
Massive props to MIL who diligently waited for us and picked us up at something like 12:30am because Spewnited doesn’t care. Anyways, that’s enough of me speaking about how Spewnited Airlines is terrible for the moment, but if you love you some air-travel related QQ, have no fear, Spewnited f*cked up the entirety of our return trip as well.
Eventually we FINALLY made it home at nearly 2:30am. At this point SB and I had been up for 25 hours, and per our internal clocks it was actually closer to 7am. The Boys, for their part, had behaved very, very well – and plus they were quite excited to see Flopsy!
The next day – after a too-short night’s sleep – we started going about the various tasks required for the upcoming wedding (we were both part of the
bridal wedding party). Part of this, for me, involved helping Meem with the copious amounts of alcohol (amounts which ended up actually not being that copious in the end).
One of the first real fun things we got to do once we were back was go have lunch with Meem, Daryl 1, and DBH at a greasy spoon in the town where DBH is from. I opted for some roast beef Manhattan, something which I used to love when I was a piddles and which I probably hadn’t had in 5+ years.
After lunch it was back to alcohol duties, which mostly just involved moving boxes of booze in the oppressive Midwestern July heat and humidity.
Of course Daryl 1 did take me out to lunch one day, and it was really nice to have some one-on-one brother time for the first time in a long time. In addition to having some steak (which cost less than a grilled cheese would in Iceland, I’m not joking either) we went to a university surplus
store warehouse. It was tucked back in a loading dock and definitely did not look like the kind of place you’d go to get human trafficked.
Inside was a nearly endless assortment of things the university decided it didn’t need anymore, with the selection ranging from shoes, to computers, to an entire horse carriage (but not the floor fans, the fans were definitely not for sale).
Or maybe I was just really hungry, as right before that lunch I’d had a job interview with a judge than ended up lasting over an hour. That ended up being mostly a waste of time (and an added stressor to an already busy day) because I withdrew my application a few days later despite all signs pointing to me being the likely choice (why I withdrew is a topic for another day). So I had an interview, lunch, and then returned to wedding duties – which again were alcohol related. 😀
Later that day was the rehearsal (I had a job to do!), rehearsal dinner, and final preparations. The next day was the big day itself. Now, here I’m not going to go into a ton of details or share any photos, because this day was Daryl 1’s and DBH’s not my own. However, I will say that part of my duties involved corralling a bunch of 22 and 23 year old dudes (some of which thought it a good idea to sneak alcohol into a church and make jokes about oral sex in front of a Reverend – yes those kinds of boys). That got really, really old – though there were 2 of them who weren’t trouble in the least, so thank you to their parents. As the oldest (and hierarchically most responsible) of the Groom-bro party, I ended up doing lots of stuff like dressing people (for real) and helping with tasks such as showing them how the fake tie works (one hook can be hard, I know), as well as other things which in fairness were more complicated, like folding a pocket square.
Attaching the boutonnières also turned into a huge escapade, though DBH’s grandma did assist me with putting them on the
crazed sheep flock boys. All in all, things went smoothly and most importantly Daryl 1 and DBH were happy. Yes, despite my best efforts there may have been a giant wee-wee drawn on top of Daryl’s 1 car, but at least they drew it on the top – and as soon as I found out about the things they’d written on the sides (which were less egregious than a wang, but still beyond the threshold of appropriateness) of the car I made them remove them (though the pee-pee remained, ever diligent). Later that evening during the reception – and with my duties mostly at an end – I was able to enjoy the good company of people I hadn’t met before and others I hadn’t seen in a long time (plus a few whose company I did not want, but hey this is a wedding after all 😛 ). I also was able to enjoy some good beer that my Uncle brought to the reception, SB and I’s favorite of which was probably “Naked Pig.”
That one is probably right up there with another beer I’ve had before called “Horse Piss” – though between the two beers “Naked Pig” was definitely the better offering insofar as actual taste is concerned.
In case you were wondering about the Boys, they were all very helpful and well behaved (yes even Tristen – which was a risk given the 22 and 23 year old cohort he was with).
Of course I got in “trouble” from the Boys’ grandmas once they learned about it, with questions about the safety of the cooler’s placement, the heat, and the Boys’ falling out – you know, general grandma stuff.
As can be seen, the Boys were just fine. I think Pigsten was especially fine because he even got a super secret rock from Grandma Meem, a rock which despite SB and I not having permission to know about, we were promptly
forced asked to catalog in Pigsten’s extensive rock collection document (yes the boy has a full-on museum-tier catalog of his collection).
The cookout was probably my favorite part of the whole trip, because it was just close family (including Daryl 1 and DBH who joined us before heading to the hotel they were staying at near the airport, from which they’d be starting their honey moon the next day!). Of course it also meant that the next day was the day we had to fly home. We were flying out the same day as Daryl 1 and DBH were leaving for their honey moon, though they left much earlier and with much more excitement (and with no issues). As for SB and I, we were flying out later in the day and after our woefully unpleasant flights over, not really in the mood for more flying. Naturally, the fun began when we went to check in and I noticed that I no longer existed on any of the flights. Yes, Spewnited had – without notice or explanation – separated our original booking into two entirely separate bookings, a move which had also separated our seats on one of the flights. Luckily, while SB was sitting on hold with Spewnited (the airline who doesn’t care about you, by the way) I figured it out with no help on Spewnited’s part. So, the next day, after some final playtime the Boys said goodbye to Flopsy (but only for a month this time!) and then we began our trip to the airport.
Once again to MIL’s credit we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight – which turned out to be a good thing. Why? BECAUSE SPEWNITED DELAYED THAT FLIGHT TOO. Not only that, it was such a large delay that we’d miss our connecting flight back to Iceland, of which Spewnited only has one per day – in the ENTIRE U.S. So we scurried up to the counter and a lukewarm (which is being nice) Spewnited check-in employee put us on an earlier flight to our connecting airport, a flight which… you guessed it.. had also been delayed. The employee also told us we needed to hurry, so we anxiously ran through the checkpoints and terminals… only to find out that we didn’t need to run in the first place and the plane wasn’t even close to boarding. Of course you can probably see where this is going. THAT flight got delayed 3 more times.. meaning that it had been delayed at least 4 times in total. You know the drill, it was “We’ll totes be boarding at XYZ, totes McGoats” and then XYZ comes and they are all like “So yeah, uh, because [insert muh reason] it’s actually now ABC” which of course also didn’t happen. We also learned that they didn’t even print our boarding passes properly. Wew.
Eventually though, after SB had to tell the gate agent that SPEWNITED DID IN FACT FLY TO ICELAND (a status which the gate agent – an employee of Spewnited, mind you – initially denied) we got our proper boarding passes and were able to get on the plane. I mean sure, SB and I didn’t get to sit together because of all the changes. Here again I have to credit the cockpit crew of our little-bitties regional jet who got us to our next spot with no issues (and early.. again if you can consider 5 delays early). I specify cockpit crew because the flight attendant had the personality and demeanor of a recently squished cockroach, and deserves no such credit. After a bit more waiting in the (very) hot plane, we finally started moving.
The takeoff itself was pretty smooth though – however our little plane had some SUPER annoying “whining” noise (though not as loud as my whining on this blog 😀 ) that lasted for the first part of the trip and made me think I was going to go deaf. In fact the plane seemed quite old, but obviously did just fine. Soon enough we were leaving my homeland of corn and firearms behind.
After a while I decided to peruse the in-flight magazine (which had just changed over from the one on our precious flights) and found a really cool story about some airline, which is totally not Spewnited, rescuing a teddy bear and a blanket.
Eventually our first flight came to a close, and even though it was only around 7pm the sun was already deep in its setting – a very odd phenomenon after spending the past few months watching Iceland’s sun set less and less (and then not at all).
After that we turned to taxi to the gate, but then got stuck by oncoming traffic and because six dumb-asses couldn’t wait to unbuckle their seat-belts. Coincidentally I also used this as a learning moment when I figured out that the seat-belts have sensors in them… I had always wondered how the captain knew if people were out of their seats during taxiing (sadly this was not the first time some dip-shit has held up the entire plane I was on because they can’t wait 30 f*cking seconds before standing up to wait more anyways).
Here we were pretty comfortable with our connection, so we didn’t have to race through the airport – though the terminal transfer was needlessly complicated anyways. However, when we had no more than settled down next to our gate, Spewnited delayed the flight. Only by 30 minutes at first… then hours… then more hours… all the way back to 1:30am. Yep, that’s an a.m. GG Spewnited. You successfully managed to operate with ZERO ON TIME flights for our entire trip. We, in total, dealt with more hours of delays than we did flying to and from Iceland. To reiterate, that’s 0 out of 4 flights on time, and with delays so substantial that they surpassed our international flight times combined. So I will say this again, Spewnited Airlines gave us the worst flying experience we’ve ever had (and we’ve flown a lot).
To make matters worse on the 4th flight, they gave conflicting information (when they gave any at all). Though they were also operating a flight to Las Vegas at the gate next to us where they told people to leave the gate and then come back FOUR TIMES. Yes, Spewnited literally told to them to leave, and the squeal “WAIT COME BACK” over the PA system – FOUR TIMES. I mean that wasn’t something that effected us, but it was just another part of Spewnited’s shit show.
So, left with yet another delay that pushed us all the way back into the next day, we settled in for over 5 hours. Now, here I must say that someone had the good idea of equipping the gates in this terminal with tablets for you to play and spend money on (mostly spend money on). You could look at Spewnited’s shitty app that still said the plane was on its original time even after 3 hours of delays, order $30 hamburgers, or play clunky versions of mobile games interlaced with ads every 45 seconds (and the same 3 ads at that, over and over, for eternity). On the plus side, these tablets did help us pass the time, and the Boys and I even get got to #6 on the global leader-board for one of the games!
With that score we won a sea-salt dark chocolate square that was supposed to come to our seat – which never came. Yep. Further, there was no one I could even contact about it because it gave me no indication of where said square was supposed to come from. So we switched games over to some fantasy-themed slot machine game, where over the course of HOURS I won another chocolate square (which also never came) and $1 Amazon gift card – which did in fact come, because it was digital.
If you’re wondering about that beer, Spewnited bought that for us. Or rather, we used our Spewnited miles/points to buy beers – because after this mess we sure as hell aren’t going to be using them on Spewnited flights.
So, with some snacks SB picked up, beers that Spewnited (or really, we) had paid for, and tablets we waited the night away. Funnily enough SB’s beer never came and she had to go get it herself, after paying gratuity of course. One neat thing though, was that since the 4th of July was just a couple of days away we were able to see some distant fireworks from inside the terminal. As soon as SB got up to get a photo/video of them they stopped though, so you’ll just have to believe me. 😛
Anyways, after over 5 hours of waiting we finally started boarding and from that point things were smooth.
Now, this doesn’t mean we left we they said we would, nope, despite being what looked to be the only active plane in the entire area we still got slightly delayed again – but thankfully not too long and soon enough we were on our way.
We weren’t even really hungry, but we ate it anyways. Fortunately the next morning (a couple hours later, that is) they fed us a light breakfast which consisted of yogurt and a croissant. So that much was nice at least. As is natural for me, I got no sleep on the plane. This is in part because I struggle to sleep on planes, and also because Spewnited’s touch screens are from 1960 and the person behind me kept smashing their finger into the pack of my seat so hard all night while playing Bejeweled that I couldn’t help but wonder how they didn’t break their hand. This same exact thing had happened on the way over, so while the person mashing their digit into the screen is partially to blame, I mostly blame Spewnited for the fact that their screens are such crap you have to hit the screen with the force of a rabid hippo just to get it to register anything.
Notwithstanding the lack of sleep and near-constant prodding of my seat, we eventually saw glorious Iceland in the distance (though at that point I would have happily taken a Soviet-era gulag over a continued presence in a Spewnited Airlines plane).
From then on out, when we were no longer reliant on the shit-show that is Spewnited Airlines, everything was fine. Border control was about 300x faster than it was in the U.S. (which was good considering we’d gotten some flak about our resident permits almost being expired on the way out), our baggage showed up with no damage (though TSA had inspected mine and had somehow covered some of my stuff in something that looked almost like sawdust), and then our bus back to Reykjavík was right where we expected it to be (even if it was also behind schedule in the end).
Once we were back in town we had to go the long way around Vatnsmýrin with our luggage because the pedestrian bridge was out (and has been for awhile, I kind of wonder if they are reclaiming that path).
The good news about that is that we got to see some ducky-babies in the pond where the King and Queen duck live! 😀
Just beyond that, and in front of the Nordic House, is a trailer which is exhibiting some ruined buildings from Syria.
It’s been there for a bit and I can’t remember the exact context of why rubble from Syria is in Iceland, but those pieces of debris accurately reflect what your experience will be if you fly Spewnited Airlines (ok that’s a bit much, but I really wanted to make that reference for SEO purposes. 😛 ).
Once home we were so tired we didn’t even unpack (a rarity for me), and instead we took a 3 hour nap which turned into a 3.5 hour nap. Then the next day we slept in until 1pm – gotta love being exhausted and jet-lagged! The rest of the week was pretty busy in preparation of an upcoming trip, but I’ll talk more about that in my next post.
Anyways, while this post was intended to be about Daryl 1’s wedding, it’s instead largely turned into a massive rant about Spewnited Airlines, which is ok, because they deserve it. That said, I had a very good time during the actual at home portions of the trip, it was just the to-and-from which was pretty lousy. I was honored to be a part of Daryl 1 and DBH’s wedding, even if I had to play the part of the grumpy old man on multiple occasions. 🙂 It was also good to see the family in general, for instance I hadn’t actually spoken-spoken (that is, via voice rather than text) to my Dad aside from one time this entire past year.
So, notwithstanding Spewnited Airline’s 0% on time performance – and more pointedly their extremely lackadaisical or outright passive aggressive attitude about said performance – it was a good trip. Yes, a trip which has left me not wanting to fly again for the rest of my life (a desire which lasted all of 2.5 days due to more upcoming travel), but a good trip nonetheless. I wish Daryl 1 and DBH happiness for all of their days, and now I get to bitch forever to Daryl 1 about that time I flew halfway across the world backwards, uphill, and in the snow to get to his wedding. 🙂
Until next time,