Thursday, May 26, 2011

23 Hours from Pittsburgh -- Part II

This is the second, and final part to our epic 23 hour journey from PIT to Teaneck. When you last left us, we crashed at a hotel in Pittsburgh at 1am. Three hours later, at 4am, we got up to catch a shuttle back to the airport to check in for our flight.

Since PIT is a teeny tiny little airport, it seems that most airlines don't actually want to staff their check-in counters, so they hire one or two angry, bitter people to deal with passengers using the terribly-designed self-check-in terminals. Having confirmed a rental car in Philly, we only wanted to take that leg of the flight (not continuing on to LGA), pick up our bags and rental car and drive home. To make a long story short, if we only wanted to fly that first leg, we'd need to shell out $1600, and they couldn't change the reservation because Continental made it. Continental, on the other hand, claimed not to be able to adjust the reservation because it was already in US Air's system, and were unwilling to help us fly home (even though it was their cancelled flight). The unhelpful desk agent at the Continental desk basically said, "We booked you on that flight, we're off the hook now."

Essentially, both Continental and US Air refused to help us in any way, and would be perfectly happy for us to remain in the Pittsburgh airport for the foreseeable future. And, while I was running back and forth between Continental and US Air, the nasty US Air customer "service" lady called the cops to have Stacy arrested because she wouldn't move 150lbs of (not) checked luggage and countless carryons while taking care of a very tired 2.5 year old. One thing I will say, is that the PA cop was the nicest person we dealt with in our entire PIT experience. And this brings us back to the moral of the story: Avoid flying both Continental and US Air, especially to/from Pittsburgh, PA.

Then, I noticed that the line for the security checkpoint went completely out of sight, extending well outside of the terminal building.
Even though we got there well before our flight, the issues at check in ate up some of that time, and it became readily apparent there was no way we had a shot of catching our 7am flight to Philly, even if we wanted to travel on to LGA.

At that point, we decided to cut our losses and just rent a car. 419.7 miles later, with some delays for parking at the side of the highway to nap (3hrs of sleep, remember?) and purchasing food, and some tag-team driving/napping we finally made it home.
Total travel time from PIT to Teaneck: 23 hours. And, for under 3 times the cost of checked luggage. So, again: Avoid flying both Continental and US Air, unless you don't mind being screwed over by their lack of customer service.

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