The day started early, in fact, Wednesday started and seamlessly blended into Thursday morning. Bleary eyed, I packed my bag, cleaned up my place and watched another episode of American Chopper. I couldn't have gone to sleep, I had too much to do before I boarded my flight to St. Louis en route to Chicago. Flight time: 0640 hours PST. Before I continue, thanks are due to Amruta who dropped me off at the airport in time for my flight. Though what constitutes "in time" when it comes to checking in is debatable, that's a topic for another time...
I got to St. Louis without much incident. The flight arrived "on time" and I was greeted with a final boarding call for a flight to Chicago. Chicago, flight - is that my connection? A quick jog over to a couple of counters from where I deplaned and I found out that it wasn't - my flight wasn't until 3:30 this afternoon. Three hours to spend at Lampert St. Louis International Airport and not a thing to do. American airports, the less said the better.
I tried to get on to the stand-by list for the 2PM flight to Chicago but the AA officials at the boarding counter decided to let AA crew members get on to the plane before paying customers. I shouldn't complain, just wait another hour till I board the seat with my name against it - right, right?! It was all going well till the wind in Chicago picked up and my flight to the "windy" city was delayed by an hour - God Damn It.
I suddenly had forty minutes to spend so I walked beyond my boarding counter (C12) towards a distant Starbucks to grab some lunch and a cup of coffee. By this time, the clock was about to strike three so I was super hungry and craving something more than the orange and 2 granola bars in my bag.
Coffee and scone in hand, I decided to explore some more and spotted a TV with just one bench in front of it. This section of the airport was surprisingly desolate. As I got closer to the TV, I spotted locks of golden blonde hair behind one of the chairs of the bench I was going to plonk myself on. The bench had just three seats and she was sitting on the middle one so I pulled up another bench (yes the whole thing - beefcake!) and watched CNN from behind her. A few minutes later, I was sitting next to her talking baseball, the St Louis Cardinals (her fiance plays for the team), girls and shopping and Jay-walking (Leno style). Had it not ben time to board our respective planes, we might have continued our little tete-a-tete.
It was 4pm when I stood outside the boarding gate again, all set to get out of St Louis. Imagine my surprise when the lady at the gate tells me I can't board the plane because my seat was given away. Apparently, Chicago ATC called and cleared the plane for take-off and they made final boarding calls on the PA system a couple of minutes ago. GDI again - why must you yack with pretty girls Manoj?