I had made the reservations 10 months prior to the trip and double checked on our seat assignments right before we left to go on the cruise. I had given my travel agent fits making sure we all had seats together in the middle section on the MIA-DFW leg.
We pull up to MIA in the limo and there must have been 200 people standing in line outside to be checked in by the skycaps. The lines inside the terminal were even worse. It was so crowded there wasn't enough room for everyone on the actual sidewalk, so there some people who were standing in the street. The skycaps were yelling at everyone to get back on the sidewalk and STAY IN LINE! It was mass bedlam, and it was hot and humid.
We finally checkd in. Mary, my friend from AUS, and I already had our return boarding passes, but for some reason David and Lili (the 2 from SLC) did not. So we go to the gate and David and Lili get in line. Mary and I were in 34 C &D. David and Lili finally got to the head of the line and got their boarding passes. Lili ended up in 24E and David ended up in 18E, so we obviuosly were not going to be sitting together. That kind of bummed me out, but at least Mary and I were still going to get to sit together.
The plane (I think it was coming from SJU) finally got to the gate late and the ground crew was trying to make up for lost time, so they were rushing everyone onto the plane. Of course, when Mary and I got to our seats, there were two ladies already sitting in them. We asked to see their boarding passes, and they, too had Seats 34 C & D. And then IT happened. Mary went ballistic.
She's kind of um... assertive, if you know what I mean. So in this LOUD Suzanne Sugarbaker-from-Designing-Women-Voice she yells, "EXCUSE ME! WE HAVE A PROBLEM!", and starts going off on one of the flight attendants. All conversation in the cabin stopped and all eyes were on us. God, I was so embarrassed I just wanted to crawl away and die.
The flight attendant asked us to come and stand at the rear of the plane and they'd get things sorted out. As we walked down the aisle, the other passengers were smiling at her and telling her to relax - these things happen all the time, but Mary just scowled and fumed at them. As I walked behind her, I just shrugged my shoulders, shook my head and rolled my eyes.
At the back of the aircraft, there were about 6 or 7 other people whose seats had also been given away. We all stood there, and Mary was going on and on and on - God I wanted to strangle her! They let everyone else board, and then those of us in the back got to take what was left over. (So much for "assigned seating".) They told us to go back up to row 11.
So we trudge all the way up to the front of the plane, only to find out that our "new" seats were ALSO occupied by other passengers. Well don't you know that set Mary off and she had to start going off on this other group of flight attendants who were near the front. "THIS IS RIDICULOUS!! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!! BLAH BLAH BLAH!" She got about 10 seconds into her tirade and this male flight attendant cut her off and hissed through clenched teeth, MA'AM! Just take the first available seat!"
So Mary yells "FINE!" and with a flip of her hair she stormed nto the first class cabin. I looked at the ceiling and said "Lord, just kill me now." I turned and went back through coach and finally found a vacant seat in 12E. They ended up removing Mary from first class and of the four of us, she was the only one who got an aisle seat. The rest of us were in the dreaded middle seat of the 5 seat middle section.
Finally, everyone was seated and we were ready to go (we thought). We sat and sat and sat some more. It was hot, it was crowded and people were getting irritable.Then the captain came on and said the delay was because they were still loading bags. He explained that AA had recently added a bunch of flights at MIA and there just weren't enough employees to do the job and asked for our patience. (So much for them rushing us onto the plane to try to make up time.)
Finally, we pushed back from the gate and got behind a long line of planes awaiting our turn to take off. We'd taxi a little then stop, taxi a little bit more and stop. Then, all of a sudden, we turned out of the line and went over to the side.
Captain came on again and apologized, but said that not all the paperwork was done and it would need to be completed before we could take off. This took another 25 minutes.
We finally took off and got to DFW about two hours late. I didn't speak to Mary again for a year and a half after that nightmare trip.
And that is the story of my worst flight.