I've just had a really annoying experience trying and failing to pick up David at the airport. Westchester County Airport is a nice small airport 8 minutes from our house, and it's usually great. However I have just discovered a little problem with the ultraheavy security at airports in our brave new world: I couldn't get any information at all about David's flight at the airport beyond the obvious fact that it was delayed.
David called shortly after his flight was supposed to take off to tell me about delays due to thunderstorms. He said he'd call back in an hour if his flight hadn't boarded. He didn't call back and the Delta web site continued to list the flight as on time until it was time for me to leave to pick him up.
I circled in the airport past the passenger pickup area, but no David. Then I did the highly illegal thing of parking the car by he curb and running in to baggage claim to look at the board so I could find out whether to park in the garage or take the kids home. The flight was listed simply as DELAYED. So I parked the car in the garage and brought the kids in so I could get more information. Bad move.
I spent about 35 minutes walking around the airport trying to find a Delta employee that I could talk to. The Delta desk was closed. There were no Delta employees anywhere near baggage claim. I could see Delta employees through security, but since we had no tickets, I couldn't get to them. There was no way to talk my way anywhere because of all the security. After a good long while, the Delta desk reopened and began the serious work of rebooking passengers on cancelled flights. I stood there for a while, the line not moving, the monitor giving no further information, Elizabeth melting down as babies do when you have to stand in line for a while, Peter trying to stick his finger in the back of security equipment clearly marked DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE!
My cell phone doesn't work there. If I'd been really desperate, I could have used a pay phone, scraped together my change, called directory assistance for Delta's number and then called Delta and braved their automated menus, etc.
Instead, I just came home. Now, the Delta web site shows the flight having a two and a half hour delay. But it also shows the return flight to Cincinati, using the same aircraft, which I know has not even landed in White Plains yet, as being on time.
Anyway, I don't ever remember being in an open airport during regular business hours and being unable to find an airline employee to speak to to ask questions about a delayed flight. (Sometimes they don't have it, but that's a different problem.)
EARTH TO DELTA: Try putting someone in or around baggage claim to answer questions about significantly delayed flights if all other employees are to be sequestered behind armed guards.
As nearly as I could tell from the information I was able to get from Delta's automated phone system (when I called the number on the web site, I still didn't manage to speak to a live human being) David's flight was taking off just about the same time as I was giving up in disgust and going home.
Amazing that the airline can do this much to irritiate me without me even booking a flight.