Dallas death march

After four days of travel, Joan and I are back at home. And thus this vignette.

Our stay in Australia was wonderful. We had a blast. Merely seeing and holding the new little girls Indigo and Zora was worth all the time and trouble getting there and returning.


At the beach with the "see through" scissor-like device that allowed the children to pick up all manner of stuff. Each of the older children had one, and tried to better the others by finding the strangest treasure to be examined by Dr. Joan.

At the beach with the “see through” scissor-like device that allowed the children to pick up all manner of stuff without having to touch the creepy kind. Each of the older children had one, and tried to better the others by finding the strangest treasure to be examined by Dr. Joan.


Gramma does her favorite thing in the whole  world, that is, read to grand children. Fletcher, Milan and Petra look on.

Gramma does her favorite thing in the whole world, that is, read to grand children. Fletcher, Milan and Petra look on.

I have previously reported “on getting there.” I should add this: Qantas knows how to deal with irate and exhausted passengers and does everything possible to help the customer who has been delayed by Qantas. Not true for the airline that begins with “A” and should end with “sshole.”

After leaving Australia on time on Thursday US time and arriving on time Friday US time at DFW 16 hours or so later, we learned that our connecting flight  had been nixed because of “bad” weather. That meant a stay overnight in Dallas. Apparently “A” cancelled flights right and left with little or no notice. (“American Airlines, which uses Dallas-Fort Worth airport as its main hub, had cancelled 600 flights, system-wide, on Saturday, after cancelling 700 on Friday, said airline spokesman Matt Miller. One American flight from the airport to Oklahoma City that typically takes less than an hour ended up being a nine-hour journey for some passengers.” Here.)


We were given a voucher for a hotel. Of course, the hotel refused to honor the voucher claiming that it was not a reservation and the hotel was all booked. We then wandered around paying $150 in cab fees trying to find another hotel. No luck. Back to airport. Guess we will sleep in the airport.

Not so fast, you bald-headed bastard from Nebraska. WE care about your security.

We won’t allow you to check your bags because more than 24 hours showed on the clock before your connecting flight left. Because we couldn’t check our bags, we couldn’t get a boarding pass that allowed us to enter the airport.

Joseph Heller once wrote a really good book about planes and idiocy. See Catch-22. If you haven’t read it, read it.

It was cold. Joan and I had left with heavy sweaters but nothing sufficient to deal with the Dallas temperature. Since we were freezing, we took a shuttle to the rental car place. We rented a car, drove it up one ramp to the top where the cars were returned and “slept” for 5 hours with heater running full blast.

At 5:30 AM Saturday morning, we arrived back at the airport to find that only one person was trying to rebook hundreds of cancelled flights. To our amazement, they took our bags and gave us a boarding pass for that evening. We were flying to Grand Island, Nebraska, about 90 miles west of Lincoln because that made the most sense (at the time) to connect with Qantas and clear customs and immigration.

We were both exhausted. While we waited, I salvaged two cots from other “walking dead” who had no use for them. Fitfully, we fell asleep.

In the afternoon, and I got itchy because I learned the Grand Island flight that left early afternoon had been cancelled. The evening flight was apparently still scheduled to fly–but I thought I should make sure. I finally found two competent “A” airlines employees who reported that not only was our evening flight cancelled, but we had been bumped all the way back until Tuesday evening. When I asked why full price tickets had been cancelled, and we had been bumped, both agents shrugged. They had no idea.

Rather than go postal, I sat on the cots with Joan and suggested that we drive to Lincoln in a rental car. For $900 bucks, that we did. We drove to Norman, Oklahoma Saturday evening US time and then on to Lincoln on Sunday arriving home at 6:00 PM.

By the way, our car we drove to Grand Island is presumably still there. Where is our baggage? That is known only by the Gods, and I presume only the snarky ones have that inside information.

Blogging will be slow. I will return the rental car today. Figure out when Joan should drive me to Grand Island to pick up our car and hopefully the luggage.

While I was gone, my “kiddie porn” case scheduled for trial today settled. I just can’t catch a break.


27 responses

  1. People tend to think Article III judges are pretty powerful, but they’re nothing compared to an “A” airlines gate agent. Good to know.

  2. Karma? It is just desserts that a federal judge would get a small taste of the way they often treat us. Your ordeal is a trifle, compared to the latter. “What Constitution? Not in MY court!”

  3. Woe be to the attorney who utters the phrase “Montreal Convention” or “Warsaw Convention” in your courtroom. I might even want to avoid mentioning those cities or the word “convention.”

    We really need the EU rule on cancellation or delay of flights to apply in the US.

  4. Anon.,

    Because I have seldom claimed an entitlement to much of anything in this blog or otherwise, your “Karma” comment pissed me off. By the way, who is the “they” and who is the “us? in your second sentence?

    Instead of concluding with my more normal ending, that is, “All the best,” I think “Kiss my ass” fits better in your case and for all the other unnamed victims of your ilk.


  5. Judge:
    Glad you are back, safe & sound. I realize that, in the post-9/11 world, we have made a fetish of airline security. But, has there been a reciprocal effect at work here, i.e., has the enervating impact of greater security forced us to grudgingly accept being treated as if we were cattle while, at the same time, providing an automatic excuse for airline fuck-upery (if you will pardon my French)? I chose not to travel anymore because I don’t need these headaches.

  6. Interesting that my wife and I were on the Friday 12:20 flight that left DFW for GRI about 6:00pm with some empty seats.

  7. Were you expecting the airline to find you a hotel? Seriously??? They barely have enough agents when the system is working as designed. Their profit margins are razor-thin, and they can’t afford such luxuries.

    This is why I never travel by air without a computer. Five minutes on Priceline and you would have been able to find a hotel, even if you had to pay rack rate. And you may have even been able to find a flight — even Mike’s — before your gate agent did.

    And did you remember to buy travel insurance, Your Honor? If not, volenti non fit injuria. You should expect several ice storms a year in Dallas.

    I think you’re being way too hard on the gate agents. We demanded cheaper fares and with it, we got computerization and demand-based price models. There is almost no excess capacity, and when the system crashes, there’s not a lot they can do. They really do want to help, as it’s no fun with a mob of tired and surly passengers calling for their scalps.

    As for Anon, while s/he was out of line, the argument is not without foundation. When Judge Gertner complained that she was “trained” to “get rid of” pro se civil rights cases, if there was even a murmur of outrage from you or any sitting colleague, I must have missed it. When you have a duty to speak, silence is indefensible.

  8. Profit margins are razor thin? I think not. The airlines are posting record profits thanks to the dip in oil prices.
    My luggage went from Atlanta to Paris on a recent trip. I went to Santiago, Chile. The airline starts with a D and should end with *ipshit.

  9. This is why I only travel first class. That part of the plane always leaves and arrives on time.
    Can we just say it was American? You know, there’s the “race card,” the religion card, etc.”
    Judge, time to file a complaint and pull out the “judge card.”
    Of course, if you had Executive Platinum status you would have had a special number to call where they would have immediately answered your call in front of everyone else’s, and summarily told you to fu*k off well before everyone else.

  10. Law Dog,

    According to the newspapers, the hotels within a wide radius of DFW were all full up. I did not expect the airlines to put me up in a hotel necessarily as Qantas did in a coordinated way when we hit SYD late, but I did expect that the voucher supplied by A meant something.

    As for the gate agents, I make it a practice, and I followed it this time, not to blame the messenger. I made every effort to be polite. I expected the same in return.

    That said, I deserve all the bad Karma in the world, but not because I am a federal judge. I don’t use my federal credentials for personal trips. Oh, well, it is true, I suppose, that I whine too much. To that, guilty as charged.

    All the best.


  11. traderprofit,

    Flying a 50-seat Brazilian made plane did not offer me the opportunity to fly first class or any class. Besides, I have never flown first class because I am cheap. I suppose that means I got what I deserved.* All the best.


    *If you can’t afford justice, you don’t deserve it!

  12. I actually got the secret number for Delta from another passenger when I was stuck dealing with a cancelled flight. Here’s hoping they never change it.

  13. Reminds me of the old Alaskan airline “Wobble AI”.

    Meanwhile, we just found Ancient Ferguson, “The White City“.

    But, it was more than a city.

    It was a civilization.

    Toynbee was probably the first RGK.

  14. “Blogging will be slow”?

    I can roll with that.

    Figured I better check in though and make sure someone didn’t send you home with some duboisia leaves and you thought it would be a good idea to try them out after being put on hold by the airline while waiting to be connected to a supervisor to complain to.

    If so step away from the phone judge and please tell us you saved enough of the leaves for a mellow evening around a spring campfire or two.

  15. Judge,
    Sounds like an new script for a National Lampoons movie. Glad you are back and hope to see you in court soon.

  16. Granted the LA Times isn’t up to the standards of Lincoln Journal Star but it was rather refreshing to see you quoted in the LA Times last week judge.

    Not everyday you see a judge and his Blawg musings (His blawg! How cool is that eah? -Damn near John Wayne meets Crocodile Dundee cool, I would say-) quoted in a newspaper that still prints a million copies every Sunday.

    Pretty nifty.

    I reckon, not that what I reckon is of any interest or concern to your or your readers…

    But nonetheless I reckon, if you keep salting this here blawg of yours with a few gold nuggets now then in between the late night no vacancy tours, with your fine lady, under the big city lights while out gallivanting around the globe you just might be the warm spring breeze that moves the immovable branch ever so slightly in a positive and reflective direction.

    What’s it been now though, twenty days or so since your last post?

    Well, if you have been keeping yourself busy around the kitchen with a new hobby, in-between naps and your day job, experimenting with the medicinal benefits of the flora from your latest world travels I think the world can roll with that for awhile.

    However, if you are taking an extended pause with your free time due to some of your literally and figuratively cloaked peers hyperventilating after seeing the word blawg and federal judge in the same paragraph of the LA Times you best shake that off like a duck puddle jumping the fields on the wing up the mighty Mississippi flyway this spring while quacking at those that insist judges should limit themselves to walking or swimming but never flight.

    I think a while back you pretty much discounted the later possibility and my guess is you probably aren’t getting creative with Australian or even good old American flora on your kitchen table so I figured I best check in on you again after seeing your name in the lights and make sure you are aware of the dangers of Hollywood.

    You are aware of the dangers of Hollywood right?

  17. You can earn some extra $$ from your blog, i see couple opportunities here.

    You should search in google for:
    Yoogurn’s money making

  18. Like John B., I’ve also noticed the non-blogging for the last three weeks. I do hope you are happy and healthy, and look forward to reading more blawg soon!

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