Saturday night, me and Nick (Jeremy Buck to most of you) were scheduled for a Delta red-eye flight to Orlando for a TNA PPV Sunday night called “Against All Odds.” We were flying out of a local airport in Ontario. A few minutes before the flights departure time, we’d find out that a staff member was sick and the flight was canceled altogether.
After finding this out, I spent 90 mins on the phone and booked the first available flight out of LAX in the morning. Ontario’s airport offered no other flight that would get us there on time. From LAX, we’d have to make a quick stop in Salt Lake City, where we’d stay on the same plane, but eventually get into Orlando at 4:30pm (late, but plenty of time). The normal call time for talent is 1pm on the day of a PPV. We then slept for an hour, when my 3:30am alarm went off and off to LA we went.
Made it to the airport fine, boarded quickly, took our first class seats, sipped orange juice and then an announcement over the planes PA system was made. We were informed that the plane was without a captain, and a new captain who was 75 miles away, was already in route. We were stressing. Two hours passed and finally the replacement captain showed up. We were now looking at an even later arrival into Orlando, not to mention we still had to make a quick stop in Salt Lake to let some passengers off/on the plane. It was okay though, we’d still make it.
Eventually we would land in Salt Lake. Both of us got comfortable - we still had about 4-5 hours to go on the same plane, to get to Orlando. The plane emptied except for a few of us, and then a voice came over the PA system once again, “If you’re flying to Orlando, you need to get off this plane. This plane is not going to Orlando.” What!?!! Me and my brother looked at each other in horror.
We raced to the first Delta agent we saw and were informed that they booked the Orlando flight on a different plane because they didn’t want their passengers to suffer a delayed flight. What!?!? Delayed flight? We just SUFFERED a two hour delay because one of YOUR captains didn’t show up! And last night we suffered a CANCELED flight because one of YOUR staff members was sick! Unbelievable. I then stopped myself from panicking and asked when the next flight out to Orlando was. Don’t remember the exact departure time, but the arrival time into Orlando wasn’t going be until 10:30pm. Thats too late.
Soon after, I found myself in front of the customer service line looking at my watch (iPhone). We NEEDED to get on a plane soon if we were gonna make it. Customer service had nothing to tell me besides bad news. At one point I had Bob Ryder (TNA Travel) on my iPhone in one ear, and a Delta agent on a Delta help-line phone in the other ear. We tried everything. Eventually we finally found a flight on American Airlines, (we’d have to leave the terminal) that would of gotten us into Orlando sometime after 8:30pm. Of course, I grabbed them as soon as I could, because that was better than 10:30pm.
But after much discussion internally with the TNA office, the tough decision to send us home instead, was made. After deplaning and grabbing a ride to the iMPACT zone, we wouldn’t get there till 9:30-10:00pm - most likely even later. That’s not exactly giving us enough time to prepare, and it’s not fair to everyone else involved in the match. Plus, the whole card would have to dramatically be changed.
So, as disappointed as we were, we had to realize we tried our best. Now we just had to hop on a plane really quick and we’d be home in an hour. Easy, right? Wrong. After waiting in line and talking to another agent, we learned that we weren’t going anywhere. There were no open seats on any flights going to LAX, or any other of our local airports until 8:10pm. It was currently around 12pm or 1pm, just to show you how long it’d be. We were so frustrated.
Nick and I spent most of the day “people watching” and eating garbage with our food vouchers we received. Depressed from the days events, we ate Krispy Kreme, burgers and pizza. We made the best of it. We also had fun heckling all of the people who were running through the airport because they were obviously late. “HAHA, look at ‘em go Matt!” Nick would say. Paul London, who was in town for the weekend for Lucha Libre USA, even came by and kept us company for an hour. The three of us had a hilarious conversation with this Terry Funk lookalike. I laughed so hard, I was getting my abs back. Paul really is one of a kind.
At one point around 4:30pm, we had a “hope-spot.” I called an agent and pleaded to be put on an earlier flight home then 8:10pm. She couldn’t believe it, but she found a flight that was leaving in 10 mins, that had two available seats. “Go! Run to gate C10. I can hold the plane if need be. Those seats are yours!” I could see that C10 was quite a-ways-away. Me and Nick then grabbed our bags and we’re running through the terminal, much like those poor people we were heckling minutes earlier. Almost there, we hear over the PA system, “Final boarding call for all passengers traveling to LA.” Just like in the movies! Out of breath, but with time to spare, we made it! I go to the agent at the gate with a big smile on my face and say, “We’re the two guys you’re holding seats for!” With a confused look, the agent tells us that there are NO open seats on this plane. Nick said right as we we’re coming up to the gate, he saw the same agent print two boarding passes for two pretty blond girls. The agent wasn’t very apologetic either. Actually, kind of sarcastic now that I think about it. I remember wanting to super kick his teeth out but maintained my composure.
Anyway, eventually our 8:10pm flight would come. Actually, it wouldn’t be an 8:10pm flight. It would be announced over the PA system that it was delayed until 8:30pm. And then we’d finally board, and learn the plane didn’t have it’s pilots yet. (Sound familiar)? So our 8:10pm flight became a 9:30pm flight.
Eventually, we’d finally touch down in LAX. The same airport we left from earlier that day. After an hour of driving, I’d finally make it to my apartment. Before grabbing my bag, which had contents I didn’t use, out of Nicks car, I said to Nick, “That was a day we will never forget.” He agreed and said it wasn’t only the worse travel day of his life, it was the worse day of his life. I laughed and walked into my apartment to be greeted by my cats. Dana was already in bed.
I’ve never felt such a resistance from something. You can call it extremely bad luck. Or, like both my mom and Brian Kendrick think, it was extremely good luck. Everything happens for a reason.
For some reason, we weren’t meant to be in Orlando Sunday night. Nor home. We were meant to be at Salt Lake City International Airport for over ten hours, making fun of tardy passengers, eating bloated calories and watching the very show we were supposed to be wrestling on, side-by-side on the dirty airport floor.