My fellow passengers on the Madison flight occasionally walked up to the United Express representative to ask for updates, and his answers were so whimsical they bordered on the hallucinatory. “It will leave in 10 minutes.” “It will leave in an hour.” “It will leave shortly.”Check it out. There's more, and and you don't know whether to laugh or cry.
But, as various passengers noted, there was no actual plane at the gate. This didn’t seem to faze the representative, and, in fact, nothing did. After waiting three hours for the imaginary plane, one of the stranded suddenly rushed back and announced the inevitable. “The rep just told me the plane was canceled, some time ago.”
“Why,” I went up and asked the clerk, “didn’t you announce the cancellation?”
“Why,” he parroted, “don’t you get out of my face?”
The herd knew their only option was a rental car or the last Van Galder bus, and they raced as a group to the exit. I followed, but I also, in the most incidental way, turned my head to the left as I rushed down the terminal and saw, like a sad joke, a gate posting a Madison departure, leaving in five minutes, wholly unannounced by a United Express representative and missing from O’Hare’s own departures board. When the plane took off, only three of the original 30-plus Madison-bound passengers were on board.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Flying United Express? Bring Kafka as a guide.
Madisonians know Raphael Kadushin as an editor for UW Press and a freelance food writer and restaurant critic. But in this week's hilarious Isthmus opinion piece about the perils of flying United Express in and out of Madison, especially via O'Hare, he reveals he is also a master of the Kafkaesque polemic. An excerpt: