I got back friday afternoon and left the airport shortly after noon. It wasn't supposed to happen like that. I had a flight that was supposed to get to DC just after 10am. In Sao Paulo I got into a Delta line that I thought was destined for my connection in New York. After waiting about 10 minutes I asked one of the airline people if it was the line for New York. To that my response was, "No that line closed already." So I said, "What are you saying? I'm still here before the flight has taken off, I was misled to think this line, which is apparently for Atlanta, was for New York, and now you're telling me I can't get on my flight?" Then she said, "Well you can either leave the airport, or go to the Delta desk and see if you can still get on your flight." So I went to the Delta desk. The guy there informed me that I had to be there an hour before take off to check in, and that I missed the plane. Then I said, "First off, I was here prior to the hour, I was misled into thinking I was in the right line, and...the plane that you say I cannot board is still here." Well, that got me nowhere. He said he could re-route me through Atlanta, putting me on stand-by for a $250 flight change fee. Whoopee! Out $250 because of their stupid system and mistakes (All these conversations took place in portuguese - angry, ill-tempered portuguese).
Turns out Delta is pretty sleazy. What they do with this 'lock the flight an hour prior' allows them to have extra space on their plane so they can swindle more people who show up late for an earlier flight into paying more to get to their destination. For instance, I was quote on quote "late" for my flight to NYC, so for another $250 they could put me on standby for Atlanta. Those who missed some other flight prior to NYC, who were on standby got my seat. Those who foolishly didn't know about the hour before lock down with Atlanta lost their seat to me and others like me - for a hefty price.
So I had to do some things before I left DC, and didn't end up leaving until 3:30pm to drive up to Boston. On a friday, that is probably the worst possible time to leave. I got stuck in between DC and Baltimore for 3 1/2 hours. A trip that should take 8 hours took me close to 11 hours. But, two Dr. Peppers, singing along to my new Brazilian CDs, and talking to myself for an hour and a half kept me from driving off the road. Mind you, the flight from Brazil was 9+ hours and then another 2 from Atlanta to DC. I was running on dregs. But, all in all good times. I went to my buddy's wedding on Saturday, and I've been visiting old friends around Massachusetts this weekend. Good times.