JERK OF THE WEEK: Walt Goes to Vegas - Part 1: The Philadelphia International Airport
People were always shocked when I used to tell them that I had never been to Las Vegas before.
"But you're a degenerate sports gambler!" they'd say. This is absolutely true, but I place my wagers online. It's just easier, and the odds can sometimes be better. Besides, I don't have to leave my house to do this. I can just stay at home in my pajamas and click buttons to gamble my life savings away, all while eating Cheetos, or better yet, Chips Ahoy! Brownie-Filled Cookies. With that in mind, who the hell would ever want to leave home?
In addition to gambling on regular games, I've entered the Las Vegas Hilton Supercontest the past three years (now, just the "Supercontest"). I won't bore you with the details, but it's the premier NFL handicapping contest with a $1,500 entry fee and a grand prize that escalates every year (now $900,000). Thanks to America's idiotic gambling laws, you have to be there to enter, and you need a proxy to make your selections each week. My friend Matvei would enter for me, and his friend Andy, who lives in Vegas, served as our proxy.
Matvei wasn't sure if he wanted to enter the contest this year, which meant that I had to go to Vegas if I wanted to blow another $1,500. Thus, knowing the hard truth that I'd have to abandon my home and all of the boxes of Chips Ahoy! Brownie-Filled Cookies, I booked a hotel room and a pair of plane tickets for myself and my girlfriend.
As you can imagine, we had a great time. Though I didn't have my Chips Ahoy! Brownie-Filled Cookies to comfort me, it was nice to get away. We had some nice meals, relaxed by the pool and enjoyed the perfect weather; in the four days there, we didn't see a single cloud in the sky. Best of all, I collected tons of Jerks of the Week material.
"I'll be disappointed if I don't come away with enough jerks for two weeks' worth of entries," I told my girlfriend as we drove over to the airport. Well, I definitely have at least two weeks' worth of jerks, and I might even have five. You shouldn't be surprised though; this is Vegas we're talking about, after all.
As per usual in my vacation jerks entries, I'm going to begin with my horrible experiences at the Philadelphia International Airport. In fact, so much pissed me off there that this entire page might be dedicated to that abomination.
Checking Bags, Printing Boarding Passes:
Our flight was scheduled to be with American Airlines. That company, as well as US. Airways, is located in Terminal A of the Philadelphia International Airport, so that's where we went.
We immediately stood in line to use the American Airlines touch-screen panel so we could print our boarding passes. This seemed easy enough, as there were about six people ahead of us and lots of empty panels open. However, the Mexican woman directing everyone made sure that things wouldn't be so simple. Despite there being available panels, she kept the line moving at a crawl.
I wanted to say something, but the fat guy behind us beat me to it.
Fat Dude: There are screens open, people!
Mexican Woman: No. I'm holding zee line.
Holding "zee" line? What the hell does that mean? Why does the line need to be held, and why couldn't we use the open panels? In hindsight, I'm not even sure she worked there. Maybe she just enjoyed holding random lines in airports.
It should've taken us three minutes to use the panel, but we wasted close to 10 instead. We finally reached an open screen we were allowed to use and went on to enter our information. This is a simple process at the airport, but not in this instance because we received an error message saying that our flight details were not found.
I panicked. Did Expedia screw up my order? Was our vacation going to be ruined? I was going to ask the Mexican woman what was going on, but she seemed too busy holding "zee" line. Fortunately, another employee, a tall, black man, walked by.
Me: Hey, this isn't working. It's saying my flight information isn't found.
Employee: Where's your destination?
Me: Las Vegas.
Employee: You're in the wrong line. You should be over there.
He pointed to the U.S. Airways registers, which confused me.
Me: We're scheduled to be on American Airlines, though.
Employee: Yeah, but you're a domestic flight, so you have to go to U.S. Airways.
Uhh... confusing much? I later learned that American Airlines and U.S. Airways have merged, but that still doesn't explain why our American Airlines flight had to be on U.S. Airways. If it was supposed to be on U.S. Airways, why didn't they make me book tickets on a U.S. Airways plane? And couldn't they have explained this phenomenon ahead of time so I didn't waste 10 minutes in the wrong line?
We ventured over to the U.S. Airways line, which was way longer than the American Airlines one, despite the fact that no Mexican woman was holding "zee" line at this location. The problem was with the people behind the check-baggage counter. These people, who looked like they were half-asleep, were barely moving. In fact, I'm willing to bet that one of the employees was actually dead despite having his soulless eyes open. He didn't do anything; he just sat there and seemingly stared into space. Given that I've been to the Philadelphia International Airport on countless occasions, I expected something like this to happen, but that didn't make it any less infuriating.
After what seemed like an eternity, it was finally our turn to use the panel. The computer found our flight information this time, which was a relief. One of the final questions it asked me was whether I wanted to purchase Preferred Access for $26 per person.
"Don't do it," my girlfriend said. "It's a waste of money."
I didn't listen. I checked the arrow for Preferred Access, thinking it was crucial because we already spent so much time in line. Preferred Access, for those who don't know what that is, happens to be a perk that allows people to go through a shorter security check line and board the plane before everyone else (save for those in first-class). It'd be nice if they let you exit the plane prior to the other passengers, but they may not want to do that because it would create mayhem, given that most people are a**holes who don't check their bags and store them in overhead compartments instead, creating a huge logjam when everyone is trying to get off the damn plane upon arrival. F***ing dicks.
Sorry, I had to vent. Anyway, my girlfriend took the escalator to security check on the second floor. We looked around for a Preferred Access sign, but couldn't locate one. In fact, we couldn't even find the end of the normal line. The security line looped around close to us, and an angry-looking black woman, who happened to be standing at this location, told us to cut in line.
Angry Black Airport Woman: Go on, get in line round hmy'all.
Me: Where's Preferred Access?
Angry Black Airport Woman: Juss get in line, round hmy'all.
Girlfriend: I don't get it? Where's the end of the line?
Angry Black Airport Woman: I said get in line round hmy'all!
Girlfriend: We can't just cut in line!
Angry Black Airport Woman: Juss get in line round hmy'all!
Both my girlfriend and I were bewildered. This crazy security woman was just telling us to butt in line in front of people who looked pissed off upon hearing her demands. My girlfriend even tried going under the rope so she could find the end of the line, but Angry Black Airport Woman chased her down, shouting, "Go where I told you to get in line, round hmy'all!"
We had no choice but to follow this crazy lady's orders. I glanced at the poor people we were going to cut off. One sullen guy looked back at us and shrugged his shoulders.
"Just go ahead," he said. "Cutting in line is the American way."
Despite cutting in line, the wait was still longer than it should have been, given that we purchased Preferred Access. We saw another airport employee, a mustachioed Mexican man, so we figured he would know where he should go.
Me: Excuse me, where's the Preferred Access line?
Mexican Airport Man: I dunno.
Me: We're just looking for Preferred Access so we can get through quicker. We need to find the Preferred Access line.
Mexican Airport Man: I dunno where that is.
Girlfriend: You don't know where it is? Does it even exist?
Mexican Airport Man: I dunno, has nothing to do with me.
Wow, thanks for your help, a**hole. Seriously, how incompetent are these people? One maniac told us to cut in front of people, while another had absolutely no idea what was going on. This isn't the best example because I've encountered plenty of Best Buy employees who are morons, but imagine walking into that store and asking an employee where you can find laptops, only to have him/her answer, "I dunno, has nothing to do with me." And then, when you finally locate what you're looking for, some lunatic tells you to cut in front of people in line for absolutely no reason.
This is what us Philadelphians deal with when we go to the airport. Half of the employees are deranged and have foam coming out of their mouths, while the other half are rotting corpses who do nothing.
And I don't know which half is worse.
Thanks to the fact that we had to wait in three long lines, we had just 20 minutes prior to boarding. The flight to Vegas is five hours, and airplane food sucks, so we figured it would be smart to get some slices of pizza prior to takeoff.
There were a couple of things of note at the pizza place in Terminal B (yeah, we had to go to Terminal B after getting our boarding pass in Terminal A - I have no idea.) First of all, the prices are outrageous. Guess how much four slices of pizza, a bottle of water and a bag of chips came out to be? Twenty-eight freaking dollars. There's a pizza joint near my house where you can purchase a great-tasting, large pie for just $6. Yet, half of that, plus water and chips came out to be more than four times that amount.
How can the Philadelphia International Airport get away with this? Well, if you want pizza, and you're stuck at the airport, you're SOL otherwise. They basically have us all by the balls, and it sucks.
Second, there was no place to sit. That's because the tables were occupied by a**holes like these:
No, that dude doesn't have a blank face. I just erased it because A) I don't want to get sued, and B) MS Paint doesn't have a blur option for some reason, which is just ridiculous. We can put a man on the moon almost 60 years ago, yet MS Paint can't have a blur feature? Come on!
Instead, I want you to focus on two things:
First, the guy with the erased face has a Justin Bieber lesbian haircut. Let's all have a good laugh at this dude for copying the famous Canadian douche. Let's hope that our next U.S. President actually does something productive and banishes these tw**s from this country.
Second, look at the lesbian haircut man's left hand and the woman's right hand. Zoom in if you have to (yes, MS Paint has that feature). Do you see what I see? Yes, those are forks! These people are using forks and knives to eat their pizza!
I think you're well aware of what that means. Yes, these people are terrorists and plan on taking control of a plane and colliding it with an important place like the White House, the Pentagon, or the Chips Ahoy! factory. I'd have hope that TSA would apprehend these traitorous c***-suckers, but remember, half are lunatics and the other half are rotting corpses.
My girlfriend and I had to scarf down our pizza quickly because they were already boarding by the time we were halfway done our meal. The pizza was good; we both thought so, as did this fat man with a goatee who passed by us and said, "Mmm... looks good." He then ventured toward the pizza joint and wasn't seen again. He may have missed his flight because of the pizza. As a fat man, I find this very understandable. And I'm willing to bet anything that he didn't eat his pizza with a knife and fork.
Two things of note happened on the flight. First, the flight attendants served drinks twice. You'd think they'd do so more often on a 5-hour journey, but it seriously took them an hour-and-a-half to give drinks out to everyone. I don't get what took them so long. We were sitting near the back of the plane, which was unfortunate for us because they always started in the front. I remember looking up to see where they were and noting that they were in the exact same spot 10 minutes later.
The second time they served drinks, I tried to catch the attention of one of the stewardesses, who was pushing the cart toward the front. I was parched and didn't want to wait.
Me: Excuse me?
Me: Can I have a Dr. Pe-
Stewardess: Front of the plane first. You have to wait your turn.
Ugh, f*** you, lady. My girlfriend laughed and said, "She shut you down!" She did, indeed. What a skanky stewardess.
The second thing worth noting was the man sitting to my right. He was a black man with a white afro. He was probably 60-something years old. He also had issues ordering stuff; when the snacks came around, here's what happened:
Stewardess: Snacks? Food items?
Old Man: Coffee.
Stewardess: No, sir, we're serving snacks now.
The old man was also shut down. I wanted to say, "You got served, son," but I also got served - while not getting served... you know what I mean.
My girlfriend and I eventually switched seats. I was trying to use my laptop, but the douche in front of me reclined, which nearly snapped my laptop screen in half. I could barely see what I was typing, so my girlfriend offered to change places.
This worked out for me, but not her. As we swapped, the old man looked at her and creepily said, "You just wanted to sit next to me, heh, heh, heh..." My girlfriend just laughed and looked away.
The old man, realizing he wasn't going to have any success gaming my girlfriend, whipped out his phone and began looking at pictures. Pictures of a naked girl in her 20s.
Yeah. You read that right, and I wish I were making this up. This old, black man had nudes on his phone. And he was enjoying them during the flight.
We eventually landed. It took us a billion years to get off the plane, thanks to the a**holes who stored bags in the overhead compartments. This, however, gave me the opportunity to witness something amazing. You know the woman the old geezer had pictures of on his phone? She was on the plane! This hot 20-year-old, who was sitting a few rows back, approached the old man and gave him a kiss on the cheek. They walked off the plane together and then held hands as they ventured toward baggage claim.
"That old man must have something good going on," my girlfriend said.
I would imagine so. Nevertheless, I figured that this would only be the beginning of the craziness I'd see in Vegas during my vacation. And I turned out to be right.
Check back next week for Part 2 of Walt Goes to Vegas!