As most of you know at this point, I traveled to South America for both business and pleasure. This is the normal happy departure face as I check in ….just a quick side note, United has created a new Polaris area that is just spectacular in Houston (and other airports nationwide). So, the big smile is in anticipation of experiencing the new, updated, upscale lounge during our layover.
- 191 seats
- 12,000 square feet
- 324 power outlets and 264 USB ports
- 2 private daybeds outfitted with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
- 6 shower suites, featuring rainfall showers and Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa products
- Personal valet services, including steaming garments
- A private dining area with table service for up to 28 guests
- 11 pieces of contemporary art
- Hours of Operation: 5:30AM – 10:30PM daily
I mentioned this lounge is described by United as a boutique hotel. This comes from Mark Krolick, United’s Vice President of Marketing:
We specifically designed this United Polaris lounge location to feel like a boutique hotel, with dedicated spaces for relaxation, refreshing and dining and we’re confident that our Houston customers and those connecting through this award-winning airport will enjoy a best-in-class lounge experience.
This Lounge is beautiful and very comfy! Our flight to Buenos Aires was scheduled to take off at 10:20 pm. This is perfect because you have dinner in flight and sleep so you are ready to “hit the streets and run” upon arrival. All is well. Sipping more Champagne. The first delay due to weather is announced ….
We busy ourselves with planning calendar and events …. Weather in Houston is incredibly stormy … thunder and lightening and sheets of rain pelt the glass front of the Lounge. In my mind, this translates to another run to the restaurant for more icy Champagne:) I am sensing a pattern starting…
Finally, the “fake, “OMG, how much longer” face sets in …. not quite showing fangs BUT darn close …. a set smile reserved for this type of travel event.
A hesitant United employee approaches (her pace and expression smack of prey in Africa) to let me know that the airport has been CLOSED! What is that???!!! No one in and no one out. I am still certain I am the exception and my plane WILL depart this tonight. Optimism or denial ….. you decide.
Finally, I get a United text indicating that we are taking off at 10:45. We gather our “stuff” and “walk with purpose” to the gate. A total “buzz” kill when we are informed its 10:45 the next morning…….I consider burning the airport down and slump back to the Lounge.
We sit for a bit longer …..The employee informs me (it’s now 1:20 am) that we are to be placed in a hotel for the evening. I am told it’s a lovely Holiday Inn as all other hotels are booked up due to the closure. My reaction is something along the lines of “GREAT!!! The Holiday Inn AND a shuttle” two of my faves… SHE RUNS …
So, down we go to the Shuttle waiting area with others sentenced to the Holiday Inn. After numerous calls to the hotel inquiring about the shuttle and it’s timing, The Good Doctor senses that calling a car service may be in order (or, is mandatory before I begin to eat the others standing with us…)
It’s cold and raining and off we go….. we FINALLY get to the slightly rundown hotel and fall into bed at 2 am. I am contemplating sleeping standing up in the bathroom due to the look of the hotel comforter.
This gory story has a happy ending ….. we do, after three more delays, get out after 1 pm. It’s an unruly mob at the gate and I am grateful to get onboard before the lighted torches come out.
Of course, one final bit of entertaining travel jazz. The car service, coordinated by the King of Travel, The Good Doctor does NOT show up at the airport. The scene was very much like “The Walking Dead” with zombie-like travelers wandering around trying to find a cab / driver. All does work out when we locate a new driver and get on our way!
WHAT KINDS OF AIRPORT / TRAVEL NIGHTMARES HAVE YOU HAD RECENTLY? HOW DID YOU COPE?