Nov. 4, 2013
It was a weekend like none other I’ve experienced. For the first time in 14 years, Auburn played football and I wasn’t there. But I had no idea when I climbed out of bed Friday morning that I would be anywhere but Fayetteville come nightfall.
My Delta Airlines ticket said my flight left at 11:04 a.m. EDT. So it was that I arrived at Hartsfield –Jackson International Airport in Atlanta at about 9:30 a.m. I parked my car, took the shuttle and went to check in. That’s when the nice gentleman behind the outside counter, the one where you can check your bags without doing the kiosk thing, informed my flight had already left.
How could that be?
I went inside and called the Delta Skymiles number. The lady on the other end told me she would put me on the next flight, which left about 2:30. That sounds fine, I thought. I would go eat lunch and then go to the gate and read the newspaper or a magazine or get online and do some work or something.
And then the lady asked what credit card I wanted to use, because I would owe $1,030. Shocked, I told her I didn’t think that would work. After sitting there for a few more minutes, I caught the shuttle back to my car and drove back to Opelika to think about what to do next.
Back at home, I looked again at the ticket in my email. Sure enough, it said 11:04 a.m. So I called Delta again. This time, a more reasonable lady, told me that I should have received an email that the time had been changed. I told her I never saw it. She said they would change my flight for no charge. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
Turned out the next flight and the one after that were oversold. There was no guarantee I could get on either flight. Maybe I could make the drive of 11 hours or so. Then again, it was really too late for that. Finally, I decided that I would stay home and watch/cover the game on television. That’s what I did.
It actually wasn’t bad. I didn’t have to fight the crowd. I didn’t have to get by on three hours of sleep Saturday night to catch a 7 a.m. flight Sunday morning. I was able to write my column as usual. I even got to hear the announcers make it obvious how little they actually knew.
I watched Tre Mason run and run some more. I watched Bret Bielema scowl. I saw him go berserk because he thought Anthony Swain was faking an injury, apparently not bothering to recognize there was no advantage to be gained by doing it.
I watched the best Auburn goal-line stand I’ve seen in several years. I watch Sammie Coates show again that he might just be the most dangerous big-play receiver in the college game. I watched a budding star in quarterback Nick Marshall.
So, it worked out OK. But I don’t believe I want to try it again. You are at the mercy of the camera. You don’t hear the sights and sounds of a college football Saturday. And it just didn’t feel right.
Lord willing, I’ll be at Neyland Stadium on Saturday to watch Auburn play Tennessee, and I won’t have to deal with airlines to get there.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: