First, my flight out of Manchester was two hours late leaving, due to a computer glitch that they solved by powering down the airplane and then starting it back up. It took two fucking hours to: de-ice the plane, determine that the computer was not functioning, get a mechanic down to look at the plane, determine what was wrong with it, essentially REBOOT THE COMPUTER, de-ice the plane again, and then take off.
I got to Detroit 20 minutes after my flight to Myrtle Beach took off. Apparently a billion and a half people had also missed a flight, so there was a really long line to wait to talk to a customer service representative from Northwest. In line, after waiting 20 minutes, a rep came by suggesting we use the phones to call a rebooking line to cut down the line. I use one, and am told there are no more Northwest flights that day to Myrtle Beach. They put me on a US Air flight at 3 pm (it was 10:30) to Charlotte and another to Myrtle Beach arriving at 8 pm. They tell me it's confirmed and I am all set, and the rep was like "Later dude!" and hung up before I could ask any further questions.
I have never been to the Detroit airport before, and looking at the monitors with departure times, I see almost exclusively Northwest flights. I assume that since it's a major hub for the airline I should be OK, but I am still nervous so I look at the airport map to see if the other terminals are marked to show who flies out of them, which none are. There is also no airport help desk, so I just wait because it was too early for my flight to be on the monitors, anyway.
There is a Starbucks near where I am waiting and I desperately want a hot chocolate, so I wait until there is a lull and go to get some. There are about 5 people behind the counter, and I am the only customer. Somehow, it takes 5 minutes to get a hot chocolate because all of the people working are fighting over who makes it and gossiping over Sharonda's babydaddy.
By 1:50, my flight is still not on any of the monitors, so I ask a woman at a desk and she looks at me like I am retarded and tells me I need to go to a completely different building that there are no signs about. I think: "Sorry for not knowing an airport I've never been in, you fucking bitch!"
I get there OK, and try to check in at the self-check in computer and I get an error message, so I start having a panic attack and have to wait for someone to help me, and the woman from US Air (who was very nice) told me that Northwest should have told me that my booking was rejected because the flight was "grossly overbooked", put me on standby for it anyway, and gave me a CONFIRMED ticket for later in the evening. Which was really very nice, since I never even originally booked with US.
I go to the security checkpoint, and have been chosen for extra screening to make sure I am not a terrorist, which they determine I am not after feeling me up and swiping my belongings with some sort of cotton pads. Luckily I didn't have a carry-on bag besides by purse, so I didn't have to wait for them to rifle through it.
I get to the gate in time to see the flight start boarding, and start crying out of physical and mental exhaustion because I know I won't get on the flight. After everyone is on the plane, the gate lady starts calling the name of a missing passenger several times. I see a faint glimmer of hope! When nobody shows up, closes the door instead of calling the names of people on standby. I get up to ask if they could put me on the flight since they obviously have an empty seat, but the woman tells me it's too late blah blah blah. Hopes dashed, I start to cry again and when I stop, I mope around the airport looking like someone killed my kitten for several hours.
I get hungry and go to Quiznos for dinner sometime during the 3.5 hours I have to wait for my confirmed flight, and it takes 20 minutes to get a sub, being the third person in line with 4 people working. This time, the employees take forever because they are hollering back and forth with employees from another place who are (presumably) on break.
I finally get on a flight to Charlotte that leaves an hour later than it's supposed to, and I have to run from one end of the Charlotte airport to the other in order to make my flight to Myrtle Beach. I get in at 10:30, and I have never been so happy to see my Mom in my whole life.
Lessons learned: Detroit sucks, and I never want to go there again. Never fly on Northwest again, even if it's the cheapest.
Edited to add that nobody could tell me where my checked bag was the entire time I was in Detroit, but luckily someone knew what they were doing, and I found my bag waiting for me in Myrtle Beach after asking around.