Saturday, April 11, 2009

stranded ...

Let me just begin this post my noting that I never travel alone. In fact, I could probably count the times I've done a big trip by myself on one hand. And let me also mention, that I have never (until yesterday) flown anything but non-stop. Obviously, I don't get out much.

Anyway, my best bud H was having her bridal shower today in Ohio and I, being in the wedding and all, made arrangements to go. So, after a jam-packed day (which started at 4:40 a.m. thanks to an early run), Dilly and I were dropped off at the airport and so our adventure begins ...

The weather report was calling for thunderstorms in Charlotte (our connection), so of course we were delayed. But, so was everything going out of Charlotte, leading the ever-so-helpful crew of US Airways to believe that, and I quote, "you will all make your connections." And I probably would have since my connecting flight had been pushed back until 11:46 p.m. (it was 9:00 p.m. at the time). So, after three hours of waiting we were about to board the plane. At which point, I specifically asked, "Is there any way that the flight crew on my connection is going to be grounded due to working too many hours?" They said "probably not" and against my gut I boarded.

The flight itself was uneventful, but we did have to circle Charlotte for 20 minutes (which caused every person on the flight to miss their connections). But not me. I didn't miss my connection. Instead, my flight was CANCELED due to "staffing issues." Really? Isn't that exactly what I asked about?

So, at 11 p.m. I got in a line 60 people deep to rebook. (Natalie fortunately slept through all of this.) In the meantime, I also called US Airways. And the agent on the phone told me, "We can get you out on the 8:45 p.m. flight to Akron or the 1:10 p.m. through Philly."

Right! That shower I mentioned was at noon. So not going to work. Plus, my return flight was scheduled for 7 a.m. on Sunday. I wasn't about to wait all day for a flight to be there for less than 12 hours. Instead, she offered me a refund and a ticket on the first flight back home. But, she couldn't book it on the phone due to the refund, so I had to wait in line.

FANTASTIC! So, I waited. And waited. And finally rebooked. For 7:30 this morning. "But wait," I said. "There is a Richmond flight still on the board. Can I get on that?" "Let me check," she said. "No, that flight left at 11:11."

11:11? As in when I was standing in line, all because I couldn't get rebooked over the phone. That made me so happy!

Then I was offered a discounted hotel rate (no comps because cancellations were caused by the weather. So what if I was traveling with a newborn (still asleep by the way)?

I opted against the hotel. I wasn't about to spend one more penny on this trip. And this began my very long and very uncomfortable six hour wait at the now closed (read: no food, no drinks and lots of ticketing area waiting) Charlotte airport.

Fortunately, I met two people who were a huge help. First, a very nice US Airways agent, who took me to her break room to get some food and water. And second, a fantastic woman, K, who was on my flight to Charlotte and who coincidentally has the same employer as J. We sat around, chatted (and mocked other passengers) during the long wait. I'm pretty sure that without her I would have gone crazy.

Anyway, at 9:30 this morning, Dilly and I got home. After 29 hours of being awake (no way I was snoozing in the airport with an infant). And all I got to see on my trip was the inside of the Charlotte airport ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

T, I feel for you and Natalie on this recent debocle of a plane trip. After seeing you today, I was reassured that you're a survivor and have this innate ability to weather any storm that blows your way. Not can bring you down.