Week of 6/27-7/3 and the return flight from hell.
This week held a particularly terrible challenge, and did everything it could to deflate my desire to accomplish my goals.
Lets look at the chart and we will see if you can guess what I'm talking about.
So, in returning from Colorado our flight was originally scheduled for 6:50p Tuesday night. Due to rain and tornado like activity, pretty much every flight cannot land, and there for we have no plane to get on. Due to some rules they can only update the delays every 30 mins to an hour, so we couldn't wander off and relax in the admirals club like I wanted to. A new plane might show up and leave without us if we are not at the gate.
9:40p we finally board a plane. 10:00pm is the captain timed out. but the crew was fine so we stayed on the plane with no-one to fly it. 11:00p we are told we are the only flight leaving tonight for sure, all other flights canceled. 11:10p we are told to get off the plane the flight is canceled, half way up the jetway, 11:12p (ish) we're told to get back on the plane if we want to go anywhere. 11:30p a new captain comes on board 11:45p a new first officer comes aboard. 12:01am the radio doesn't work and the flight is officially canceled.
No big deal right? WRONG. since ~100 other flights of ~183 people where canceled airport wide ~18,300 people got first dibs on Hotels, and rental cars. Also, there is a giant teaching convention in town with an attendance of four 150,000 people. That Hillary Rodham Clinton had flown in to give one of her famous, low-cost, keynotes.
As all of this becomes a reality in my mind, I tell my wife about the realities of our situation. there was a hotel available in Cheyenne, Wy (2+ hours away) or Breckenridge Resort (for $400) also, with no rental cars, so a taxi would be $200+ dollars anyhow.
Went to talk to the ticketing desk, they rebooked us for 8:30pm Wednesday, my wife nearly cried at the thought of being stranded a the airport for ~30 hours and I told her I am so sorry and that we can try to fly standby all day and home some people just went back home to family or something and there will be open seats.
Then I decide to go get my luggage. Since it would be out in the open for any yahoo to steal. as my wife and I approach baggage claim, I realized the grave error I had just made. We were now outside of security, after hours. Meaning, we where sleeping at baggage claim. No way to get back in to the admirals club or anywhere near the gates where it would be quieter due to the lack of people. No, we are right where the "loading and unloading zone only" page was going off every 5 mins.
Sleep was neigh impossible. Although I did get a solid 11 mins of it at one point.
Come 5a the airport is open up, My wife and I gather our things and head to the ticketing counter. The super awesome American Airlines employee discovered there where a ton of seats available on a 8:45a flight, that was actually one of the flights from the night before just delayed till 8:45a She gets my wife and I on them and confirms us both for first class. Having saved us approx. 12 hours of our life, My wife cries at the kindness. We turn over my luggage and head to the admirals club, we get through security like a breeze.
At the admirals club, they had in fact stayed open all night so that people could sleep in the quite. with access to all sorts of snacks and beverages. Really would have been worth my entire yearly membership had I thought to capitalize on that. But then again, maybe we would have been on a worse flight.
either way, we get fed, hydrated, and I just start pounding espressos. Because, I am going to get my Membership fee out of this experience. While my wife naps in the quietest corner we could find, among the 40 or so other stranded passengers, I streamline through 6-8 coffees and cappuccinos and espressos. I will remain awake so we don't miss our new morning flight. I wake my precious wife up and we head down to the gate.
We are promptly allowed to board and we take our seats. There is a concern about which crew is scheduled for the flight, the ones on the plane got the call that morning but the ones from last night are present and are expecting to get to go to Dallas. This kerfuffle and some snafu with catering causes this 8:45a flight to be delayed until 11:05a when they close the door and push back my wife goes *phew* an dI tell her, not yet...
You are not in the clear until the plane takes off and even then it may land somewhere you don't want to go...
We land safely in Dallas at 3:00pm, go outside and wait for our UBER.
At this point you wan to hear that this is over, right? well, not quite. While standing in the passenger pick up, cops go running by and cop cars come pulling up as at man with a gun about 50 yards down the terminal is freaking out and the airport cops are tasering the anger out of him. That is the way I remember it, but I may have been quite delirious at this time. We get home at about 3:45p and I am asleep at 4:00p
I woke up 4 hours later to find that my wife couldn't sleep and did all the laundry form our trip and went grocery shopping and even cleaned the house quite a bit.
My wife was a total champ through this whole experience. This being the early part of our second year of marriage I wouldn't have known how she would react to sleeping on the floor at baggage claim, sleeping the lounge at the admirals club, all the heartache and setback of the trip. But her and I both feel that our relationship is stronger for the hardship we endured together. The first big clue was that after all the hubbub about yes the flights going. no the flight isn't. yes intact it is. oh guess wait, we where wrong again, and there is nothing we can do for you. She still wanted to sit beside me on a plane with 180+ seats and 30 passengers. (everyone else had been rebooked so it was basically a ghost flight)
I slept so late I missed Kung Fu class, delaying my advancement from Unranked to White Sash by a month. Not the worst thing, but does kind of take the wind from the sails you know?