Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Traveling Woes

Thursday June 9. It was time to travel to Ohio one last time for my Senior send-off party and Oath and Hooding Ceremony (graduation from vet school). We left at 8:30 am for the airport, and were through security and at the gate by 8:45. Yeah, its a ridiculously small airport. Waiting for our flight to leave at 9:44, we were told there would be a delay because of ‘weather.’ Note: This theme will be repeated. I looked outside and checked the weather channel on my phone. Nope, no bad weather noted anywhere from Burbank to San Francisco. I don’t know where  the plane was coming from, but as it was a little puddle jumper of a plane, it can’t have been too far. There was no bad weather in sight.

We managed to get off the ground with not too much trouble and landed in San Francisco without a hitch. SFO is one of the nicer airports in the country. There are lots of good eateries, bookstores, high end clothing stores, museum exhibits to look at, and a spectacular view of the mountains. While waiting for our next flight, we made our way into one of the bookstores. For an airport bookstore it was actually pretty substantial and even had sections for different types of books like a normal size bookstore. As usual, I made my way over to the Nature section. Now, I had been avoiding bookstores for a few months because I already have several books that I haven’t read, and as you may know I have a major book buying compulsive disorder. So now that I was finally in a bookstore, a decent one too, I started obsessively looking at books and making a (mental) pile of books I needed to buy.

Greg walked over to me after about 15 minutes with a book. A book? My husband doesn’t read very much. But when he does, its never easy reading. He had Aldous Huxley’s Island. I said, “Are you sure you’re going to read that?” He goes “Yeah.” He’s a little pretentious when it comes to books. So I said fine, not mentioning that there’s a reason why I only read Brave New World once every 10 years or so. He asked what I was getting. I was holding a book called The Vegetarian Myth and had my eye on a another called Crow Planet. I mention this here because these two books turned out to be fascinating and I will be discussing them in future posts, as the subjects involve and are important for us all.

Anyway, we leave SFO for …. Chicago O’Hare. The Worst Airport In The World. I have good reason for saying this because I don’t think I have gone through O’Hare even one time without having a delay, cancellation, too short of a connection time, or without once having to run under the tarmac at top speed only to get to my gate and find my flight has been delayed. It would be a decent enough airport otherwise… lots of food and things to keep your mind occupied. We got off the plane and looked at the Departure board and found our flight to Columbus had been cancelled. Not just delayed, actually cancelled due to ‘weather.’  I’m not surprised since it is good old ORD and something was bound to go wrong. So we start walking, not in bad spirits, down to customer service. We’re walking, not paying much attention, when I notice that we are passing a massive line of people. Turns out our flight wasn’t the only one cancelled.


Eventually we manage to get booked on a flight the following afternoon at 130 to Cincinnati. There was next to no chance that we’d be able to get into Columbus, so this was the next best thing. We’d be cutting it close, since the flight would land at 300, then it would take two hours to drive to Columbus, and the party was that night at 630. I called my mom to update her on the plans, and she said the weather was fine in Columbus. In fact, it had been perfectly sunny and calm all day. ??????  It was not raining in Chicago either. There were low clouds, which apparently can have giant balls of lightening stuck inside. But, there were other flights leaving. One left for Washington DC from our original departure gate, as we were standing there. At this point I started feeling like United is my abusive ex-lover who I get away from sometimes and things work out ok, but for some reason I always end up going back and having the crap beaten out of me. Sigh, I will never understand.

The next day, having nothing else to do, we went back to the airport after breakfast and got in a shorter customer service line to see if there were any earlier flights to Columbus or Cincinnati. We got to the desk at around 10 am. There was a nice woman who told us a flight was leaving for Cincinnati at 10:20, but it was delayed. She put us on stand-by and said she was pretty sure we were going to get on, and anyway, she said, our other flight was already delayed even though it wasn’t supposed to leave for 3 more hours AND there was no sign of bad weather!  These people kill me. So we run from B terminal to F terminal and rush up to the desk with our stand-by tickets, and the attendant says, “Oh don’t worry you have time, our plane hasn’t even landed yet.” Oh. Well that would have been nice to know before we ran through half the airport. The plane lands, and she calls us up and gives us actual tickets with real seats. Then she walks over to the podium and says, “Ladies and gentlemen traveling to Cincinnati, your chances of getting to your destination have greatly…. improved! We have an aircraft, we have a crew, and we have a departure time.”  Woohoo!!! I checked the weather channel app again, no green rainclouds in sight. We make it onto the plane, defy gravity for the third time on this trip, and...

Get diverted to Indianapolis because a storm materialized over Cincinnati. At this point I began laughing. I called my mom again and she said, “I hear laughter, that must be a good thing.” No, no, it is insane laughter. Greg’s parents were waiting to pick us up in Cincinnati, where they said it was not raining!  Indianapolis is a 3 hour drive to Columbus. But they wouldn’t let anyone off the plane. Other people were beginning to freak out, probably because they were also trying to get to Columbus for graduation weekend. But they wanted to have an immediate departure if the ‘storm’ moved past Cincinnati. Which it did. We took off again and finally landed in the Cincinnati airport, which is actually on the Kentucky side of the river, then had to go around Cincinnati because of construction, and finally made it to the hotel at 530.

Six cities, four states, 30 hours later…..


To Be Continued.

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