Thursday, August 7, 2008

Moleskine Doodle. Boston to Philadelphia

Originally written 02/22/08

Was in Atlanta on a business trip Tuesday-Friday of this week. Was to fly back from Atlanta on an 8pm flight, Friday night. (Through Philly, as I couldn't get a direct flight from my local airport.) So around dinner time on Thursday, we hear of the impending snow/ice storm that's due to hit the Northeast. I jump on the phone to US Air and manage to book us an earlier flight (2:40pm) in which they have miraculously waived the $100 change fee (because of the weather) and $240 difference in price. (Strange, the flight time & price difference was the same...)

Leaving work at about 11:15am, we head to ATL. Having checked the web numerous times before we left, we see that planes to the Northeast are running about 5 hours behind, but amazingly, our 2:40 flight is still on time. 3 miles from the airport, I get a text message that our flight has been canceled. We take the rental car back and head in to the US Air ticket counter and sit in a line with about 20 people in it that does not move for what seems like an hour. An hour and a half later, we make it to the ticket counter and are told that everything is booked, no flights, flights canceled, other carriers full....

The agent (ED) finally finds a way to get us home. He books us from ATL to Boston, then to Philly, and then to ABE. Ha. I surrender (check) my bag and never expect to see it again.

We push, bully & beg our way through the millions of people going through security because we have less than 45 minutes to make it to our gate, and it takes about 30 minutes to get through security, (on a good day) then another 10 to take the train (inside the airport) to the D terminal, which of course, is the last stop. We run to our gate and make it with about 5 minutes to spare.

But everyone is still just sitting there. For 5 minutes, 10, 15..... I finally go up to the counter and ask what the delay is, because nothing was posted at the agent's desk. I'm told that they are waiting for the Captain to come up to let them know if we are going to fly. (??????) And so I say to the agent, "You mean this flight might get canceled?" to which she responds, "Yes. It's probably going to get canceled." I try deep breathing, I imagine my happy place, but I can't help getting a bit snarky & frustrated. I go back to my co-worker and tell her that I'm furious with the guy back at the ticket counter (Our buddy Ed) that booked this flight, since he probably knew that this flight was also going to get canceled and he just needed to do something for us to get us out of line and on to the next person.

I sit down, sulk, trying to surrender to the fact that weather is not something I have control over.

Unbelievably, we are eventually called up with a quick "Flight 9011 (yes, that was really the flight number - and trust me, I got the heebie-jeebies when I saw it) is now boarding and the gate will close in 1 minute. There are only 13 (OMG - not thirteen.... I'm afraid of the number 13.....) of you, come on up."

As I clap with joy and run to the jet way, I hear a man say, "But they said there weren't any more flights going to Boston...." and that cooled my heals and made me sad. I didn't even want to go to Boston, but it's the only way I could get home.

Once on the plane, the captain comes out to talk to us about the flight. He too mentions that with there being so few of us, that we are welcome to spread out and sit where we like. I tell the captain about the man that said he couldn't get to Boston and how there might be people out there that would like to get on this flight. They call back out to the agent, who I assume makes as announcement because they found about 20 more people who were able to switch their tickets and get on this flight. (Ironically, the man that made the original comment did not get on the flight) This holds up take off for about 45 minutes. But it doesn't matter, because we are still going - yay! It doesn't even occur to me that we might get stuck in Boston, because nothing is really flying anywhere. We are also told that this particular flight will eventually be flying back to Philadelphia and we ask if we can just stay on board. :o)

And so, we take off for Boston. A 100 mile an hour tail wind gets us up there in no time, but.....the airport is closed due to snow removal. Sigh. We sit in a holding pattern, (read nauseating circles) over Provenance, Rhode Island for about an hour.

We are eventually cleared to land, and my friend smartly avoids telling me that planes slide off the runway at Logan airport all the time....

We have to get off the plane and re-book our Philly flight because due to all of the delays, we have now missed our connection to Philly. We only have a few minutes and as I run to the bathroom, I try looking for a store where I can buy a Red Sox hat for my Braves loving husband. No dice - not enough time. Ironically, we do end up getting right back on the same empty plane, same captain, etc. We will now not be able to make our final connection and are placed on a stand-by flight for 11:05 to get back to ABE. I am fairly certain that we will not be flying into ABE that night.....

We sit on the ground for another good hour until the plane is de-iced and we are cleared for take off. Because of the delay, it's almost certain that we will not be making our final connection. (And where are our bags? Where are they going to end up?) Luckily my co-worker has called her husband and has asked him to pick us up at the Philly airport. We land in Philly, pick up our ride, and an hour and a half later, are home. This doodle was created while in the air from Boston to Philly.

Whew.

Just in time to kiss my husband and wish him a happy anniversary which had actually ended at midnight, but since I hadn't been to bed yet, it still counted. :o)

US Air did a great job of taking care of us in this crappy weather and to Ed, the ticket agent in Atlanta, I'm sorry I was silently cursing you out when I thought the Boston flight was going to get canceled.

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