Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another travel nightmare

Coming home wasn't much better than going out.

Flight scheduled for 1:51. I was supposed to be home in Bloomington at 5:38.

I checked into the airport at 11:30 , just over the 2 hour recommended arrival. As I checked in the ticket counter guy told me that there was bad weather in Chicago and my flight had already been delayed and would not depart until 3:30. I thought oh no. not again.

We did board the plane at 3:00 and took off at 3:30. Then we got to Chicago and circled, and circled, and circled. A storm had stopped over O'Hare and it was closed. Nothing was going into or out of Ohare. We circled for just over an hour then redirected to Des Moines Iowa. Why? We were going to run out of gas. We didn't get to depart the plane in Iowa, we just sat there for 45 minutes while we filled up on gas and were able to get back in the air.

Finally, the 2nd trip to Chicago for me wasn't too bad. We only had to circle once before being able to get in line to land. Once we were on the ground we had to wait for a plane to pull away from the gate. Finally at 8:40, I departed the plane from my 1:40 minute flight to Chicago.

Before I left Dallas I was told that my connecting flight to Bloomington had already been cancelled and that there was no other flight for me to get on. Rather than get stranded in Chicago I called my dad and asked him to come and pick me up from the airport, and I asked if my bag could get off the plane in Chicago for me. I was told it could and the agent working the counter made a note in the computer.

My poor dad had to wait in the airport for me for over 2 hours. While he was waiting he sat down and chatted with the limo drivers that were sitting around waiting for their passengers to arrive. One of them mentioned that Gallagher was walking around just a little bit away. As Gallagher walked by, one of th drivers said something and he stopped and talked to them for a bit. So the delay was good, it let my dad meet Gallagher.

I however, got to stand around waiting for my bag. After everyone who was on my flight was gone and my bag hadn't I then went and stood in line at the baggage counter and waited. After about 30 minutes I got to talk to someone that told me that my bag was already on another plan headed for Bloomington. How can my bag be on a plane that doesn't exist for me to get on? Ok, well an hour after getting off the plane I am finally walking out of the airport with only the clothes on my back and my laptop bag.

The goog thing about being stranded at an airport and on a flight for a while is that there's lot's of time to read. I ran to the bookstore at the airport and bought a copy of a little known book by an author Dan Brown. It's called "The Da Vinci Code". This book had a really interesting looking cover and a few interesting quotes on the back, so I bought it. I got to read just over 200 pages on the way home. If you haven't heard of "The Da Vinci Code", I recommend it. I'm not finished with it yet, but it's definitely a page turner.

About 2 AM I was able to get off the phone with the baggage call center in India. Apparently there was nothing I could do to get my bag shipped home to me without me paying the shipping fees for the 50 pound bag. I won't get into the bad customer service that I got on the phone. My parents woke up and drove me the rest of the way home first thing in the morning. Finally at 10 AM on Saturday I was home.

It's interesting to note that both on the way out and the way back, I could have made better time by driving the entire distance on my own. I hate flying. I don't know what my next training will be, but I'm going to do everything possible to keep it within driving distance.