TBT: TRAVEL AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

You may have noticed my absence this past week as my trip to spend time with a grand baby was probably one of more trying weeks I have experienced. Not the time with the youngun’ but the travel both to and fro…

Mother Nature played a huge role in first reaching the destination. It was no secret that a major storm was going to hit in the wee hours before my departure. Sure enough at 2 a.m. Balto, our dog, showed up at bedside to let me know he did not like the sound of the that big dog in the sky. I knew it was going to be a really long day… As long as I was awake trying to comfort him and besides worrying I could check the flight status of my AA plane. Since this small plane originates in town for the 47 minute flight, of course, it was listed on time. The immediate issue would be whether our mile long drive would be passable as flash flooding was forecasted. The storm was impressive and came in waves but the downpours had dissipated by 4 and we did depart the End of the Rainbow Valley a bit earlier than previously discussed in case of downed trees/ other obstacles.

The heaven’s lightning was still putting on quite a show but the storm definitely had moved on except for the lightning. Arrived without issues and TSA did stop me to open my bag for a sand filled eye mask (for dry eyes) but I had arrived with time to spare. It was suggested to put the mask separate in the future. Okay, fine, noted.

Then the gate attendant announced there’d be a 10 minute delay for boarding as there’s a rule that the lightning needed to be quiet for at least 10 minutes for both passenger/ workcrew safety in the jetway/on ground. Understandable and I had allowed time for my connecting flight. We boarded but before pulling away the captain came on announcing the storm had backed up planes in O’Hare and we would be diverted to Traverse City Michigan making the trip almost 2 hours longer. We could deplane in the meanwhile for the hour. I opted to stay on board and research later connecting flights from O’Hare and made a noon departure connection.

About 15 of us had stayed aboard but after an hour plus the flight attendant announced that it was decided we should take all our possessions and deplane. The storm had hit Chicago and there would be another hour delay. The writing was on the wall, I knew this flight would be cancelled and there wouldn’t be room for all of us on the next flight. But we hadn’t even gotten to the jet bridge when we heard the crew discussing O’Hare was closing down. There’d be no planes coming/going. There would be a snack cart for us in the terminal…

Yep, not only was our flight cancelled all of us would be bussed after rerouting all of us from the Twin Cities a 2 1/2 hour bus ride. We would need to grab our luggage at the baggage area first before working with an attendant to reroute. I decided to get in line first. I’m thinking there’s no way we’re all even leaving on the shuttle until a 11. I was like 5th in line and no spaces were available the next day in La Crosse so I was given my Twin City departure flight, get this, their last direct flight to Atlanta at 9 pm getting me to the kids’s home at 1:30 am their time. The kids were departing on a late flight themselves the next day so I needed to get there …

Miraculously we were on the 3 mini bus shuttles (one shuttle was just for luggage) by 10. We weren’t even 15 minutes away when we pulled into a rest area. What? We needed a rest already? 10 minutes later a truck pulls up with 2 passengers who had been left behind. One was the gal who ended up sitting next to me. She had fallen asleep waiting and the other guy with her had been walking around and missed the shuttle call. Oy.

My Air Force seatmate who had spent the last 2 weeks in the area training provided interesting convo and had enjoyed her Coulee visit, she already was planning on Ubering around the Twin Cities during her wait. I contemplated joining her but thought perhaps I could land an earlier flight. Upon our 1 pm arrival we grabbed our bags and I headed for TSA. It was packed and when I finally reached the TSA agent, he apologized informing me the paper ticket I had in hand was not a boarding pass. Oh dear, I don’t even remember the last time I had a paper ticket, my mistake but one thing I had was plenty of time… I was ushered out of the TSA area and hiked back to the machines to get a boarding pass since the new ticket was on Delta not American.

Back in line, a shorter one I might add in all the hubbub, I had forgotten to pull that dang eye mask and sure enough, backpack got pulled again in addition to my suspicious reading tabs for my discussion book needing scrutiny. Once again I have 8 hours. I look at the departure boards and before heading to each flight to get on their waiting lists, I stop at the Delta Service Center. She tells me I might as well forget it unless I’m a platinum member even if I pay the $75 fee. I head over to the Atlanta flight and get in line anyway I’m #13 but transferring crew also get priority, I go get lunch opting for Mideastern at the food trucks. Nice meal. Then on to the 2nd flight I’m # 20. No way but I have plugged in using time to catch up on correspondence.

I hear the last call announcement of a nearby gate and 2 standbys being called. They don’t show, I approach the gate attendant explaining my predicament for that last flight. She says they’re full. I plop down dejected. A woman rushes up with 2 kids they board. That’s it . The attendant is on the phone confirming last passengers and looks over at me, motioning me over. One seat is left by the family who just boarded. I ‘m the last person on, the door closes behind me. I’m on 2 hours earlier , I text my son in law as the back away from the jet bridge. I am relieved to be heading to Atlanta… A long day, I won’t even bore you more with my return flight. Suffice it to say after boarding with a supposed earlier departure, a part was needed which would need 2 hours but make me miss my Chicago connection. I ended up spending one more night in Atlanta and getting to see that precious grand baby that extra morning. I’m so glad to be home with no air travel for a while.

Enjoying sitting on the porch in 70 degrees viewing the End of the Rainbow Valley hillside that blossomed in my absence…

4 thoughts on “TBT: TRAVEL AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

  1. Sometimes trips to and fro can be exhausting. My daughter’s family recently had an airplane trip just like yours. Beautiful photo of the blooming hillside. There is no place like home.

    Like

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