I was traveling this weekend to go to my mom's wedding (which was beautiful!). Since the ceremony was in Alabama, however, I was traveling to & from the wedding alone – kind of weird not having little people at my feet 22 hours a day! The flight down was fabulous. I made it through security with no problems…no small feat considering I haven't flown in a plane in over 8 years…before 9-1-1. I had one layover, and both flights left on time, and actually they both arrived 15 minutes early! The only minor hiccup was that the bathroom on the second flight was out of commission…something they failed to mention until AFTER they had closed the doors. But I survived.
The trip back home, however, was not quite as smooth. I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. I did make it through security, but did get scolded for having a bottle of water (that I bought inside the airport) in my carry-on bag, and for putting a bag of souvenirs on top of my laptop…oops! I got to my gate to discover that the first leg of my flight was late. The plane that was supposed to take me from Pensacola to Memphis was delayed because that particular plane was actually coming from Memphis, and they had a lot of snow there. So we got in to Memphis about an hour late; or more specifically, approximately 10 minutes AFTER the connecting flight left for Minneapolis leaving approximately 30 of us scrambling to get to Minneapolis from Memphis.
I was able to get rerouted to Milwaukee and then onto Minneapolis, arriving a little over 2 hours after I was originally supposed to get to Mpls. We boarded the plane to Milwaukee around 2:30, which was when it was supposed to have been in the air, only to discover that the pilot had not actually arrived yet. Apparently, he is a very important part of the crew, since they were not willing to leave without him . Now in his defense, there had been snow in Memphis (which I hear they are not exactly used to), and he was apparently called in late. But, none the less, that left several of us stranded again, since we would not be able to make the connecting flight in Milwaukee. There were 7 of us that decided we would take our chances being stranded in Memphis if we weren't able to get on the stand-by flight that left a few hours later, rather than getting stranded in Milwaukee.
The only saving grace in the entire mess was Donald, the customer service agent at the gate. That poor man had actually been called in on his day off, too, and then was assigned to a flight that didn't yet have a crew to fly the plane, and a ton of people stranded from cancelled or late flights, but he worked with all of us to help get us home. Although he of course couldn't guarantee that we'd get on the next flight, he said based on how the other flights had been going that day, he said he was pretty sure we'd all make it on that flight. And he was right. All seven of us did make it onto the next flight, which was a direct flight to Minneapolis, so there was no fear of missing another connection. However, Donald did not warn us that the basketball team & cheerleaders from NDSU would also be on the plane. Three of which were directly in front of me, rocking out to their iPods… and the fact that they don't serve Diet Coke on the plane.
Once I arrived in Minneapolis, I found my car and started my two hour drive home. But even that had a couple of issues. First of all, to whoever makes those little blue signs on the interstate telling you what restrooms, and gas stations are at the next exit…if the restaurant wanting to advertise on your sign is SEVEN miles from the actual exit, it really has no business even being listed on the sigh. How many people are really going to drive 14 miles round trip just for a chicken soft taco? And to the gas station I stopped at instead since I wasn't driving 14 miles out of my way for a taco…How in the world do you run completely out of Diet Coke? No cans, no bottle, nothing??? And then when I decided I'd have a Diet Dr Pepper instead and grab some chapstick for my very chapped lips, you were also completely out of chapstick, and the Dr Pepper was not even cold. What kind of a convenience store are you?
I did finally make it home around 11 pm on Sunday night…only 5 hours after I originally anticipated and a wee bit exhausted, but at least I was home! I don't anticipate that I'll be making any more cross country trips in the near future! Or if I do, I think we will probably be driving it.