Travel Fail!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let me start out by saying, a good amount of responsibility for last week's disaster belongs to me. I'll own it; I don't like it, but I'll own it.

The night before, I slept like a baby at the Westin Atlanta Airport. Not sure if it was the Mojitos at the hotel bar or the Heavenly Beds they have (seriously, that is the trademarked name for their beds) I woke up, putzed around and headed to the airport. For anyone who hasn't heard me complain about airports, I hate airports. Okay, hate is a strong word; but I don't like getting to the airport earlier than I need to - on American I only need to be there 30 minutes before the flight.

When I walked up to the ticket counter 35 minutes before my flight to Chicago, I found out that in Atlanta it is 40 minutes. Awesome. And the next flight to Chicago will get home 6 hours later than my original itinerary.
Spencer, the ticket agent hooks me up with tickets home through DFW so I'll only get home an hour later - SCORE.

I had plenty of time before my flight, so I stopped and got a magazine and Starbucks then found my gate.  I chatted with a few fellow travelers and eventually boarded the flight.  Boarding the plane was no big deal; the flight was maybe 75% full.  The woman sitting next to me had her 5 month old daughter, Sofia with her - Sofia is already on her 6th flight!  We took off for Dallas and I put in my headphones to watch a movie on my iPod and around the time that the pilot should announce that we are landing at DFW, he announced that we were landing in Austin, Texas because of bad weather in Dallas.

I thought to myself, bad weather in Dallas?  Really?  During our taxi after landing, I turned on my Blackberry and relied on good old Facebook to find out what was going on.  After messaging family north of Dallas, they responded that most of the Dallas area was under Tornado warnings!  Yikes!

Austin's airport was packed with other DFW bound flights; without an available gate, we sat on the tarmac for about three hours.  The pilot came on every 30 minutes to provide us an update, and the flight attendants were awesome.  At this time, its maybe 12:30 and I had skipped breakfast - I was starving!  The flight attendants did their best, brought out pretzels and more drinks to keep everyone happy.  The flight crew let anyone who was connecting to Austin (or nearby) deplane - which gave more room for the rest of us.  Sofia and her mom moved to the row behind ours, to seats vacated by a couple headed to Austin to visit their grandchildren.  All and all, sitting in Austin wasn't bad.  I had cell phone service, my iPod, a good book and power ports below the seat - I was a happy camper. Well, a hungry camper, but happy.

Once I arrived in Dallas around 5:30, my mission was clear - find some food.  Luckily, at DFW airport, I knew exactly what my options were.  So I high tailed it to TGIFriday's.  My breakfast/lunch/dinner there was tasty, but I was bummed because I knew I was missing out on a birthday dinner for a dear friend.  TGIFriday's is no competition for Baratta's, but I was there in spirit.

I waited around until 9pm - 4 gate changes later, I had made a new friend, watched a movie and kept my fingers crossed for standby.  I was pretty lucky because I have status on American Airlines so I was at the top of the standby list.  Still, I didn't have a confirmed flight home, so I made back up plans at a near by hotel.  Of the 19 of us on the standby list - 3 of us made it on the flight.  So around 11:30pm, I arrived in Des Moines and grabbed a late meal with some friends before crashing into my bed.

Total travel time that Saturday? 14.5 hours.  Yup, about what it takes to get to Europe.  Did I learn my lesson?  Sure. For now ;)

1 comment

  1. Mmm... Baratta's.

    Sorry, the rest of the post was magically erased from my memory after that.


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