Thursday, May 12, 2011

Worst Travel Day Ever

I don’t remember how I tolerated frequent business travel when I worked for Hilton. Maybe I just got used to it being the norm – all the time wasted, the aggravation, the irritation and noise. These days I travel much more rarely, and make arrangements for our own convenience. Yesterday we just needed to get from Prescott to Chicago. It took all day, and we only made it to Dallas.

It started at 3:45 AM yesterday, when we got up to get ready and close up the Prescott house for our planned two month absence. By 5:15 AM we were ready for our good neighbor to give us a ride into downtown Prescott to catch the shuttle to Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport.

We arrived at the airport a little after 8:00 AM. AAdvantage Miles from American Airlines provided us with free flights to Chicago, although we had to change planes in Dallas. That didn’t seem like a big deal when I made the arrangements. But as we approached Dallas, first the pilot announced that we would have to change our approach into Dallas due to weather. A little later, he announced that we would have to divert to San Antonio and land there to wait out the violent weather passing through Dallas.

Our wait on the tarmac in San Antonio lasted four hours. By the time we reached Dallas at about 7:00 PM, DFW Airport was a madhouse. Our connecting flight to Chicago had either left earlier or was cancelled – that was never really clear. After waiting in line at the gate for two hours, we received a discount voucher for a room at the Sheraton in downtown Dallas. We were told there was a shuttle that would take us there, but discovered the shuttle was unavailable at that time of night. A $50 taxi ride later, we checked into the Sheraton at 10:00 PM. At that point, we had been travelling for 15 hours. After dinner in a very noisy sports bar (the only thing open after 10), we collapsed into bed.

Here it is, Thursday morning, and I am still 950 miles from Chicago. We travelled only with a backpack with minimal supplies – so I will wear home the jeans I wore yesterday, underthings washed out in the sink last night, and a T shirt borrowed from Ron. Once I pull myself together, I’ll be checking with the front desk to see if they have any toiletries for distressed passengers. Sigh. We’ll be on the 12:35 PM shuttle for a flight that departs for Chicago (hopefully) just before 3:00 PM. We should arrive at our home in Chicago by about 7:00 tonight.

I’m thankful that American Airlines kept us safe, but pretty disappointed with their ability to serve their passengers effectively at the airport last night. Fortunately, we can afford an unexpected diversion like this (which will amount to over $300) – but feel empathy for those who probably spent the night at the airport last night because they couldn’t.

Next stop, the internet lounge in the lobby to post my blog. I’m not paying another $12.95 for access from my guest room.

I wanna go home.

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