When Good Omens Portend Bad Travel

Date June 14, 2008

As I was driving from Chicago to Columbus in a driving rainstorm at 4:00 this morning, I got to tallying up my 2008 travels…or…er…travails to the West Coast. Four trips so far in 2008 — three to California, one to Victoria, British Columbia — and none of them were for more than two nights (two of them were for a single night!). Getting to the Pacific time zone from the Eastern time zone is not too bad. Being there for a short period of time wreaks marginal havoc on my system. Getting back…is a bear.

The second leg of my return from this most recent trip was from Seattle to Chicago. As we took off, I had a great view of Mount Rainier, so I snapped a picture:

Mt. Rainier from Above

Pretty neat, and I took it as a good sign. What the picture doesn’t show is that I had been sitting in the Seattle airport for almost four hours. Flying in from Victoria, I missed hopping on an earlier flight to Chicago by all of five minutes. And then the flight I was slated to be on (this one) took off two hours late.

I kept my fingers crossed that my Chicago-Columbus flight had also been sufficiently delayed that I would still make my connection. Or, if not that one, then at least the Chicago-Columbus flight that was scheduled to depart two hours later.

Then the pilot announced that we’d been put into a holding pattern over Madison, Wisconsin due to congestion in O’Hare’s airspace. That, at least, meant I got to see a pretty nice sunset when we did get around to making our final descent (point-and-shoot camera through an airplane window with me not sure as to whether I was using an “electronic device” in violation of FAA guidelines — didn’t exactly leave me time to try to adjust the exposure settings):

As it turned out, I was 20 minutes late for both flights — American Airlines realized enough of their passengers were going to miss one or the other of the Chicago-Columbus flights that they could just combine them into one flight, throw their hands up in the air, and let a planeload’s worth of customers get the “it’s weather-related, so you’re screwed, but there are some cots down in the K terminal if you want to use them” message from a red courtesy phone. My next guaranteed seat wasn’t going to go out until 3:30 PM the following day. I tried to hop a flight to Cincinnati, but I was behind four guys who were all ticketed to go to Cincinnati who still didn’t get on, so that didn’t work out. After talking to Julie, I decided it was better to take my fate into my own hands, rent a car, and just drive. I arrived home at 6:45 AM.

One Response to “When Good Omens Portend Bad Travel”

  1. Connie Bensen said:

    … at the mercy of the airlines! It always seemed a challenge to get to Victoria. I’m not sure which was more challenging – thru Seattle or Vancouver. The 2nd time thru Seattle I ended up on the adventure of a float plane into Victoria. And our race thru the human maze called pre-clearance at Vancouver was always interesting.

    My new direction is DC…but not for awhile. We’ll see if they want to meet me in person… or not?!! 🙂

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