Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wish you were--O'Hare?

Or How I Spent My Spring Vacation

De-Icing the Engine--sm

The plan was fine--travel south for sun and beaches. Except for a minor weather delay. Trouble started yesterday morning when my e-mail revealed that our flight to Mobile, Alabama had been canceled. Bravely, I called the airline and sat on hold for 30 minutes. There was a little snow falling but nothing much compared to the other major storms this winter. Not enough to account for a canceled flight I thought.
Well, there weren't many flights available to points south since it is Easter weekend but luck prevailed and we found a flight to New Orleans, only 100 miles west of Mobile. And I've always wanted to visit New Orleans. I changed our hotel reservation and made a reservation for the first night in New Orleans. So far so good.
So a couple of hours later off we trek to the airport. We arrive in plenty of time, make it through security in near record time and have a leisurely lunch. The weather is starting to look exciting but my plane is still marked as on time. The kids and I enjoy watching the planes being de-iced.


We mosey on down to the gate and find that the plane is delayed. I can handle this I tell myself. Then there is a further delay and mention of needing to get a part. They'll let us know whether they need another plane by 3:00. At 3, the departure is delayed until 5 PM. I watch them de-ice the plane and tow it away, presumably for repairs. Younger son is getting cranky. I'm wandering around the terminal pretending to shop.


At 5 PM the flight is canceled. We all troop over to the "rebooking center". I have the bright idea that it might be better to call the 800 number than to sit in a 200 person line for the final 4 seats to any point south. I get a representative who tells me the next flight is Tuesday. I tell him I heard another airline has seats leaving a 6 PM. He tells me that they need to protect their "customer base." And that they have no obligation to book me with another airline in case of weather delays (never mind cranky kids, a ruined vacation and two canceled flights). He tells me over my objections that the other airlines do this too. I indelicately tell him that the fact that the other airlines are #!@#! too is no excuse. He says, "What did you call me?" I say, "Just do your job, sir." He hangs up. I call another representative who tells me that she can't get me on the other flight because it was due to leave 3 hours ago (true) and is no longer on her computer to book. She manages to find me a flight out to Baton Rouge Lousiana tomorrow. It will have to do.

Yellow is for delayed or canceled

We troop down to baggage claim and eventually get our bags. A cab takes us home. A nice 7 hour vacation to O'Hare International Airport.
So here I am after a good night's sleep in my own bed, all rebooked to Louisiana with a return via Gulfport Mississippi. I hope the plane leaves this time. I have my doubts since I couldn't get a seat assignment. I wonder if they overbooked? Given the thousands of stranded people at O'Hare yesterday, it wouldn't surprise me.
At least it makes for a good tale.


Kathe said...

Uh....Happy Easter....? *weak smile*

TutleyMutley said...

You were sooo patient! Good pics, good story.

Chris in Oxford said...

so sorry to hear of your traveling travails. The American airlines are just horrible. Thank god I don't have to deal with them often any more. Unfortunately we do have a date next month but orlando - la will hopefully leave them without the weather excuse at least. Hope you get out tomorrow!

Rayne said...

Well, that sounds like fun. Not.
I am hoping that since there are no further posts you finally made it onto a plane and to some place warm and sunny. Although, by this point, I think I would be happy just to get on a plane that is actually going somewhere.

Jud said...

The lack of recent posts leads me to guess that your were able to head down here to the sunny South.

Mobile and environs can be quite lovely, and it is warm enough to see gators when crossing the bay bridge.

I hope you were able to salvage the vacation.