Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bad Day to Travel: July 23, 2008

July 23 was bad day to travel on the east coast. You have to love the thunderstorms in the summer. On my way to Roanoke airport I saw a car with a NY license plate and thought to myself, I wish I could get a ride with them. I hate flying these days, who doesn't? What I did not know was how much more I would hate flying a few hours later.

I got to the airport very early and killed time reading tabloids and finishing a book. As my plane was suppose to board a flight to Philly got grounded and all the passengers came back to the terminal. I thought to myself glad that isn't my plane...10 minutes later my flight to NY was cancelled.

I was rerouted to Charlotte. My new flight was to take off at 8 and arrive at 10pm, not quite 6:30 but not horrible. The flight to Charlotte had horrible turbulence. After arriving in Charlotte I quickly realized every flight to NY was delayed and my flight was now leaving at 9:40pm. I had about 5 hours to kill. The airport was noisy, crowded and I was miserable. As the evening progressed the gate changed 3 times. The sign at the gate read, flight doors will close 10 minutes prior to 9:50 departure. At 9:25pm no announcement had been made. By 10pm the flight had boarded and what do you know, the ground stop had been put back in place at LGA. Update to follow at 11pm.

At this point I just wanted to leave and try again tomorrow (most other flights had been cancelled already), but I was in Charlotte so that was not an option. At 11pm they announce an alternate route to fly west of the storm. But this requires more fuel and the plane is too heavy (well why even tell us?!). At 12 am as I am walking off the plane to stretch and see where my bag might be, the pilot says we have clearance. We take off sometime between 12 and 12:20 I fall asleep, jolted awake by horrific turbulence and the person next to me, also named Michelle, and I grab hands. We do eventually land in LGA around 1:45, and miraculously my bag is there and my hotel room still available. The concierge asks, would you like a wake up call. I think to myself that's in 4 hours, and decline the offer.

The next day I am only 1 hour late to the conference and find out someone was rerouted 4 times, my counterpart from NC State never made it, and there is a girl with sweats on because her luggage is lost. So other than sleep deprivation, there is comfort in solidarity.

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