My apologies for being gone for so long!
I spent an absurd amount of hours in an airport about a week and a half ago...I went on a 48 hour business trip and I'm almost positive I spent more time in the airport/on a plane than I did at my conference. ugh.
Be prepared--this is much longer and detailed than I had originally intended...but in order to get my frustrations across, you have to know the entire story.
The first day of travel, my flight was scheduled to depart at 12:55, with a 40 minute layover in New Jersey. So, like a good passenger, I got to the airport around 11:30 after having an early lunch with Z. By the time I got finished checking in and through security, my flight was already delayed. Fast forward 2.5 hours, and we finally get on the plane at 2pm. We then proceeded to sit on the plane for another...oh...2 hours before we finally took off. Sheesh.
I landed in New Jersey around the time I was supposed to be landing in my final destination. Luckily I didn't have class until the next morning, so I wasn't in a hurry. Just frustrated. My kindle wouldn't work, my phone was dying, and I was both hungry and tired. At this point I've spent 6 hours in an airport.
Turns out, my connecting flight to Michigan had also been delayed a ridiculous amount of time. Something was up with the airport that day, and almost all of the flights were running multiple hours behind. Lucky for me, I got to catch my original connecting flight. I finally landed in Michigan around 10:00 that night...4.5 hours after I was supposed to.
I had class all day Wednesday and Thursday. I gathered lots of new information into my little brain and then skedaddled right back to the airport after being in class all day on Thursday--in fact, I even had to leave class early to make my flight. At this point, it was 4pm, I had been up for almost 12 hours, and I was running on about 4 hours of sleep.
We all know how this story goes, don't we?
My flight is at 6pm, so I get to the airport at 4:00 to find out that yet again, my flight into Newark is already delayed. I proceed to
throw a fit ask the guy very nicely if there is a different flight that I can take. He tells me that the flight is only delayed by 15 minutes, so I should be fine.
I had been talking to Z by text message all afternoon, and he had been keeping up with my flight. He knew that Newark was already posting 90 minute delays, and there was a possibility that my flight could be delayed even further. But did I push the issue? Nah, I figured I'd be fine. If the guy at the ticket counter says i'll be fine, then I'll be fine.
So, I decided to grab Starbucks, take advantage of the free-yet slower than my Grandma-WiFi that the airport offered to blog about my hatred of airports and burn off some time. At this point, it was around 5:00. I figured I would go ahead and go through security.
I get through security, make it to my gate, and see a departure time of not 6:15, the 15 minute delay that I had been told, but 7:00. Already a 60 minute delay. At this point, I've got my cranky pants on. I was tired. I decided that my best option would be to find a secluded seat in the corner of this very tiny airport and take a nap until boarding.
MAYBE 15 minutes passes. I was drifting off to sleep, and I hear the dreaded words:
Your flight has been cancelled.
So here I am, crankypants in full force. After going through what I had been through on Tuesday, I was not a happy camper. I was very tired, stuck in a state I knew nothing about, and getting very frustrated. I made my way to the ticket counter and asked the nice person to find me another flight home.
Lucky me--there was a flight to Chicago that was supposed to leave at 5:00, but that had been delayed until 6. They rerouted my luggage, gave me a boarding pass, and I headed across
the airport the aisle to my new flight. It put me home at exactly the same time I had originally planned to be home. Relief.
I get to Chicago and have lots of time to kill. I lost an hour of time AND my flight didn't leave until 9pm. I wandered through the airport--well, not really wandered...I was switching carriers, so I had to switch terminals. Allllllll the way across one of the largest airports in the country. I get to terminal 1 where United is, go to the help counter to get a boarding pass, and the people CAN'T PRINT IT. They talk gibberish to people on the phone for about 15 minutes while I stand there, all while my crankypants get increasingly tighter and my stomach begins to make baby dinosaur noises.
They send me back to terminal 2, where my flight apparently will be departing from. I go to the ticket counter there, and the people STILL CANNOT PRINT MY BOARDING PASS. The lady takes my license and tells me to wait a little while, that she'll fix it. I wait. and wait. and wait. I start a new book. I try to take a nap. The baby dinosaur noises in my stomach are getting louder. Eventually they start sounding like a full grown dinosaur, so I go back up to the ticket counter. A different person is there, and I explain to her that not once, but twice, people have attempted to print my boarding pass but it's locked up in some magical system where no one can get their hands on it. At this point I'm thinking I'm being Punk'ed. Thank goodness this lady was able to finally fight the magical dragons of boarding pass hoarders, and I finally got it.
By this time, the dinosaur in my stomach was desperate to get out. I abandoned my diet and headed straight for McDonald's. This girl does not make very good food choices when stressed. As boarding time approached closer, I got anxious. I was excited to get home.
About 15 minutes before boarding, my coworker, who ended up being on the same flight as me, informs me that our flight has been delayed. I'm sure that he thought I was going to come out of my chair and grow 15 heads, the way that I looked at him. There was nothing we could do about it--our flight was the last scheduled flight of the night back to Raleigh. So we wait.
We wait. And wait. And wait. Damn if our flight wasn't delayed 2 stinkin hours. Now remember, the flight wasn't even originally supposed to take off until 9pm. That now puts us at 11pm takeoff in a different time zone, a two hour flight, and a 2am arrival at home. I don't normally sleep on planes, but I'm pretty sure I conked out for almost the entire flight back to Raleigh.
I landed in Raleigh right around 2am--2 hours after scheduled. I had just spent another 10 hour day in an airport. 20 hours total over the course of two days, all for 8 hours worth of class and knowledge.
I go to baggage claim to find my luggage and what do you know--not there. Somehow, it had gotten on the earlier flight back to Raleigh and was stored in an office. I grabbed my luggage, thanked the man, and proceeded outside to find Z. I will be more than happy to not see the inside of any kind of airport for a very, very long time.