Sunday, January 4, 2009

And how was your holiday?

Oh, hi there. I know I said I'd be back soon, and hey! Here I am! But I hope you didn't have your heart set on a recipe, because first I have to tell you about my ridiculous holiday travels. I will do it in bullet point format, because there are some crazy twists and turns and I think you will thank me for the Clif notes.

The original plan: direct flight from Boston to Kansas City on December 22nd, rent car, drive to Northeast Oklahoma, spend 5 days with Adam's family, drive back to Kansas City on December 26th, return car, fly Kansas City to Boston (via Milwaukee).

Here's what actually happened:
  • We got to the airport in Boston to a flight "delayed about half an hour" according to the agent who checked us in.
  • At the gate we heard from some other passengers that the flight would be delayed a couple of hours. No big deal, it's a direct flight.
  • Our original flight on Midwest Airlines was cancelled, 10 minutes before the flight was supposed to take off.
  • We waited in line to be re-booked; in an hour they had helped 3 people.
  • When we were the second people in line, we were sent to another counter and promised there would be no line. There was a line of 6 other parties.
  • When we got to the front of the second line, we said please get us to any of the following cities: Dallas, Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, or Rogers, Arkansas. There was nothing available to anywhere. It was December 22nd.
  • We offered to drive to Oklahoma (somewhere between 24 and 30 hours drive time, depending on whether you stop), Midwest said they would pay for the car.
  • Nobody would rent us a car for a one-way 1500 miles. This is the only point in the story where I cried: the very nice shuttle driver for Enterprise offered to take us to the other car rental booths.
  • We went back to the Midwest counter. Meanwhile, Adam's mom had pulled into a travel agency in Oklahoma, and found us a flight on Southwest to Tulsa out of Providence leaving the next morning (December 23rd).
  • Midwest finally offered to pay for our new flight, move our return trip to Sunday (since at this point we had eaten up at least a a day in travel time), get us to Providence, and pay for a hotel so we wouldn't have to figure out a way to get to Providence in the morning. And they bought us lunch. Thanks, Midwest!
  • Since this is ostensibly a food blog, I will now share a photo of our dinner that night at the Holiday Inn Express in Providence:
  • December 23rd: we got up in Providence, took the hotel shuttle to the airport, and took off to Chicago, where we would change planes for Tulsa.
  • We made it to the sky above Chicago. We circled for an hour and half. We ran out of fuel and visibility was still terrible, so we were re-routed to Louisville, KY for fuel.
  • In Louisville, we sat for two or three hours on the tarmac. They let people off the plane (when we finally had a gate). They refueled. They put people back on the plane. We took off for Chicago again.
  • This time, we landed in Chicago! Yay! While we taxied to the gate, I called Southwest, explained the situation, and got us re-booked on the next flight to Tulsa, since we had missed our 12:30 flight. Done! Flight was supposed to leave at 5:30.
  • This is what Chicago looked like:
  • Don't these people look happy? We went to the gate in Chicago to confirm our status on the next flight to Tulsa. When they looked up our reservation, we were booked to... wait for it!.... Tucson, AZ! WRONG.
  • Once that was straightened out, we hung out in this mess for about six hours, waiting to see if we would make standby on the flight that was scheduled for 5:30 but would more likely take off around 7:15.
  • We made standby. Except the flight left the gate at 8:15. And sat on the tarmac waiting to take off for an hour and a half.
  • We were informed we needed to be de-iced again and also refueled because of all the sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off.
  • We went back to the gate, refueled. Went back to the tarmac, de-iced. Took off, finally, at 11:00.
  • We were to stop in St. Louis to exchange passengers but not change planes. We landed at 2:00 am on December 24th.
  • Why do I have a picture of the St. Louis airport at 2 am if we weren't changing planes? Because they pilots were no longer allowed to fly! They had spent too long in the cockpit and had to take a break! Of course! So we got in that line of happy looking people and waited to be re-booked. AGAIN.
  • We met a lovely couple from St. Louis who had waited at the airport for hours for this flight. They considered driving. We considered buying the gas and going with them.
  • Instead, Southwest added a flight at 8 am for those of us who had been displaced. They did this at 3 am.
  • We pulled some benches together and slept for a couple of hours at the airport in St. Louis.
  • In the morning, our flight was delayed again. Not even surprising anymore, is it? We took off around 9:00 am on Christmas Eve. At least we got to see this:
  • Flying can be beautiful! We finally landed in Tulsa at 11 am or so on Christmas Eve. In fact, we had a very visit. Christmas was fun. But I don't plan to travel during the holidays anytime soon. Someone remind me of that in 11 1/2 months, ok?


  1. yikes! that pretty much sucks. i never like to fly around the holidays and that story pretty much seals the deal.

  2. oh my, that does not sound like fun :( i'm sure it was worth it when you got there...

  3. Holy cats, what an epic of suck! At least it had a happy ending. Glad you eventually made it!

  4. Passing thru via Homesick Texan.....quite an adventure you had....your "waiting area" airport pic shows a "why the hell are you taking a pic of this disaster" expression from that older man in red with the Santa-like beard......Happy New Year

  5. Oh My * to see it all in print * ugh! Glad you finally made it safely & really glad you got home safe & sound! xo AP

  6. Hmm, I get to go through Chicago today and from what our gate agents are saying it must be looking a lot like your picture. I think I'm going to be spending the night there.

    I hate O'Hare, I don't know why I keep booking connecting flights through there.