Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Ian and I have never gotten stranded while traveling, so today we get to blaze new territory (for us). The friends who dropped us off took us extra-super-early because they wanted to avoid any snow driving, and there was a big storm predicted to hit around 1:00 pm. We got to the airport at 11:00 am, checked in (enjoying the very short first class line), and waited. And waited… and waited… and waited. Until finally, about 3:30 or 4:00 pm, after hearing announcements canceling pretty much every other US Airways flight, we heard the fateful announcement about our flight. First they told us the plane would land in 5 minutes; then 20 minutes later, that the flight was canceled and we would have to rebook.
Again having first class tickets did us a favor, because we were able to skirt the airplane-full of people who also needed to rebook. Unfortunately, no amount of first class-ness could make space on planes that are already full. That means that now we fly out of Providence tomorrow afternoon at 1:30, but leave Philadelphia at 8:35 pm, arriving in Seattle (supposedly) at 11:38 pm. Weather is supposed to be bad in Seattle tomorrow, too. Goodness knows when Ian and I will actually make it to our families.
But I will say, Ian and I sure have learned a lot today. We learned:
1. It can never hurt to go on standby for earlier flights if you can. We arrived at the Providence (TF Green) airport at 11:00 for a 3:30 pm flight; the gal who helped us check in offered to put us on standby for the two earlier flights (11:40 am and 1:30 pm), but we decided not to. That single decision might have changed our fate.
2. Ask the people at Information for the cheapest places to stay. We picked the Holiday Inn, because Ian always imagined it as cheap; but later, we heard that the Comfort Inn had rooms for $50.
3. You have to call for the Holiday Inn shuttle to pick you up. We found this out after watching the other hotel shuttles come and go a few times. Finally we called and they sent a shuttle what felt like an eternity later.
4. The Holiday Inn Express is actually a really fancy hotel. Well, relatively fancy. Our room, which cost about $120 (and is not paid for by the airline because they canceled for weather, not something in their control), has a little sitting room area, two TVs, a fridge, a coffee maker, a king-sized bed, and very expensive drinks in the fridge. Also free wi-fi and a free breakfast tomorrow. That’s good because we have no food with us.
5. When your flight is canceled, you get your bags back. Fortunately we did get our bags the first time around, for which I am quite grateful. At least we get to wear clean clothes tomorrow, even if we don’t have any toothbrushes or toothpaste.
But I think we did a few things right this time:
1. Go first class. This meant that we got our flights rescheduled ahead of most of the other people on our flight when our flight got canceled. TF Green is too small an airport for a first class lounge, but we arrived so early that we at least got seats to watch as the weather worsened.
2. Made a hotel reservation from the airport. That way even though we later found out about the $50 rooms, we at least knew we had somewhere warm and comfortable waiting for us to sleep.
Other things: I saw a convoy of huge snowplows — and I mean the convoy, the trucks, and the plows were all huge. They were gigantic trucks, a line of half a dozen or up to a dozen, with plows that looked as wide as a normal driving lane. Despite their efforts, though, the snow covered the ground before they had even vanished from sight. Snow started falling at 1:45 pm (we had nothing else to do but watch it start and observe its accumulation), and by the time our flight had been canceled and we got to the Holiday Inn at about 5:00, four to six inches had already accumulated. The van driver told us the roads were terrible, and I believe it. I can’t imagine trying to land a plane in this weather — no wonder all the flights out tonight were canceled.
It was interesting to watch travelers’ reactions. Some people got horribly distressed, angry, swearing about it; other people started crying; but most people just kind of went limp and miserable. I’m certainly disappointed and not eager to resume traveling, let alone travel so long and arrive in Seattle so late. But I’m not really overly bothered by the delay. At first I was frustrated that we hadn’t gotten on standby for the earlier flights, but that’s done and it might not have made any difference anyway. We heard one girl say she’d been on standby since 4:00 am. I just hope and pray our travel tomorrow goes smoothly, now that we’ve lost one of our precious 10 days of Seattle vacation time.
On a different not: Blagojevich says “I am not a crook!”