Adventures on the Way to Chicago

I don’t know what it is about me and flying. Maybe it’s not me. Maybe flying is a horrendous experience for everyone on the planet. Maybe it’s my expectations. I should just expect to have a hellacious experience every single time I step foot in an airport.

Oh wait. That’s already what I do anyway.

I’ve started flying out of Boston whenever possible instead of Portland. I can often get a direct flight from Boston, and it’s cheaper to boot. I just catch the bus to Boston and it takes me right to the airport. Easy peasy. So that’s what I did yesterday. I got to the airport 2.5 hours early (it never hurts to be careful, when it comes to me and travel). As soon as I got to the gate, I saw there was going to be trouble. The flight before me (also to Chicago on United) was delayed by an hour. My flight was delayed by a half hour (so they said).

Half hour. One flight. No connections. So what, right?

We ended up taking off about an hour late. Still, I was thinking this wasn’t so bad. They didn’t make us wait on the plane for forever. Bonus. And then, thirty or so minutes from Chicago, the captain got on he loudspeaker. I was expecting him to announce that we’d be there soon.

“Folks, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you. Chicago just called to say thunderstorms have shut down the runways in and out of the airport for at least the next forty-five minutes. We’d wait it out in the air, but we don’t have enough fuel to do that. So we’re going to be landing in Indianapolis to refuel and then wait on the ground until they give us the all clear.”

Ironically, the flight attendants had the temerity to do their “Welcome to Indianapolis” spiel when we landed. Um, when I get stuck in a city I don’t want to be in, I don’t want to hear a welcome.

So we went to a gate, had to stay on the plane, refueled, taxi’ed out to the runway, and then sat there for an hour or so. I got to Chicago at 8:45.

Of course, that’s just 3.5 hours late. So maybe I should be thankful it wasn’t worse. The airport was a zoo when I got there. (Stands to reason, what with the runways having been closed for 2 hours or so.) I’m am glad that I was on the 4 o’clock flight. I’d taken the earlier one on purpose–knowing that I usually am afflicted with some airplane curse on the way over.

So once I found my way to the subway, took the 45 minute ride to the city, found my connecting bus, made it to the hotel, tried to check in, had my credit card declined, called the card company, cleared the hold, checked in again, and got to my room, it was 10:30.

I love flying.

All’s well that end’s well, right? Except that I just looked on Google Maps to see how far my hotel is from my home. I could drive there in about 17 hours. I left my house yesterday morning at 8:30. I got to to the hotel at 10:30 at night (11:30 EDT). Which means it would have just taken me two hours longer to drive here yesterday than it did to fly.

But hey–two hours more wouldn’t have been fun at all. So I guess I should just stop complaining.

In other news–ALA time! If you’re here, give me a shout out, and I’ll try to say hello.

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