The Trials and Tribulations of Winter Travel

The Trials and Tribulations of Winter Travel

I just returned from a planned 12-day trip to the East Coast that morphed into a 15-day trip, thanks to the lovely Philadelphia weather and US Airways mess-ups. With this amount of vacation, I could have gone to Europe and back again, but then I would have missed seeing mom and dad.

We all get stuck sometimes:  in places, situations, jobs…. where we want to be or get someplace else at a certain time.  After my entertaining experience, which could have been a great reality show, a life lesson was definitely learned.  Being stuck in one airport for over 8 hours and then overnight at a different airport definitely made me think about where we are supposed to be – at least at any given moment.  

Sunday:  So here’s my story

My sister, brother-in-law, 3 ½ year old nephew and 3-month old nephew flew back to spend twelve fantastic days with my parents and to see old friends, family and visit our old stomping grounds. After a great visit, this past Sunday we were scheduled to take a 1:55PM flight out of Philly, scheduled to arrive in LA at 4:55PM; and then the blizzard came…OK, no problem, delays happen a lot during winter and we were rescheduled to arrive in LA at 9:00PM that same night.

6 hours later we were told of a second delay, so now we are looking at a 12-midnight arrival.  Two more hours go by and all flights are canceled and then the fun started; on their own, US Airways re-booked our flights and I am now scheduled for a Tuesday AM departure while my sister and her family were booked on a Monday flight with a connection through Phoenix.  Hello…do they not see that her reservation lists a child and lap child, let alone that we all had reservations together?  What are they thinking?  

Local officials said to stay off the roads unless there is an emergency, so now we’re stranded at the airport with children who have been there for 8 hours and are getting a bit tired and cranky.  Thank goodness for Uncle Larry, the hero who puts his safety at risk and came to rescue us; he saved the day and we ended up at my brother- in-law’s parent’s house.  

As soon as I could I got on the internet and saw my sister’s flight still had seats available, but only in First Class. My brother-in-law said, “Call…you never know.” 

Luckily, I got to speak with Dwayne in customer service, where I explained our drama and our desire to fly back together as soon as possible: “I really need to get back to Los Angeles on Monday and can’t wait until Tuesday.  My family is on a flight leaving tomorrow that connects in Phoenix and there are only first class seats available.  How giving do you feel this holiday season, Dwayne?” Yes, that is exactly what I said to Dwayne.  I was placed on hold for about 30 seconds and then Dwayne came back on the line to share, “Miss Baker, you are confirmed for Monday’s flight with your family in first class seating.”  I was shocked and so thrilled.  I thanked Dwayne and ask to speak with a Supervisor to sing his praises, as he deserved it.

Monday:  Our new day of departure

We get to the airport on time and were relieved that we will be sleeping in our own beds that evening; at least that was what we thought.  The weather at this point is much better and cooperating, but we leave Philadelphia 40 minutes late due to our flight crew being late. Our connection gives us 45 minutes to catch our flight in Phoenix, so of course we are praying to make up time in the air.  Side Note to anyone who flies: first class on US Airways was not all that – Virgin America coach is way better!  :)

While in the air, I’m catching up with my emails and what do I get…an email update from US Airways stating that I have been re-booked for a flight departing Phoenix on Tuesday AM.  WHAT?!  You’ve got to be kidding me?!  I decide to breathe and wait until I land to see what is going on now.  I am praying that it’s a mistake, but in my gut I know that it means we will be missing our connection. Well, the headwinds were insane so we never made up time.  We arrived 60 minutes late, which yes, made us miss our connection.  I freaked out at the US Airways guy who thought he was doing us a favor giving us hotel vouchers.

There were no more flights with US Airways that night so we started to think out of the box.   The Phoenix airport is huge, however that didn’t stop us for trying to make a Southwest flight.  We ran with kids, we used the moving escalators, which became my nephews new obsession and we got lucky to get a cart ride.  I kept thinking “what are my amazing nephews thinking?!”  Haha they were in heaven and having the best time! How great to be a little kid with a sense of adventure and nowhere to be! SWA was not an option, so our next thought was to rent a car and car seats to drive home.  We didn’t want to sleep in a hotel and spend one more night away from home.  Of course, after some smart thinking, we found ourselves shuttling to the Doubletree Hilton to indulge in their warm cookies.  At least that was a perk?! :) 

Tuesday:  Homeward Bound

I was able to get my morning workout in as I chased my nephew all over the airport; even he was ready to go home.  Boy, can that little guy run fast; get his cleats ready now. :)  Everything went smoothly and we took off on time.  The next thing I knew, we were finally home in LA!  Holy smokes it should never take that long to travel across country, and it made me even happier that I now live, work and love in LA and don’t have to deal with ‘weather.’

Oh, and to add to everything else, my bag was damaged in transit – but I did get a new suitcase courtesy of US Airways!

As much as we experienced major drama and it was very draining, I must say it gave me more quality time with my family.  That is priceless and was a blast! We now have a great story to share with my 3-month year old nephew when he gets bigger, as this was his first trip on a plane. Flying can only get better for him, right???

The life lesson here is that we should always remember that the unexpected can happen at any give time.  So dream and strive to the fullest, as you deserve whatever you desire.  I learned that being stuck is ok as that was what was meant to happen.  Life will still be there when I get unstuck.  When you are stuck – look around at what you see and you might be surprised of what happens and/or comes up for you!  Next; my letter to US Airways … :)

I am soooo thankful to be home in sunny SoCal!