Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oklahoma Part 6 - Return Flight

This post has very little to do with our Oklahoma trip except that it is about our return flight home. Normally, our flights run smoothly and despite a delay or two we arrive at our destination. And then there are experiences like the one we went through on the way home from Oklahoma.

We decided to choose a return flight on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving for two reasons:
1. Mid-week flights are cheaper.
2. Not many people would be traveling the week after Thanksgiving.

The morning of our departure we check online to see if we were on time. Our 10:30am flight to Atlanta was delayed until 11:30 due to weather in Atlanta. Anyone who flies often knows that Atlanta is delayed with a raindrop. Similar to Newark with a snowflake. No big deal. We wait a little more in the hotel room and then drag kids and suitcases to car.

After returning the rental car we arrive to check in to be told that our flight is now delayed until 1:00. Let's do a little math. Our two hour flight to ATL arrives the same minute that our flight to Albany departs. That's a bad sign. Another bad sign - while every other flight in and out of Atlanta is delayed our flight to Albany is still on time.

At this point Brian let's me take over since I love this stuff. He takes the kids very far away from me so I can get down to work. The following is the typical conversation that I go through with any airline (I'm not picking on Delta) but this agent seemed particularly dense.

Katie: Ok, we're going to miss our connection, is there another flight to Albany from Atlanta tonight?

Agent: No, it looks like the next flight to Albany we can get you on is tomorrow at 10:30am. Another option is you can fly to Atlanta today, spend the night, and we can get you on the first flight out to Albany tomorrow morning.

Katie: Well that's an option (ABSOLUTELY NOT! IN NO WAY AM I GOING TO ACCEPT THAT) but can you look for any flights to Albany tonight from Oklahoma City? We don't have to go through Atlanta.

Agent: Oh? You don't want Atlanta? Let me see...

Sidebar - This poor man is going to be destroyed by me. He obviously will need to have his hand held for this whole process since he didn't even bother to look for other airports. Yet - there is a delicate balance here. I cannot lose my temper or show irritation. This man has the power to get my family home.

Agent: Well, the flight through Cincinnati is booked so it looks like we'll have to put you on the flight for tomorrow.

Katie: Haven't you just merged with Northwest? Why don't you check their flights. Anything to Detroit, for example. (I love the Detroit airport. Yes, they also get delays due to snow but it's a nice airport)

Agent: ....blank stare....I might be able to do that.

Sidebar - He can so do that as they just did it for me in Dallas last month. No wonder they have this man working in the Oklahoma City airport. He would be torn to bits in one of the hubs.

Agent: Ok, this is what we have. The only flight to Detroit today leaves at 2:30. You would then have a 4 hour layover in Detroit with an Albany arrival of midnight.

Katie: As long as I get home tonight I'll take it.

We then waiting in the OKC airport for three hours, flew 3 1/2 hours to Detroit, and waited four hours for our 10:20pm departure. So what to do in Detroit with all that time? We road the train for about an hour, walked through the underground tunnel three times (maybe four, that tunnel makes me forget where I am and what I'm doing), watched a water fountain for 30 minutes, and walked the terminals for at least an hour, if not more. And of course, this is the time that I am tackled with morning sickness. All I want to do is curl in bed and I'm walking around an airport. All I can say is - thank goodness Brian was there to manage the kids.

By the time we were ready to board Jamison was so silly tired. He found a work station and made himself at home. Thankfully, we had blah blah (his blanket) with us so he was able to self-soothe.

We even arrived into Albany 20 minutes early! That was still 6 hours later than what we had planned but the point was that we made it home!
This post is dedicated to our friend Lisi who, after 5 days of flight cancellations and numerous hours on hold, was finally able to make it home to Austria for Christmas. Never have I experienced the drama she went through with Delta, USAirways, United, and Lufthansa. and I'm thankful I never will. Unless someone wants me to fly to Austria for Christmas. I'm open for invitations.
If you have any travel drama stories I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

so glad to hear that Detroit was able to help save the day!