Continued from part one.
I’m waiting in this long line just waiting to reschedule my flight and I call my mom tell her the dilemma. Within a few moments, I’m rescheduled on the 5:55 flight (I swear, my mom was amazing throughout my adventure. She probably already knows all the people at Southwest customer service by name and ID#) but waiting in line to talk to a person.
1 hour later, still in line, it hits me—if my flight was cancelled and the storm is only going to get worse, what are my chances of getting out of BWI on the 5:55 flight? And if that gets cancelled, the 8:55 (my original flight) will get cancelled and I will be stuck in BWI over night, not able to get out in the morning (because by the time I realize this, the morning flights will probably be full), and stuck here for who knows how long.
I get up to the front desk to tell them to put me on the 7:45 am flight out Saturday, and what do you know – the computer breaks down. Right in front of me. After 45 minutes of tech support (and lots of unhappy passengers behind me), I’m finally able to rebook my flight. I ask what I can do about accommodations (after all, I’m stuck in the middle of two connecting flights) but am told that “in the case of weather emergencies Southwest cannot offer any accommodations.” I’m told to get my luggage and come back tomorrow.
I call my mom. Treo battery low, I plug in the phone and have her call me on a nearby pay phone. I ask her what I can do. I’ve already spoken to two friends who live in the area and have offered to let me stay the night. Problem is, both of them are in Virginia, nearly 2 hours from the airport and would not be able to pick me up or drive me back in the morning. I would need to find the metro and get there that way. My mom convinces me to stay in a hotel and I go to get my baggage. “We’re sorry, but all bags from earlier flights to Albany are on the 5:55 flight that is leaving now,” she tells me. “Are you sure the 5:55 is leaving?” I am incredulous. “Yes,” the baggage woman snaps. “Your bag will be in Albany tomorrow.”
No clothes and no plans, I found myself outside BWI in the airport passenger pickup section, debating which hotel shuttle to jump on. After a quick call from B (who was looking up hotels back in Cleveland), I decided to hop on a Hampton Inn shuttle and met another group of travelers from Arizona, stranded in BWI on their way to Long Island. The kid had never seen snow before, so he was in for a treat when he finally made it to New York.
After a dinner of champions from the vending machine (white cheddar cheez-its of course), and the first food I’d eaten all day, I was ready to do some work and get to bed.
Next morning, I get to the airport on time and find the flight to Albany is delayed. “The Albany runway is closed because it’s still snowing,” the nicer-than-the-night-before employee tells us. Then, 10 minutes later, we’re boarding, and we’re off!
A couple staying at the hotel the night before on their way to Providence had told me of a plane that made it all the way to the Providence airport, tried to land twice, nearly touched down, but then turned around back to BWI. I kept envisioning this happening as we made our descent, but landing was uneventful.
I could write a whole other post about claiming the baggage, but how interesting would that even be? In short, there were about 10 bags in the airport, and about 200 passengers. Another plane from BWI had also landed, with about 20 passengers and mostly luggage from the night before. Of course the workers in Albany had no idea this had happened, because the flight wasn’t even documented on their screens, and told us that our luggage was not coming. 2 hours after landing, I spotted the bright yellow ribbon on my bag poking out of the baggage tunnel. It was here! I was here, my bags were here, and my adventure was over…I was headed home.
Thanks to all you that made my adventure worthwhile. All those on twitter that provided entertainment and offered suggestions of how I should spend my time (special kudos to @Szczepanik who told me to “challenge a stranger to a cinnabon-eating contest. Be sure to remind them of the no-hands rule.”), B – who listened to me as I frantically pondered what to do and sent me listing of nearby hotels even when my phone ran out of battery, the passenger who offered to let me stay in her dorm at Loyola Maryland, and my mom who pretty much did everything she could have done without physically being there.
Oh in case you’re wondering, about the 8:55 flight from BWI that I was originally scheduled on? I checked and yes, it did make it to Albany that night….