Amanda and I planned a short vacation. The principal motivation is to visit her Dad in Los Angeles. The fact that there’s a midnight showing of “Xanadu” at the Turner Classic Movie Festival this coming weekend may or may not have had something to do with the dates we selected. We hope to visit some cousins of mine as well.
We booked a non-stop flight from Buffalo. We did not want to chance missing a connecting flight. It’s happened to us before and we know it’s no fun. We booked flights leaving on Wednesday of this week and returning overnight Monday arriving early Tuesday morning. Tuesday after work we drove to Rochester to stay with Amanda’s Mom and step-Dad. We spent Wednesday morning with them and left for Buffalo in plenty of time, arriving at the airport 3 hours before our flight. If something was going to go wrong, it wasn’t going to be because of us!
Something went wrong.
At first we didn’t know what it was. Our flight got delayed. Fine. It happens. We didn’t really care. We weren’t in a hurry. We could get there whenever. And there was no connecting flight to miss, right? The flight got delayed again. And again. And again. Free snacks showed up at the gate counter. That was nice. Then I overheard someone use the C-word: “Cancel”. I had found a site on the internet that not only showed the status of our flight, but it showed where our plane was coming from: Fort Lauderdale, FL. It hadn’t even left yet which is why we were delayed. We didn’t know it at the time, but Ft. Lauderdale was getting hammered with rain, and they eventually closed the airport; which cancelled the flight from Florida and thus cancelled ours as well as there was now no plane for us to board and there wasn’t going to be one.
Everyone lined up for accommodations. We waited in line almost 2 hours while the nice gate attendants processed everyone. 8 sheet pizzas showed up as we waited. Everyone was disappointed, but no one was really upset. I was pleasantly surprised by that! I spent some of the time looking up other flights and scenarios. When we got to the counter we asked about an early flight out of Syracuse the following morning (today). After some back and forth and a phone call to the home office they were able to make it work. We made our way back to our car and drove the 2 hours back to Syracuse checking in to a hotel right outside the airport entrance at 12:30am. We got up at 5:00am and went straight to the airport, got some breakfast, and made our new flight to JFK in New York. As I type this we are halfway to Los Angeles, having made our connecting flight with plenty of time to spare.
This was completely out of Jet Blue’s control. It made me realize the folly of trying to plan air travel. There are so many variables it’s a logistical miracle that anything gets anywhere on time. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a tendency to (arrogantly?) assume that when I travel I’m the only one doing so and that once I’ve bought my tickets the entire system is brought to bear exclusively to serve me. If I decide to leave from Buffalo, well, then there will be a plane at Buffalo just ready for me to board, right? Because why wouldn’t there be? Even if I were the sort who looked at weather reports and who knows what else when trying to decide which flight to take from where, it never would have occurred to me to wonder where the plane I would be boarding would be coming from. I mean, they just sort of materialize out of thin air at the gate when I’m ready to board…right?? Nope. Travel planning is a crap shoot on a good day. Yesterday we lost. Today has been better. We’ll see how it goes next week when it’s time to come home.