After we said good bye to Uncle Mike and Grandpa Weber, we headed to the other side of the airport to find my gate... I walked right by it and ended up back tracking. On the sign it said that there was a 5:30 departure for our flight to Dulles... I checked our tickets and double checked the board... I told Uncle Kenny that they must have screwed up and made a mistake... our flight wouldn't arrive in Dulles until 8 minutes after our flight from Dulles to Albuquerque was supposed to take off!
Aargh! I got on the phone to a fairly incompetent United customer service representative... there wasn't another flight out of Providence... in fact, he said that there wasn't any other way that I would be able to get home today unless I wanted to rent a car and drive to Boston! By this time I was getting tick'd... he said that the delay was due to mechanical difficulties and that he would offer us $150 travel vouchers for each ticket... that made me feel a little better. What to do?!? I decided to ask him if there was anyway to get on Kenny's flight to Chicago... we could stay with Aunt Ally and him. That would make lemonade out of the lemons that were being tossed at us! Nope! He told me that there wasn't any room on the flight to Philadelphia... finally decided to take the flight to Dulles and beg Aunt Anne to completely inconvenience herself by picking us up at 7:30 and dropping us off at 4 a.m. God bless her, she was more than happy to do it! Then we would fly from Dulles to Denver and then Denver to Albuquerque on Saturday.
Eventually, a gate representative showed up as I still didn't have printed tickets of the change... while she was working on printing things out, I decided to ask her about Kenny's flight to Phily with US Airways... she told me that there WERE seats on the flight! The gate guy that was there worked out the details and switched us over to Kenny's flight... the boys were thrilled! We were going to get to see Aunt Ally! They radio'd the ground crew and told them to move our luggage over to the other plane.
By the time we worked everything out, it was time to head down to Kenny's gate... things were looking up! How nice that we are getting a free visit out of this?!? So were headed to Phily and then to Chicago O'hare... then tomorrow at 9 a.m. we were flying out to Denver and then down to Albuquerque. Perfect! We would even make it to Ethan's soccer game without a whole lot of hassle!
Unfortunately, when we switched our tickets, Sean, Ethan and I ended up getting split up... they were able to get us close (Seats A and C and then D across the isle) so the gate lady told me to use seat D as a bargaining chip... and that is just what I did! I sweetly told the woman that was sitting there that I was more than willing to let her sit in between my children but I didn't know if she would really want to babysit them... needless to say, she was more than willing to move!
So far so good! Life is giving us lemonade! The plane took off and as usual the boys were wonderful. Things were going great... until we hit some turbulance. The hour and a half or so that the flight was supposed to take seemed a bit long... the captain came over the speakers and let us know that due to a thunderstorm, we had been circling just outside of Philadelphia and he was waiting to hear if we were going to be diverted to Atlantic City or Baltimore... crap! We were going to be in the air quite a bit longer.
Finally, after about an hour of running cirlces (and seeing the same rainbow three times!) we were cleared for landing... we were going to make our connecting flight to Chicago! Yeah! Oh, but wait... the airport was gridlocked because of the storm. When we landed, we 'parked' and sat for about fifteen minutes... finally, we started moving towards a gate... but wait! We were turning around... false alarm! We ended up sitting on the tarmack for another thirty minutes!
Somewhere in all of this, I connected with my mom... she said that she and Gerry had been sitting on the tarmack for almost three hours!!! What?!? That's crazy! Where was she?!? She was in Philadephia!!! That's even crazier!
Finally we were moving towards a gate... the gate just a couple away from our connecting flight's gate... we hurried into the terminal just knowing that our connecting flight has been delayed. I mean, if we couldn't get into the airport let alone a gate, how was anyone getting out?!? What?!? The waiting area was empty! This is insane!
The line for customer service was even more insane... probably at least two and a half hours long! I came up with the brilliant idea to go down to the ticket counter and talk to someone there. In the rush to the counter, my mom called and let me know that her flight out of Philadelphia was cancelled... they were stuck here.
We got to the counter and watched a very angry lady yell at the people behind the US Airway desk. Unfortunately for me, the lady that was getting yelled at was the one that was going to be helping us... crap! She's not going to be in the mood to bend over backwards for me... and she wasn't. She switched Kenny's flight for tomorrow, but I would have to call customer service (again) because I was a United customer. I called JD to let him know what was going on... he was supposed to be getting into Albuquerque at 10:30 p.m. I told him we were stuck in Philadephia... he told me he was stuck in Jacksonville, FL because his flight was cancelled! Great!
I called United customer service for the second time... the guy on the phone told me that there was nothing that he could do and that I would have to talk to someone at the United ticket counter... fine. So, I asked the lady at US Airway where the United ticket counter was... she said it was closed! Great. Checked it out anyway (it was quite a hike) and she was right... it was closed. By this time, it was 8:30 or so and we were soooo hungry. We hadn't eaten anything since around 1:00... thank God the boys were being so good!
I called United customer service again for the third time... it took about 45 minutes and I think I was on hold for 30 minutes of that... I could hardly hear the guy when he did patch back in because we were now hanging out next to the pick up area with Grandma and Grandpa trying to figure out a strategy for the night. Finally, after my phone almost died and I had to steal some power from Kenny's laptop, the United guy came back on the line... he gave me my options and they all sucked! I wanted to cry! The only way to get Ethan home for his final soccer game was to take the first option... the flight out of Philadephia at 6 a.m. to Los Angeles and then to Albuquerque by 3:53 pm. Just enough time to get to Ethan's game... sold!
He was emailing me my confirmation... I told him that was great because I wasn't going to be able to get it. At least at that point I had a flight. Now it was time to focus on dinner... we had already gone out of security, so since none of us had any tickets, none of us were headed back through security and this airport didn't have food options outside the secure area... crap!
My mom was working very hard to find us a room... apparently there were a lot of flights cancelled and there were a lot of stranded travellers in need of rooms... I think I need a little sugar with all of these lemons?!?