So... wayyyyy back in February, one of my best friends (Ashley, but we call her Flamingo, or Flam for short) and I decided to book a flight to New Jersey to surprise our other best friend, Caitlin, for her birthday in July. We took advantage of the discounts available for booking a flight so far in advance, and we patted ourselves on the back for our awesome plan!
We coordinated our plans with Caitlin's boyfriend, and Caitlin's brother's fiance. We had it all mapped out. Flam and I would each fly to Atlanta, and then fly together to Newark, and arrive around 1:30pm. Then, we'd be picked up by one of Caitlin's brothers, and be taken to her house where we'd surprise her and have a fantastic four days together- and certainly head into Manhattan on one day. Then, Flam and I would head back to Atlanta together on Wednesday morning and then separate onto our own planes to return to our home towns by that afternoon. Easy breezy.
After alllll those long months of waiting and anticipating and twiddling my thumbs because time couldn't soar fast enough, the day arrived! I must have dreamed about the day at least five times-- always imagining the look on Caitlin's face as we surprised her.
So, my father-in-law showed up at my house bright and early-- well, it wasn't even bright. It was 5:00am. He came over to watch our boys while Aaron took me to the airport. On our drive to the airport, I got a text. I assumed it was from Flam. It wasn't. It was from Delta. My flight from Atlanta to Newark was cancelled and I was being re-routed. Oh boy. Fourth of July weekend-- this wasn't good. I texted Flam. She was being rerouted as well.
Even though I had printed my boarding passes at home, and I wasn't checking any luggage, I still had to go to the ticket counter to sort out my new ordeal. Aaron dropped me off around 5:30, and my flight into Atlanta was scheduled to leave around 7:15, so I knew I had plenty of time to work on this situation. At the ticket counter, the agent told me I was being rerouted through Louisville, Kentucky. And then from Louisville to Newark. She told me that I'd land in Atlanta around 9:30 eastern time, then I'd have a FOUR HOUR layover before my flight to Louisville, where I'd arrive around 2:30pm. Then, in Louisville, I'd have another FOUR HOUR layover, then I'd board the plane to Newark at 6:30pm and arrive in Newark at nine o'clock. Oh. Em. Gee.
Lemme tell you-- at six o'clock in the morning, thinking about a 14 hour journey in front of you is overwhelming. Just plan overwhelming. I felt like crying. I texted Flam. She wouldn't be coming through Atlanta at all. They were rerouting her through West Palm, and then up to Newark where she'd arrive thirty minutes before our originally scheduled time. So, she was getting there early and I was arriving eight hours late.
Once I landed in Atlanta, I ran to the Help Desk. I made it my goal to be the nicest person anyone came in contact with that day. The agent at the Help Desk looked at every nearby airport-- JFK, LaGuardia, Philly, Atlantic City, anything. Nothing was available. There was a direct flight to Newark leaving in less than 30 minutes from when I arrived at the Help Desk, but they were unable to change my ticket in the system soon enough. I was told to wait it out and take my rerouted flight at 1:30.
I found a phone bank of Customer Service lines for Delta. I waited on hold for a while there before I was able to get on standby for a flight heading into JFK at 12:45. It was boarding within the hour. The agent on the phone put me on standby and I ran to the gate. When I got to the gate, the boarding agent said my name hadn't shown up in the system yet. I then realized that 30 people were ahead of me on the standby list.
I grabbed some lunch at BoJangles, charged my phone, and then found another Help Desk and waited in line. That agent was at least able to check me into my two remaining flights. She confirmed that there was nothing earlier available. She also told me that nobody on the standby list for the earlier flight was even let on the flight. That's how booked things were for the holiday weekend. When they cancelled the flight from Atlanta to Newark that I was supposed to be on, they displaced over a hundred people that they were now frantically trying to reroute.
I waited out the layover and arrived in Louisville right on time. I made my way to the next gate and realized that the next four hours were going to creep by since no one was even at the gate yet for my connecting flight.
I wandered around the Louisville airport as much as I could, and then I found a Starbucks tucked away in a construction zone, so I grabbed a bottle of water, a sandwich, and a frap and I made myself at home in a comfy leather chair. I brought four magazines with me, and I worked my way through each and every one. I called my grandparents and chatted for a while. Then I finished all my snacks and made my way back to the gate.
Once there, my parents called and we chatted for about 40 minutes. Then it was finally time to board! This was a tiny plane-- much smaller than what I'd anticipate should fly from Kentucky to New Jersey. I slept most of this flight because I just wanted to pass the time! I had an awesome view of Manhattan as we descended into Newark. Caitlin's brother and his fiance picked me up and we made our way to Caitlin's house. Since Flam had arrived earlier in the day, Caitlin assumed that was all of her birthday surprise. So, Ashley (the brother's fiance), walked inside and told Caitlin she had one more birthday surprise for her and to close her eyes. Then, I walked inside and handed off my bags to Ashley and I sat beside Caitlin on the couch. She opened her eyes and immediately started crying. It was perfect! Such a good ending to a tremendously long day!
I ate a couple slices of pizza (referred to as "pie" by everyone else in the house), met the cat, kitten, and two HUGE puppies and crashed around midnight.
I'll recap Phase Two tomorrow and I'll include some photos as well. This ended up being an awesome mini-vacation and a great time to refresh my role as a mom and Diabetes manager, and the 14-hour travel day to kick it off was totally worth it!
Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba