[Coladam] Finally back west

Ron Mitchell bytehacker at shaw.ca
Sat Jul 22 17:05:29 EDT 2006

Arrived home safely yesterday after what could be classified as the trip from semi-Hell. 

The weather we encountered when leaving the Super-8 Thursday morning was enough to throw O'Hare on its ear.  My flight, scheduled to leave at 3:05 pm, was first postponed to leave at 6:00 pm, and then cancelled. Found out about that at 5pm. Was sent to Customer Service to make alternate arrangements. Customer Service, as it turned out, was at the end of a 5 hour lineup there in the concourse. So at 10pm, I was finally able to talk to a United customer service agent who re-booked me on a flight leaving at 7am Friday morning - via Toronto. At that point I wasn't about to complain.

The complaining started later. 

Airlines do not put up their customers in hotels any more. I was directed to the lower floor of O'Hare's Terminal 2 where there were rows on rows of military style cots. At this point, having been on my feet for more than 5 hours straight, I was prepared to lie down anywhere. The first cot collapsed under my weight. "To Hell with it, " said I, "I'm not moving".  

Actually managed to get about 3 hours sleep in that position, and awoke somewhere around 1am with a security guard bending over me asking me if I would like another cot. "Yes, " mumbled I, and it was done. Stumbled out of my rack at around 3:30 am, and decided to proceed to my Air Canada check-in counter. Nobody there. Slept sitting up a little more.....  yada yada yada.... won't bother you with the rest of the gory detail. 

Arrived home yesterday at about 6:30 pm. Of course I'd missed Thursday's planned connection Vancouver/Comox, and was unable to re-book that. Had to pay again for the final leg. Turns out my airline feels no responsibility for acts of Mother Nature.

Anyway, I'm home, with mixed memories of Chicago. Everything up to the last day was good. The rest we won't talk about unless in really really good mood.

It was great to see y'all again. It's also good to be home, where 4 cars in succession constitutes a traffic jam. 

Lessons learned:  

(1)As it turned out, if I'd had the presence of mind to check my home phone messages, I probably could have avoided the 5 hour lineup. United had re-booked me, and left a message to that effect on my home phone. I can check my messages from anywhere..... just didn't think to do so.

2) An airport handling 120 departures per hour can be upset real bad by any kind of monkey wrench. The message I got from various staffers and agents at O'Hare was, "Get used to it - sh*t happens. "

3) carry a toothbrush, razor, and change of undies in the carry-on.  (Oddly enough, that's usually my habit.... but not this time when I really needed it).  My Thursday outfit was retired- permanently. 

I suppose I shall look back on all of this at some point with a sense of humour.  Still a bit early for that.


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