This is not exactly how I’d hoped my BlogHer ’12 weekend would end.
I arrived at LaGuardia airport quite early, and was pleased to be offered a chance to board an earlier flight to Toronto. Even though I knew I’d have a very late connection in Toronto heading back to Windsor, I figured there might be a chance I’d be able to switch to an earlier flight there as well, and was looking forward to the possibility of getting home before my scheduled midnight arrival.
As soon as we got on the plane in New York, we were informed that we would be in a lineup with numerous other planes and would have to wait our turn to take off, which could take up to an hour and a half. Wow. An hour and a half just on the runway! Tired from my weekend of fun and little sleep, I actually catnapped through the safety demonstration and beyond, yet when I woke up an hour and a half later we were still on the runway – in a slightly different place, mind you, but not a whole lot closer to takeoff.
The pilot updated us every 30 minutes, letting us know our progress in the lineup, and also added the news that weather was the cause of all the delays – apparently most of the eastern seaboard was shut down due to storms. “But the Toronto airport isn’t closed,” he said hopefully, “so we should be on our way soon.” At that point we were second in line for takeoff.
Shortly afterward one of the flight attendants took a call from the pilot, and when she got off the phone her face lit up with a huge smile as she gave us all a conspiratorial thumbs up. We were going to be taking off! Everyone returned to their seats as we heard the usual announcement about the lights being dimmed during takeoff (as it was now getting dark outside) and we prepared to finally leave New York.
Then it started to rain.
And lightning started to crack.
And the pilot announced that the Toronto airport was closed because of the storm.
And everyone groaned and mumbled and grumped at yet another delay, but sat back to wait it out.
When the pilot asked for our attention again we all assumed it would be to say that the storm had passed. Instead, he informed us that federal law prohibited them from keeping us on a grounded plane for more than three hours, so we’d be going back to the terminal, getting off the plane, and starting all over again.
This is when I started to realize that I just might not be going home tonight.
Eventually the storm passed and we were able to reboard the plane, and somewhere around five hours after we were supposed to have left we actually took off (accompanied by cheers and clapping from most of the passengers and, quite possibly the flight attendants and pilots as well!).
We arrived in Toronto around five minutes before my flight to Windsor was supposed to leave. I still had to go through customs, collect my baggage, and get myself to a whole different terminal (because my flight out of Toronto was on a different airline), so I knew there was no possible way I’d be able to be on that flight… but in my tired and delusional mind, I thought that perhaps I could just catch the next one.
I’d booked myself on the last flight out tonight.
If all had gone according to plan, even catching the later flight I’d originally been scheduled to take, I’d have had around two and a half to three hours to make my connection, which would have been plenty of time. But dear Mother Nature had other ideas, which is why I now find myself in the Toronto airport at midnight, heavy luggage in tow, no food or beverage sources in sight, no complimentary food or hotel vouchers with which to cheer myself and get some rest, booked on the next flight out to Windsor which, most unfortunately, doesn’t leave for more than eight hours.
I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I am safe, and though I didn’t receive any food or hotel vouchers from the airline (they were under no obligation to give me anything, as I missed their flight after flying in with their competitor), I also didn’t have to pay to rebook my ticket (I think the ticketing agent took pity on me when she saw I was unsuccessfully fighting tears). I have several amusements to keep me busy. I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. I will be home eventually.
But I am exhausted, and frustrated, and want nothing more than to curl up in my comfortable bed at home (which is exactly where I would have been by now if everything hadn’t fallen apart) and catch up on all the sleep I’ve lost since Wednesday night. It’s hard to keep things in perspective when you’re starting to catch a glimpse of how it must feel to be a zombie.