Friday, December 25, 2009

Worst traveling day EVER!

You know the expression "when it rains it pours"?  Yeah. . .

We left Logan to catch our plane in Salt Lake City at 8:30 a.m. on December 22.  Our flight was at 12:15, but we wanted to leave plenty of time to get caught in the predicted snow storm.  We got to the airport without incident, but when we got to the airport, our troubles started.  It started snowing slightly as we walked into the airport.  We checked our car seat and bag, then started through security.  Todd had Jared in the front carrier, but an over-zealous security guard informed us that if we didn't take off our baby's jacket, he would have to be patted down.  Apparently our four month old is very intimidating because security flying out of San Francisco made us remove his booties (pictured here).
When we got on our plane, the snow was falling pretty heavily, but visibility was still good, so we were just delayed by the de-icing process and then 35 minutes of taxiing on the runway.  Surprisingly, although we left in a snow storm, we encountered much worse weather on landing in Phoenix.  Arizona was having a devastating windstorm, which had caused a dust storm, and, for us, horrible turbulence.  One of the men in our family got motion sick and threw up.  We also landed in one of those Arizona cloudbursts that is a few minutes of pouring, torrential rain followed by blue skies.  We were supposed to catch a connecting flight from Phoenix to Tucson which was leaving from the terminal immediately next to the terminal where we landed.

We were originally supposed to have a 40 minute layover, but because of our delay in taking off, we could see our connecting flight seating passengers as we landed.  For some unexplained reason, after landing we were kept in our seats for an additional 15 minutes, which means that from our seats, we could see our connecting flight leave without us.  We got off the plane onto the tarmac, where we were immediately drenched, as was all of the gate-checked luggage, which our lazy airline left in the pouring rain, ten feet from the door.  This included a large number of car seats, since our flight was full of babies.  Ours, as you will remember, had been checked before security.  When we inquired about catching the next flight, we were informed that the following three flights were oversold, so we couldn't get a confirmed seat until 9:00 p.m.  It was then 2:30.  They put us on standby for the next flight, but since it was already oversold, and a large number of people from our flight had been trying to catch the plane that left already, we were pretty sure we wouldn't get a seat.  The stupid airline has a policy that they won't put people on standby for more than one flight, so if we didn't get a seat, we were stuck.  It was infuriating to be a two hour drive away from our destination and completely stranded for seven hours.

We finally decided to rent a car instead of waiting all day.  Since we had checked our car seat, we had to have it rerouted.  What the individual rerouting our car seat failed to tell us was that it would take a minimum of 45 minutes for our car seat to become available to us.  We got lunch, fed Jared, and then went to collect our car seat from the luggage carousel. We then waited an hour and a half, and then Jared, who had been a really good all day, had to have a complete clothes change.  There was a line behind us for the changing counter because it took so long to get him cleaned up.   After about three hours, we finally insisted that the attendant actually look up the status of our car seat instead of just trying to reroute it again.  After all of the waiting (which is no picnic with a squirmy little baby), our car seat had gotten on the next flight to Tucson and was there already.  Todd was livid.

The airline loaned us a car seat for our drive.  Unfortunately, just to top off a really rotten traveling day, the dust storms earlier in the day had caused zero visibility conditions on the interstate. This led to a 20 car pileup, which burst into flames.  The accident had happened at noon, and by now it was about 6:30, but, of course, when we were heading down, the interstate was still closed.  Jared had been holding up very well, but the stop and go traffic while we were being diverted off the freeway did not delight him.  I was tired, Todd was still feeling sick, and last time we were diverted off of I-10 for a closure, Todd and I got lost and added an hour and a half to our trip.  We have the GPS on our phone, but after a whole day of calling family, seeing about shuttle costs, and reserving rental cars, the phone battery was dead.  We thought about stopping to plug in and get dinner somewhere, but we were anxious to reach our destination.  We stopped once to ask directions.  When we finally started moving again, Jared and I fell asleep.  We finally got to Tucson at 8:45 p.m., seven hours later than we had planned.

It was a long, eventful day, but we were glad to make it all in one piece, even without some pieces of our luggage, which we had to recover the next day.  We found out later that two people died in the dust storm on the interstate, so we are happy to be here safe and sound.  We are happy to be here with our family!

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