Red Letter Day

Saturday, October 28, 2006

What went wrong?

Well, it was like this. We wanted to invade a weak middle eastern nation. So we got our troops together and made our plans and then...

No wait, wrong story.

OK. So Dave and I were going to Chicago for the weekend. We booked our flight from Kansas City two months in advance. A simple 1 hour flight on a Friday morning that would have us in Chicago by noon, well in time for the eight PM Pet Shop Boys show which was our raison d’ętre for the trip.

We left the house at seven in the morning to make it to the airport in time for our 9:30 flight to the Windy City.

We get to the airport, and our flight (on American Airlines) was canceled. No delayed, just canceled. Apparently there was drizzle in Alaska or a butterfly flapped its wings in Japan and anyway, well, they had to cancel our flight for "weather" reasons.

So Dave calls American's 800 number and after some mild verbal wrasslin' with a most unhelpful drone we get booked on a Continental regional jet to Cleveland (ugh) and then another regional jet to Chicago, with an eventual arrival of 3:30, about 4 hours later then expected.

Then we find out the flight to Cleveland is delayed. Apparently some fog in Hawaii or something, you know. This meant that we would miss our connecting flight in Cleveland so we get rebooked on a later flight out of Cleveland, which would put us into Chicago at about 6:00 PM.

Did I mention that since, technically, we "bought" a "new" ticket for the Cleveland flight about three hours before take-off, that we got flagged by the computer for the extra-special security screening, with the thorough hand-search of all luggage. Yeah, I think "Silverman" is a suspicious name also.

So our flight for Cleveland leaves, finally, an hour and a half late. We originally were supposed to be on the ground in Chicago before this flight even took off. We get to a rainy, grey, ugly Cleveland at about 3:30 in the afternoon, and find out that all the flight to Chicago are delayed. Our scheduled flight wouldn't even leave til after 6:00 PM, which would mean there was no way we would make it to Chicago in time for our 8:00 PM show.

Luckily, the early connecting flight to Chicago was also delayed, and after a frantic dash though the terminal, we made i to the ticket counter to get re-booked onto the earlier flight with just minutes to spare. The gate agent was very helpful, but her computer wasn't; it wouldn't allow her to re-issue the tickets! Meanwhile they are boarding our only hope of making it to Chicago while the ticket agent is on the phone with Continental's help line as Dave and I are slowly dying, and finally, finally she is able to basically hand-print the boarding passes and we rush out onto the rainy tarmac and scramble about the jet with moments to spare.

Almost home free, right?

So we finally get in to Chicago at about 5:30 PM, and at this point I am pretty confident that we will be able to make it into the city, dump our bags at the bed and breakfast and just hit the concert hall by 8:00 PM. After all, we're going to take the train and cruise by all those poor schlubs in the stuck freeway traffic.

We finally appear to hit some luck and have a smooth ride in the train until, about three stops short of our final destination, the subway car just stops. And sits. And sits. The driver announces there has ben some trouble and we should be moving again in "two or three minutes." About half an hour later, the damn train finally starts up again and we make it to our stop by about 7:00.

We are still barely in the game...except one we got to the bed and breakfast to drop off our bags, it turns out that nobody was there to check us in! At this point we are like a losing football team watching the other team run out the clock. Finally, the establishment's caretaker arrives at about 7:30 and we dump our bags and grab a cab (too late to go try and catch the train back downtown by now).

The cab pulls in front of the theater at about 7:50. We made it!

The absolute longest and most exhausting day of travel nightmare in either of our lives (so far!) is over.

And the Pet Shop Boys concert?



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