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I somehow knew it was going to be one of those days. It’s a gut feeling after years of doing this. You know before you get out of bed that’s it’s going to be one of those days when travel does not go smoothly. And there’s nothing you can really do about it except rely on your instinct.
It was pure instinct – with a touch of frugality – that had me ignoring the early Wednesday morning flight that would get me in just in time to drive and make my 3 pm meeting in north central Ohio. I like having a contingency plan so I decided to fly in Tuesday evening and spend the night. The midday connection via Charlotte was less expensive though… and I needed a Hyatt stay, so the dice roll between Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo (all relatively equal in time/distance) landed on Columbus. I made plans for dinner. It was a perfect plan.
Yet something told me that this was the day to forgo my usual little black dress and tights (my flying “uniform”) and throw on leggings and a comfy top instead.
My first hint at the disorder of the day came when I decided that my hair looked flat right before I was ready to walk out the door.
Yes, it matters.
I was running late so I reached for some dry shampoo – but the can for this month’s Birchbox caught my eye. I didn’t have my glasses on yet but remembered glancing at it when I opened my box. No shampoo hair cleanser… that’s the same thing, right?
I put messy sticky foam in my already-styled hair. It have been “no shampoo” but it was a sticky mess now and was going to require water AND a blow dryer. And my hair is sponge-like and thick – it takes forever to dry.
Thank goodness for the new toll-only lanes to the airport. I made it in 24 minutes. (AA’s app estimated 38.). I may or may not have driven the speed limit. I get to my gate right at boarding time and discover that we have no aircraft. Time for a detour to Starbucks at the other end of the terminal (via SkyTrain and back) and we board.
But we have no pilot. The co-pilot tells us our original pilot was taken off our trip during the delay. The reserve pilot is driving to the airport. Then he’s parking. Then he’s there.
I get to Charlotte and still have a two hour layover so I get to the US Airways Club and catch up on emails and a deadline. I catch up on details about the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles merger. (Nothing much for me, as an Executive Platinum, to worry about.)
I get to my gate for Columbus and discover we are delayed. No surprise… This is how my day is going. I jump on a conference call and watch as our delay gets pushed further out due to a broken co-pilot’s window. I watch the ramp activity and en suddenly our flight is cancelled.
Everyone is instructed that we *must* leave the terminal and go out to the ticket counter to be rebooked. No exceptions. This is repeated several times.
Um, no. I am not doing that.
I call the Executive Platinum Desk instead and soon understand why that instruction is given – everything to Columbus is oversold for the rest of the night – and the next day doesn’t look hot either.
I grab a seat on the next flight to Cleveland instead.
I jump back on my conference call and listen while rebooking my rental car and a new hotel room (this time at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport. Later as I’m walking to the gate I call the original hotel – they transfer me to Hyatt Gold Passport and I convince them to cancel my original hotel with no penalty.
I board a completely full flight and take one last conference call. And just as the doors close, I get an email from the client I’m headed to see – “hey, so something came up with a surprise three day inspection visit so we aren’t sure what’s going to happen tomorrow”.
So now I’m in Cleveland in an airport hotel bar full of drunken accountants where I’ve managed to find other Texas Tech alumni to commiserate about Saturday’s game. And I’m totally relaxed – because today turned out exactly as one would expect when travel does not go smoothly and yet you somehow manage to give in and punt.