The Life of an Unlucky Traveler…

***Since I was a “Lazy Blogger” on Monday I figured I owed you all a good story, it’s long, but I hope you find it equally as entertaining…enjoy!***

I am one of those people who just about all disasters hit.  I’m not talking anything major, well unless you call a car running into your house the day you were going to sign papers for it a “big deal”, or something small like getting robbed blind in Spain “a bit of a mess.”  So because of these common conundrums I find myself in I usually fly non-stop.  I just feel that the odds of having a delayed flight, missed flight or some other strange phenomenon happen are diminished, and when you’re as disaster prone as myself, you try, if at all possible, to minimize disaster.

I’ve never had luck flying, I was actually by myself as a 15 year old in the Phoenix airport in 1999 when the airline decided to “try out” their Y2K conversion…8 hrs later I was finally booked on another airline.  These are the kind of things that happen to me EVERY TIME I fly folks.  This is why it was no wonder that my poor fiance was probably not too sad when he came down with the flu and couldn’t take an adventure to Nashville with me for a good friends wedding.  So without further adieu, after an incredible weekend with some great friends, here’s the tale of my trip home…

It all started at 4pm in Nashville.  I was heading to Atlanta first (no direct flights) to grab a plane to Portland.  The announcement came, “Because of backed up flights in Atlanta, we are delayed until 5:09pm, if your connecting flight leaves Atlanta before 7:10pm please come see the desk agents.”  My flight left at, you guessed it, 7:08pm.  So I ran to the rapidly forming line, the first of the 4 hour long lines I would stand in during my 2 day journey.

Agent: Where are you headed?
Me: Portland, Oregon.
Agent: (typing like crazy) Hmmm…wow…shoot…hmmm….nope…that’s strange!  Well ma’am that is the last flight to Portland today.  And….(more typing and more frowns) it looks like I can’t get you on a flight until Wednesday (It was Sunday afternoon).
Me: Really…ok….(long pause while the thought of every single thing I had to do was dinging away in my head like a slot machine)
Agent: You may still make your flight since there are so many delays out of Atlanta, let’s just wait and see.

So I board the flight.  I’m doing time zone conversions like crazy, if we leave right on time, I will have 3 minutes to run to my plane.  I start stretching in the seat, I am ready to sprint.

Captain: Hi folks this is your captain speaking, it looks like there is a storm right in our way of Atlanta, so we are going to have to go around it due south and head north from there.  The flight will take about 30 minutes longer.

I update my internet to check on my flight….MIRACLE…it has just been delayed 34 minutes.  I continue getting ready for the 100 meter dash of my life.

Captain: Well folks, captain here again, looks like the south is bad too.  We are going to head North, and because of that we need more fuel, so…we will be 1 and a half hours late getting into Atlanta. But don’t worry there are hundreds of agents on the ground working at getting all of you on other flights as soon as possible!

My hopes are dashed…I stop stretching…I order a beer…and when I land in Atlanta I realize that I missed my last chance to get to Oregon tonight by exactly a three gate sprint and 1 and a half hours.

I arrive in Atlanta and walk straight into hour long line #2 to learn just where this adventure home might lead.  As I expected, I’m in Atlanta for the night, I grab tickets for a non-stop to Seattle from one of the hundreds of agents that were working for me, I leave in the morning.  All is fairly well in the world again. I have lined up someone to come save the day at the farm and spray our peas, and I have called in a favor and am able to find a warm bed for the night (Thank you bride’s parents!). Next step, grabbing my luggage that I have checked, and grab a ride.

While in the extremely crazy busy baggage claim…
Me: Excuse me sir, I need to get my luggage from below so I can have it for tonight.
Baggage guy: It’s too busy here tonight, sorry no luggage.
Me: (not sure if he’s serious) Really? But I don’t have any clothes!
Baggage guy: Well then I guess I’ll see you in the morning, in that same outfit, here’s a travel bag with some toothpaste.
Me: Thanks?!

I head out to the curb, traveling light, find my ride and I’m set for the evening.  I’m in the airport early the next morning with plenty of time…it’s packed because of everyone else who got delayed last night.  So what comes next…you guessed it, hour long line #3, security at Atlanta International Airport.  I get through but don’t relax until finally I am in the air, heading non-stop to Seattle (at least the right time zone!).

A few hours into the flight and I hear over the intercom.  “All medical personnel please report to the back of the plane we are having a medical emergency!”  I jump up (4 out of the last 6 flights I’ve been on I have heard these words and as an EMT it’s always nice to feel like I can lend a hand, just another example that I’m not joking, I’m a recipe for nothing going smoothly), but 2 doctors, 2 nurses and another EMT beat me down the small aisle.  After about 10 minutes I feel the plane making a turn.

Captain: Folks we are going to have to turn around to make an emergency landing in Denver, Colorado.  Please buckle your seat belts, flight attendants, prepare for landing.

Within 40 minutes we are down on the ground, with EMT’s boarding the plane to take the poor man off the flight.  Once again we are fueling up, and I look up my flight to Portland only to find that in fact it is currently boarding and there is some lucky guy who now has a window seat instead of the middle.  I don’t panic, I am assured for the third time this trip; there are at least 100 agents on the ground right now working on booking me another flight home.

Once down in Seattle, hour long line #4 feels like that is just what you do in airports now.  And I watch as three full flights to Portland board and take off.  Then it’s my turn and I get assigned to an open seat… I’m just about home!!!

The flight is great, and very fast, now for the final step of the journey…that darn luggage.  I stand with everyone else from my flight watching as the carrousel goes around and around.  There are kids riding the belt, getting yelled at by their over tired parents, others have that look of relief when their luggage comes off first, all the while the rest of us are looking more stressed as each bag that comes through the plastic door doesn’t quite match what we entrusted to the airline what seems like a week ago at this point. One guy grabs his luggage, turns to me and actually says, “Wow!  Just AMAZING!  I put this stuff on a plane 15 hours ago, and it’s all right here!”  I laugh and say, “Well I put mine on 30 hours ago, so hopefully I’m saying AMAZING soon too!” It was not to be the case…

As if icing on the cake of this ridiculous excursion, the illusive suitcase never showed.  The lady behind the counter after typing away for what seemed like an hour, calling the other airlines I flew and asking questions, turned to me and said, “So when exactly was the last time you physically saw your luggage?” So in a careful manner as if I was describing a lost person to a CSI agent; I gave a detailed description of my last encounter with the luggage.

Last time I physically saw the bag: 32 hrs ago, Nashville, Tennessee.
Color: Charcoal Grey.
Size: About 2.5 ft tall, 1.5 ft wide.
Weight: 49.5 lbs. (because I’m that good of a packer)
Description of contents: Lots of girly dresses, pink makeup bag and cowboy boots (duh I was in Nashville!)

She took down all the notes and assured me that although she has no idea where the luggage was at this moment in time, the odds of them finding it and getting it to my house were pretty good.  I wanted to ask if there were hundreds of agents working on finding my luggage right now…wasn’t sure if she would appreciate my sarcasm though.  So I hopped into the car, again traveling light.  And was greeted by my dad who thankfully was on call all day long to come grab me from the airport.

Me: I have to say, of all my travels all over the world, who would have thought that getting home from Nashville would prove to be the most difficult!
Dad:  Well Brenda…let’s just say that no one is really shocked by all of this, I just hope that fiance of yours knows what he’s in for!!

So there you have it, my latest adventure! Side note: my luggage did get found, in Atlanta…where I truly wanted to pick it up all along!  I gotta say though that when traveling I am that annoying one who always has a positive attitude, but you all can see why now right? If I didn’t I would be miserable all the time, and I love to travel too much to let it get me down.

Plus a little perspective here, knowing that tornadoes and heart attacks were the reason for my delay makes me thankful that I was safe and sound during the whole trip.  Makes you realize first of all how nice it is to feel like you can help in medical emergencies, but also lucky you can be to not be on a plane that is traveling through storms and tornadoes.  My prayers go out to everyone who is more than inconvenienced, but truly hurt by all that has been going on the past week!

Author: Nuttygrass

I'm a nut and grass farmer, EMT, Firefighter, and world traveler. I love a good laugh and a great adventure!

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