Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Continental Divide

This is the tale of a journey to the middle of the universe (or at least the middle of the US) and back.

My lovely husband is from a small city called Omaha which, for you geographically challenged folks, is in Nebraska. You may have heard of it. Nebraskans are particularly proud of the their college football team and the fact that a few notables are from their state - Gerald Ford, Warren Buffett, Gabrielle Union and Mark (my husband).

I travelled there this past weekend. I left Bermuda on Thursday afternoon eagerly looking forward to spending time with Mark, his mom and the rest of their family. Mark's birthday was on Friday so we were all going out to dinner.

My flight from Bermuda was not only uneventful but more importantly it left and arrived on time which is significant because I had a connecting flight on to Omaha an hour after we landed. I walked off the plane and looked around for a monitors to check on the gate I had to get to. Found one and looked for my destination city - Omaha - 6:15 - cancelled.

What?! This had to be a cruel joke. I mean, yes it was raining but in my expert aviation and meteorological opinion not enough to stop planes from landing and taking off. I went to the Continental customer service desk with the 30 or so other stunned passengers in line waiting for some consolation that the board was wrong and there was a glitch in the system and we would all be winging our way to Omaha post haste. No such luck.

What do you mean there are no more flights until tomorrow morning?
How about rerouting me through - say - Omaha?
What do you mean there is no hotel allowance because the cancellation is weather related?

Is it okay for a 35 year old woman to have a tantrum without being towed off by security and held for questioning?

What choices did I have? I slunk off disheartened and went to book a hotel room. There were about 25 options to select from on the hotel board. I have learned over the years that hotel operators don't answer the airport dedicated lines. In fact I tried a little experiment. I called from the airport phone and simultaneously called the regular number from my cell phone. Guess which they answered first. Yes, the cell phone call.

The first hotel didn't have any rooms, neither did the last and I tried all the numbers on the board. I was seriously ready for a tantrum but I barely held on to my sanity with my fingertips.

I sat down to start calling everyone I know in the tri-state area. Lois - my dear friend came to my rescue. She was on the parkway on her way home (she was two exits from her house) but she made a u-turn in rush hour traffic in the pouring rain and came for me.

I was up early the next morning and without incident made my way to Omaha where I spent my husband's birthday with him and his family. It was a great weekend and I made it home safely ... almost without incident but that is another story.

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