Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Adventure in Chicago

In the days leading up to our trip to Nebraska, we closely watched Chicago's weather forecast. The closer we got to Tuesday the 23rd, the more worried we became. As it turns out, rightfully so.

We girls were on American Airlines flights (using up frequent flyer miles), and Troy was on United flights (cheapest tickets). Even though we had completely different intineraries, we were all flying out of Baltimore, making a connection at Chicago O'Hare, and ending up in Omaha. We were scheduled to land within 20 minutes of each other in Omaha.

Our adventure began at 3:30 a.m., when we left our home. We girls left Baltimore only 15 minutes after our scheduled 6:00 departure. Julia slept most of the flight, and Evelyn watched DVDs and napped a bit. We landed in Chicago around 8:20, which gave us two and a half hours to mess around before catching our plane to Omaha. With plenty of time to kill, we headed over to the United section of O'Hare and met Troy as he got off his plane. We could only chat for a few minutes because Troy had a shorter connection time with quite a ways to walk.

As we headed back to the American Airlines terminal, we girls stopped at the play area so Evelyn could run around and have fun for about 45 mintues. According to our boarding passes, our plane was to start boarding at 9:40 for the 10:10 flight, and we arrived at our gate at about 9:45. I couldn't help but notice there wasn't a plane already at our gate - first bad sign. While waiting, I visited with an older couple, Evelyn laid down on her coat on the floor, and I pushed Julia back and forth, trying to console her fussiness. The schedule board at our gate then showed the departure at 10:20 - second bad sign. I chatted a bit longer with the fellow Omaha-bound people, but when the departure changed to 10:40, I had to say good-bye. Julia needed to be fed, and pronto.

We girls found some chairs to camp out in. Evelyn continued laying on the floor while I fed Julia. Not having any idea what time it was (day? night?), Julia started fussing again. I figured the poor girl was tired, so I stood and held her and bounced her while reading Evelyn one of her magazines (multitasking is my middle name). All the while checking the departure board near us - which told me the flight would be at 10:50 . . . 11:00 . . . 11:05 . . . 11:10. I don't think anyone knew when our flight was leaving.

Shortly after 11:00, they announced that our planewas boarding, so we jumped up and headed to the gate. It was snowing pretty heavily at that point, but I figured somebody must have a plan to get our plane out of there before the weather got too bad. (Did I mention that the afternoon Omaha flight had already been cancelled?) Should I stop and buy lunch for Evelyn and me? No - not if we'll be in Omaha by 1:00 and especially since they're boarding the plane right now. So we girls boarded the plane and settled into our seats . . . for a LONG wait.

I'll share the details of our three-hour wait on the plane at the gate later if you want to hear them, but the gist of it is we couldn't leave because of heavy snow showers. Julia was able to have her lunch because I had more than enough baby necessities. I gave Evelyn the last two granola bars and orange juice. Myself? I decided to go on a one-day diet. Eating is over-rated, right?

Meanwhile, even though Troy's plane originally was delayed due to mechanical problems, he took off around 11:00 (right before the weather got really bad) and landed in Omaha around 12:30. He was only about an hour late overall.

Thankfully our plane was able to leave around 2:00, during a quiet spell in the weather. We landed in Omaha around 3:30, tired, hungry, and cranky. But we made it, albeit four hours late. Every once in a while I need to be reminded why I prefer nonstop flights when traveling with children. I got that reminder yesterday. Now, what does January 5th in Chicago have in store for us?


k. said...

Man, that sucks. I guess the good part is that your flight wasn't completely cancelled. I hope your flight back is better.