CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
the long road home
A timeline of my trip yesterday from Portland to Orlando. What should have taken me 7 hours ended up taking 18!

4am PST -- wake up at Portland hotel go to airport


6am PST -- flight leaves for Houston, have a very nice gal next to me, Susan, we hit it off and start chatting. In the window seat is an odd woman who is not turning off her cell phone even after the announcement. I ask her to turn it off and she rolls her eyes at me.

11am CST -- Susan comes back from the restroom and tells me she overheard the staff talking of rerouting us. Pilot comes over the PA and tells us there is "weather" in Houston and we are going to San Antonio to refuel and wait out the storm.

12:00 noon CST -- we land in San Antonio and are given updates each hour how much longer we will have to sit there. Susan and are fast friends by now. The airplane is hot, and gross. They have run out of water for us to drink. I go to the back to get something and find one steward massaging a stewardess. I interrupt them and they give me a couple cans of CranApple drink. I have never had CranApple drink and Susan and I agree it is surprisingly refreshing. They play 3 movies, Poseidon, Hoot and some Adam Sandler movie. We don't watch any of them. People are leaving the flight in San Antonio which we both think is a bad idea. Always stay with the plane, once you leave you are on your own.

3:30pm CST -- plane takes off to Houston

4:30pm CST -- land in Houston, say goodbye and good luck to Susan and race to catch the Orlando flight, I see the plane is still at the gate and I run as fast as I can. When I get to the gate, the jetway is just pulling back from the plane so I have missed it. A businessman has a meltdown and starts screaming at the gate agents. I decide to pretend I am on the Amazing Race and make this an exciting adventure.

4:45pm CST -- I ask about the next flight to Orlando. I am told it is over booked and I would be behind 20 other standbys to get on that flight. It is the last one of the night so if I don't get on it (which doesn't look likely), I'll have to fly home the next day. I ask about a Tampa flight and they have a confirmed seat for me, it is supposed to leave at 6:30pm. I call Paul and he books a rental car for me to pick up in Tampa.

5:30pm CST -- I eat dinner (Wendy's salad and fries - gross), then go to the gate and I see Susan again! We chat away about how glad we are to have seats on a plane.

6:30pm CST -- we board the plane to Tampa and I call Paul, he wants to come and get me in Tampa despite my begging him to stay home because he has work so early in the morning (he leaves the house for work at 4:45am). He starts driving to Tampa.

7:30pm CST-- the pilot tells us there are 16 other planes waiting to take off so it will be at least an hour on the runway before we can leave. I call Paul, he's 1/2 way to Tampa, he reluctantly goes home and books me a rental car again. They start playing Dr DooLittle3 to keep us quiet.

8:30pm CST -- the plane takes off!

11:15pm EST -- we land in Tampa. Susan and I say our good byes again. I run off to rent the car.

1:00am EST -- I pull into my driveway! I am HOME!

Today Paul and I will return the rental car, get my luggage at the Orlando Airport and then collapse. I didn't sleep well last night after all that and I am exhausted. But I am so proud of myself, I did not tear up once during the whole ordeal, I remained calm and I made it home! yay!!

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COMMENTS:
Wow! Better than I might have been. Glad you are home and that you had Susan...and dear Paul!!!
 
They should have played Planes Trains and Automobiles! That's awful...sorry to hear about your rotten adventure. You should write into the airline and try to get a free ticket or at least some sort of voucher. They are not allowed to let you sit on an aircraft that long...I work for customer service for an airline and know first hand they should send you a free ticket.
I also know first hand there are many many crazy people in this world...and they travel ALOT!! LOL!!!
 
wow....you must be absolutley wiped out! andra
 
Sorry to hear about your lengthy trip home. Hope you get some rest today!
 
Phew!ieeeeeeeee!! Glad You got back home and didn't tear up which I think I probably would have! Poor Paul! My husband gets up at 4:30 am every morning, now I'll think of Paul as one of the early birds too! xo
 
Traveling by plane is not for the faint of heart. It's a real struggle. but if you are open to random acts of friendship--the long wait in a small area can be kind of fun. I met a nice group waiting for the Akron-Canton flight out of Chicago. Sort of a "party". and I had a really good book to read.

the McDonald's parfait--yogurt, fruit and a sprinkle of granola is a very healthy meal. Almost every airport has a McD.
 
wow Claudine..you made it through your amazing race..well, AMAZINGlY!
Dede
 
I love your attitude -I am going to pretend I am in Amazing Race next time things get hectic! Good Girl!
 
Girl, You have survived what would be for me the worst case to cause a panic attack and that is sitting in a plane waiting at the tarmack, I just loose it when I am cooped up like that and know I can't get out.... that's why I have to re-think my travel urges so many times. You did mah-velous! What an ordeal!
 
What an aweful ordeal. At least you are home safe.
 
love your blog and your work.
glad you are safe from your little "adventure."
 
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