In the interest of continuity, I’m telling my tale in three parts. I’m very sleep deprived and also sick, so this is for the best.
Part 1, or, Hell is Real and the Devil Lives in Texas
The night before I was due to take off one of my best friends and housesitter was staying with me. We were having a good old fashioned sleep over and she was taking me to the airport at 4:00 am. True friendship there y’all.
Since we had to be up so early anyway, we decided to just stay up. I had seven hours of flying ahead of me anyway, so I figured I’d just sleep on the plane. So we stayed up all night and it was fun. We went to McDonalds and bought cookies at midnight, drank coffee, watched The Mindy Project, and all sorts of fun stuff. I also started getting ready around 3:00 am. Even though I was flying all day, I wanted to look pretty when I saw Chief for the first time.
So anyway, my first flight was to Dallas and it was supposed to be an hour flight. My town is little and we don’t fly direct to any major locations. We fly to hubs, like Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, etc. So I was supposed to go Dallas to Portland to Anchorage. I was supposed to arrive in Anchorage at 3:00 pm Alaska time.
It was not to be.
So we took off on time, nice and normal. Pretty immediately the captain came on and said that our trip was going to be longer than normal because there were severe storms in Dallas and they had declared a ground stop. Then, a few minutes later, he came back on saying he didn’t have enough gas to circle Dallas waiting for the weather to clear, so we had to land in Austin to refuel. This was supposed to take about 30 minutes. I was feeling stressed, but still okay. I had an hour and a half layover. I had plenty of time.
Oh guys. If only I had known.
Long story short, we sat on the tarmac in Austin for over 6 hours. All we had to eat were granola bars the flight crew passed out and we breathed in hot, recirculated air. They said we could deplane, but we wouldn’t be allowed back on and would be “on our own.” Dozens of planes had to land in Austin because of this mess.
When we finally made it to Dallas and deplaned (40 minutes AFTER landing), we had been on that hour flight for almost NINE HOURS. Keep in mind I had not slept, and had hardly eaten. THANK GOD I had forgotten my metformin that morning. I would have been in a real bind.
So we deplane, expecting to talk to someone pretty immediately about rescheduling our connections. And then we saw them. Thousands of them. There was a line of people running through every concourse in DFW waiting to get their flights rescheduled. It was horrific. They also had a number you could call, so what most people did (including me) was call the number, give them your call back number to get on the list, and then wait in line and see who would get to you quickest. I waited in line for over two hours. When I was twenty from the front, I got a call and was able to reschedule my flight. It was leaving in an hour and was a concourse over. I needed to get over there, get my boarding pass, and get on the flight. So I booked it. At this point I had been awake for I’m estimating 35-36 hours and had eaten a granola bar in about 16 hours. I was shaky, nearly hysterical (I won’t lie-there was some light crying and sniffling), and exhausted.
But I made it to my gate. I dealt with a really bitchy gate agent and got my boarding pass, and then hobbled over to McDonalds and ordered the first thing I saw-a quarter pounder with cheese and a coke. Well, I choked half of it down before they announced that my gate was changing and I had to book it again. And everywhere you went was choked with people. Over fifty flights got cancelled at DFW that day, and they were only able to take off out of some of the runways because of the weather lingering in certain directions. It was a nightmare.
I FINALLY made it on a plane that was blissfully spacious. It was an older 757 and it was only half full, so no one had to sit next to anyone. It was also a direct from Dallas to Anchorage and it was supposed to get me there at 10:00 pm. It was very close. I think when we landed it was 10:30 pm. I basically fell onto Chief. He was waiting for me right outside of TSA. We went straight down to get my bag.
Which, of course, was not there. My bag had gone to Portland, but it took them over an hour to figure this out. They said it was arriving at 1:00 am, and we could come back for it in the morning. No need to file a claim. Okay fine. I could wait, even though I had taken NOTHING but my purse on the plane, so I had nothing. NO clothes, NO toiletries-nothing.
On the way to the base in the rental car I basically fell apart. I just started sobbing about how I shouldn’t have come, how I clearly wasn’t meant to be there, and how I wished I had just stayed home. I was convinced I was messing things up for Chief. I was just beyond exhausted guys. There was no way I was going to be rational. It just wasn’t possible. I had been up for 43 hours at this point and eaten basically nothing. First world problems, I know. But it was hard, and scary, and I had to do it all by myself.
So when we got back to the base it was after midnight. I showered using Chief’s stuff, scarfed down a piece of pizza he had waiting for me (such a good husband) and fell over into bed. He went to the airport in the morning, and guess what guys?
no. FUCKING. bag. And they couldn’t track it. Had no idea where it was.
So I called, and I bitched, and they gave me $150 dollars to buy things to wear. I had to put my gross traveling clothes from the day before back on, but we went to Target in anchorage and bought an outfit and some toiletries. A few hours later they called and said my bag had arrived. And by “they”, I mean the Anchorage Airport did. This is an important distinction to make, because American Airlines STILL thinks my bag is lost. They have called me every day since to tell me that it is and how sorry they are about it, BECAUSE THEY ARE DUMB.
But at this point in the story I’m finally in beautiful Anchorage and I am happy, clean, rested, fed, and clothed. Stay tuned for Part 2, or, Librarian Falls in Love and Wants to Move to Alaska.