Earlier I wrote a post on a difficult travel experience, but this one definitely wins by a long shot – especially since the first was by my own doing while this second one was not in my control.
Snow is evil and it is not my friend. Yes, I am anthropomorphizing the weather, but in this case, I think it is absolutely suitable for me to do so.
My journey home started with a nice 6am walk to the bus station through a foot of snow with a large suitcase, a saxophone, my flute and whistles, and a backpack full of books for at least a mile. The combined total weight of everything probably exceeding my weight. By the time I arrived at the bus station, my arms and legs were not only frozen, but completely worn out from carrying so much weight.
As I waited at the bus station, I nervously watched the clock. Due to the weather and resulting driving conditions, the bus to the airport was just over half an hour late and I had scheduled it so that I would have been on the bus that got to the airport exactly on time – the half an hour put me behind schedule and with check-in and the slow drive, quite possibly late.
But as it turned out, it didn’t matter. By the time I finally checked into the airport, walked all the way down to the terminal (which was extremely far), I only had to wait half an hour to find out that the flight had been delayed. We were told that they would let us know what was going to happen at 2pm (my flight was supposed to be at 11am).
So, expecting to hang out at the airport for quite some time, I walked back to the Starbucks to get a coffee while I waited. I then paid £10 for a day of internet only to be told an half hour later that the flight had been cancelled and that I needed to go to baggage claim to collect my bags. They decided to shuttle us on buses to the airport in Dublin so that we could get on a different flight.
So, I go downstairs, get my bags, and then wait for another half hour before I am herded into a line for the buses which was outside. After 45 minutes of standing in the snow (ill-prepared mind you because I thought I would be in warmer weather and not Belfast during a snowstorm), I finally get onto the last bus. Four hours later, we arrive in Dublin only 45 minutes before our now 6pm flight to Newark.
We check in, go to the terminal, get on the plane and head to Newark. The runway freezes over, so we are forced to sit on the plane while we wait for them to clear off the ice. Fun times. Fast forward, 9pm we land in Newark, and guess what, my flight is now 9am the next morning. So what am I going to do that night in Newark? Sleep in the airport… Why? Because the airline won’t comp us hotel rooms even though they flew us to Newark knowing we would have no place to stay. So, after being up since 6am Belfast time (that’s 1am Newark time, 10pm LA time), now 2am Belfast time, I am forced to stay awake all night in the airport because I do not feel safe sleeping while I am traveling alone. So, I go to McDonald’s, get a large coffee and sit down to work on my homework.
At 4am Newark time, the check-in opens (that is now 9am Belfast time and I have officially been awake 27 hours), so I check in and head over to my terminal. Four and a half hours later, 8:30 (1:30pm Belfast), we get on the plane. Of course, we arrive late in LA – noon LA time (that is now 8pm Belfast). It is pouring rain, and takes over 2 hours to drive home! There ends up being company at my house, so I stay up socializing to be polite. I go to bed around 11pm (that is 7am Belfast time – I’ve been up 49 hours). That’s my story. Not to mention I had to get up at 6am the next day to play at church.
The moral of this story is: don’t try to fly home when there are freak snow storms. It sucks.