So here’s the first thing you need to know about traveling with me.
You don’t want to travel with me.
Seriously. You don’t want to travel with me. At least when I’m travelling to church functions. Why? Because….adventures happen.
I am in St. Louis MO for the next couple days for meetings to set up the next three years of work for the Standing Commission on Ministry Development. I’ve served on this SC for the last three years. Good people and some interesting work to be done.
But the adventure began virtually immediately. As I pulled into a parking slot at Tom Ridge Field in Erie I saw a plane flying perfectly level just a couple hundred feet off the ground. Clearly NOT landing or taking off, just doing a flyby. That struck me as passing strange. I’ve never seen anything like that before when I’ve flown. I shrugged it off and made my way inside and through security. As I settled in to wait for my flight time the announcement came over the PA that my flight had been diverted to Buffalo because of high winds in Erie. Seems that plane I’d seen on my way in had been mine. They were going to re-fuel in Buffalo and then try to come back. Since that would mess up connecting flights everyone on the flight needed to go back out to the Delta desk and re-book. (FYI – all the folks at Delta throughout the day were wonderful. My thanks to them all) We all line up and everyone waited with great patience. We were offered the chance to call the toll free Delta number and do the re-booking. I decided to hedge my bets and stayed in line WHILE I called Delta (clever, right?). Got through, decided to stay with my flight out of Erie but pushed back my connecting flight in Detroit. Quick and easy. With that I left the line and went over to a kiosk to get my new boarding passes feeling very much the veteran traveler in control of his destiny. Literally as I set my bags down at the kiosk Delta announced that the original flight was not going to be able to land due to the wind and the flight was cancelled.
The guy who had been in line behind me was very gracious and let me back into my previous slot. We were nearly at the front of the line at that point so I waited my turn and spoke with the agent. Only to be told that there were no available seats left on any flight out of Erie that day. NONE. Choices? Come back tomorrow or get a flight out of a different airport. Choosing to fly out of Pittsburgh the agent scheduled my flights (through Memphis instead of Detroit) and then worked very hard to fix my return flight too. Flying back to Erie when my car was in Pittsburgh would have been a problem. It was noon when she was done and my flight out of Pittsburgh wasn’t till 5:40 so I was golden.
On the road again…
Nothing to report on the drive. Got to Pittsburgh with hours to spare. Sat around bored till flight time. Aaaaaaaaand the plane is late. Not real late but late enough. Late enough that my connecting flight is scheduled to begin boarding at 7PM for a 7:40 departure. And at 7:10PM I’m still in the air. When we finally land most of the folks in front of me were gracious enough to let me go before they stood up. Most. I will refrain from commenting on the lady who not only stood up but wasn’t even ready to leave. So she spent what seemed like forever fussing with stuff. Sigh.
Off the plane, meet the agent at the terminal and got my gate. Which is at the other end of the freaking airport! So I ran. OK I ran until my middle aged lungs began to scream. Then I walked as fast as I could. The agent at the other end was looking for those of us who were running late so I got on board. Wasn’t even the last one.
Eventually I got to St. Louis (where the airport is in major re-build mode. A very tidy disaster area), waited out in the cold for the shuttle and arrived at the hotel. Usually that’s when the adventures settle down.
Except that the clock in my room has never been reset from Daylight Savings Time. Which was a bit of a jolt this morning. Got to breakfast a little early. Yeah.
And this kind of stuff happens to me ALL THE TIME!
And that’s why rule number one for traveling with me is – Don’t.