After a lovely time travelling with my youngest son it was time to say goodbye and head off to Canada to visit my daughter. Because my flights are almost all the time booked on very short notice I have to fly funny routes to destinations. This was not an exception. The best flight for me was NY (La Guardia airport) to Chicago to Calgary with United Airways
First of all the taxi driver dropped me off at the wrong terminal and those of you who are familiar with La Guardia – not a good start at all!!!!! Luckily I gave up trying to find my own way and stopped to ask what I should do. I was quickly pointed in the right direction to catch the bus between terminals. Again confusion as I didn’t know which bus. Ended up asking the bus driver on the first bus which stopped in front of me and she pointed to the purple bus! Then, as I have never been to this airport in my whole life, I didn’t know where to get off and asked the person sitting closest to me for advice. Again, without hesitation I was given the correct info. Every single person I stopped at the airport and on the bus was friendly, helpful and made me feel good. Thank you for everyone at La Guardia on that day!!!!
Checking in was, for a moment, very confusing. There were people behind counters but I was still pointed to the self-checking in kiosks. And I still had to pay for my luggage as this was not included in the ticket. After a big struggle to get myself checked in a friendly airport employee saw me struggling and came to my rescue – he took it out of my hands and the next moment I had my boarding passes to Chicago and Calgary in my hands and my luggage dropped off at the right place
Straight through security as I wanted to do it asap, as I heard it could be a slow process. Yes, it was and the X-ray machine decided to beep, which apparently meant I was randomly selected for further ‘search’. I smiled and asked what I did wrong, because I was sure I had nothing in my pockets and also not wearing my knee brace (which caused problems at another airport security as it set the alarm off and I had to take it off the be tested for drugs and put through the X-ray again). I think because I reacted friendly after being selected, the lady who took me aside relaxed and explained to me that it was just a random selection. She quickly scanned me for drugs, and a few other things and then waved me off with a smile
I was so early I had time for breakfast, thank goodness, and then made my way to the boarding gate. With all the renovations and so many different planes departing from this cluster of gates it felt to me very chaotic and like a production line. Made it onto the plane and off we went. And then stopped. And stopped. And stopped. No planes were allowed to take off as there was a really bad storm to the West, heading in the direction of NY. We were told we were to wait it out until being cleared to take off.
Long story short, three hours later, we were back at the boarding gate and allowed to leave the plane. By then I already knew I was going to miss my Chicago/Calgary flight. I went to the service desk where the ground staff were doing a brilliant job. People yelling were escorted in another directions and the rest of us lined up to try and reorganise flights. As I made it to the front of the line they announced that our flight to Chicago are boarding again. The lady at the service desk quickly rebooked my flight to Calgary for the next morning. I ran (running with a wonky knee? I am sure it was a sight!), boarded the plane, doors closed. The next moment it was pouring down and suddenly there was lightning and thunder around us. The crew on the ground was withdrawn and we were stuck, inside the plane, once again.
We sat in that plane again for another three hours, without moving
Eventually the storm calmed down and we were on our way. At 2am the next morning I basically stumbled out of the plane, totally exhausted, to collect my luggage and go to the hotel my son managed to book for me in Chicago.
My luggage wasn’t there. I found a United Air employee and said my luggage didn’t arrive. He explained that, as I was catching a flight to Calgary, my luggage will be kept in the freight area and put on my flight to Calgary the next morning. Luckily I had clean underwear in my hand bag, as well as the few pills I take. But no other clean clothes or toiletries
Taxi dropped me off at the hotel, I checked in, asked for a toothbrush. They said to go to my room and call for a toothbrush and toothpaste and someone will bring it to my room. I was so tired I couldn’t work out how to make the call. I was so tired that I simply didn’t put my shoes back on but walked with socks down to reception to ask for the toothbrush
I showered, fell in the bed and couldn’t sleep. I was too tired. If we didn’t have all these problems I would have been arriving in Calgary 3 hours earlier.
Luckily I felt rested the next morning, there were no storms and no maintenance problems and I made it to Calgary by the next afternoon
What an experience, and I hope never to be repeated