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Saturday, December 25, 2004
Merry Christmas and Never Fly with Northwest!

It turns out that December 23rd is not a good day to fly. After reaching Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota only half an hour late, I ran to the gate for my next flight - the one that would take me to South Bend, Indiana.

And then sat there for six hours.

In Minnesota, not Indiana.

They cancelled our flight because the pilots had 'timed out' - they'd been so delayed that they'd been on the job for over 16 hours. Not exactly someone I'd want to be flying my plane. (I felt really bad for the flight that got cancelled right after us, because their stewardess was the one who timed out, not the pilot... I think I could go without a drink and figure out how to work the emergency exit... as long as you got me in the air...)

So Northwest put us all up in a hotel. Of course we had to track down a shuttle to the airport and there were a couple hundred people who'd been stranded. Some had vouchers from the airline for hotels that had no shuttle, some had no way to get to their destination until Saturday! I felt pretty lucky that they'd been able to re-route me to an airport where R. could drive to get me (Chicago - Midway)

I, being the bright bulb that i am, packed everything in my luggage - including my winter jacket. And surprise surprise, Minneapolis had the coldest night of the year. Here i am trying to get my shuttle in -25C with a t-shirt and a zip up hoodie. However I managed to perpetuate the 'tough Canadian' image a little bit further.

I made a few new friends of course, Christie from Indiana who lives in Minnesota and is dating the Air Force Captain in South Carolina and wants a $7000 ring before he heads off to Korea for a year, and the family from Reno who are originally from South Bend and were very funny. The dad has MS and walks with a cane - or when he's sitting he threatens various people with it.... There was also the weird Oklahoma family whose method of communication consists of insulting each other alternating with saying 'you go girl'.

But remarkable, we were all in good humour. Call it the Christmas spirit, but I can't remember laughing so much. It was definitely a case of 'if I don't laugh, I'll cry' because we were all so tired. Christie had a hotel room right next to mine, which was good for her because she developed a cling-on at the airport... some older guy who stood so close to her all the time he breathed on her shoulder and then invited us back to his hotel room for a drink.

Um, no, thank you.

And who could forget the shuttle bus driver who used to be a pilot for Northwest... only 45 minutes late.. ironic, isn't it?

Anyways, I made it to Chicago's Midway Airport on the afternoon of the 24th.

My luggage, however, did not.

So after spending $60 at Walgreens, I at least have deoderant, a toothbrush and some essentials... including massive grannie-panties.. because who wants to meet the parents when you've been wearing the same underwear for two days.

So it's Christmas day, and we're off to go to R.'s parents for dinner... after running by the South Bend Airport to see if my luggage made it to where I was originally supposed to go. (The online tracing system just says "still tracing, check back soon!" but it might as well say, "you're starting to smell and everyone knows you're wearing the same clothes as you were two days ago... but you have a $25 voucher for repeat travel so why aren't you smiling?" or maybe "you know you run out of birth control pills in your carry on in two days, better hope your luggage shows up with the rest of it!")

So Merry Christmas to everyone!
  The Writing Mother
  posted at 10:04 AM


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