Thursday, I boarded a plane to Dallas at 5:30 AM. It was a pretty uneventful flight, until the plane was approaching Houston (I had to switch planes there on my way to Dallas). Fog had rolled in and the Houston airport was diverting all arrivals and grounding all departures temporarily. No big deal. We went on the Austin to get some fuel and wait out the fog; the pilots estimated an hour in Austin.
3 ½ hours later…………..we were still sitting on the tarmac at the Austin airport. Not at a gate, the tarmac. No way to get off the plane. With no food or drinks on the plane since they only stock for the flight time. There was a newborn baby on the plane who overheated and the EMTs had to come to help cool her off. The air conditioning was only blowing hot ait. And to make it better…..we were on an Express flight so the plane was one of those 50 seaters; I could barely stand up straight in the aisle.
At the 3 ½ hour mark, the pilot finally told us that if we wanted to get off the plane, we could. The airline rep was going to take us to the Austin terminal but we could not get our bags off the plane and we would not be able to get back on the plane when they did finally take off. I had enough and got off the plane. I had already missed 3 of my meetings for the day in Dallas but I could at least get food and find another way to Dallas from Austin. The plane sat on that tarmac for another 2 hours after I got off the plane!!!
Once in the Austin airport, I found a Southwest flight to Dallas. $121.60 later, I had a new ticket to Dallas, $4.59 left in my expense account, and food. My cell phone charger was in my suitcase (still on the tarmac with the plane) so I went searching for a new charger to make that beeping stop from the dying battery. No store in the Austin airport sells cell phone chargers!!!!
I found my Southwest gate, plugged my computer in, paid the $6.95 for internet access, and then the announcement that the Dallas Southwest flight was delayed…..45 minutes.
When I finally got to the hotel in Dallas, it was 5:15 PM local time (6:15 PM at my original location). It took me 13 hours to get to Dallas from Washington DC!!!! Ridiculous! My luggage finally arrived at the hotel at 9:30 PM.
You might think the story ends there but NOPE!
As we started the hotel meeting space tour (the original purpose of the trip), the lights flickered and the fire alarm went off. All the guests in the hotel had to be evacuated. There we were, standing outside the hotel. Probably 700 people or so. The poor sales manager I work with at the hotel…….she felt so bad but all these things were out of her control! Once we were let back into the building, the generator power was giving just enough light to see the meeting space. The evening ended well with a fabulous dinner and several glasses of wine.
What happened to the power?! A squirrel bit the electrical wires and it created a surge, blowing the transformer to the hotel tower. Yes, my day was bad but the squirrel had it worse!!!
Lesson of the day: At no time should anyone get on an airplane with me if you really want to get somewhere on time!