remember hearing about Holiday Blizzard 2006?
some of you know i took off to colorado for a non'ski-ski trip with my best friend and her husband the week before christmas. mya spent the week with erick which was a good thing - a reality check.. that daddy is not always fun'guy'usa, that he too will have her going to school and to bed on time (smile).
so i've only traveled the airlines once alone & that was a strait shot from ky to maryland. this time - i was switching in chicago. my greatest fears were being late to the airport, running for my flight, missing my connector.. normal anxiety type things.. all to come true on this trip out west.
so. i arrived a little over an hour before my flight out of ky, i walked in the airport and i saw a line squiggled thru a few rows and a ball started to knot in my stomach.
i'm standing behind a pack of some business people dressed to the 9's & a black woman walks by talking to one of her work mates about the how she doesn't "know why people stand in line, when they can just check in curb side"..
"excuse me" and so i followed her & my bags were checked, boarding pass given. i walked back to the exec's in line with me & let them know the good news & maybe i looked odd to them, but they chose to stay still, and i walked thru security.
the flight was delayed. simple enough i thought, but this guy kept going on and on about all his whoahs & finally i responded to him. thru the conversation the reality hit that.. "oh, so you are saying if my flight is delayed here, i'll miss my connecting flight and not get to colorado."
"oh, so i need to go talk to the guy up there"
and so i did, and i got the final flight leaving from chicago to Denver that night. unfortunately the flight was so delayed, that i nearly missed the connector. as i was getting off they said i needed to go to Gate H6, not so bad - we were coming off of H3. i walked quickly and as i am approaching the counter i am seeing Toronto, Canada in the scroll bar.. i approached the two ladies & the one took my ticket and gave me an odd look, saying "you had better hurry because they are boarding now at something 13"
"Apple 13" as i am turning away to run..
"Kilo 13" and i am running, running, running, down two, over one corridors.. as i was moving thru the K Gates i began feeling the point coming when i wouldn't be able to run any further. the air was becoming thin, as i began to wheez from the struggle - my legs shifting one in front of the other, i felt my weight & now the once fluid motion had been replaced with stalled lungings. i started to stop, and my mind raced wondering how i would tell Sarah & Bill that i missed the flight because i couldn't run anymore.. when i could go no futher i turned my head to see my progress, and to my relief - Kilo 13 -.. i pounded to the counter outstretched my arm and breathed "i just got off my last flight"
as they had already started to call stand'bys i was blessed to be given an alternative seat..
and so i made it.. (next time, i'll tell one of the two ladies to tell the K13 counter i am coming, to hold my seat)
so 4500 people were stranded unable to catch flights out of Denver due to the storm. 4500 people slept thru Wednesday Dec 20th due to the blizzard taking Denver by storm.
the news stated if it quit snowing by noon Thursday Dec 21st they would resume airline travel on a limited basis Friday Dec 22nd noon. i and my friends were glued to the news reports. lots of questions. would the roads be cleared enought to make the 3 hr drive thru the mountains? would my flight be one of the flights going out? would they honor our flights, or would they bumb us to assist the thousands still trying to leave?
we had called the C-DOT, or the C-O-D-O-T, as our shuttle driver called it.. however, the department of transportation & it said all the roads were open the morning of our departure, however chains were required for the Eisenhower Tunnel.. Chains!!
turns out - chains for commercial vehicles only.
close to the Denver's Airport i called into a friend and had him look at possibly doing a pre'flight e'check'in. as he looked, it looked like my flight had been moved from 315p to 720p; Sarah & Bill's flight was on time, still at 515p. a sigh of relief came over us as we were stuck crawling thru 'just outta work on the half-day friday afternoon before Christmas' traffic.
i had some relief, however when Bill and Sarah stated they thought of having some tea before heading to the airport & dropping off the rent-a-car, my heart zinged & i politely asked if i could be dropped off before they did those things, that i would prefer to sit at my Gate. and yes, this is the 'safer than sorrier' part of my personality that can rub someone the wrong way.
me telling mya that i would be waking her up that evening when i arrived home was all i could think of. my integrity is important to me, i want to be a mommy that keeps her promises. it made me sick thinking, knowing that if i missed my flight today, it wouldn't be till the Tuesday the 26th, or 27th before catching the next available flight due to the masses stranded due to the blizzard.. as a single mom, the provider of santa's surprises.. you can imagine my angst.
so we pulled into the Departures Drop'Off & it looked pretty normal, because like the news had stated, if a person didn't have a flight scheduled, he or she shouldn't come in.. so i was expecting normal, if not light traffic.
i hugged Sarah & gave Bill a high'five. we left saying we would see each other at the gates, and that was that - i turned towards the double doors as they drove off. because Sarah & Bill are currently living in England, they were without cell service in the states, so when they drove off - they were off & connecting with them again would have to be face2face.
i walked in the door and my heart sank.. i saw not only the squiggled line towards American Airlines, but the line that followed the side wall, and Denver International Airport is one of the largest airlines i've seen. to illustrate, they have a subway'shuttle to move a person to their available Gates.
so i come in and i didn't know why the line, i figured they were the 1000 or so people that choose to stay behind for a chance at Stand'By, but surely - me being a scheduled flight i could step into the line i did. not 5 minutes into the wait that a woman rushed the group i was standing in - talking fast and matter of factly - yelling that it wasn't about scheduled flights - it was first'come'first serve, to get in the back of the line.
thankfully - because i've never been trained to verbally fight with someone, the young mom holding a brand'new infant in front of me handled the ordeal - stating that she was sorry, but until we were asked to move by security that she would continue in the line.
no sooner had she said this, did a security guard approach and ask us all to the back of the line..
so i followed the line, and the line - "first come first serve" kept repeating in my head. every face said i wasn't getting home this day. making it to the end of the line, still dazed, i heard someone yelling and shaking their fists at me from across the walk way. the person in front of me turned and told me the end of the line wasn't where i was standing and pointed towards another line as long as the one i just followed.
so again, "first come first serve" repeated over and over & my heart sank again because of Bill and Sarah & me not making it home. i get to the end of the line & again i hear someone yelling, "the end of the line is over there"..
again - i crossed a walk way and continued to follow. at the end - if i had just passed 500, i had just passed 750 people, and i couldn't understand how i was going to get thru the line.. i couldn't understand how i was going to catch my flight, how i was going to get home..