Ireland & England · Travel

Day 1 – Our Travel Day from Hell!

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Our much-awaited trip started on July 12, 2017. I got up at 4:00 am to shower and be ready to leave, hopefully before 6:00 am, but it was a little afterwards. We decided to travel with a medium size suitcase and a carry-on instead of one big suitcase and that benefited us with our two rental cars.

We arrived at the airport later than I like–they were boarding the plane when we arrived at our gate. We were in the B group, so we were OK. I had to pinch myself to see if this were real! We had planned this trip for six months, and here it was!

Immediately on the plane, I took selfies of Lin and me to start a notebook journal about our trip–sad to say it only lasted a couple days, but I did buy a journal in Blarney and took notes the whole trip.

Back to our first travel day. Lin and I regularly use our Southwest credit cards, so we had free flights to New York, but we had to travel through Midway in Chicago. The flight was uneventful at first–Lin napped, but I couldn’t! I was too excited. Sometime into our flight, the pilot announced that a thunder storm had hit Chicago and both major airports were closed and they were diverting us to Kansas City. I started praying!

When I had booked our tickets, I had allowed ample time to facilitate a transfer because we were flying into La Guardia and British Airways flies out of JFK. I knew we were in trouble now. The prayers continued.

I questioned a flight attendant about what we should do. She had no idea because we weren’t the only one affected. When we landed in Kansas City, they ushered the passengers traveling to New York off the plane first. They put us on a flight leaving at 1:30 pm, but it wouldn’t arrive in New York in time for us to transfer from La Guardia to JFK. My prayers continued.

I panicked but did what I do in a crisis–act! I was on the phone with British Airways for well over an hour trying to solve our problem. I couldn’t understand either agent I talked to. He repeatedly put me on hold and said, “I will be back in a couple minutes.” This went on and on. This agent did know there would be a fee for missing our flight and booking another one at such a late time. He transferred me to a second agent, and he told me it would be over $1600 each to rebook–I was shocked! I hit high gear on praying. I knew my God was in the midst of this and would handle it for us, but I was so worried. It’s hard to let go at time like this.

I spent all my time on the flight to New York on the Internet searching for a flight that would work and a price that would work–there wasn’t one that would work because all were over $1500 each. Lin was adamant that we do nothing until we got to New York. My panic increased–were we going to miss our flight to London? We were to arrive in London at 7:10 am and had a flight to Ireland at 10:30 am. Would it all get screwed up because of a summer thunderstorm in Chicago? I had to keep trusting it would work out!

Again I talked to the Southwest flight attendants, and they helped us move up from the back of the plane to the front and helped move our carry-on bags too. We deplaned quickly, I retrieved our bags, and Lin hailed a taxi with a determined driver.

It was slow going from La Guardia to JFK because we hit rush hour traffic, but the taxi driver drove like a maniac–like they do in New York. I had to close my eyes several times because I was sure that he was going got to clip the car he passed. He also took my phone and talked to British Airways as he drove, trying to help us.

We arrived at the British Airways ticket counter a few minutes after they stopped accepting passengers for our flight–for International flights, they close the gate twenty minutes before the plane’s scheduled departure.

Determined to deal with this in a positive way and get to London on time, we talked to a British Airways agent and she sent us to a manager. Lin calmly shared our sad tale. She wasn’t interested in our lament about a thunderstorm in Chicago that delayed our Southwest flight.

She stated, “We don’t care what happens to you before you get to British Airways.”

I swallowed and shot up a barrage of prayers.

Then she softened some as she searched the computer screen, “Let me see what flight I can get you on.”

I knew the answer: I had memorized the flights from my earlier search. I  interruptted her, “I know what flights are going out. . .’

“Stop,” she said as wiggled her finger at me, looked me dead in the eyes and exclaimed, “I’m trying to help you. Don’t go there.”

Lin grabbed my arm and pulled me back and agreed with her, so I stepped back, shut up and continued my litany of prayers.

We couldn’t have hoped for a better ending:  she got us on a flight that left about twenty minutes after our original flight, so we had to scurry to the gate. Lin offered her a kiss and she giggled. We ended up not paying anything more. Thank you, British Airways for taking care of us–and thank you, God!

Have you ever had a travel day like this ours? Share your experience in the Comments section below!

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