I've been on the road for several days, first to Salt Lake City, then a quick trip home, and then what I thought was going to be a trip to New Zealand. However, American Airlines has provided a delay in my travels.
I boarded a plane in Chicago last night, with the expectation of flying to Los Angeles. I expected to switch to an Air New Zealand flight for the 12-hour flight to Auckland. The plane backed out from the Chicago terminal and proceeded to the runway. I also knew that a blizzard was due to "blow in" soon. I realized something was amiss when we started taxiing back to the gate.
In short, there was a mechanical problem with the plane. We sat on board for more than an hour as mechanics tried to fix the problem. Apparently, they were unable to make quick repairs and pronounced that "this bird won't fly tonight." More than 200 passengers walked off the plane and soon surrounded the only two ticket agents in sight. It was an ugly scene as everyone demanded to be re-ticketed onto the next flight which obviously wasn't going to hold an additional 200 passengers.
Even worse, the snow and high winds were expected to arrive soon. Anyone who didn't fly out within the next 2 or 3 hours probably would be stuck at the O'Hare airport for 2 or 3 days.
I walked over to a quiet corner and called American Airlines ticketing on my cell phone. A few minutes later I was re-booked. I looked over at the angry mob that still surrounded the two harried ticket agents at the airport. I picked up my things and walked to my new gate assignment, thinking that technology is a wonderful thing. Without my cell phone, I would still be standing in that angry crowd.
I did leave Chicago a couple of hours later as the snow was coming down. However, I arrived in Los Angeles too late to make my connection on Air New Zealand. I spent the night in a nearby hotel and am now booked to leave on this evening's flight. That should get me to Auckland in plenty of time to attend the opening ceremonies of the AFFHO genealogy conference.
I wonder where my luggage is?