You know it’s not a good day when you wake up on your travel day, and the first thing you see on television is Jim Cantore at O’Hare reporting on the hundreds of flights being canceled, with repercussions all around the country, and your itinerary takes you through O’Hare on the way to San Diego.
We make one big travel day a year, planned months in advance, and on that day, all hell breaks loose in the weather department. High winds and “strong thunderstorms” at our departure point, and the mess in Chicago half way. The only thing going for us was that we were leaving later in the day, and since they were calling the storm a “Saskatchewan Scooter” or something like that we hoped it would move out of the Chicagoland area prior to our arrival. In fact MFO called the airline and (get this) actually spoke to a person who said they really thought that the afternoon would be okay. One of the reasons driving us to accept O’Hare as a waypoint was the fact that we didn’t have to be at some distant airport at o’dark thirty. We also chose Reagan because we could get a “real” airplane from American Airlines. Since we were using moldy frequent flier miles we got first class all the way (yes, living well is STILL the best revenge).
So, around ten we loaded up the rent-a-car, and with some trepidation drove up to Reagan. We had not flown out of there for a few years, so the navigation was a bit rusty. But, we successfully negotiated the “local traffic” side of the Wilson Bridge, found our way up route one, got gas, and somehow by luck eventually got to the return facility. Wrestled the bags on and off the shuttle, did a curbside check in, participated in the security dance, and eventually wound up in the Admiral’s Club, a little travel luxury we have continued to allow ourselves. Being in our nation’s capital, I suppose there is a higher population of “important people” there than maybe at others. At least their mannerisms and demeanor indicates they think they are. The ones who weren’t on their laptops were thumbing the smart phone. One lady had one of those “ear bugs” plugged in and was working her laptop while carrying on a loud conversation with space. I want this, get me that, what are the numbers….. blah, blah.
A check of the various boards still kept telling us that both flights were on time, so our confidence began to build that we might, in fact, see our friends in San Diego that same day. To help pass the time (and your money) the admirals club does offer food and drink. The “wine list” offerings
Given the length of our day, we decided to forgo the temptation, and since we would be up front in the jet it would be supplied for no (additional) cost. Amazingly enough as take off time approached, no delays were announced and we proceeded to the gate. Rain began falling but we boarded and after a long wait to get airborne with advisories from the pilot that it would be “bumpy” on takeoff we finally managed to get airborne. Fortunately it wasn’t as bad as predicted and after we got up a bit it was actually fairly nice.
And then the lovely lady began asking the question “may I get you something to drink?” while offering a warm towel.
The airplane was a 737-300 and almost had that new airplane smell. It was quite comfortable, and had plenty of space, and even offered “available” wi-fi connections which of course a lot of the important people took advantage of. It actually was a fairly nice ride over to O’Hare and by the time we landed the snow was pretty well handled.
We rested in the Admirals Club there for a while and when it got to be within a half hour of the (now delayed) boarding time for the SAN flight we went down with the masses to see
And then found out that there was another half hour delay. All in all, I think we boarded about an hour late. This time the jet was an older version, but still had roomy seats in first class. As the plane slowly filled the aisle seats directly in front of us remained empty. And just before the door closed a young couple came aboard each with a toddler in arms. OMG, they settled into those empty seats! Mild piercing eruptions were shushed by mom and dad, but the thought of four hours of the famous “screaming kids” was not a happy prospect. Long story short, the little persons were fairly quiet and napped a lot with only occasional outbursts.
Anyway, on this flight the little info card said “dinner” which by this time was welcome since we had not really eaten all day. Once again the nuts were served, this time with a pleasant scotch on the rocks (care for another, sir?) and life began to look better. Also on this leg, music was available so classical music drowned out the little episodes directly ahead of us, and things were good. The drinks were served in real glass by the way, even MFO's wine.
After a bit of calming, the lady came around and asked about dinner. Choices were cheese ravioli or salmon. We each chose the salmon. I must admit that it was a pretty good meal (although the seat cushion would have tasted good by this time)
The shrimp were pretty good, that salmon had flavor and it was on china and real silverware. A white wine was also offered and that was okay. A nice ride the rest of the way into the San Diego airport, bags came out relatively soon, and our gracious hosts and friends here picked us up at the curb. So a long day, but not a bad day (despite my angst over weather, schedules, gate changes, etc.) brought us to our friends house which has this view.
We spent most of yesterday recovering, and may do likewise today, although we did some birding in the afternoon. We dined in last night with some lovely chicken tortilla soup and a gorgeous Tarte Tatin. She is quite an accomplished cook. We will do well, and whether or not we continue to dine out or in, we will be appropriately