Did you know that it rained on Wednesday? It rained so much all over the northeast, in particular New York and New Jersey, that numerous flights were delayed and many cancelled altogether. In the tiny Burlington airport, only three outgoing flights were still schedule on the departure board when I arrived. The others had the all-caps, red lettered word CANCELLED in the departure status column.
The departure status for my flight read Find a comfortable place to sit because you are going to be here a while.
When many hours later, that flight arrived in Cleveland, the gate agent told me, If you hurry, you can make the flight to Houston. So I ran. I ran through Terminal D, ran down the moving escalator, ran down a long corridor, ran up the moving escalator and ran to my gate in Terminal C. I ran, I tell you, I RAN.
After all that running, I learned when I arrived to the gate, panting and disheveled, I could have crawled and made it to the gate on time because that flight was going nowhere fast. The crew was stuck at La Guardia and the aircraft they were scheduled to fly to Cleveland was sitting on the tarmac at Washington Dulles. Our plane, however, was sitting right there at the gate.
Three hours later, after mulling about the dark and empty airport looking at all the storefront gates closed to any shopping or dining I might want to do, the last flight to leave Cleveland airport, my flight, finally boarded. I happily settled into my seat and promptly fell asleep.
What I loved about the whole experience was my patient fellow travelers and the gate agents who fielded questions and re-routed the desperate and booked back-up flights for many of us in case our flights didn't get out of Burlington, and then again in Cleveland. There was not a single self-important blowhard in the entire bunch. With a mother traveling with SIX children, and another mother traveling with young twin girls, and yet another mother traveling with an infant and toddler, and several business travelers, I was delighted that patience and compassion prevailed yesterday. It's a special combination of a calm and helpful gate agent, and a flexible, understanding traveler.
Everyone working together to make the best in a challenging time, that's what I love.
More about my trip later. After I reduce the volume of dirty laundry and increases my hours of sleep.