Student’s Grueling Trip Home

November 23, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

Two years ago I was applying to graduate schools on the east coast. I had an interview at the University of Connecticut and had flown in from Michigan the night before. I chose to leave a day early and pay for a hotel just in case there were delays and whatnot as it was still winter and the weather can turn in a minute. My flight down there was terrific, I had a change-over near DC and that went beautifully; everything was on time and there was no reason to complain.

My return flight, however, was less than ideal. My flight left at 6:30am and I was to be in Michigan no later than 10:30 after a change over with a delay in between flights. I had told my employer that I would be able to cover the afternoon shift at 3pm that day and thought I would make it on time. I arrived at the airport over an hour early and read my book until the plane was boarded. Once on we were told that weather conditions at our connection were delaying our flight, and we ended up sitting on the plane for about an hour. The flight was less than the delay and as such we were not offered food or drink. We finally got to leave and when we landed I was prepared to run to the appropriate terminal only to be told by the stewardess that the connecting flight to DTW had just left the terminal. I headed to the customer service desk and was told the next and only flight to Detroit that day would not leave until 11am. I got my new ticket and ventured off in search of food. I called my boss, told her I’d likely be late and to just in case try to find someone to cover for me. I also called my husband (who was going to pick me up) to tell him to get some more sleep as I would be late.

Close to 11 I meandered to the terminal only to find that the plane needed repairs and we had to go to a different gate in a different terminal. I know mechanical issues cannot be helped so I did my best to keep an upbeat attitude despite my extreme tiredness. So about 20 of us rushed over to the new terminal to discover that the new plane also had mechanical issues, which, I overheard from two flight attendants, was really the windshield wiper fluid. Apparently the sprayers would not shut off. I found the humor in this and sat on the floor to wait for a new plane.

The new plane, we learned, was overbooked. Shock! Luckily, I found a seat on that plane. We boarded the plane at 12:45 and I settled in hoping to catch a nap before heading out. Turns out that nap was an hour and a half and I got it in before take off. I awoke hoping the terminal out my window was in Detroit, but that fantasy was quickly dashed. I asked the flight attendant if I could use my cell phone to call my work and husband. She was polite and told me no because we could take off at any moment. My neighbor, who was vigorously texting away on his Blackberry chuffed and said under his breath “she’s been saying that for nearly an hour.” So I pulled out my phone and sent off some quick texts as well. At 2:30pm we took off for Detroit, right before the big snowstorms hit. I was lucky to get back to Michigan at all that day as all other flights coming into DTW were cancelled shortly before we landed.

Needless to say I didn’t make it to work that day. My husband picked me up at the airport and I fell asleep in the car 5 minutes into a 2 1/2 hr drive. I did, however, receive an email notification that day that I had been accepted into the PhD program I had applied for! I also managed to catch the flu from someone that day, but I didn’t care.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Demotage November 24, 2009 at 1:48 am

Sounds like no fun. Congrats on getting into Grad School


Jodi November 24, 2009 at 6:24 am

Congrats!! And sorry you had a bad flight.


j November 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm

FYI aircraft don't use windshield wiper fluid, all that is allowed is water due to the special coatings on the windows.


Jane December 3, 2009 at 12:47 pm

At least the problems weren't with Bradley Airport! It's one of my faves.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: