I went out to Arizona last weekend to see my brother and his new baby (who is, of course, a doll). The being in Arizona part was great (the deadly heat wave happened a few hours south and about 5000 feet down. Flagstaff was quite comfy). The getting there and getting home part... not so much.
On the way out I was supposed to go through Denver. Except that the plane that they were supposed to get didn't make it, so they got a smaller plane. With fewer seats. And they'd oversold to begin with. So, when no one volunteered, they started bumping people whose final destination wasn't Denver. Like, say, your final destination was Phoenix. Then you might have been re-routed through Chicago. And if you happened to have been put on the next plane departing DCA for Chicago with a connection to Phoenix you would have been able to spend some quality time with the person sitting next to you.
People didn't really start getting gripey until we'd been sitting, strapped into our seats and bidden not to move, at the gate until an hour past our purported departure time. The pilot periodically came on the loudspeaker to say that we were waiting for weather to clear in Chicago. Any minute now, he'd say. Meanwhile, those of us with seats on the back right side of the plane (28E, right here, baby) spent that hour + watching three men in bright orange coveralls dismantling the engine on the right wing. Every time the pilot said "Weather!" I wondered if he sincerely believed the back right side of the plane to be filled with a School for the Blind field trip. At hour two he finally admitted that there might also be a slight mechanical issue. The coverall guys were chatting animatedly around a pile of pieces on the ground under the wind. But, we were told, because of the weather we would have had the exact same delay, mechanical problem or no, he insisted. To which I have to say: Bollocks.
So. Predicably, I arrived at O'Hare 85 minutes after the last flight to Phoenix had left. So I got to spend a lovely night in the O'Hare Airport Double Tree Inn. There are worse places to stay (remind me to tell you about that place... well, both of those places... in Phan Rang, ooouch, even now, that smell-). However, the night in Chicago wasn't exactly on my agenda. When they were booking my new Chicago to Phoenix flight I was told that I would be departing at 4:30pm.
Uh, I think not. She was kind enough to book me on to an American flight that left in the morning.
Now, I figured that, with all the problems on the way out, surely the way back would be trouble-free. Ah, magical thinking. It pops up at the strangest moments. Because I'd been routed through Chicago. And immediately upon arriving in Chicago a massive storm front arrived, parking itself right over the glass roof of B terminal. Whipping wind, torrential downpour, perpetual thunder and lightening.
On the upside, I did make it out of Chicago that night. On the downside, it was 2:30am when I got home. Shockingly, I was completely useless the following day, when I sat virtually comatose in front of my computer wondering what that buzzing sound was.