Trip to Nowhere

Editor’s Note: Although I’m sure it didn’t feel very funny to him at the time, last spring we received an email from Todd (in our office) that is worth sharing here just because it’s funny! See the story below: 

This story is too long to tell several times, so I thought I’d send it in an e-mail to everyone. If you’re not interested, click delete and move on. There’s nothing to see here.

So, I went to Chicago last night…kind of. I’ve already regaled you of how it took almost an hour to get to the airport due to an accident at Cypress, how the parking garage I wanted to park my new car in was full and how my flight was delayed. Well, it was delayed some more and then some more and then it was canceled. There were 3 or 4 flights going to Chicago last night, but there was a HUGE storm cell going through there and Midway was grounded for almost 3 hours. They decided to cancel all of the Chicago flights but one and consolidate all of the Chicago bound folk on that plane. So, they called us up, one at a time and gave us new boarding passes and we went to a new gate.

Sitting, sitting. Waiting, waiting. Okay. Midway is back open and we’re going to get you on a plane, but go to another gate. Everyone moves. Waiting, waiting. Hey, we’re boarding. This started around 9:00. 45 minutes later, (Why did it take that long? We don’t know.) we’re all on the plan. Hey folks, thanks for your patience. We should be leaving in about 15 minutes. 15 minutes later, the door is still open. Hey folks, guess what? O’Hare is now closed and the storm is heading to Midway. The tower here wants us to wait a bit before they’ll let us push back because they want to make sure Midway won’t have to close again. Waiting, waiting. Okay, good news. We’re cleared to go…we should be leaving in 15 minutes…I don’t believe you!

Approximately 15 minutes later, we push back from the gate. The nice lady sitting next to me with battery powered oxygen says Yea! I said, we can still sit on the tarmac for a while. (Glass half empty became the joke of the evening in our row.) Sitting, sitting. Waiting, waiting. 25 minutes later, we’ve been cleared for takeoff and we did! The nice lady sitting next to me with battery powered oxygen says Yea! I said, we’re in the air, but we’re not landing in Chicago. Glass half empty. We all laugh.

It’s a 40 minute flight to Chicago from St. Louis. The taxi-ing, planing and de-planing make it about an hour. 45-ish minutes later in the air…Hey folks, we’ve had a pretty good ride so far cuz we’ve been zigging and zagging around the storms. We are over Dubuque, Iowa right now and going, and I quote, “As slow as we can go.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the sound of that when I’m in an airplane. We are beginning our approach to Midway and should be there in about 20 minutes. I’ll believe it when I see it. Glass half empty. We all laugh.

The plane is descending. We’re rocking and rolling a bit. Nothing crazy. Then it stopped. I heard later that some people on the other side of the plane could see the airport. The guy next to me notices the lights of downtown on the right side of the plane. I said, we’ve started to circle. The City is supposed to be on our side of the plane. Then I notice we’re going back up. I bet we’re just going to circle Midway for the rest of the night. Glass half empty. We all laugh.

Hi folks. Wanted to give you a status update. We were 7 miles from Midway when another storm cell settled over the airport. (WE WERE 7 MILES AWAY!) We tried to give it a shot, but we thought better of it. So, We circled to give it another go and it’s still there. Due to our fuel situation (Another great thing to hear while you’re on a plane. What is this, Die Hard 2?) WE ARE GOING TO GO BACK TO ST. LOUIS to re-fuel and try again. I told you we weren’t landing in Chicago. Glass half empty. We all laugh. The battery of the nice lady sitting next to me with the battery powered oxygen runs out as we’re turning around. She grabs the spare battery and we get it going again.

Wheels down. Welcome back to St. Louis. We all laugh uneasily. Door opens. Folks, the weather is just too bad in Chicago. We have to cancel this flight. That’s it. I’m done. There is clearly a higher power that does not want me to go to this Newforma Conference. As we’re waiting at the ticket counter, I canceled my flights for a refund on the 800 number. Called the hotel and canceled my room. Took the shuttle back to my car (good, I did remember to lock it). Paid the full day price. (Hey, it felt like a full day.) Got some Whitey’s via drive-thru and ate it on my dining room table at 1:15am.

See you in a bit.

T. Gilmore