Greetings from the LOVELY Atlanta International Airport!!! It's now 2:30 a.m. I arrived at the Indianapolis airport at 3:30 this afternoon (er, YESTERDAY afternoon), thinking I would be catching a 5:30 flight for Atlanta, and then an 8:30 flight for Orange County.
Atlanta Int'l Airport Food Court, 2:15 a.m.Well, storms have been hitting Atlanta all day long. Flights in and out of Atlanta have been delayed or cancelled throughout the day. I flew standby on a flight that was SUPPOSED to leave Indianapolis at 3:45. We left at 8:30!!!! (The 5:30 flight I was originally booked for was probably going to leave about 9:15 or 9:30.) Of course, when we arrived in Atlanta, my O.C. flight was long past its departure. (Actually, the attendant who finally worked out my rebooking told me that the flight had been filled and ready to take off when it was cancelled. [No doubt because of OC's sound abatement regulations. No planes are allowed to fly into John Wayne after 11 pm.])
So I had to rout around the airport--no agents were anywhere NEAR our gate when we landed (grrrrrr). I finally found this line of stranded folks waiting to rebook.
The first line I was in tonightWithin a matter of minutes, another hundred or so people were BEHIND me. That number doubled or tripled in short order.
The folks behind me in my first line--about
5 minutes after I got in line myself
This was the agents counter at the first line--
I was getting close!!!Then an agent had the gall to tell us that if we knew we were not going to be able to make any connection tonight, we would probably find faster service by going to the main terminal. It was like the Gestapo telling the poor folks on the trains they were going to showers! Here was what I found in the terminal. A longer line than I was in up at the gate area!
The line in the terminal--when I arrivedIn 15 minutes from the time I got there, THIS is what the line looked like! (below) So much for a "fast line". I was in this main terminal line nearly 2 hours. Just imagine how long the folks behind me will have to be there. (I know they'll be there until 5 or 6 this morning.)
The poor souls behind me in the terminal!The picture above doesn't BEGIN to show how long that line became over the course of my two hours. I feel so badly for the folks there.
Oddly enough, everyone seems to be in pretty good spirits. Exhausted, but civil.
I figure I've been traveling by air for nearly 40 years. I guess I was due an airport catastrophe at some point. Hopefully, this will be my one-and-only. (I was talking with a lady in Indianapolis who has had 3 overnight "sleep-ins" at airports. Of course, she travels every week of the year on business.)
Well, I guess that's all for now, folks. I oughta go find myself a bench to sleep on.
By the way, the earliest I will get out of here is 9:30 in the morning (and that's stand-by). The earliest confirmed seat I have is 8:30 tomorrow night! (uh, make that tonight!) NOT looking forward to THAT!
UPDATE: 6:55 a.m.
Well, I did find that bench--at gate 24, I think it was. The rebooking agent gave me a little disposable blanket, so I laid out on 3 padded seats, propped my computer case under my knees, and covered myself up. I think I got in 1.5 or 2 hours of sleep. (To the 75 decibel accompaniment of CNN and the lawnmower-like floor buffing machines.) It was a lovely evening. Seriously, when I woke up at 6:15, I actually felt a little bit rested, so I must have managed to hit a deep level of sleep--while learning all about the political situation in Zimbabwe from the good folks at CNN.
After I woke up, I was able to clean up a bit (thanks to the little Delta overnighter kit). Shaved a few whiskers. Brushed a tooth or two. That definitely helped.
I'm now hanging out by gate 32 to see if I'll possibly make the stand-by connection to John Wayne. If I don't, I'll be open to suggestions as to how I might pass the remaining 12 hours I'll have to spend here. There IS a Starbucks right across from my gate, but I won't expect anyone to know my name, Heidi. :)
The $7.95 I spent on Wi-Fi access is probably one of the best investments I've ever made. At least I can entertain myself with something other than traveling woes--mine and 10,000 other folks.
FINAL UPDATE - 6:00 p.m.
Well, I'm sitting in my La-Z-Boy in my own family room, surrounded by my wife, my dog, and two older grand-daughters. Got a shower and a 2-hour nap and I feel human again! I DID get to go stand-by on the 9:30 flight--arrived in OC at 12:30 (an hour later than scheduled, but WAY earlier than I thought I'd get home. I thought it was funny how the flight crew kept apologizing about the 1 hour delay out of Atlanta. It's all perspective!