Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Traveling Headaches

I received from many friends, who are fans of the author Anne LaMott, the very sweet send off: Traveling mercies.
Perhaps they should have stuck to simply, "Help! Help! Help!"  Certainly, that was my constant prayer today as one thing after another just seemed to go awry. 
Let's back up a moment: today, I was to fly home to see my mother who is in a percarious position in a hospital in Manchester, NH.  And today was the day the heavens decided to rain down sleet on Florida, after snowing on Alabama and Georgia the day before.  Sleet and Snow and the South.  Those things don't play well with each other at all.  I certainly checked repeatedly the conditions in Jacksonville, the status of both my flight and the airport in general.  Everything, as of 12:15pm, was just fine.  
And then it wasn't.  One hundred miles from the Jacksonville Airport, I got the phone call from Southwest Airlines that my flight was canceled, I could re-book on their website or call them. Too bad. So sad. We stopped at a Taco Bell in Live Oak so I could call them.  And after a pleading moment punctuated with my tears of frustration and desire to just get home to be with my mom, Louis from Southwest found me a flight to Boston instead of Manchester, arriving tomorrow... exactly 24-hours from the time I was supposed to arrive today.  
But that creates a new problem.  My partner, who decided at the last minute that she would accompany me on this trip, was scheduled to fly first thing Thursday morning to Manchester, arriving in the afternoon.  I was supposed to meet her there, return my rental car, and get one for a much cheaper rate under her name.  After much hashing it out, we finally decided that she would go first and then she would pick me up in Boston.  Problem solved.  Or so we thought.
We went first to the airport to see if there would be a chance that I could get on an earlier flight by going stand-by.  The nice man at the Southwest counter agreed I could do that, and then wind up stuck in Baltimore, still trying to get home.  I was convinced.  We went back to the hotel.  After checking in, Isabelle pulled out her phone.  There was a text.  Her flight tomorrow morning was canceled.
Time for Plan C.  
She spoke with a less helpful person at Southwest.  When Isabelle mentioned that she was attempting to do this trip to be with her partner whose mother is dying, the response was, "Well, but this is her mother, so you have to pay the difference on the ticket change."   I thought that was rude.  These cancellations weren't our fault; we left Tallahassee in plenty of time to get to our respective planes, had the "wintery mix" of light sleet and nasty cold temperatures not wreak havoc on our travel plans.  
So where it all stands now: we are dropping off this rental car we have tomorrow morning, and I will fly at 6:30PM to Boston where one of my brothers will pick me up, and deliver me to a friends' house where I am staying this trip.  Then, the other brother will pick me up in the morning to get a rental car which I will use not only to drive to see my mom, but to pick up Isabelle who is flying into Manchester, NH, arriving at 10:30pm.  The same flight I was supposed to be on this evening.  
Anybody got any aspirin?


No comments: