What a beautiful weekend it was!
Chicago was just as wonderful as I remembered: the lake, the city skyline, the food, even the people. I’ve been to New York City, Austin, Dallas, Washington D.C., and now Chicago twice – and I was so impressed by how clean the city was, and how friendly the people were! Definitely want to go back again and take Daniel with me next time.
This trip was a “just-for-fun” trip with some of my family, so our itinerary was basically whatever we wanted to do. That was the easy part.
But first I had to actually GET there.
Which, incredibly, was a lot harder than you would expect.
(SPOILER ALERT: I made it to Chicago, I just took the scenic route.)
First off: Wednesday night, I did that whole “go-to-bed-later-than-I-wanted-because-I-waited-too-long-to-start-actually-packing” thing. My flight left at 9:00 am, so I planned to leave the house just before 6:00, which would supposedly get me to the airport around 7:30.
I filled my car up with gas, turned up the radio, and had a grand old time on my way to Dallas. I watched the sun come up and thought how lucky I was that the roads were so clear. *eye roll* Wishful thinking. I got about 8 miles away from the airport and BAM – standstill traffic. My panic grew with each passing minute. I finally made it out of the gridlock just in time to make it to a nearly full airport parking lot and spent 10 more precious minutes driving around trying to find a parking space. I walked what felt like two miles to the shuttle station and managed to catch the shuttle right as it was about to leave.
When the bus dropped me off, I became one of those people I used to make fun of: the frantic, hair-flying-everywhere people who run through the airport. I literally ran through the airport.
I stood in the slowest moving line ever, then noticed that I had completely passed up the self-serve check-in kiosks. I scooted out of line, walked up to the nearest screen, and punched in my record locator.
“Unfortunately, the time allowance for checking baggage has expired for your flight.”
I pulled a uniformed guy over.
“Is this real? Is this a thing??” I instantly realized how stupid I looked for asking.
“Yeah, umm…you can stand in that line and see if maybe they can still check it.”
Oh okay, so the line I was just in that now has 12 other people in it? Cool.
Time check: it’s 8:18.
After standing in line for 20 MINUTES, I get up to the counter to find out that not only can’t I check my luggage, I can’t make the flight at all. I was put on standby and told that the next flight to Chicago left in two hours. It was all I could do not to burst into tears right there in front of this blue-blazer-wearing lady who didn’t even look the tiniest bit sorry.
So I did what any normal human would do and cheered myself up with Auntie Anne’s.
I waited for two hours next to my second gate, feeling guilty for hoping that somebody else would be late just like I was so that I could have their seat. I walked up to the desk to double check that I was on the standby list and was told very rudely to wait. So I did. I watched everyone board. I watched the standby list for my name. When everyone had left the waiting area, I walked up to the desk.
“Hi, umm…I’ve been on standby, and I just wondered if there were any seats left.”
The lady shook her hand impatiently, waving me off. “No, this flight is full. You’ll have to take another one.” She printed off my third ticket of the day and told me my gate was on the opposite side of the airport. *facepalm*
After my leisurely stroll through DFW, I walked up to my third counter and explained my situation. I had a guy this time, and he was the nicest person I talked to all morning. He tapped on his computer for a little while.
Looking at me, he said the seven most beautiful words I have ever heard:
“Here you go – you have a seat!”
I wanted to fall on the ground with relief. “OH MY GOSH I LOVE YOU.”
The people in in line behind me tittered. I took my ticket and walked to a bench, content to wait the next hour and a half knowing that I would, in fact, make it to Chicago and not be stuck in DFW for the rest of my weekend.
Just before I boarded, I noticed I had a window seat. I half-smiled, thinking, “Thanks, God! You know I love window seats.”
Then I got on the plane.
I had a window seat, all right! I laughed out loud. I didn’t even care though – I was so glad to finally be on a plane, ANY plane.
That’s one of my better travel stories to date! I had never missed a flight before this trip, and it was not an experience I hope to repeat! I think it’s safe to say I’ll be at the airport three hours early from now on.
Keep an eye out – I’ll be posting more pictures from the trip soon!
To read about the rest of this trip, visit these posts:
Chicago: Part II
Chicago: Part III
What’s your craziest travel story?
5 thoughts on “Chicago: Part I”
I love it! And your full confession at being THAT person who ran through the airport, flat out funny! . SO the funniest thing ever, because NO ONE person ever wants to be THAT traveler, but even so every airport has one or two on each day they are open. Hilarious! I have an awesome TSA story…
I am smiling….sorry that happened to you. My sick sense of humor just kicked in. Steve and I learned a lesson too……make sure you have at least 3-4 hours to clear customs in the US. Yep, we were running here and there and standing in multiple lines. It is not easy to run to each line with tons of baggage and an incredible sunburn. And yes, the skytrain that eventually took us to our #justclosedgate5minutesago#….ugh. We had to spend the night at a motel and leave out at the only flight open….a 7am flight. Of course, we did not sleep much either! Keep writing my dear, you are quite captivating.