An Epic Jouney…One Musician’s (Attempted) Trip to Mexico

Status:Hours Traveling: 50 Number of Outfits: 1 Pairs of Clean Underwear Left: 1 Vodka Tonics Consumed: 4 (over the course of 3 days…) Number of Planes boarded: 2 Number of Cities Visited: 4 (Fairfield, New York, Nashville, & Chicago, I’m including where I started, but it counts!)

This travel story is worth telling, so here we go...

Everything started at midnight on Tuesday night when I received a phone call that my flight to Mexico had been cancelled due to the snowstorm in New York. I spent some time on the phone with an unhelpful American Airlines employee. Tried a few other options and called back hoping to get a different worker…and did! I got a flight with an extra connection (through Nashville) but was only going to be delayed one day. I was so happy. Little did I know…

My journey officially started at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday (EST – noon CST) when I loaded two 65-pound tents (a.k.a. my luggage) into the car to drive down to LaGuardia Airport. I made it easily and with no traffic. However, after arriving and parking in long-term parking, I realized that they had no luggage carts available. So I tried to carry two tents at once. I made it about 100 feet, and then started carrying the tents one at a time. I would move one about 10 feet, then go back and continue. Rinse and repeat - you get the picture.

At some point a guy came up behind me and offered to help me carry a tent. I was so grateful! We made it out of the long term parking, but realized we still had a lot of distance to cover, so we tried to get a cab to give us a ride. Well, the cabs were in line to pick up arriving passengers, so none of them really wanted to give up their spot in the line to give us a ride (read: less $$) to the departures. We found one willing cab driver, so James* (*name changed to protect his identity) and I piled in with the tents. We dropped James* off, I thanked him profusely, and I headed to the American Airlines drop off.

When I arrived, I was greeted by a very friendly gate attendant. You can check your bags in at the curb at LaGuardia, which is really nice, and was especially nice for me because of my heavy tents. To make this part of the story shorter…the guy at the gate wanted a bribe so that I wouldn’t have to pay American a fee for overweight baggage. I declined the bribe, he yelled at me, I paid the money, and moved on. Be aware of this! And American should know that some employees are trying to steal from them.

Anyway, I got on my flight, sat next to a very sweet lady (she had been interviewing a woman whose husband had died in Haiti) who had been stranded in New York for a few days, arrived in Nashville, got my tents, and got a shuttle to the hotel that I had reserved…the Drury Inn. It was fantastic! When I arrived, they were having a complimentary dinner (I chose chicken fingers, a baked potato, and some vegetables) and they offered you drinks with dinners. (That accounts for the majority of the vodka tonics.)

I spent the rest of the night in my room working and surfing the TV for my new favorite show, Criminal Minds, and had a great (though short) night’s sleep.

The next morning, I was on the shuttle by 4:15 a.m. and arrived at the airport with plenty of time. Unfortunately, all flights to Dallas had been cancelled due to the foot of snow they had received. (I guess snow has been following me around lately?) So me, and a lot of other people were going to be stranded in Nashville for no less than one day. I would have appreciated a phone call the night before, American!

After being on the phone for 45 minutes and being “cut off” and then speaking with an unhelpful and semi-rude agent in person, (I didn’t really blame him…I would have hated his job that day – but I was being really polite!) I decided to buy a one-way ticket to anywhere and try to get some different flights. So yesterday (Friday) morning I bought a ticket from Southwest Airlines to Minneapolis (with a connection in Chicago) knowing that one of the two cities had to be able to help me.

At 6:00 a.m. I started texting Bryan to wake him up so that he could help me solve my ticket crisis while I was in the air, and he did. He found that the best options were in Chicago, so I gave up my connecting flight to Minneapolis, knowing that if something didn’t work out, I could just get back on a different flight later. Southwest tracked down my stupid tents, and I talked with Bryan about getting on a flight out of Chicago. While flight after flight was disappearing before his eyes, he had a woman through American Express Travel start looking as well. Together, they figured out that I could only get on a flight the following day (today - Saturday) so he reserved me a room at the Hilton attached to O’Hare’s Terminal 2.

Since I’ve had a cold this entire time I’ve been traveling (by the way…cold or not…my vodka tonic ticker just clicked to 5…) he got me a nice big king-size bed. But - before I would let myself check into the hotel, I decided it couldn’t hurt to try and get on that flight out of Chicago as a standby passenger. After sitting around for 3 hours, seeing people with tickets turned away from the flight (it was oversold), I accepted my fate, went to the hotel, checked in, and promptly fell asleep.

After a dinner, working, more Criminal Minds, and a great night of sleep (thanks Tylenol Cold PM!), I arrived to the airport today with plenty of time to spare. You can imagine why I was nervous. Anyway, I was in a huge line, when I remembered that Bryan had used points to get me a Business Class upgrade (did I mention how helpful he’s been?) and I scooted up to the first class line. I checked in, said good-bye to the tents for the final time (I hope?), and headed off to the gate.

Upon arriving at the gate, I saw that something was up as soon as I saw a group of people huddled around the ticket counter. That would be because there is no plane here for us! Why? There was weather in Monterrey…did I mention that snow (weather in this case) has been following me around?! We won’t have a plane until 4:30 at the earliest, and by then…my connecting flight will most likely be gone…and the epic traveling saga will continue. I’ll certainly keep you posted!!

Never take for granted flights that are on time, or that happen at all. Apparently it’s very rare!! (P.S. Vodka Tonic #6 will be happening very soon. Don’t worry – I’m not making them very strong…)

Much love and safe travels to you all!