5:40 AM Awaken and prepare for flight.
6:20 AM Bagel consumed in car.
6:40 AM Arrive at SJC for 7:45 flight to Denver
6:50 AM Increasingly suspicious of non-moving lines
6:55 AM Realize I am in the E-ticket line and not the paper ticket line (damn you, Orbitz, with your infernal paper tickets and your $20 Fed Ex fees). The paper ticket line is also the International Flights line and the Kenneled Pets line. A Brit is behind me. Two Canadians are in front of me.
7:05 AM Become aware that flight to Chicago has been cancelled due to weather.
7:10 AM Everyone around me is in a panic. Several passengers are flying into Washington DC. This flight leaves at 7:20. Many are in line behind me.
7:15 AM I am getting close to panicking. My flight is beginning to board – no one is paying attention to anyone besides the Chicago and Dulles bound.
7:20 AM A separate line has been worked out for the Chicago and Dulles folk. However, my line is moving slower than ever.
7:25 AM A very flustered and frightened 20 something Chinese woman appears. She speaks to the Canadian in front of me. “Look time!” she says, pointing to her paper. She is also on the Denver flight, I note.
“Everybody is late” the Canadian in front of me tries to console her
“No time!” she says, panic rising.
The Canadian lets her cut. At the desk is an employee who is Asian American.
“You Chinese lady?!” the Chinese woman asks excitedly.
“I will not translate for you” the airline employee says humorlessly. She processes the Chinese woman mostly wordlessly. The Chinese woman is relieved.
“Thank you lady!” she says, and hugs the Canadian in front of me.
7:30 AM Finally I am processed. The same employee informs me to go straight to my gate. I do.
8:20 AM Flight departs (35 minutes late).
In the air – pilot announces that we will arrive in Denver at noon – 45 minutes late. My connection flight is leaving Denver at 12:15 PM. I am concerned.
In the air – the person sitting next to me is also connecting to St. Louis in Denver. We are both concerned and resolve to run to our gate.
12:11 PM I deplane and run to the screen – then run about fifty feet to my gate.
12:13 PM I can see them shutting my door. Noooooooooooooo
12:14 PM They stop the door shutting and allow me and my St. Louis buddy to board.
12:20 PM I buckle in and begin to relax. I will arrive in St. Louis at 3:15, I think to myself. At least nothing else can go wrong
2:50 PM Announcement of golf ball sized hail in St. Louis. Discomfort among passengers
3:20 PM Announcement that we will be forced to circle for 30 minutes. I become concerned – my host may not be aware of this delay, but it is impossible to notify her. I do not have her cell number. Even if I did, I can’t use my phone from the plane.
4:00 PM Announcement that we are now in que to land. However, que is too long and we do not have enough fuel to circle for another 45 minutes. We will emergency land in Springfield Illinois to refuel.
4:45 PM Arrive in Springfield. I call boyfriend to ask him to email my host – although a lot of good that will do if she is already at the airport. Am starving.
4:53 PM Flight attendents offer me juice. I barely remain conscious.
5:05 PM Announcement that we will be leaving “soon” once the “paperwork is delivered.” Just fly the damn plane!!!
6:20 PM Arrival in St. Louis airport. See bedragged woman holding sign that says [MarsIAm]. Apologize profusely for her waiting for three hours.
6:30 PM Walk out of the airport into the night air. SO COLD.
Welcome to Missouri, folks. Let’s just say the return flight was way less eventful