Part Three: Monday, The End Of The Saga
March 15, 2009
The "confidential" breakfast was everything it should be. After filling up on coffee, fruit, yogurt, and toasted bagels, we went back to the room to pack up (again) and get going.
We checked out and caught the shuttle to the airport, where we checked in for our new flights on United, which connected through...
Dunh... Dunh... DUNH...
Oh. Yes. Oh. Hell. Again.
At any rate, the first flight, from Appleton to Chicago, was right on time and uneventful. Again, we had much time in Chicago. Of course, our flight to Baltimore was in the other concourse, so we got to ride the moving sidewalk through the trippy neon light tunnel.
I used to enjoy that little thrill ride, the first few hundred times I took it. Since then, it's lost a little of its magic.
We were in dire need of lunch by this time, so we located our gate and then located the Chili's, which is one of the few food emporiums in Concourse Third-Circle-of-O'Hell where you can sit down and be waited on.
Then, back to wait at the gate. We did not have confirmed seat assignments, but lucked out when the gate agent put us in the exit row at the bulkhead. We boarded, on time. I smiled as the flight attendants joked around about the box of candy that the middle school class gave them as a gift. I had hope.
"Well folks," said the pilot, "the mechanics have discovered an oil leak. It will be a few minutes while they check it out. We'll let you know what's going on shortly."
You can guess the rest.
Yep, the flight was canceled. But! There was another, identical empty plane ready to go! We all trooped off the one plane and gathered at the new gate to await boarding the new plane. About an hour later, we did. All was well. The flight -- once it finally left -- was smooth and uneventful.
We landed in Baltimore, grabbed our bags, and headed for the car.
We had parked in the Express lot. I like the Express lot, because the wee bus picks you up right at your parking space and drops you off right at your parking space. Sweet! It's kind of pricey though, so I don't usually park there. This time, however, I had printed out the extra-special coupon that would give me a great discount! I had it right there...
Dunh... dunh... DUNH...
In the bag of maps and papers that I threw out in Appleton.
We got home around 9:00, almost 24 hours later than originally planned. But you know what?
It was still a great time.