Saturday, February 5, 2011

“Monstrous, potentially historic winter storm”

On 2/1/11, the forecast called for blizzard-like conditions across thirty states. (That colorful post title is courtesy of a USA Today article.) This happened to be the day before I was scheduled to embark on a week’s worth of school visits and a conference in Wisconsin, which was one of the thirty states.

I knew I’d have obstacles. In fact, the second leg of my two-flight itinerary was canceled even before I left for the airport.

But I had obligations. I had to get there.

Travel snafus all begin to sound the same so I won’t give the play-by-play. However, I will show a partial collection of the boarding passes, rebooking slips, standby seat requests, and itineraries I accumulated over one day (I tossed at least a couple before it occurred to me to take this group photo):

I was supposed to land in Madison at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday. I didn’t arrive until 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. All things considered, next day is pretty good.

And my Wednesday school was canceled anyway, so even if I had gotten there in time, it wouldn’t have mattered. I’ve been visiting schools since 2004, and flying to do so since 2008. This was the first time weather had caused any to be canceled since my very first (which was then rescheduled—two times, due to a second storm) and the first time weather had caused a school-visit flight of mine to be canceled.

I have to give props to Delta who handled the madness with great customer service. When weather disrupts flights, airlines are not obligated to put you up for the night or provide meal vouchers. Without being asked, Delta did both (and it was a nice hotel). On top of that, they did not charge me to change my return flight to a day later so I could reschedule that first day’s school visit.

However, the travel madness in getting to Wisconsin was only part 1 of the overall travel madness of this particular trip. Welcome to Wisconsin; welcome to part 2.

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