Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Have you ever seen the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles?!  I hadn't until Josh and I were married and now it is our annual Thanksgiving tradition to watch it.  However this past year with all of our trips, we have felt like we were actually part of the movie!  Our last trip to Hershey, PA the day of Christmas was no exception!  We are now 4 for 4 for flights being cancelled in 2012 and are hoping 2103 is a whole new year!

Here's a recap:

May - Our flight to Panama City, FL was cancelled all together and after 5 hours of sitting at the airport trying to get another flight, we ended up getting in the car and driving the 13 hours to get there!

November - Josh trained all year to run in the New York City Marathon and it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.  We had to fly out later and skip NY all together.

Thanksgiving - American Airlines decided to cancel our flight to the Bahamas two days before we were supposed to go.  No real reason.  We scrambled to find another flight and salvage everything that we had already paid to the resort, so we ended up flying 1 day early and spending more money on lodging.

And now to December ...
After countless days of 80 degree weather in Dallas, it decided to snow on Christmas day!  Although nice to have a white Christmas, it shut down quite a few airports across the country and tons of flights were cancelled!  We left the day after and our flight was still on time when we arrived at the airport.  However there were TONS of people stranded all around from the day before.  The lady behind us in line had been trying to get home and had been rescheduled on 3 flights and then all 3 had been cancelled.  There was definitely a tense feeling in the air all around.  We felt fortunate and pretty much expected something to happen... given our track record, but everything was going smoothly and as far as we could tell, we only had a 30 minute delay.

Our lay over was in Cincinnati, and although quite a few flights were cancelled from there, ours was still scheduled.  We arrived a little late and made it to the next gate with time to spare.  So far so good!  The connecting flight was a little late and we had about an hour to wait.  Caroline made friends with a 3 year old boy and they kept themselves entertained for quite a while.  After talking with his parents, we found out they had left EARLY that morning (Wednesday) and were supposed to have arrived in PA at 11am.  Fast forward to 9pm, they had gotten stuck in Atlanta for 5 hours and then rerouted to Cincinnati with a 5 hour lay over and then were hoping to make it home to Harrisburg on our flight.  The plane came and everyone got off and this mom and I were talking about how relieved we were to be getting on the plane!  Just then, the gate agent came on the intercom telling us that our flight had been cancelled because there was no flight attendant to fly on the plane.  Are you kidding?!!  No mechanical error, no plane scheduling problem... nope just no attendant.  Well we had been through this before, so Josh rushed to the front of the line to see if they could get us on something else.  There was not a lot to choose from and definitely no direct flights.  We needed 3 seats and that was hard to come by!  In a split second decision, we decided to rent a car and drive!!!  A nice couple in line actually offered to ride with us and split the cost of the rental car.  I'm not sure what we were thinking getting in the car with total strangers (with our kids!) and choosing to drive through the middle of the night, but we did it!

It is 9 hours in a car from Cincinnati to Harrisburg!  9 hours from the time we started at 10:30 at night!  We were luckily able to rent an SUV and rent car seats.  The kids were absolutely amazing and slept the ENTIRE way!  It was the best we could have asked for.  However, the other man started out driving and I was pretty hesitant about sleeping.  I wanted at least 1 of us awake the whole time just in case.  So I talked quite a bit!  We didn't get that tired for a while, but about 2:30am we switched drivers and it was Josh's turn.  I knew he was pretty worn out and I didn't want him to fall asleep, so I stayed up with him as well.  We both were awake the entire time and pulled into my sister's driveway about 7:30am.  It was such a whirlwind!  

We could not have driven with nicer people and it turns out that it was actually a good thing!  I was using my phone as navigation and didn't realize until we were about 10 minutes away that it didn't recognize my sister's address, but was just taking me to the middle of their zipcode.  Oops!  The lady we were driving with actually used to live right by them and knew where to go by us describing the crazy landmarks that we had remembered from trips past.  We sure were lucky!  We also found out that their son worked for Hershey and with Paul.  He didn't know him, but was later able to email him and thank his parents for getting us there safely!  It all worked out!

And I also have to commend Delta Airlines for being really prompt at refunding us some of the money.  It took United 6 months (and COUNTLESS phone calls) to get us refunds for the flight cancelled in May and it took Delta 1 call and 5 days to have the money back on our credit cards.  I can't tell you how much easier it was!!

All in all we had a great trip and another great memory to add to our stories!  We are hoping that 2013 is much better and have decided to take a little break from flying for a while!

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