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Wednesday, February 16, 2005
A particular place to go...

...when I was heading off to Utah a couple of weeks ago I brought along a notebook in case I had an idea here or there to blog about. Good thing I did, as I found myself with time on my hands at the very start of the trip. Here is one of those blogs...

...I had a particular place to go, but the cosmic beings that play around with the weather and the airport schedules had other ideas. I was pretty much stuck. You've been there before, I'm sure - you're in a hurry to get somewhere, or are excited to be getting there, and you find yourself sitting and waiting. Stuck at the airport because a flight is delated.

That's what DH and I faced. Our flight was delayed. Well, one leg of the flight was delated because I thought I'd signed on for a direct flight to Utah but I found out when I got there that there was a stop scheduled for Reno to take on passengers and change flight crews.

Reno, in this case, was the problem. Actually, massive fog in Reno was the problem. Reno was shut down, and we sat to wait by the gate for updates. Just like DH says, "Hurry Up and Wait". We had rushed around all morning to pack the car, get A & B to school, get to the airport, run through security (not literally) and be done with 20 minutes to wait before the flight starts boarding just before 9. Only, it didn't start boarding and there was no indication of an issue on the departures board until *after* we found out the issue.

At 9:30am they told us to wait until 10am. That's around the time that I figured out that there were about a dozen other people from my company on the same flight. We were all hoping for a nice lunch in Park City and a half day of exploring.

At 10am they asked us if we remembered that 9am flight we were supposed to be on. Mostly silence met that question, and they went on to tell us that Reno was still shut down with massive fog. And no wind so the fog is just sitting there, much like all of us in San Jose. So we shouldn't hold our breath. Unfortunately, some of us were holding our breath because we had studio events to attend, business meetings to get out of the way, or as in my case, a dinner with my peers and our boss, the COO.

As the time wears on in an airport, you start doing other things besides people watch. In my case, I started writing down this blog, but that only lasted a few minutes to get everything up to date. You start reading over your DH's shoulder since he's got a Business 2.0 magazine in his hands. "101 Dumbest Moments in Business" holds your interest for about 15 minutes (and boy, there were some dumb ones in there, and a few that I recall clearly). When you're done with that, you start mentally figuring out the odds of the Reno leg being cancelled because you aspire to be the quirky math genius from the show "Numb3rs". You give up on that after a few minutes because you don't have the previous permutations of cancellations of middle legs of this particular flight.

You don't pick up your stitching because that's the #1 way to ensire that either the flight is going to be cancelled and you need to run to the ticket agent to get yourself on the first flight there, or that you're going to board as soon as you get started. In retrospect, this is really what I should have done. You instead contemplate having lunch at the burrito place at 10:15 in the morning.

You actually have lunch at the burrito place at 10:30.

All the while you're continually running into frustrated co-workers who are starting to worry (and you're way past worry yourself) and you trade news and quips about being stuck in the little hell that is Terminal A at San Jose. You all wonder if you'll ever make it to Utah. During lunch you call the shuttle service to let them know of the delays. You think about when would be the right time to call your boss and let him know that you might be late for dinner.

Thanks to 3 other co-workers who have thier own story about getting on this flight at the last minute (because they cancelled out the RV that they were going to drive to Park City) you find out that this has happened 3 times already this week with the same flight. Idly, you wonder if you could now figure out the probability of this flight becoming a direct flight. Then you find out that they have indeed cancelled the stopover, and that it's very likely they'll do the same here. And so, you wait some more while they think about this decision.

Then someone official utters the world 'cancelled' and a lot of groans sound. And you continue to wait and continue to wonder what exactly has been cancelled because it seems like an awful lot of people for it to be just the Reno leg. 2 hours and 20 minutes after you were supposed to leave and 15 minutes before your original landing time, over the speakers comes the official statement comes that you're flying straight through to Salt Lake City. YAY!

I know it wasn't a long time waiting by any means, and that others have spent longer in airports (DH even slept in one once), but it certainly wasn't something that I was expecting. Then again, I don't think anyone ever expects to wait at an airport with a delayed flight. Happily, we boarded the plane and sat down and I picked up my notebook to finish this entry. And then it struck me: on the return leg, I've got 2 hours to sit in Reno at night. That flight might be a whole 'nother story...

...but I hope not.

As you can tell, I made it back home with little fuss or muss for the Reno flight. But that was one little glimpse into my traveling experience this year. More will probably come later if I manage to flesh it out properly.