Unexpected Layover


I often emphasize the importance of making contingency plans (I call it playing a healthy game of “what if”?) when you travel. After all, travel by i’s very nature is unpredictable, and being prepared for the unexpected comes in handy when the travel gods throw a wrench into your plans. Such was the case yesterday.By all means it looked like a fairly easy travel day for us (which should have been our first clue —  it’s the easy ones that can trip you up).

Our plans were to fly from CA to Burlington, VT, with a connection in Chicago, then pick up our rental car and drive one mile to our hotel, kick back and get an early start on our drive to Lake Placid the next day. Well, things went awry in Chicago, when after our Burlington flight had been postponed by almost two hours, we sat on the runway for another three hours. Apparently there was some severe weather to the east of us and all eastbound departures were put on hold. There were about 30 or so other planes on the runway, waiting… and waiting. Then we got that dreaded announcement — the flight had been cancelled and we were returning to the terminal.

As I write this we are still in Chicago, but managed to get on a confirmed flight to Burlington via Boston today. We won’t arrive in Burlington till 8:30 PM and then we have to drive to Lake Placid. We will get there but it will be late. Others were not so lucky. Well, part of it was luck, but part of it was planning. We did have a back-up plan and came equipped with phone numbers and the resources to put that plan into action. And we gave ourselves an extra cushion day for travel since this is Memorial Day weekend.

In any case, this entry should be of high interest to those folks who tell me they only take three hours flights because that’s the longest they can go without using the bathroom. In most cases that is OK, but when you sit on the runway for three hours, then it becomes an issue.

So the moral of the story is, always have a back-up plan. You never know when you will need it!