Day 1- Travel day

Wilmington Travel Blog

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Aaaahhhh, the joys of air travel!

Kelowna-Seattle: Departs 6:00am Arrives 7:15am

Seattle-Chicago: Departs 8:25am Arrives 2:30pm

Chicago-Raleigh/Durham: Departs 4:35pm Arrives 7:25pm

My travel day started very early, as I woke up at 3:30am to leave my house at 4:00am. The drive to Kelowna International Airport from Vernon takes 20-30 minutes. I arrived at the airport at about 4:30 for my 6:00am flight to Seattle, and it’s a good thing I left when I did, as the airport was crazy busy. All those people flying to Mexico, via Seattle, I found out later. I checked in, then almost immediately got in line to go through security, as the line kept growing and growing. Once through, I got to relax and start my journaling, something I do on every trip I take.

Boarding the plane was a breeze. The flight to Seattle took less than an hour, and seeing as it was so early, going through customs took me about 7 minutes. The nice thing about the Seattle airport is how easy it is to get around. Big, yes, but incredibly easy to get around, even when having to take the train inside the airport. Little did I know that this was going to be the best part of my trip.

I got to the gate that I was supposed to be at. My next flight, to Chicago, was due to leave at 8:25am. After sitting there for about 15 minutes with other people that were on the same flight as me, someone due to take the same flight came walking by, and happened to say that the gate had been changed. OK. It turns out that the Seattle airport is not that great at keeping air travellers in the loop when it comes to gate changes. This same traveller that told us that the gate had been changed had already had 3 other gate changes on the same flight, and was pretty irate that the gates weren’t showing the changes (NOTE: The gate that I was sitting at didn’t have any new information on gate changes- it was still saying that it was flying to Chicago). So, I made my way to the new gate, with plenty of time to relax before we started boarding at 7:57am for the 8:25 flight.

Boarding time came, and we were notified that we were being delayed an hour, as weather in Chicago was pretty bad. No problem though, as I had a 2 hour wait in Chicago. An hour went by, and we started boarding at 8:55am, in order to leave at 9:25am. The door to the plane closed, and flight attendants were closing the overhead compartments when the captain came over the PA, saying that we had to get off the plane, as there was a complete ground-stop in Chicago. We would get word at 10:00 as to whether we would leave at 10:15am. This posed a problem for travellers connecting to other flights in Chicago, like I was. So, with a warning to be back at the gate at 10:00am, I headed to customer service in hopes of getting a new route to Raleigh. I wasn’t the only person that had this idea, though, as when I arrived to the desk, there was a line-up of about 30 people in front of me. I had no chance of getting to the front of the line, as it was 9:25am at this time. I was able to overhear what the agent was saying to a couple that was headed for Raleigh also, and there were no more flights to Raleigh, so if I got to Chicago, I would be spending the night there, if I missed that connection. YIKES! As I heard this, an announcement came through the airport, saying that anyone on my flight were to be back at the gate RIGHT NOW, as boarding had begun. The run was on. I felt like I was in a movie, or on ‘THE AMAZING RACE’, literally running through the airport. Lucky for me, I wasn’t the only one who was running. What a day this was turning out to be. It turns out that they had gotten the OK to depart, so they were doing it as quickly as possible. I’ve never seen a plane board so fast. We boarded and left in about 15 minutes. Depart time ended up being 10:20am, so if all went well, I would make it into Chicago with barely any time to spare before my connecting flight.

The flight to Chicago went smoothly, although we did hit turbulence the closer we got to Chicago. They were having severe storms there, so that was understandable. My connecting flight was due to leave at 4:35pm, so I was pretty sure that I would make it. However, at about 3:45, an announcement from the captain said that we were in a holding pattern above Chicago, as we weren’t allowed to land. They hoped to land in half an hour, which meant that we would be landing at 4:15. By the time we got to our gate, I was sure that I would be late for my next flight. However, the captain hoped that we would be allowed to land sooner than a half hour. So, we circled around and around, above Chicago, all the while bumping around in the bad weather. I started praying that my connecting flight would be delayed.

15 minutes later, we got the OK to land. By the time we got to the gate, it was 4:36pm, one minute after my connecting flight to Raleigh departed. I checked the reader board to see what was happening, and it turns out that my prayers had been answered, as my flight had been delayed, and was now due to leave at 5:10pm, but was boarding RIGHT NOW. The run was on again. It took about 10 minutes to run across the airport to where I needed to be, but I made it. Settled in my seat on the plane, I didn’t care if we got delayed any longer, as I knew that I would eventually get to where I needed to be. We were delayed longer, as all the other flights coming into Chicago were late, and we were waiting for connecting passengers, and their luggage. We ended up leaving at about 5:50pm, which was more than an hour late. So, instead of arriving in Raleigh at 7:25 like we were supposed to, we landed just before 9:00pm. No worries, though, as we did arrive. WHAT A DAY!


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photo by: vances