Here We Go! Oh, wait three hours--and then another hour...

Baltimore Travel Blog

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I woke up in the spare bedroom at Emily's parents some time between 6 and 6:15.  Shortly thereafter, my phone buzzed with a text from Southwest Airlines--new experience!!  Unfortunately, it was not good news: our 9:45 flight had been delayed to 12:30.  Luckily, we had a direct flight and five hours of extra time between original landing time and the bus pick up.  For a little bit I was nervous doing the math: a 12:30 departure, a five hour and fifteen minute flight, retrieving luggage, would it all work out before our 6:00 bus departure.  Then I remembered the time change difference and stopped panicking.  Emily and I decided not to go back to bed, we were already awake.  We wandered out to the kitchen for breakfast and the making of airplane sandwiches--peanut butter and jelly for her, peanut butter for me--eventually being joined by her dad, the dog, and finally her mom.

I was already pretty much packed since I had come up to her place the day before but Emily took advantage of the extra time to finalize her suitcase contents.  We loaded up the SUV, I handed my keys over to her mom so my car could be moved when they needed the spot in the driveway clear, and then Emily, her dad, and I set off for BWI a little before ten.

Emily and I were the first to arrive.  Since I was flying on my own ticket separate from the group, I went ahead and joined the line for check in.  It wasn't too long, and as I waited, I noticed two people wearing the Riva Trace Dust shirts.  I didn't know them but I texted Emily that some of our people were here.  By the time I got my boarding pass printed and checked my two suitcases (56 pounds total) more of the group had arrived.  We had about fifteen people going to Club Dust from Riva this year although Andrew and I were both from out of state.  As people arrived, David and Carol would give them their boarding passes and then they would go check in.  I stayed with the pile of carry-on bags and Campbell family members who were there to see Kyle and Connor off.

As the hour before the flight approached, we headed to security.  My backpack caused me a fifteen minute delay.  Apparently I packed it too tightly and they could not see clearly.  However, instead of just pulling my bag out of line and opening it up, they held up the line for several minutes before finally calling a supervisor over to dig through my stuff.  I felt badly for holding up the line even though a thorough search did not turn up anything suspicious in my bag :P  I did get to have a nice chat with the woman whose bags were behind mine as we waited for the luggage to come down the conveyor belt.

Finally through security, I found our group, deposited my heavy stuff, and then went to McDonald's for two apple pies, one for me and one for Emily--they were actually priced close to their normal outside-the-airport cost.  As I returned to the group, I thought we would be loading soon but it wasn't long before we realized the flight had been delayed another hour.  Additionally, the plane coming was not the originally-scheduled plane and was at least thirty seats too small.  The airline agents offered a nice deal for voluntary bumping but still had to cancel the tickets of everyone with a boarding pass C35-C60.  However, besidese taking care of those passengers, Southwest also gave each passenger who boarded, a $100 voucher for a future flight.  While the vouchers made our group very happy, some passengers were still not mollified although I guess if I had been waiting at the airport since the original departure time I might've been more upset.  I also realize that I expect delays to happen at times when flying but I was still getting to CA way faster than if we had rented some large vans!

Once on the plane we tried to sit together as much as possible.  Emily and I were next to each other but then two separate sets of parents with small children got on and the flight attendants asked for volunteers to split up to allow these families to be together.  One set was taken care of, and then Emily and I gave up our seats for the dad and his kid.  I was not sure how a five hour flight with no one to talk to would go, but I had enough to read, and the snacks were decent, so I was actually surprised by the flight not being that bad.

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photo by: freak0ut