The rippling effect of winter storms in the U.S.A.
Since returning from Australia on Sunday night I’ve had my fair share of excitement and action to say the least. I was barely home 20 hours before I had to get on another two planes bound for wonderful Little Rock, Arkansas again.
On a United Airlines plane, I sat next to a burly Priest and beside him a bearded lady sat that snored like a man. The whole plane was looking at her and since her snoring started before take-off, I knew it was going to be quite a journey. The signs were there.
I was connecting through Chicago and the Priest next to me said “Chicago is going to be hit by quite a storm tomorrow, possibly 10 inches”. As if God was talking to me though this man, I contacted my agent and travel agent immediately – you see I was connecting through Chicago the following evening on United again after my shoot was done. Thank you kind and informative Priest… You are a man of God indeed!
Who has time for jet lag? Two planes later and I gratefully make it to my final destination.
My 6am alarm was a challenge however, I managed through the day OK. My travel agent had changed my flight to connect through Atlanta the day before and just as well – my United Airlines flight through Chicago had been cancelled due to severe winter weather. See? It’s not glamourous but a crapshoot in avoiding disaster.
I was feeling good and confident about my journey home because as far as I knew, Atlanta was far away from the Mid-West storm. Ha – wrong again! The storms had created a rippling effect of delays and cancellations across the United States. Planes couldn’t get where they needed to and people were stranded and delayed by hours. Me included. Some never made it to their final destinations. We are talking about thousands of travelers. This is winter in the U.S.
As my shoot came to a finish, I received two calls from Delta Airlines saying my original flight had been delayed by two hours not once but twice in a matter of minutes. It was a scramble for my travel agent to try to get me back to New York pronto, you see I had to work in the city the following day. It was game on! (As it fortunately turned out, my day was switched around and I never lost the booking).
We tried it all out of Little Rock. A small domestic airport with zero direct flights to New York. My itinerary changed about four times and what resulted was far from ideal.
I ended up landing in Atlanta close to 10pm (was at the airport since 4pm) and the last connecting flight to La Guardia airport had taken off 10 mins prior to my landing. I tried to remain positive and was ready to sprint from terminal C to terminal T. It was no point as it was all too late. I simply had to roll with it. I had no choice.
So a Delta representative directed me to the customer service counter where I was checked in to a morning flight. I was put up in a Best Western Hotel near the airport for my inconvenience. This is the first time in my career that I’ve been put up in a hotel by an airline and I hope it’s the last!
The last time I was in Little Rock almost two weeks ago, a similar thing happened remember? I had to stay overnight due to bad weather and fly back home on the first flight out. Connecting flights are no fun!
Well, this is not how I wanted to see Atlanta for the first time. I made it outside where the shuttle buses pull up and it was a circus. There were hundreds of people like me, stranded in Atlanta against their will.
It was freezing with high winds – no one was prepared for the frigid air that greeted us. Some people were in t-shirts bound for California. It was a shock to the system.
I waited approximately 15 minutes in the cold air before my shuttle from the hotel appeared mysteriously at around 11 pm. There were about 15 of us heading to the same place from all around the country. It was a hot mess!
I finally checked in, had a hot shower and got in to bed exhausted just before midnight. I really thought I was going to escape reality and find myself in a deep five-hour sleep immediately… This was not the case. I tossed and turned for two hours, cold to the bone. I turned the heat up to 75 degrees fahrenheit (24 degrees celsius) to take the chill out of the room and me.
I woke to another recorded message from Delta… My 7.40am flight to New York had been cancelled. Why was I not surprised? I got to the airport in time to catch the first outbound flight at 6.40am. I was so relieved to finally be going home. No amount of Visine was going to help this morning. It was not pretty.
Lately I feel my life and job are more about traveling and dodging aviation bullets rather than shooting fashion and being a fashion model. One has to be a trouble-shooter and ‘on’ all the time – you never know what’s going to happen!
Tomorrow I’m working in Philadelphia then I have two days scheduled in New York – yay to New York! I love shooting in the Big Apple – I get to sleep in my own bed, I get to see my family and I don’t have travel delays and unexpected overnight stays. It’s a welcome relief and change.
I have essentially been away from my husband and two children for two weeks now. It is tough on all of us. I’m looking forward to a wonderful weekend with my family, friends and Steve’s cousin who is visiting us from Australia. We have another jam-packed weekend of plans and activities with some rest included I hope.
Where have you been stranded? And how?
What did you do until you made it to your final destination?
What wisdom or experience can you share?