Here's a story about how one little girl tried to get to Minneapolis on Friday afternoon. The little girl managed to get to the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Saturday afternoon at about 1:30 pm. Here is the saga.
Detroit to Chicago
The departure from Detroit Metro Airport to Chicago was very smooth. The girl read some good books on her Kindle Fire and ate a Special K cereal bar that she brought from home so she could save money on food. She departed on time at 12:40pm, and arrived in Chicago on time . . . to an epic blizzarding snowpocalypse.
Chicago to Minneapolis
Upon disembarking from her plane, the little girl looked at the giant board and realized that her next flight to Minneapolis was CANCELLED. She didn't even know what to do when a flight was cancelled. But as a seasoned traveler, the little girl did not panic. She calmly notified her Minneapolis hosts that her flight was cancelled and that she'd let them know when to pick her up at the airport. Then, not knowing what else to do, she went to the gate she was originally assigned to.
The very nice woman at the counter explained to the little girl that she had been re-booked for another flight to Minneapolis . . . at 8:45 am Saturday morning. This wasn't cool. What was she supposed to do until then? The lady then explained that she could get the little girl to Minneapolis at 11pm that night . . . but she'd have to connect through DETROIT!
The little girl decided to take this option, and so hunkered down at the Chili's in Chicago O'Hare to eat a meal and wait for her now-6:30pm flight. As a precaution, though, she texted her cousin -- the one that just so happens to live about 20 minutes away from Chicago O'Hare -- to let her know that there was a slight chance there might be a surprise family sleepover.
The surprise family sleepover ended up being a reality, since all flights from Chicago to Detroit were cancelled not long after, and she was able to get a spot on the 8:45am flight. The little girl called a cab and arrived at her cousin's house, and settled in for good food, good company, and a good night's sleep.
The next morning, after breakfast and snuggles with her adorable baby cousins, the little girl's cousin drove her to the airport in plenty of time for her 8:45am flight . . .
. . . which was delayed. The mechanics were checking the landing gear. One hour passed. Two hours passed. The flight time was changed to 11:00 am the little girl was still not on the plane at 10:45am.
Then, a voice on the PA system announced that the aircraft could not be used, so we had to switch to a different gate. Three hours later. The little girl dejectedly made her way to the other gate, and waited another 20 minutes before FINALLY boarding her flight at 11:31am.
Upon landing in Minneapolis, the airplane pulled up to the gate . . . and the little girl had to wait another half hour to deplane, because the jet way was broken. The aircraft had to be towed out and drive over to another gate.
The little girl landed at her final destination . . . about 19 hours late.
THIS little girl's words of advice?
1) Don't panic if your flight gets cancelled. Worrying will not get you to your final destination any faster. Calmly rebook the best flight you can get and, if you have to stay overnight, you're just going to have to plunk down money for a hotel room. (Or send out a distress signal to nearby family, if that's an option!)
2) Learn to sleep in weird places. If I didn't catch a couple winks during that whole ordeal, I would have been so much more tired, and I would have been more prone to freaking out. (But, obviously, be safe - stay in a well-populated area in your gate/lounge area, and hug your valuables. Backpacks make great pillows and your arms are added protection from robbers!)
3) Stay hydrated and fed. You can't avoid spending money in a situation like this, so make the best of it. I avoided buying a big meal, and instead bought bananas and muffins to tide me over, and sipped the drinking fountain instead of buying bottled water.
Here's to hoping your travels are ALWAYS happy!
P.S. The journey home went very well!