My New Years’ Resolution: NEVER try to fly out on the first day of winter.
As you can see from many of my previous posts, Seattle has been getting colossal amounts of snow (for Seattle) over the last 9 days. Many people are shut in and haven’t really left their houses in that time – the steep hills of Seattle (remember, the original city was built on the 7 great hills) do not lend themselves to safe travels around town when packed snow and ice are present.
The night before we were due to travel down to Texas to visit our families, the snow really picked up. In all, we think we got about 8 inches at our house.
Scott is an excellent driver in snow, and thankfully, his jeep is made for just this type of thing. We allowed ourselves about 2 hours to get the 20 miles to the airport, but it took just barely over an hour. A little slipping and sliding on some bridges, but Scott is my hero, he’s a great driver.
We were so happy by the time we got to the airport! We had more than two hours to get checked in, check our bags, get through security and head toward our ON TIME departure! It’s hard to believe, Alaska Air was cancelling tons of flights, but we were still scheduled to depart on time, lucky us! Well…..we got checked in, we checked our bags, with over an hour to kill and I decided I’d run over to the post office box and drop all of my Christmas cards just before getting in the security line. Dumb. Dumb idea. What went into the PO box with my Christmas cards? Oh, MY ID. All the people sitting around (waiting to get rebooked on their cancelled flights) were embarrassed for how stupid I just was.
Once again, Scott to the rescue. He went to the dark, scary parts of the airport to find someone who might be able to open the PO box and find my license. Problem solved, the rest of the day is going to be a breeze. We get through security, flight still on time. They start boarding the plane at 10:40am, we happily take our middle seats across the plane from each other feeling like the lucky ones who got a flight and it wasn’t cancelled.
Part way through the boarding process, they stopped letting people on the plane. The captain comes on the intercom and says “there’s wind in Houston, and they’ve slowed incoming traffic, we might have to wait 90 minutes before we can take off.” Hmmm, not the foot of snow below us, continuing driving snow, or hurricane force winds in the mountains. Wind. In Houston.
So, we hang out on the plane for about 30 minutes, then they tell us we all have to deplane. We hang out in the terminal, waiting for information. Finally! We get notification we have “wheels up” at 1:30, only a 2:15 delay, I can deal with that. They shove us all back on the plane so we can get the door shut by 1pm when the de-icing truck is scheduled.
My wing gets de-iced, covered in all that orangey goodness that keeps us safe. Then it stops. No more, Scott’s wing is still icy and unhappy. 30 minutes pass and we get an announcement “uh, the de-icing truck is broken down, we’ll be up and running soon, we hope.” 30 minutes pass “er, they are still trying to locate a part for the de-icing truck, indefinite delay.” 45 minutes pass, FIRE TRUCKS AND AMBULANCES show up and it appears there might be a FIRE on the roof of Seatac. It felt like a movie.
At this point, they tell people they can get off the plane if they want, but warned if they try to rebook, they may not get out before Christmas. The couple I was sitting in between got in a horrible argument about staying or going. AWKWARD! I just played on my iPhone pretending I couldn’t hear (except the time I gave unsolicited advice about how they could get their bags, whoops). They left. I had the whole row to myself, I can handle this for another few hours, we’re totally gonna get home! On comes another passenger who spent the last 20+ hours sitting in the Anchorage airport. My happy row was crowded again. At least my husband got to come sit next to me.
Another hour or so, the crew (who was very kind and really handled everything well) decided they were going to bring out hot sandwiches to everyone. A gate agent comes flying onto the plane pushing the flight attendants back, saying she “has an announcement.” Yes! We’re going! We’ll get to Houston tonight, and just drive down to SA. Yes!
Nope. Cancelled. Yes, approximately the time we should have been renting our happy car in San Antonio, after almost 6 hours on that (recycled air) plane, our flight was cancelled just after 5pm (we boarded at 10:40am). 😦 That’s ok! We’ll rebook. Tomorrow we’ll get out, right? No. No flights out. Until Dec 28. We all got a little delirious when they started passing around a bag of sandwiches after that announcement. I said “Christmas is cancelled. Have a sandwich.” and we all laughed until we cried.
So, it’s going to be a quiet LPod Christmas this year. We were pretty devestated last night, and still sad this morning, but we’re thankful we have a warm house and each other, it could be worse! We hope our fellow passenger who had been in Anchorage gets to his home in Houston before Christmas, there were no hotels anywhere last night.
Merry Christmas, I hope you are all safe, warm and enjoying good quality family time.