Travel experience to remember

I don’t know how (good, bad, evil, bizarre or just another experience), but I will definitely remember the experience I had today. Today was the day when I was supposed to fly back to India. I slept well yesterday getting ready with packing and everything. I woke up to an overcast sky and started to watch the weather channel and noticed thunderstorms over Minneapolis and Chicago – two destinations where I had to take my first flight to.

As I was about to start from my place, it started to pour really heave, but stopped before I left and sky started to open. By the time I was at the airport weather was good and Sun was shining brightly. However, the personal at the airport that O’Hare (Chicago) has huge delays and my flight to Chicago is already delayed by 40 minutes. I was given a choice of switching my flight plans to Sunday, but I decided against it and decided to take my chances with the flight and connection happening. So, I went ahead and checked-in, passed through security checks and was at the lounge well in time. However just before the flight was about to leave, it got delayed even more and the woman ay the AA counter informed me that I will most certainly miss my connecting fight. The associate at the airport gave me following options:

  • Take a flight via London, but this was stricken out as there was no seats available out of London to Delhi Sunday;
  • Take a flight via France – these flight meant that I would have lost only 5 hours in overall travel time. The catch here was that the layover in France was only 90 minutes and France only allowed people with Indian passport and US VISA to be in country for 24 hours. If there was any delay in the flight to France and I was to miss the connection they would deport me back to US. This confused me on two counts – 1) why would they deport me after 24 hours; I was not going to leave the airport would just be stuck in transit and 2) Why would they deport me back to US. However, given that this was another country I just did not want to risk sleeping at the Airport or getting deported back to US and then restart my journey. I quickly dismissed the notion;
  • Next option was given was to move the entire trip to Sunday or just the trip from Chicago to Delhi to Sunday. And, again there was the catch that the flight on Sunday had just 4 seats left, so if I choose to wait until I reach Chicago and those got booked it meant that I would leave on Monday instead

 In the end, I decided against all my wishes to postpone the entire trip to Sunday. But, this time I will take a morning (9AM) flight to Chicago to beat any kind of delays (hoping). I rather wait in Chicago than to miss my connection again. I was asked to go to baggage claim and get my bags and come and check-in tomorrow.

As I reached the baggage claim, I was informed that bags could not be given to me because they were already on the ramp and I will not receive them at the Delhi Airport. Now, I didn’t know that or else I would have taken my chances in Chicago. But, nothing could be done now and I was stuck in Minneapolis airport for another without my bags and clothes.

Anyways, I could not do much and I just waited for Sahil and Jiten to come pick me up. As I was waiting on the airport, I decided to check a few things on the flight tomorrow and took out my tickets and passport. As I was still checking my mobile AA application, Sahil called up as they had arrived at the airport. I just got up and moved out. Only after 7 miles of travel I realized that I had dropped my passport at the Airport. I asked Jiten to take a U and we headed back to the airport. Next 20 minutes were so stressful because if I did loose my passport, I would not know what I would have done. I just knew that I was stuck in this country for a few more days or weeks or months.

As I moved into the Airport, I saw that where I was sitting the passport was not there. So my next stop was the closest Information counter and the guy there told me that they found it. He asked me to go over to the nice woman who was helping me with the baggage earlier and she did have that on her. When the woman gave the me the good news, I was so relieved and started my journey back to apartment.

On my way back, I checked the status on the flight (AA/292) from Chicago to Delhi and saw that it gor delayed by 30 minutes. And, I just realized that I would have made my connection. As I was sitting at Aum’s house having lunch I noticed that flight was now delayed by 90 minutes – I would have definitely made my connection. As I sit and write this blog post, the flight is not leaving at 6.20PM which meant I had almost 1 hour and 40 minutes between flights. But, here I am sitting waiting to start my journey tomorrow.

I don’t know why all this happened, but have faith must have happened for a reason and a good reason.