Trains and Automobiles in Pursuit of Planes

Tue 21 Dec, 2010 at 8:54 pm 3 comments

Not as catchy as the original, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, nor as funny – though that’s because we were the participants as opposed to the viewers 🙂

We were due to fly out of Toronto, connecting in London (Heathrow) and onto Belfast Sunday night. Alas, the UK has had more of a winter than us and they’re simply unable to cope with it. We found out Saturday night when we went to check in that our flight was canceled. Thus began the Cairns version of The Amazing Race. Tim spent 4-5 hours on the phone with Orbitz trying to find an alternative as we found out that the earliest we could leave Toronto was the New Year, which could defeat the purpose of going there for Christmas. At midnight, an agent found us 5 spots on a plane out of O’Hare – a 9 hour drive away, which would fly through London to Dublin.

However, in order to confirm these flights (BA was closed at the time), we would have to call in the morning. Tim calls Orbitz again in the morning (@ 7) to confirm only to discover after waiting on hold for over an hour that BA’s call centre was closed. We were advised to go to Pearson to find out what could be done.

Tim, Tom and Sylvia went to Pearson straight after church and waited for a couple of hours for BA agents to show up. I also was on hold with BA for a couple of hours trying to confirm as well (no luck for me). Tim finally spoke to someone to confirm in fact that we were booked on the flight and we were issued tickets. Others were being told they’d be waiting standby, one other couple was flying out of Orlando.

We opted to drive because we were concerned that we would get stranded in Chicago (no offense but the Days Inn in Chicago wasn’t where we wanted to spend our Christmas).

So we left at the crack of dawn yesterday to head to Chicago. The kids were great. The drive was squishy. 4 adults, 2 kids, 6 suitcases, a diaper bag, 2 purses, Luke’s backpack, Charlotte’s bag of toys, and 2 shopping bags with bottles, snacks and food for the kids made for a tight fit. Oh, and don’t forget the 2 strollers.

As soon as we arrived in Chicago it started to snow. Heavily. There was 1-4 inches forecast – at least 4 inches fell where we were – and in just a couple of hours. After checking in and letting the children play, we went in search of the Cheesecake Factory. Which we couldn’t find. That could’ve been due to the white out conditions (we passed a LOT of cars in ditches), and ended up at TGIFriday’s, sitting down at 8pm (EST) and eating later.

Before we left we were checking online and while our flights were still confirmed we were feeling a little nervous. After dinner Tim, Tom and Sylvia dropped me and the kids at the hotel (I use that term lightly – I think it’s a motel when your door opens to the parking lot). They went over to O’Hare, hopped on the inter-terminal train (see trains + automobiles) to see what the state was, and to see what we could do about moving the flights (given the reports we were reading about Heathrow).

This morning, we found out that our change of flights was for the best as the flights out of Chicago were going to be delayed up to two hours due to freezing rain. We knew there was only a two hour window for our flight connection and didn’t want to risk any delay. As it turns out we were right not to go. Or else I’d be writing this from Heathrow (well I’d be on the plane right now – as the Chicago plane to Heathrow did go ahead) – however the London – Dublin leg was canceled due to bad weather in Dublin.

So we will be spending Christmas here with my parents – which while it wasn’t the plan, will still be great. We will fly instead Dec 29 … weather permitting.


Entry filed under: Christmas, Holidays, incidents.

Christmas Photo Shoot! Luke’s first sporting event!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. lucashannon  |  Wed 22 Dec, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Wow! What craziness! I hope you finally make it to family and enjoy Christmas wherever you may be!

  • 2. Katie  |  Wed 22 Dec, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Stress! Stress! Stress! I would have given up after the first few several hour phone calls, I commend your patience. Sorry you have had to go through all of that. I hope you have a great Christmas and glad that Tim’s parents can be there with you regardless of location.

  • 3. Alexander Fritz  |  Sat 8 Jan, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    ugh… I wanted to crawl into a bed just thinking about that…


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