Returning from Barcelona: I Hate O’Hare

You can relive my travel horrors en route to Barcelona by reading the tales from earlier this week. My return flight home has been even more disquieting so far. (There are so many words other than ‘disquieting’ I would use if I weren’t so exhausted and being desperately polite to everyone who can help me get home posthaste.)

I am writing this at 11:35 PM, Nov 10, from O’Hare International as I wait for my (delayed) flight to Seattle scheduled to depart around 12:30 AM. I left Barcelona on a 11:34 AM British Airways flight to London. Barcelona is on Central European Time (+1 GMT) and Chicago is on Central Standard Time (-6 GMT) so it was 4:54 AM in Chicago when I boarded my flight in Barcelona. The big event boarding the plane in Barcelona was the woman checking in my bags going off on me for booking my connection in London too tight. She had some choice words for me (all in Spanish) even after I explained to her that my travel agent booked the flights and I didn’t have any problems on my way there.

Of course Chicago O’Hare is known for its shutdowns and delays caused by inclement weather. Some days it’s too windy. Others it’s too rainy. Still others there’s too much hail & snow. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about flights being delayed at O’Hare because it is just too sunny.

We were nearing final descent to land in O’Hare, the captain then made an announcement that he was instructed by air traffic control to circle for 15 minutes due to the backup caused by windstorms & rain earlier in the day. About thirty minutes later the captain says we were instructed to circle for an additional hour. We were on a Boeing 777 that had been in the air over 9 hours by that point and didn’t have enough fuel. Rather than grant us immediate clearance to land, our plane was instead instructed to hit the neighborhood BP station…in Detroit! I was incredulous and seething with contempt.

We made the 30 minute trip, sat on the plane for an hour while they topped us off with Detroit’s finest Jet A then made the 45-minute return flight to O’Hare and promptly landed. Of course, all the connections were screwed due to the delays so my flight that should have arrived in Seattle around by 1 AM Chicago time is instead leaving Chicago (I hope) at 12:30 AM.

It’s been an 18+ hour travel day for me so far and I still have another 4 1/2 hour leg to go.

Guess what? One of my bags was lost! Of course I had to wait 90 minutes to find out while reclaiming my bags to clear customs. Arrrgh!

I will never, ever, ever check bags again. I’ll just have to deal with thirsty skin and a musty wardrobe.

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