I don’t go looking for trouble…Trouble usually finds me
This time trouble found me at O’Hare International Airport, supposed to be the busiest airport in the world.
I could say why.. 4 domestic and 1 international terminal. About 40 boarding gates per terminal. One flight taking off or landing every 42 seconds! PHEW!
As I’m very interested in figures, I’ll add some more.
Crowd – overwhelming
Flights cancelled on Thursday evening – 63. (Did you see it right? It’s sixty-three)
I was about to go to Sacramento, CA, on Thursday. I took lots of effort to reach O’Hare airport that day.
After pushing my way through the crowd, I finally reached gate B1. I stood near B1 for another 1 hour, simply because all the seats were occupied. I went to check the flight status one last time before it was time to board. To my horror, it was shown as cancelled.
I started to panic now. What to do? I was really looking forward to meeting my aunt and cousin after a long 5 years and to watch my cousin’s dance debut. I went to the United Airlines representative near the gate. She told me to contact the Customer Service Desk. I went back. The queue for the customer service center was one gigantic snake which didn’t seem to end. Anyway, I had to stay in the queue.
I started looking for other options. I tried to find out the number of UA, but couldn’t. I called my uncle, but there was nobody at home and his cell was not reachable. There was no other option. I had to wait in the queue.
After about half an hour my uncle called back after hearing my voice message. I explained the situation and asked him if he could get their number for me. He called them instead and looked for alternatives.
No seats available for Friday also. But Saturday was too late for me. So I decided to cancel my ticket and book another one with Southwest Airlines from Midway airport. Unfortunately (yeah…right!!), UA had no tie-up with Southwest, so they couldn’t process that. The very way the UA person talked was as if they didn’t give a fart about the plight of their passengers because this was a FAA directive. So I had to cancel my journey with UA and book anew with Southwest. My uncle did an online booking with southwest.
Now it was almost 2 hours since I’d been standing in the queue, and I was not even halfway through the queue.
As I was talking to my uncle, I got another distraction from behind. The lady who was standing just behind me suddenly screamed and threw her cellphone down. I literally jumped from my place and at first thought that it was because of me. Then she told me that the f***ing phone was drained…that too when she was in the middle of a call with UA representative. She was going to Pittsburg, which was also cancelled. It is okay to get frustrated. But throwing your expensive cell phone was too much.
Anyway, my uncle was able to cancel my UA ticket online, and because I had no checked in baggage, I was able to quit the queue and go back home. I took a taxi. Reached hotel at around 12 am. Slept. Woke up at around 3 am. Drove to Midway airport. 3 hours sleep and no dinner/breakfast. That was a real bad experience.
Luckily, I had a stopover at LA airport. I had my usual veggie sandwich/French Fries/Coke at a McDonalds there.
Reached here finally. Will write about the rest in the next post.