My flight out of Fargo to Los Angeles was scheduled for 3:45 pm. The weather forecast predicted unfavorable conditions for travel, so I rebooked to an earlier flight. I was to leave at 9:20 am and arrive in L.A by 1:40 pm. What wonderful circumstances to arrive in L.A. – during daylight and soak up some much needed vitamin D! Yay! At 8:00 am I received the first notice that my flight was delayed by an hour. Within another half hour I received another update indicating yet another delay. My husband dropped me off at the airport nonetheless. I needed to speak with a human agent about changing my connecting flight. At the airport my connecting flight was changed within minutes and a smile broadly swallowed my face. I am sure I was wearing this ridiculous grin, envisioning a daylight so strong that layers of clothing were soon to be a thing of my past, all through security. Then, I faced the monitors that told me my flight was delayed beyond even the next departure’s departure. Was this possible? What in the world was going on?
The waiting game
A Delta agent informed all anxiously awaiting passengers that the airplanes from Minneapolis were unable to fly in to Fargo because of a dense fog. Something about the ceiling of the fog. Now my flight was 3 hours delayed and the regularly scheduled flight that was two hours after my flight was also delayed by another hour. We sat, waiting. Everyone waiting. Doing their thing on their phones, passing time, watching the monitors while the Delta agent suspiciously disappeared from site. However, there were people handing out salty and sweet snacks to distract our dashing eyes and anxious pacing.
My flight was altogether cancelled at about noon. The airplane would not be arriving. It was grounded in Minneapolis. However, the 11:30 am flight and a 1:00 pm flight were still anticipated and after speaking with an agent on the phone and another agent in person, I was put on stand by for both of those flights. My connecting flight in Minneapolis was still in question. At this point I was focused on one leg of the journey at a time. I considered renting a vehicle and driving the 3+ hours to Minneapolis. This was the talk amongst many of the disgruntled people at the airport, like the couple in a war about whose fault these delays were and who was responsible for making the decision to not leave the night before. I felt bad for the husband. I stood in front of them in line and the wife was as anxious as all hell and the husband was all, “really? You think I can control the weather? I talked to the agents on the phone last night and they gave me their best predictions! What do you want of me woman?” To which she replied, “I wanted to drive to the cities last night moron! You’re missing the god damn point!” Ufda. I kept my nose facing forward, but my ears – they couldn’t stop listening to the juicy entertainment.
A break through
Lest I bore you to death with standby procedures – my name was called in the early afternoon for a flight that finally took off at 2:20 pm. I landed in Minneapolis shortly before 3:30 pm. I found another agent and that person directed me to another area of the airport to speak with another agent. 5 moving walk ways later, I arrived at the destination of HELP. I first went to a machine. The machine asked for a boarding pass, of which I did not have. I had no connecting flight connected to my name since my booked flight had been cancelled. I found a human. The human said she would help me and with the most genuine care and smile – I promptly burst into tears. I’m talking full out hiccup tears. The kind where you just talk in spurts and you feel like an idiot because you’re an adult. I asked her if I could hug her or die of humiliation. She said I could hug her. I did. It was a nice bear hug. I felt like my mom had just hugged me. This woman stopped what she was doing and got me on the next flight out of Minneapolis to Los Angeles, leaving in two hours’ time. And not a stand by ticket, an actual CONFIRMED seat. She had to make some phone calls and do some voo doo magic, but it worked. I thanked her 5 million times and then walked to my gate. Fortunately, there was a place to eat, right next to the gate, and I promptly ordered two meals for myself. I had forgotten to eat lunch. I ate all the food with a few onlookers making side bets that I couldn’t do it. Obviously, they had never witnessed me eat.
Much needed guidance
I arrived in L.A. shortly before 8:30 pm. I found my way to the outside and pulled up my Lyft app. I punched in my Airbnb location and beckoned for a vehicle. I received instructions to meet in the ride share app designated location. WTF? So, I wander. I find what seems to be the place based on the description of between terminal two and three. Then a nice security guard asks if he can help me. (I get that a lot). I tell him, “nah, I’m just waiting for my Lyft”. He tells me I’m in the wrong location because I’m in the arrivals and I need to be in departures. Well, duh. I am departing the airport and this whole time I’m watching people being DROPPED OFF at the airport. I felt like a real first-class observer of the world. So I follow two different security guard’s instructions to departures, because it takes two different people to really explain where I need to go. I need a lot of guidance people. Thank goodness there was not a language barrier! My Lyft driver, Gabe with 5 kids that is a 47 year old aspiring musician, picked me up about 9 minutes later and we were on our way.
I arrived at my Airbnb, greeted by my gracious hosts at 9:30 pm, approximately 8 hours later than I had anticipated. No vitamin D today. I got ready for bed and couldn’t rest. I was wound up from the upheaval of the day and the anticipation of tomorrow, and the L.A. noise. So much noise. The streets were screaming. After two hours of tossing and turning I shoved ear plugs into my ears and eventually fell into a restless sleep. Goodnight California.