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Back home, finally.

January 31, 2010

Whew – we made it back home from Alaska – barely! We had a very busy, productive week in Alaska, but we were ready to head back to our house and the puppies. We were definitely ready for a home-cooked meal and relaxing on our comfy new living room furniture instead of eating at restaurants and trying to get comfortable on hotel furniture.

We left Alaska at 9am Alaskan time yesterday (after getting up at 6am to return the rental car, get checked in, etc…). We were connecting to Charlotte via Minneapolis. The flight from Alaska to Minneapolis was about 5 and a half hours. When we landed in Minneapolis, we discovered our flight to Charlotte had been cancelled due to the snowstorm that hit the mid-lower east coast. We were stuck there overnight, so the airline gave us 40% off vouchers for a hotel and re-booked us on the first flight out this morning.

We stayed near the airport and took the hotel’s free shuttle so we didn’t need to pay for a taxi. The hotel had a pub/restaurant so we ate dinner there, and the food was much better than we expected. We originally thought we’d take the hotel shuttle to the Mall of America, but we were tired from stress and traveling, so we went to bed early instead.

We woke up at 4am this morning, hoping to catch the 4:30am shuttle for the airport. Our flight was at 6:35am, and a whole bunch of people were staying at the same hotel, so we didn’t want to risk missing the shuttle. We got down to the lobby at 4:27, and were told the 4:30 shuttle had left 2 minutes earlier. I was NOT happy. The next shuttle was at 5am. When the driver came back he said he was only taking people going to 2 specific airlines, neither of which were the one the majority of us were on (of course). Our shuttle finally left the hotel at 5:10am.

When we got to the airport we didn’t have any bags to check because of the cancellation (and frankly, we had no idea where our bags were), but we were unable to check in on the kiosk for some reason, so we had to wait in line to see a ticket agent. Things were CRAZY at the airport because of all of the passengers that were re-booked in addition to all of the people who intended to be traveling today. We finally got  our boarding passes, but when we went through the long security line Howdy forgot to take the water bottle out of his bag… so we had some additional screening, but made it to the gate just in time to walk on the plane.

Today turned out to be the day that Delta and Northwest officially finished their merge into one company with one computer system, etc… Meaning that hardly anyone knew how to work anything, which resulted in additional delays. For example, there was one couple on our flight who had been assigned to seats 42A and 42B – but the row 42 didn’t exist. I’m not sure where they ended up seating them, but they put them somewhere. With all of the merging pains, we didn’t leave Minneapolis until 50 minutes after our scheduled departure time! Luckily we made up a lot of time in the air and arrived in Detroit right on time. Oh, that’s right – I forgot to mention that the only flight that could get us to Charlotte before 6pm today was a connection through Detroit.

We arrived at gate A66 in the Detroit airport. Our departure gate was A11 (55 gates away, if you weren’t keeping up with the math), and our flight was scheduled to leave 20 minutes after we got off the plane. We confirmed our connecting gate on the monitor, then made our way to the gate as fast as we could. Right as we arrived at the gate, panting and hot, we found out the gate had been changed – to A57. Ugh. They ended up pushing the departure time back 15 minutes, which allowed us to just make it to the gate in time to board the plane, again. And then we sat on the tarmac for another 45 minutes.

We FINALLY made it to Charlotte an hour later than scheduled – but our bags didn’t make it! We had to wait in line to talk to the baggage agent. They told us that our bags were put on the next flight, and would be there in an hour. Since we still had a 3-hour drive back to Charleston, we decided to wait on them. The airline also gave us each a $7 lunch voucher to use at Sbux, or the little pre-made sandwich deli – both of which were outside security in the airport, since we weren’t able to get back into the gate area for the “real” restaurants.

But at long last, our bags made it to Charlotte, we got out to the parking lot to scrape off the 3 inches of snow and ice on the windshield, and made the drive back to Charleston. We arrived home 18 hours after originally planned and weren’t able to pick up the boys from the kennel, but at least we’re back! I’m calling it an early night tonight since I’m back to work tomorrow. I’ll post more about our trip later when I have more energy. 🙂

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 4, 2010 4:22 pm

    WOW! What a journey! That sounds intense!

    I am so intrigued to hear about your move- are you driving? What an adventure! I’m jealous! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

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