Getting There Is Half The Fun?
As many of you know, there was a major snowstorm on the east coast last Friday. When I checked my flight information that morning, everything was okay. There was a warning on nwa.com that anyone flying into Boston, New York or Philadelphia should rebook their flight for Saturday or Sunday and no fees would be charged. Washington DC was not on the list and according to weather.com, they were only expecting rain.
My flight from LA to Detroit passed without incident. Then I got off the plane. I checked the departure monitors to find out the gate for the DC flight, but all of the flights to Washington DC were listed as cancelled. I went back to the desk and asked what I needed to do. The man at the counter told me to go to the rebooking gates 41-43 and be prepared to wait. I went to those gates and got in line. I waited and waited and waited. I listened to people whine and complain (which I have very little patience for).
Finally, I was able to talk to an agent. The earliest that they could get me on a flight was Monday morning. MONDAY MORNING!!! It was Friday night! They wouldn't cover any expenses - they weren't even helping people find places to stay. I told the agent that Monday morning was too late. I needed to be there by Sunday afternoon. I even explained my situation. She was nice, but couldn't do anything to get me on an earlier flight.
I was determined to get to DC so I asked the agent if she thought I could still get a rental car. She was sure that it wouldn't be a problem and printed out a list of rental agencies with their 800 numbers. I headed for the rental car shuttles and started dialing. Each time I was put on hold, I hung up and dialed the next number. When I dialed Hertz, I got a hold of an actual agent and asked how quickly they could have a car ready at Detroit Metro Airport which could be retunred to Reagan National the next day. The agent said it could be ready in 15 minutes so I booked it.
I picked up the car and since my mom made me promise that I would get a hotel room and get some sleep, I stopped at a couple of the airport hotels, but they were all booked. So I used the very limited map that they had at Hertz and headed south out of Detroit. About 45 minutes later, I saw an exit for Monroe, MI that had a bunch of hotels so I stopped there. I went to the Holiday Inn Express and they had rooms available. While I was registering, I told the night manager my story and she gave me a room at the corporate rate and then said that it was late (almost 10pm) so she probably wouldn't sell it still tonight so she upgraded me to a jacuzzi room.
Saturday morning, I got up at 7:30am - that's eastern time (4:30am pacific) - and headed out. I picked up an atlas that was clearanced at the gas station ($.89). I can't remember the last time I drove somewhere unfamiliar without printed directions from the internet, but this time I did it old-school. Even with multiple stops, I was in Arlington, VA, where my hotel was located, by 4:00pm. I only ran into a little snow for about 45 minutes just outside of Pittsburgh. The roads were good, traffic was light, and nothing was going to stop me from making this trip! I'll tell you right now, it was completely worth it.