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Trip type: Personal

Airline: Delta

Route: BDL-MSP

Ah, holiday travel…when flight shenanigans abound. No different was a flight home with E…

E’s sister had a lovely New Year’s wedding and we were en route home from CT. We were traveling on a Monday to avoid the weekend rush post-New Year’s Day and had a direct flight from Bradley to MSP. As is usually the sign of impending doom, everything was fine getting out of CT and we were ready for a quick flight home so that we could return to work the next day.

A couple of hours into the flight, the pilot comes on:

“Ladies and gentlemen…we have a bit of a problem. We have been leaking fuel since we left Connecticut. We were aware of the problem when we left but thought we could make it. Unfortunately, we’ll have to make an emergency landing in Green Bay, Wisconsin for repairs. Please return to your seats and buckle up; we’ll be on the ground in 10  minutes.”

Great. Juuuuuust want you want to hear when you’ve been traveling over the holidays and need to get to work the next day.

We land in Green Bay and are told to stay seated while the repair crew looks at the situation. Luckily, this should only take a half hour. Don’t you love it when you’re told something in minutes? Because you know that will happen…

A half hour later it has become evident the repairs will take longer than a half hour (shocker.) so we must deplane. We have been parked at a lonely gate at the end of a mostly abandoned terminal. We all file out and sit in the waiting area. Time marches on and it’s now been a couple of hours. E and I tracked something down to eat (a very sad meat/cheese tray from the only establishment open in our vicinity) and I am starting to get very antsy. Finally, we’re told we can re-board.

Back in our seats, the jet bridge is pulled and the flight attendants quickly go through the safety information, ending by telling us it’s just a 45 minute flight to Minneapolis and we’ll be on our way shortly. Yay!

Then we sit.

And sit.

And sit.

And finally, the light goes on up in the flight attendant area. And then the phone rings for the flight attendant to communicate with the barricaded pilot. More lights come on and one of the flight attendants starts pacing the aisle with a clipboard. Then, the dreaded announcement comes:

“Ladies and gentlemen…we have been unable to verify all the passengers aboard this flight. We were trying to do this manually but because we had to wait so long on our repairs, one of our flight attendants has hit her maximum hours…we are very sorry but this flight will not be departing to Minneapolis tonight.”

Groans everywhere. It is now 7 p.m., we’re a 45 minute flight but 5 HOUR drive from Minneapolis and it is January. The situation looks grim.

So we deplane. I am grumpy and frustrated. We are told our options are:

1. Get a hotel voucher and stay the night…and standby tomorrow until we get on a flight.

2. Sign up for the bus that Delta is going to hire and take that back to Minneapolis.

Frankly, neither sounds good. As I’ve already mentioned, we’re expected at work tomorrow and neither of us has our work laptops along. The bus option would get us home sooner…but then I started imagining the fun of waiting for people to decide, Delta getting a count, Delta getting a bus and then getting ourselves home from the airport (where it would undoubtedly drop us).

E looked at me and said, “Well, what do you think?”

Me: “Ug! I just want to be home.”

E: “Do you want to rent a car and drive?”

Me: “No. But yes.”

So we hit up Hertz and get ourselves a Corolla. In an effort to make a long story short(er), I’ll give you the high points of the drive: White knuckle. Un-lit highway. Five hours. Blowing snow. Semis galore.

We finally made it home about 1 a.m. The next day began our discussion with Delta about getting reimbursed for the car rental. But that’s a story for another day…