Holiday Hell: Saturday December 22nd

Many people travel during the holidays, and this year I decided to take my son to visit with my mother and step-father. While I am close with my mother, I wasn’t always all that close with my step-father. My son however, considers my step-father to be one of his grandpas. And given that my step-father seriously ill I thought that the more visits we can get in the better.

Since I live in California and my mom and step-father live in Michigan a trip would mean flying. So several weeks before our planned trip I fired up the internets and started looking at airfares, connections, departure and arrival times. I finally settled on a flight out of Palm Springs and into Flint Michigan with American Airlines as it would save over $200.

So the morning on December 21st my wife drove us out to Palm Springs. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 1:10 PM. We got there with two hours to spare, got our luggage checked, kissed my wife and headed off for security to be searched for dangerous items like hair gel, toothpaste and worst of all deoderant. I should have known things were about to go very, very wrong when one of the TSA agents looking at my ticket said, “Good thing you weren’t here yesterday that flight didn’t leave until five hours late.”

After taking off my shoes, belt, confirming that my digital camera was indeed just a digital camera, that I didn’t have any dangerous contraband like facial cream or KY Jelly, I was passed through security. Julian and I promptly headed off to find our gate. The Palm Springs airport is actually quite pleasant. It isn’t very big, mostly open air and very clean and modern looking. On the way to the gates there is a large open grassy area where kids can run around and play and people can sit and relax. We find our gate, settle in near an outlet so my son can play his PSP while not draining the battery I got out my book.

Then it starts. First it is announced that flight 814 will be delayed for 15 minutes. Then 15 minutes becomes 30 minutes, an hour, two hours, then three hours. Finally we board the plane and get ready to take off. When in the air we are informed that weather is bad at Chicago’s O’hare International airport and many flights are delayed. I hope that our connecting flight is similarly delayed and settle back to read my book and wait for the drink cart.

Over all the flight to Chicago wasn’t bad. The bad weather must not have been so bad as we got near because turbulence wasn’t bad. When we landed it was about 10:35, so we had 5 minutes to make it to our connecting flight, and it was delayed we should make it. We didn’t. We literally missed out connecting flight by minutes.

The next flight wasn’t till 10…AM the next day. Great. Overnight at O’hare with my 10 year old son. I ask if there is anything like a voucher for a hotel. Turns out there is. So with the voucher for a rate of $63/night at Holiday Inn Express my son head out for the taxis. With no luggage. That is no underwear, no shampoo, no toothbrush and no deoderant. But hey, we aren’t going to be sleeping on the floor and those dirty Islamofacists wont be getting anything past us…well anything that resembles toiletries.

So we get to the hotel via taxi. They had a shuttle, but I just didn’t want to wait. And good thing too. While I was standing in line at number 15 or so, about 30 more parties came into the Holiday Inn Express. The cab ride had saved me upto an additional hour of standing in line. So Julian and I got to our room and it was pretty good. And they gave us a toothbrush, toothpaste, and comb at the desk, and the room had shampoo and soap. Take that, you dirty Islamofacists! So safe and snug in our comfy hotel room we went to sleep.

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Is is a horror story? That’s more like the typical scenario these days. At least you didn’t get the Megan McArdle-esque hotel reservation runaround. All in all, things went pretty smoothly for you most of the way except for the missed flight. You wanna hear horror stories, I’ll tell you horror stories, LOL.

  2. Steve Verdon says:

    I’m not done. It may sound like it is over, but I have three more installments.