Our flight was set to take off from Wausau at 1:15 in the afternoon and arrive in Chicago for an hour and a half layover. Then it was on to Phoenix getting in a 7pm on December 23rd. Sounds simple doesn't it? Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. We arrived at the airport and learned that our flight to Chicago was delayed 3 hours due to freezing rain in Chicago. All flights in and out of Chicago were postponed until the weather cleared up. Due to the backlog of flights, we could not get on a Phoenix flight after arriving in Chicago. The airlines said they could fly us in to a different airport and the closest airport with open seating was San Diego, so we were booked on an 8pm flight out of Chicago. Assuming we could get into Chicago, we would have a long flight to San Diego where my dad would drive over to San Diego as we flew to pick us up and take us to a hotel for the night and drive home the next day. At this point the local news station was doing a story on the winter traveling problems and Jesse, the girls, and I were put on the local news with our story of trying to get home for Christmas. I will try and add that link so you can see the girls TV debut
Chicago started allowing flights in and out and we arrived safely after circling in the air for an extra 45 minutes in the air for a flight that was only supposed to take 40 minutes total. We arrived in, found our gate, and tried to deal with our tired cranky babies. Jesse and I were tired and the girls were not happy to spend 4 hours in an airport waiting for our flight. About an hour and a half before the San Diego flight was to take off, Jesse went up to the counter to get our boarding passes since we were only issued paper tickets. Come to find out, the first airport never confirmed our flights and we were not getting on that flight. The ticket agent was preparing us to find a hotel in the area to spend the night. Are you kidding me??? At this point, I was so tired, the girls were tired and screaming and I started to cry. Why was everything conspiring against us getting home for Christmas? At this point, Jesse ran down to the gate where the San Diego flight was moved and began to tell the the new ticket agent our sob story. He even cried to the man, telling him that we had two cranky babies, one with a heart condition, and we needed to get on the flight. Apparently this worked and we were put on the flight and the guy promised to keep the seats open around us so we could lay the babies down and have extra room. Finally at 10pm, 1.5 hours later the San Diego flight boarded. We got on and got our seats to learn that we were actually put in first class. Finally something was going our way. Both girls were exhausted at this point and they both slept through most of the 3.5 hour flight.
We finally arrived in San Diego at 12 midnight local time (2am WI time). We waited for our baggage and spotted some of our items. By then I was relived that our baggage made it. Then the carousel stopped and we realized we were missing one suitcase and both car seats. Seriously, why couldn't we get through a flight with things going right???
Once again we were given horrible loaner car seats and were told they would deliver our baggage to Phoenix some time in the next few days. The loaner car seats were a big problem since we planned on driving the 6 hours home to Phoenix the next day. One car seat was way to too tight and Riley barely fit in it. The straps would not adjust. The next car seat was way too loose and I could get those straps to adjust either. I then had another crying melt down moment, but Jesse told me to get it together so we could get to the hotel and get some sleep.
We arrived at the hotel and got the girls fed and in bed at 2:30am. By then it was 4am WI time and I had been up for 22.5 hours straight and I was losing my mind. We managed to get 6 hours of sleep broken up with a feeding or two and we got back on the long road to home.
The girls did pretty well on the drive considering the circumstances. They started to get really upset as we got an hour from home. I proceeded to sing Christmas songs to them over and over again to keep them from crying and we finally arrived home at 6pm on Christmas Eve.
Lessons learned: Never fly with United again. They will lose your bags, not book you flights they say they will, and have horrible customer service. Our second flight was on American and we thank the nice ticket agent in Chicago that got us on the flight in first class with extra seats so we could be comfortable. Next lesson, gate check your car seats. At least this way, you won't have to use the airlines old, dirty, unsafe seats. Don't fly back east around Christmas time, next year we will fly after Christmas where we won't have such a rush to get back home.
McAllister Family Reunion
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