This morning I was suppose to have woken up in Sydney, Australia. Instead, I woke up in Denver, Colorado in a warm hotel in a comfortable bed.
Yesterday, my husband & I headed to the Denver airport from our home which is about 70 miles from the airport. We had about 5 to 6 inches of snow from the night before. We just didn't realize how the rest of the country had been affected by the snow storm.
When we got into the Denver/United terminal, we observed the chaos. People sleeping on the floor; all seats were filled and the restaurants were packed.
As we walked around, we noticed the customer service line was at least a half mile long. Agents were handing out snacks & water. At all gates, the signs were showing all these flights were two to three hours delayed.
We got to our gate and everything was reading that our flight to San Francisco was on time. As we sat, the delay signs began to appear. Also, I was getting updates from United about the delays. My husband and I knew we had a three hours time span from the time we landed until we left on our Sydney flight. We weren't panicking, yet. There was a young man sitting next to us, who had been at the airport for 29 hours trying to get to Sydney. He was suppose to have flown out of Denver the night before.
We finally boarded. About 30 minutes later, the attendant came on & said that the pilots had timed out & they could no longer fly. We were now waiting for new pilots. The clock was ticking and our window between flights was becoming shorter & shorter.
I got on the phone with the United Priority Desk and the agent acknowledged that we were not going to make our flight to Sydney. The customer service rep got us on a flight for today(Sunday) at 3:55 pm and rebooked our flight to Sydney for the 10:35 pm flight. We were glad about that, but since the flight was rebooked we would not be sitting together on our flight to Sydney & we would both be in middle seats for the 15 hour flight.
We were still sitting on the original flight, when they cancelled the flight. The flight attendant stated that all gold & platinum members were booked for a flight that would leave for San Francisco in an hour. That was great, but my husband was not booked on the flight(since he did not have status with United).
At this time, it is 9:30 pm and we decided we needed to find a hotel near the airport and come back tomorrow(Sunday). Fortunately, Kenny has status with Hilton(a Diamond member). He called the Hilton help desk and found out that anything close to the airport was booked due to all the delays that took place in Denver, Chicago & New York. The young man did find us a hotel about fifteen minutes away. We took the room.
With our luggage still within the airport system and our jackets were in our suitcases, we proceeded outside where it was -11 degrees. With no coats and our backpacks, we proceeded to the taxi line.
With snow & ice everywhere, our driver drive very carefully. We begin to realize that Denver had received a lot more snow than we had in Loveland.
We pulled up to the hotel around 11 pm. People everywhere. So many people had been stranded.
After a good night's rest, hot shower and a hearty breakfast, we headed back to the airport for our 3:55 pm flight. By noon, we had gone through security and were in the United terminal. As we walked, we began to notice more delay flights and long lines at customer service.
I saw a 1:40 pm flight to San Francisco. I went up the gate to check with the agent to see if we could get on that flight. I kept thinking, if only we could get to San Francisco. The agent said I could get on, but my husband would be on stand-by. I explained to her that we had missed our flight to Sydney the day before & we were celebrating thirty years of marriage. She did her magic and got us on the flight. We wouldn't be sitting together, but we were on the flight. We were happy. As we were standing in line, the agent called me up to the counter and said she got us seats together. I hugged her and wished her a Merry Christmas! We got on the plane and the flight got took off. We were getting closer to Sydney.
We landed in San Francisco and walked around and had lunch. After lunch, we proceeded to the
customer service line to see if we could get seats together on the Sydney flight. Praise God, two seats came available.
We are now waiting for our Sydney flight. It is 24 hours later, but we persevered and took one situation at a time.
I will keep you posted on our journey as we sight see in Sydney and cruise on the South Pacific.