O’Hare: Cancelled Flights

ORD AirportChicago’s O’Hare Airport is the world’s busiest airport (in terms of flights)
and the travel nerve-center of America. O'Hare Snowstorm5 I liken O’Hare to a woman’s purse: Everything makes it in, but it’s really hard to get back out (be it pacifiers or people).  And, so it was for us yesterday. The Morning we left Maui As we left the tropical warmth of Maui, the attendant scanning our luggage gave us a beaming Hawaiian smile and bid us adieu with a cheery,
“Hope you make it out of O’Hare!” Leaving Maui Was that premonition or Aloha standard? O'Hare Snowstorm 7 As it turned out, we did make it out of O’Hare (because we drove out), but our luggage is still traveling somewhere along the 4,000-mile rainbow connection from Maui to Michigan…most likely stuck in a snowbank somewhere in O’Hare. Flight Board To make a short story long, I have no qualms with O’Hare for cancelling hundreds of flights yesterday, O'Hare Snowstorm 1 and I have nothing but praise for our intrepid pilot who landed our aircraft safely during the wee hours of Monday morning. O'Hare Snowstorm 3 In fact, the weather was horrid…howling winds and 19″ of fresh snow dumped in a matter of hours. O'Hare Airport The airport went from its usual bursting-at-the-seams capacity Quiet at ORD to feeling totally deserted in a matter of hours. Cancelled Flights at O'Hare Our flight home was cancelled, but after a long wait, we were able to get on another flight with a different airline…which was summarily cancelled…and then we had to go back to our airline, only to discover that the first possible flight home would now be Tuesday night…hopefully. Sunrise at ORD By then the day was dawning bright and clear, so Alan decided to rent a car and drive home (which, on a clear day, is not supposed to take forever). Snowy Rental Cars Travel tip: If at all possible, make your car rental reservation before the storm cancels your flight. (A no-brainer, right?) Digging out car!  After a kind snowman dug out one of the last remaining cars for us
(for the small fee of $250 to drive 200 miles home), Cars stopped on I-294 after 2.2.15 Crash we were off…for about 15 minutes until all four lanes of traffic came to a dead halt on I-294 due to a 100-car pileup just ahead of us. Snowy Day in Chicago (Yes, I am acutely aware of the possibilities and thankful that we came along after the crash, not as part of it. This is all I saw out my window as we waited.) Exiting I-294 Much later, we were funneled off at the nearest exit. Chicago Skyline However, because we didn’t have our luggage, we also didn’t have our GPS so had to feel our way into the heart of Chicago, where we were finally able to connect with cityscape we recognized and found our way to the skyway Snowing on I-94 and on to Michigan…where it was again snowing like fury. At long last, we made it safely home. Our heroic son, Stephen, had (by hand-snowblower) cleaned out our 1/3-mile lane and shoveled the walks so we could get into the house (isn’t he wonderful?)! We plopped down, praised God, and kissed the floor before falling into a rather dead sleep last night. Whew! O'Hare Snowstorm 6Sorry to get carried away with my tale, but I did want to give a couple of true travel tips. One is that—just in case you don’t know it—many major airports have amenities for wayfarers in need. Basic RGB For example, O’Hare’s Terminal Two has a chapel on the mezzanine level above the US Airways ticket counters, and there’s also a children’s museum. In Terminal Five there’s an educational area for children about fire and safety called “Play It Safe.” If you’ve got hours on end with nothing to do, touring a terminal isn’t all bad! ORD Hallway We also noticed a medical clinic, passed some interesting art exhibits, etc.  Incheon AirportIncheon Airport in Seoul is rated #1 in the world right now, and we’ve even enjoyed free concerts while waiting for flights there…but I would say that if you’re ever stuck in an airport, ask around, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the possibilities. O'Hare Snowstorm 2 My other tip is to follow the Boy Scout model: “Always be prepared” when you travel, because you never know when you’re going to have a cancellation and all your plans may suddenly change…or end. Life is short.  O'Hare Snowstorm 4Do you have a flight plan that may be cancelled at any time? Leaving LAXWhen you leave this world on your last flight…are you prepared?

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

2 responses to “O’Hare: Cancelled Flights

  1. Appreciate the photos and commentary. Because of mechanical difficulties with our plane, we got to spend the night at O’Hare a year ago in December. It wasn’t too bad, since we did have food vouchers, And we got out on the 6 AM flight the next morning and were on the ground at MSP by 7:20 AM.

    • Thanks for sharing, Dave! O’Hare is both famous and infamous, but after watching out the windows, I had no qualms about their decision to shut down flights. I had a girlfriend stranded in LaGuardia this morning too. Better safe than dead! Alan and I were fogged in once in Budapest but given free vouchers for meals and to stay at a lovely hotel, so in that case I was secretly glad it happened! (Alan wasn’t as thrilled, since he does the same amount of work whether or not he’s at the office.)

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