Cross-Country Chronicles: Things Never Go as Planned

Up until I started this grand lifestyle as a chronic road warrior intern, I didn’t travel much. Beyond the isolated family vacation and a high school trip to Mexico, I had never been a consistent flyer. No one would ever accuse me of having travel-savvy. So, as I planned my travel arrangements for the second AgChat Foundation conference in Nashville, I decided I needed a crutch.

Thanks to a tip by Ray Prock, I was able to book a ticket on the same inbound flight as Brent and Brooke Boersma. While I would be traveling back to Sacramento by myself on Tueday, I would at least have someone to guide my through the practice run to Nashville on Saturday. Our first flight from Sacramento to Denver went incident-free. We landed at DIA and joined up with the rest of our layover buddies. Ray, Jeff Fowle, and Marie Bowers joined us for a brunch in Concourse A and we parted ways to catch the next leg of our journey. Our layover was supposed to last about an hour and a half.

Sitting at the gate, we checked screens and update boards to make sure we had all of our ducks in a row. It said the plane was on time, but when it got to be time to board and nothing happened, we got suspicious. After again checking all of the screens and time listings, we asked the gate attendant when we could board for Nashville. Her response?

Oh, we switched the gates. The plane is already gone. You missed it.

Livid that none of the information had been updated, we made our way to the Frontier customer service desk, where we spent a great deal of time trying to negotiate a new flight to Nashville. We were told that there was a Frontier flight heading to Nashville nonstop at 7:15 p.m. Hoping for better results, we started looking for flights outside of Frontier. The short version of the story is that Brooke was able to score a ticket on the United flight that Ray, Jeff, and Marie were on. Brent could have, but opted to stay behind and help me ensure I could get a flight. (What a great, guy, right?)

So, after several trips back and fourth on the tram between Councourses A and B, Brent and I finally managed to get settled on an United Flight leaving at 5:30 p.m. We were thrilled. It had already been a long and stressful day, involving both of us being up at 3 a.m. to get to the Sacramento airport. We found a restaurant, relaxed for a bit, then found our way back to our United gate.

There was a delay. We wouldn’t be leaving until at least 7:30.

Then, it turned into 8:30.

I snapped this picture at about 8:30 to show my Twitter friends that we were finally on a plane to Nashville. Our story became quite well-known in the AgChat community throughout the day. It even prompted a hashtag, #stuckindenver.

The grand total of the day came out to approximately five hours of flying, five rides of the Denver International Airport tram, three meals at concourse restaurants, and 11 hours parted in Denver. Brent and I had a very, very long day. The big lesson here is that when traveling you should be willing to expect anything. Things go off-schedule and off-agenda all the time in travel, and it’s important to be flexible and bounce back.

Another lifesaver? Good travel buddies. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to Brooke for helping ease my inexperienced-traveler-anxiety. Thank you to Ray, for working with United to get Brent, Brooke, and myself transferred over. Thank you especially to Brent for taking care of the naive, inexperienced, terrified intern for an exhausting 11 hours at the Denver airport.

It was one heck of a doozey, but it was a great chance to learn from mistakes and misfortunes. And, now, we can all look back on it and laugh.

So, tell me; do you have any nightmare travel stories? Have you had any major mishaps leading to “adventures” like ours? Share your stories. I’d love to hear ’em!


3 thoughts on “Cross-Country Chronicles: Things Never Go as Planned

  1. Pingback: Building Relationships, Making a Difference «

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