Never trust an industry that is willing to lie to you about arrival and departure times. During my first international flight I found out why. Bryan and I were bound for Dublin, Ireland in 2006. We were flying out of DFW and had a short layover in Chicago and would catch our connecting flight to Dublin or so we thought. After arriving at DFW we learned that most of the flights into Chicago (The Windy City) were delayed due to bad winds (and not the kind my dad gets after eating a Chili Frito pie). Our flight was going to be delayed about an hour and a half, which would make us miss our connecting flight. We made the folks at a certain airline (who shall remain nameless) aware that we had a connecting flight to Dublin so they bumped us on a flight that was getting ready to depart. They rushed us through security and let us hop on board. I was ready for takeoff. My seat belt was fastened and my seatback and tray table were in the upright position.
Tick, tock, tick tock, tick, tock….time passed slowly and we were still at the gate. After about thirty minutes we were ready to taxi to the runway and take off. Finally we are airborne. We knew taking off that our arrival gate was only a few down from our departure gate and it would be touch and go if we got there in time. The flight attendant came on the intercom to let us know all the connecting flight information. The flight attendant also said they were going to hold international flights a few extra minutes to give the folks on our plane a fighting chance to make their flights. The flight attendant asked to let all people who were trying to make a connecting flight off the plane first, but for Bryan and I it didn’t matter. We were arriving at gate 40 B our next flight was leaving from gate 37 B. As we taxied into the runway, I could see the exterior gate numbers next to the plane. Our plane at gate 37 B was taxing out as we were taxing in. We exited the plane as fast as we could and ran to our gate only to find it empty.
I picked up the courtesy phone to find out that there was only one flight to Dublin a day from O’Hare and it just left. We would have to stay the night in Illinois. After a lot of bad noise at the customer servicer counter they rewarded our troubles with a hotel voucher. We were given a voucher to stay in a nice little hotel in Mt. Prospect, Illinois call the Country Inn Suites. Since we were going to be stuck in Mr. Prospect we might as well make a night of it. We found a local pizza place/bar called Pap’s Ultimate Bar and Grill. After checking in and calling a cab we went down stairs to wait. Forty minutes passed and our cab never arrived.
I go back to our room and call the cab company, tell them where we want to head to Pap’s and to send a cab on over. They ask if I’m sure I want a cab. Getting frustrated, I say “yes” and they said they would send one over. Back in the lobby, the manager of the hotel notices we have been just hanging out. He asks us if we need anything we let him know we are just waiting on a cab. He asks us where we are going and we tell him Pap’s. He looks at us both and tells us to step outside. He points to some flags on a building across the parking lot and informs us that the is Pap’s Ultimate Bar and Grill. We wasted 40 minutes or so waiting for a cab for a ride to a place that was less than a two minute walk. Nice.
We headed over and decided to wet our whistle with some traditional Amstel light and have some of that traditional Chicago Pizza Pie. We make nice with our waitress (Son of Jor-el) her real name was Jerl-Lynn but couldn’t seem to get it right and our bus boy Gustavo. They shared stories with us and the finer points of Mt. Prospect, Illinois and we shared the tall tales of Texas with them.
The next morning we had to find the nearest dollar store and get a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. While we were stuck in Chicago our luggage was not, it was already in Dublin. I went with the Pure Essence Deodorant for $1.00 that made my armpits burn like fire breathed by the devil himself and gave me a nice rash as an early souvenir.
This was just a minor speed bump in an otherwise awesome trip. My first day of vacation was to be spent in Dublin but instead we had a small side trip to Mt. Prospect, and let me tell you being in Mt. Prospect made the trip that much more interesting. Remember when the traveling gets tough, the better the memories and stories are sure to be.