This past week I have been in Chicago with other Covenant pastor types. It was our last year-long leadership cohort retreat.
For those who have read my previous blogs on traveling, you know that I never have a smooth travel experience.
This time, I accidentally booked a ticket for Saturday night instead of Sunday and had to change it.
So then it was time to head out…
- Albert dropped me off at the airport early in the morning because I had a 10 am flight. Everything went without a hitch and I was amazed there was no incident as I sat around a couple hours waiting at the airport.
- Right before boarding time, I went to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to go on the plane.
- Then I came back and it was time to board and I went up and the lady scanned my pass and said, “Oops, wrong flight.”
- I realized I was at the wrong gate! I ran over to the next gate and the guy there said, “I’ve been paging you! The plane just took off!”
- Fortunately, he was able to book me on the next flight to L.A. and then a subsequent flight to Chicago.
- It just meant I had to wait in the airport 5 hours before leaving. I also had to call all the shuttle arrangements and contact the other parties to let them know what was happening and make new shuttle arrangements.
- But fortunately when I arrived in Chicago, the shuttle driver actually knew where St. Mary’s Conference Center was and took me to the place and I got to my room after 11pm all safe and sound, after a 17-hour travel day!
I must say, that was probably the smoothest travel experience I have had traveling solo in a long time!
Coming home was not the case though…
- It wasn’t until on the way to the airport that I pulled out my intinerary and realized that the second leg of my flight was on a different airline! The first one was American, the second one was Alaska.
- I tried to check in on my phone but it said I couldn’t check in. I figured I would take care of it once I got to Los Angeles.
- The flight from Chicago to Los Angeles was quite uneventful. Yay!
- Then I got off at Los Angeles. I was in Terminal 4. I had no idea where Alaska Airlines was.
- I asked the employees and they didn’t know where it was either, because it had just moved.
- Finally after some calling around, they said it was in Terminal 6.
- I walked 2 terminals down and tried to check in at a kiosk.
- It wouldn’t let me check in and said I had to talk to an agent.
- I went to the agent and she said Alaska doesn’t go to Sacramento. She looked up the departure time and said it was Delta Airlines, even though my itinerary said Alaska. Delta was in Terminal 5.
- I walked back to Terminal 5 and went through the security line.
- They pulled me aside because they found my water bottle. I hadn’t expected to have to go through security again and had forgotten to empty it!
- They walked me out and I had to go through the whole security line again. As I was pulling everything out, the lady behind me said, “You look like you have done this a lot.”
- I then went and found my gate and sure enough, it said Delta Airlines and underneath there was a line saying “Alaska 5029,” the number of my original flight. So I was not crazy after all! (Oops, picture is a little blurry because I snapped it as I was boarding the plane.)
I then went to McDonald’s and ordered a Quarter Pounder. To my delight, I discovered they will add vegetables upon request with no extra charge! I ordered one with no cheese. The guy said, “No cheese, right?’ I said, “Yes, no cheese.” When my order came, this is what it looked like.
That sure looks like cheese to me.
I double checked the receipt.
Ok, I definitely was NOT going crazy.
The whole reason I said no cheese was because I’m cheap and didn’t want to pay for it! So it was an extra bonus to get the cheese!
I was quite amused by this whole experience and reflected how this hamburger was a representation of my traveling experience. Things don’t go the way I expect and there’s always a surprise, but there are always blessings. God keeps me safe, I have funny memories, and in the end I am reunited with my family!