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Winter Travel Woes

January 4, 2013
Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

Who ever would have thought it would take two days to travel to San Antonio, Texas...flying...not driving.

Winter travel can be risky with weather being the unknown factor. But for years I have made my way across the United States to one family location or another to celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve. It always works, but there have been some snags along the way and this year was no exception.

Over the years I have battled dense fog, blowing snow and glare ice to get to the airport and check in at least an hour ahead of time. So, I have come to appreciate our regional airports for a number of reasons. Two big items are: less drive time (therefore, no overnight stay) and long term parking (usually at no cost). One of the drawbacks is the potential for an extended layover at connecting airports.

Our first winter weather of the season made travel somewhat of a challenge in December as I prepared to go to San Antonio. We knew the snow was coming and we had heard of others heading to Minneapolis and Des Moines a day early so they could make their flights. The thought occurred to drop the regional flight and head to the major hub. Yikes! That would have doubled the price of my trip.

So it was off to the regional airport the day before (necessitating an overnight stay). The next morning the wind was swirling all that snow around, but passengers gathered at the airport in hopes that the flight would sometime get off the ground. It did...two or three hours late...and we made it to Minneapolis to catch the next leg of the journey. That flight, too, had been delayed.

People started boarding the aircraft, but then came back to the terminal. A lady from Wisconsin said there was a problem with the landing gear that could not be fixed immediately. So there we are...the whole planeload of us...hoping to get on another flight. The earliest was the next day.

Because this was a mechanical problem, the airline paid for overnight accommodations. Go retrieve your bag and come back to morrow. Well...my bag was nowhere to be found.

I learned that checked baggage does not necessarily go on the same flight as you do. Rather, it is checked through to your final destination. Just try to convince me that my bag (including Christmas gifts) was on its way to San Antonio. I did have my toothbrush, and the people at the motel provided complimentary toothpaste. What else does one need?

Everything went off without a hitch the next day. Upon arriving in San Antonio, I took my claim ticket to the lost luggage people and told them I had not seen my bag for two days. The man disappeared into the back room and came out with my suitcase. With a big smile on his face he said "Merry Christmas."

There have been a couple of times when my luggage was "lost," but only temporarily. With my new found knowledge that the bag may be on its way before you are, it's a little more understandable.

It seems that the return trip home is less hectic. But it's good to be back...even though it is freezing cold. The temperatures weren't that warm in Texas this year either. The warmth came from being with family for the holidays. Happy New Year everyone.

 
 

 

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