Yesterday, I had to fly from Albany to Philadelphia, then from Philly to Pittsburgh. My first flight was scheduled for 3:30ish, one hour layover in Philly, and I was supposed to arrive in Pittsburgh around 7:20. Unfortunately, there was a ton of shit weather in Philadelphia; a ticket agent told me that my flight there would probably be delayed. New York and Washington were experiencing similar delays, so it didn't make sense to go there instead, and sadly, there is no longer a direct Albany to Pittsburgh flight that I could bump myself onto, otherwise I could have been home early.
I managed to get myself onto an earlier flight to Philly, one that should have gotten me there in time to make my connecting flight to Pittsburgh. We boarded around 3:15, all was looking good... and then they made us deplane because Philly had ordered a ground stop. The ticket agents said chances were good that flights to/from Philly would be canceled altogether, which would strand me in Albany.
We were forced to wait an hour at a time for updates. Meanwhile, I called Remy every time I heard something new and hoped I'd still have some stomach lining intact later despite my worrying. I was pretty sure I was going to miss my connection, so I sought help from the ticket counter. They bumped me to a flight leaving Philly at 8:35, but they didn't have a seat assignment for me. I'd have to get one in Philly, if we made it there at all.
Fortunately, we did get to go back on the plane and depart for Philadelphia around 5:30. Got to Philly around 6:30, jumped the shuttle for the next terminal over, then made a mad dash to the gate ticket counter. There was no agent at the desk, so my Iranian instincts kicked in, and I doggedly searched the other gates until I found an agent. I told him I'd been bumped to a later Pittsburgh flight, and that I still needed a seat assignment. He tapped at his computer, looked at the monitor, and shook his head.
He tapped at it a little longer, took the boarding pass I'd handed him, and tore it up.
He printed out a new one and handed it to me- with a shiny "8A" on it. "You're lucky you got a seat- this flight's way oversold."
I was damned lucky, as I found out later. I had two hours to wait for the flight, and I saw many other people step up to the ticket counter in search of a seat, only to be put on standby.
So, I figured I was in the clear. Our flight was delayed until 9:00, but that was because the arriving flight had had to wait for Philly's all-clear signal. The plane was on its way and would land at 8:25, and we'd board as soon as they deplaned.
It was around 9:00 that we actually got to board. I sat next to a couple with a very cute, remarkably well behaved two year-old. We taxied away from the gate, and sat for a bit... then were told that it'd probably be about 40 minutes until we took off, since there were a ton of planes ahead of us.
We sat and waited. Another announcement: foul weather had returned. Philadelphia was halting departures and arrivals. For the umpteenth time, I worried about whether I'd ever actually make it home.
We continued to sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Rain pelted against my window. I continued calling Remy with updates and, because I'm a wuss, I was in tears some of the time. Stranded in Philly isn't much better than stranded in Albany. I tried to catch some sleep and forget the fact that I never had a proper meal all day.
The captain finally announced that the storms were heading eastward, so some westward-bound flights were being cleared to depart. Eventually, we got the order to start our engines and keep making for the runway. Then I heard some of the finest words in the English language: "We're number five or six for takeoff. Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin for departure." It was 11:30 PM at this point (if you're keeping track, that's two and a half hours sitting on the runway). When the plane finally took off, a number of us applauded.
Got in to Pittsburgh around 12:40 AM, and I could have kissed the floor when we finally deplaned. I went to baggage claim, and waited for a suitcase that never showed up. Went to the lost luggage counter, and found out my bag had made it to Pittsburgh before I did- ostensibly on that earlier connection I had missed. From there, caught a shuttle to the extended parking lot and, at last, drove the forty minute drive home.
Got to my front door at 2:15 AM. Considering I left work for the Albany airport at 12:50 PM, that's about thirteen and a half hours to get to Pittsburgh. I could have driven the distance in under eight. Still, I made it by the skin of my ass, I'm home and was not stuck in another city overnight, that's all that matters.
I know it was weather-related and no one's fault, but the experience has left a bad taste in my mouth regarding future connections through Philadelphia. (Take your crap weather and stuff it, Philly! ;) )