Our travel from Nigeria to the United States could not really have been more smooth. Only one delay (due to strong headwinds) into New York. By Saturday, we were quite pleased with our travel experience.
After two fun days (hopefully more on that in a later post), the travel woes began on Monday in New York City…
10:30 a.m.—Get on the George Washington Bridge for the third time…it’s amazing what one wrong turn will mean in terms of lost time getting to the airport.
11:06 a.m.—Arrive not far behind schedule at La Guardia and security lines look short. So far, so good.
2:40 p.m.–Land in Detroit (DTW) with no flight issues so far.
2:50 p.m.–Judah plays on the cool plastic toy house at DTW.
3:04 p.m.–Someone else waiting for the flight to Traverse City (TVC) notices that our flight is no longer showing on the screen at our gate…instead the next flight is going to Appleton, Wisconsin (umm, no thank you). The big board in the terminal is broken. Other woman calls Northwest and learns that our gate has changed. Gee, thanks for letting us know, Northwest.
3:15 p.m.–Show up at the new gate to meet Ms. Rudest Gate Agent Ever who, when we ask if we are at the right new gate, scolds us: “Well if you were here three seconds ago you would have heard the announcement.” Brilliant—make the announcement of the gate change at the new gate instead of the old one.
3:20 p.m.–Flight to TVC, originally scheduled for 3:45 p.m. is bumped to 5:10 p.m. due to lack of a plane.
4:45 p.m.—Boarding begins, finally, for flight to TVC.
5:12 p.m.–Announcement that there is a database problem with autopilot and we’ll be delayed at least 15 minutes.
5:23 p.m.–Announcement that problem is fixed but now there is no staff person to push us back from the gate. Delayed indefinitely.
5:45 p.m.–After pulling back from the gate and taxiing all over DTW, we stop in the middle of nowhere and an announcement that we are delayed because we are waiting on the weight balance reports.
5:55 p.m.–Announcement that the reports are finished but now they need to be filed.
6:10 p.m.–Plane finally takes off.
7:05 p.m.–Announcement that we’ll be landing at TVC in 15 minutes…finally!
7:07 p.m.–We notice that the plane makes a significant turn and has stopped descending.
7:15 p.m.–Announcement that cloud cover was too low to land at TVC and we were returning to Detroit. Silence on the plane follows waiting for the pilot to say he was joking…but he’s serious.
7:45 p.m.–Announcement that a gate agent will meet us at the gate who will be able to help us with our travel plans.
8:03 p.m.–A puzzled gate agent meets the angry mob exiting the plane. Not only does he not know how to help us with our travel plans, he has no clue who we are or why we’re there.
8:04 p.m.–Cell phones emerge and dozens of passengers start receiving different reports from the central NWA phone center.
8:10 p.m.–NWA phone center reports that all flights into TVC for the rest of the day are cancelled. Meanwhile, we and countless other passengers are getting booked on those supposedly cancelled flights.
8:30 p.m.–New flight is scheduled to depart at 10:05 p.m. so we eat dinner and hunt down a pay phone to call Chris’s parents with the latest details (we don’t have a cell phone with us).
9:45 p.m.–We get all boarded onto the new plane. Flight attendant can’t focus because of the ultra-cute baby Judah in the front row—Chris holds him up and flight attendant makes announcement that cute baby will be turning one year old in just two hours. All passengers ooh and aah, and word spreads that said family just arrived from Africa—makes them feel like their “long” travel days weren’t too bad.
10:00 p.m.–Announcement that our flight is cancelled. Laughter ensues as the situation for those of us that were on both cancelled flights is beyond frustration. We all deplane.
10:10 p.m.–After five minutes with a somewhat knowledgeable gate agent, we get booked on a flight tomorrow into Pellston. Off to baggage claim to get our stuff and book a hotel.
10:40 p.m.–Hotel is booked, now waiting for our last piece of luggage (Judah’s car seat). We strike up a conversation with another couple (Larry and Chris) waiting for a lost bag. They have decided to rent a car and drive to Traverse City because the weather for tomorrow is not looking much better—and offer us a ride.
10:41 p.m.–We look at each other and agree it sounds like the best option for us, too. The men head over to get the rental car, while the women stay and take care of the paperwork for the lost baggage.
12:20 a.m.–We finally “take off” from DTW, heading for northern Michigan.
4:30 a.m.–We meet up with Chris’s parents on the side of the road in Kalkaska—almost exactly 12 hours after were scheduled to land at TVC. YEAH!
Throughout this ordeal, we kept asking God what He was trying to do. In the middle of our drive north, we discovered that (among other things, I’m sure) He wanted us to find fellowship with our new friends, Larry and Chris. We enjoyed several hours of discussions on parenting, church, and missions—all in the wee hours of the morning!
Praise God for safe travels, getting home sooner than we would have if we had flown that next day, and for providing for us in ways we did not anticipate in the least!