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A little peek into my crazy weekend

The last few days have been a bit on the crazy side. I was scheduled to take a short trip to Los Angeles for a video shoot for a BBC project. Since it was going to be so close to where lives, she was going to drive up and spend the afternoon/night with me.

All went smoothly until I landed in Dallas. Then pretty much nothing went smoothly.

The flight was delayed by an hour. We took off and then had to re-land because something malfunctioned on the plane. They couldn’t fix it, so we had to wait for five hours while they found another plane we could use.

I finally made it to LA–where had patiently been waiting for over five hours for me to show up! Poor thing, I felt so badly she had to wait forever for me to show up!

But we made up for lost time and had a wonderful dinner in an outdoor French restaurant and stayed up talking until 2 a.m. We walked around Santa Monica the next morning and had breakfast at another cute crepe restaurant.

And then Jessica had to head back home and I headed to the studio to do 20 one-minute video clips. I called and asked Jesse to please pray for strength for me as I was wiped out and exhausted and wasn’t sure how I was going to pull off all that filming–especially since the whole on-camera thing is still way outside my comfort zone.

But it all ended up going really well, the crew was fantastic to work with, and I honestly forgot how tired I was when I started talking about saving money and simple things moms can do to make a big impact on their finances. And despite my fear of cameras, I actually ended up having a lot of fun!

I got back to LAX in the early afternoon and prepared for a nice quiet trip home. I should have known better!

When I got to the gate, I found out my flight had been delayed by 20 minutes. Not too big of a deal–except that meant my layover in Dallas would only be 20 minutes, and that was cutting it quite close.

I talked to the guy at the desk and he just shook his head and told me that it would be awfully hard for me to make it onto the second flight. However, he generously offered to move me up to near the front of the plane to help buy me a little more time to make it to my gate when we landed in Dallas.

We got on the plane and all was going well until about five minutes before we were supposed to take off. The pilot came over the loud speaker and said that the co-pilot was missing and we were waiting for him to arrive. Um, that was not a good sign.

We ended up waiting another 15 minutes for him to get there and my chances of making my next flight were pretty much evaporated by then. So I resigned myself to staying the night in Dallas as it was the last flight out on Saturday evening.

When we finally landed, I got off the plane as quickly as I could and made a beeline for the second flight, in the off chance it had been delayed. Nope, it had pulled out of the gate 10 minutes before I got there.

Oh well, at least I got in a good run. 🙂

By this time it was almost 10 p.m. and I was thoroughly wiped out. I made my way back to the gate I’d come from and got in line to get a hotel voucher and to get my ticket changed for the next day.

There were lots of people in line, it was chaos at the counter, and they were very under-staffed. I finally made it to the counter about 20 minutes later and a man who had just come on shift tried to help me get the hotel voucher and ticket changed. It was pretty obvious he didn’t know what he was doing and he had to make phone calls a few times to try and figure out how to get my flight changed.

He eventually got it squared away and handed over my hotel voucher and ticket for the next day. He told me to go run down and get on the gray bus marked “hotel shuttle” before it left. I hurried as fast as I could and located the gray bus, but they said my voucher wasn’t for the hotel they went to. Two more gray buses came and they both said that my voucher wasn’t for a hotel they went to, either.

I was beginning to get a little concerned. It was dark, it was late, and the airport was fairly deserted. And here I sat on the curbside waiting for a phantom bus to come pick me up. Finally, another bus arrived and they told me it was for my hotel.

I eagerly hopped on board, so thankful I was going to be able to go to bed soon! But I began to get worried when the bus drove quite a ways away from the airport. It seemed odd that the airline would put me up in a hotel so far away.

However, they’d told me it was the right bus, so I figured they must have just run out of hotel rooms close by or something.

When I got to the hotel, my gut feeling was confirmed: I was at the wrong hotel. Apparently, I was supposed to get on the red bus, not the gray bus. And of course, my voucher wouldn’t work at this hotel. They said they’d drive me back to the airport and drop me off to wait for the red bus to come.

The thought of going back and standing out on a dark, deserted curb at 11:30 p.m. at night to wait for another bus after everything that had happened over the past two days was just about the last thing I wanted to do. So, chucking my frugal nature out the window in favor of practicality and my need for sleep, I said, “Can I just pay for a room?”.

And I think it was $79 well spent. 🙂

{By the way, I did finally make it home in one piece at 11 a.m. yesterday morning. I was never so happy to be back home again!}

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75 Comments

  • says:

    I had the same thing happen 3 years ago on a flight connecting in Memphis. Missing flight crew meant I got in late and my flight took off with out me. Only I was 6 months pregnant and had a two year old with me! It was awful. I haven’t flown since (and I’m very seasoned traveler!)!

  • says:

    LOL, you did the right thing! $79 very well spent!

    I’m glad you got some good time with a friend though!

  • Deborah Freeman says:

    Poor thing…..next time you’re in Dallas give me call!!

  • Amanda says:

    Sounds like my honeymoon experience. Same thing happened on the way – the first night. We lost a night in Hawaii.

  • Anon. says:

    You’re very lucky to have someone at home to pray for you. Wish I did.

    • says:

      Anon, your comment gave me pause, and I said a prayer for you right now. I hope this day brings you a blessing, and you will feel the love of God – someone who’s always there for us, even when no one else is.

      • Crystal says:

        Beautiful, Brynn! And anonymous, if you ever need someone to pray for you, please feel free to email me. I will be more than happy to pray for you. And I prayed for you this morning that you’d have more support around you. It’s hard to live life with little support. 🙁

    • Leah says:

      Annon, your comment brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry you don’t have prayer support at home. I hope it helps to know someone in Arkansas is praying for you right now.

      • Anon. says:

        Thank you ladies. Bless you for stopping in your busy lives to think of me. I have done the same for ya. Maybe I can train my cat to pray!

  • says:

    Glad you made it home safe! 🙂

  • Heather Finnegan says:

    UGH! My mom has had that happen to her quite a few times now that my dad is living near Hunstville (we all live around Chicago). The back-story is that my dad’s company closed after 50 years in business and he got offered an awesome job down there, if the housing market ever turns around they can sell their house up here. Anyway, glad you are home!

  • says:

    Oh my, what an adventure! I agree the $79 was well spent!

  • Ashley - Embracing Beauty says:

    Oh, bless your heart! That must have been exhausting! I’m glad you’re back at home, safe and sound.

  • Angie D says:

    OH MY! I am laughing out loud! What a trip! I’m so glad you’re home and have stories to tell. Glad you’ve been faithful to your couch to 5K, or you might have just slept in the airport. 😉 Thankful no little people were with you!

  • says:

    Something similar happened to me when I was about 6 months pregnant and I ended up 2 hours from home with my vehicle at another airport. My hubby actually had a business trip and ended up at a nearby hotel, so I was able to get a ride to his hotel and take our other car home. Ended up being a nice little night away with my hubby!! 🙂

  • maggie says:

    NEVER take the last flight out if you’re connecting…We learned that going to our babymoon when we were expecting #2.

  • says:

    I had a similar experience!! That extreme exhaustion is something else! I ended up because of late planes missing my connecting train and ride home and the $50 I spent on a hotel for the night was well spent, I was so dirty feeling, exhausted and crying feeling by that time!

  • says:

    Wow! Your story brings back a memory of almost the exact thing…except I had my oldest son with me and he was just under 2. It was horrible…I think you did a great thing spending the 79!! 😉

  • says:

    Ack! Crazy! I’m exhausted after just reading that! (Okay, it’s 10:33pm, I didn’t sleep much last night, and I was busy with 4 appointments for my son all day, so I was exhausted already :))

    So glad the filming went well! And glad you finally made it home!

  • Debbie says:

    I agree that was a wise decision and I commend your gracious attitude! Glad you are home safe and sound AND that you had a good time reconnecting with Jessica!

  • Dawn says:

    Just reading that makes me tired! So glad you made it home safe:)

  • Jessica says:

    I had a similar experience years ago when I was travelling with my oldest daughter who was 6 weeks old at the time, only I didn’t get a hotel room. My flight was delayed due to weather and when I arrived in Chicago, I missed my flight and all the other flights out for that night were cancelled due to snow. Plus there was a convention in town so there were no hotel rooms and I was told that since it was not the airlines fault, they would not pay for a room anyways. So I stayed with by myself with a 6 week old with about 400 other people on cots in the middle of Chicago airport. And of course I was nursing, but terrified of doing it in public… anyway, we finally got to sleep around 1 am (she didn’t like sleeping on me when I wasn’t even comfortable, lol) and then at 4 am they woke us all up so they could clear the cots out of the walkway… I think that was the worst flight I had ever been on, lol. But I finally made it to my destination, and my family took the baby so I could sleep 🙂

  • Anna says:

    Oh my! I remember getting stranded in Alanta with a 6 week old baby for hours at the airport. I finally flew to Phoenix and arrived at 2 am and got in line for my rental car to drive to Tucson. Cars were sold out so they had no car for me. No other cars available. My baby was crying, I was crying and another rental car agent heard me and rented me a car. Expensive but after being stranded and arriving almost 24 hours later I finally arrived at my destination with my new baby. The trip was very difficult but I was glad to get home a week later. I flew everywhere with my baby.

    • Anna says:

      Glad you made it home safe. I don’t fly much any more. Once I even flew 9 hours to Alaska with little ones. That was easier than the trip I just described.

  • says:

    You poor dear, I’m sure that’s the best $79 you will spend this year!! Take it easy this week, give yourself lot of grace!!

  • SarahB says:

    Thank God you didn’t have kids with you. I always have that fear or that my luggage would get lost.

  • Amy R. says:

    You need to be sure to relay your experience to the airline, highlighting the fact that the agent was inexperienced and gave you misinformation regarding which bus to take. I had a similar experience, made a simple call to customer service. (I was prepared to throw a fit, but didn’t even need to. Enough complaints had been made by other passengers that they were almost expecting my call!) They sent me a check for the total cost of the hotel room and a voucher for a free flight!! I have a problem asking airlines to recompense for things beyond their control like weather delays, but your experience was caused by the unprofessionalism of two employees in two different airports.

  • says:

    You made the RIGHT decision (insert Deal or No Deal theme music here)!

  • says:

    PS Next time if you tweet you are stuck at the airport, I’d bet you get 50 offers of stay at my house and the food is better.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Airline travel is a total mess in this country. When hubby and I began flying in 1970, flying was usually pure joy!! We MUST be living in a country becoming a 3rd world country!! No wonder so many of us do not fly anymore unless we simply must. We drive a great lot more now than we ever would have such distances, in the past. We are not alone either!! How awful that the airlines did so poorly for you…I DO HOPE you write them and refer them to your blog!!!

  • Laura says:

    yOu are so brave, I couldn’t imagine doing this all alone. I’m also glad you are where you are at…..at home, typing this. Not only does being away from home make you miss it, but this makes you miss home even more. 100x more.

    I just read the last message, I would never stay in anyone’s house, being married to a Marine who doesn’t really trust a lot of people, I’d kindly say thank you, but Hotel is much safer. (no offense to anyone, i’m sure there are tons of nice people)

  • says:

    It’s amazing to me how it can’t be just ONE thing that goes wrong at an airport. It just has to be multiple. Jeez. Glad you made it home in one piece! (Physically…maybe not mentally.) 😉

  • Pamela says:

    Oh, Crystal, I’m sorry you had such a nightmare traveling. 🙁 I’m glad you paid the $79. 🙂

  • Cotton says:

    Crystal, hugs to you! Talk about endurance…you win. Be sure and tell us more about the interview for the tv show. Did you tell your story, mention your book, etc?

    Rest up. You deserve it.

  • Marcin says:

    Crystal, try emailing or calling the flight company. Explain your situation and they might refund you for the hotel stay. Make sure to include that if you would go back to the airport you would be out in the dark at 11:30pm and that you didn’t want to be out so late alone.

    Good luck! 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve been debating whether or not I should. It’s wasn’t my fault, but then I also know airlines are hurting so much right now that I hate to ask for something extra. Everyone was kind throughout the process, they just were so overwhelmed and under-staffed that a lot of stuff slipped through the cracks.

      • says:

        You shouldn’t feel bad about telling them. If nothing else, it will maybe prevent the same thing happening to someone else. But more likely, they will also reimburse you or offer you a future freebie.

  • T says:

    What is the BBC project? Is that something we will get to see? 🙂 I am glad you made it home safely. I hope you can get some rest and relax after your exhausting trip. Your visit with your friend sounds refreshing. there is nothing like some fun girl time.

  • says:

    Yuck! What an adventure. In 2005, my husband had a similar experience.

    He was returning from Hong Kong for a work trip. There was a 2 hour delay on the tarmac for fog. By the time they got to the West Coast, the flight crew had been working the maximum length of time allowed by the FAA so they had to disembark at San Francisco (instead of going to Chicago) and wait for a new crew. 5 hour delay. He got to Chicago and there were no more flights out to Columbus OH where we live. Meanwhile, I was dealing with a backed up sewer in our house 🙁
    And then, I get a call from my father in law that my mother in law had been hospitalized due to chest pains.
    This was before my husband and I had regular cell phones and I had no idea what hotel he had been put up in for the night. I spent about 3 hours tracking him down in the middle of the night so he could call his mom.
    In the end, the sewer got fixed, his mom was okay and my husband got home on my birthday!

  • says:

    Oh, I can so relate. My trip to Chicago this past October was very similar. It reminded me why I don’t fly often!

  • RuthS says:

    When we came home from our cruise, we scheduled ourselves with a late afternoon/evening flight and planned to spend the day in Orlando having fun. But I had slept so poorly over the cruise (long story) and especially that night, that I was having a meltdown. We totally rented a hotel room in the Orlando airport for something like 5 hours so I could take a long nap. Best hotel I ever paid for 🙂

  • Gretchen says:

    Oh no, what a nightmare, Crystal! I would definitely write to the airline — primarily because it became a safety issue…. Sounds like something that could have become a story on the nightly news (going back to the airport, trying to find the correct bus in the dark) if you hadn’t just stayed at the hotel on your own dime… Yikes!

    • says:

      I agree Gretchen! This is definitely a safety issue. I can’t believe that an airline would be ok with a lady by herself wandering around at night.

      My theory on ing companies is this: I can make my case (state my complaint – or praise) and then it is up to them what they wants to do with my statement. Sometimes, the company chooses to provide me with a reimbursement or a new product. At other times, I don’t get anything — and that’s ok.

  • g says:

    Glad you made it back, all be it a day late. It does happen.
    I too would the airline for at least a partial refund of your room. It was their mistake(s) not yours. It’s all these “little” mistakes and lack of proper maintenance on their equipment that is leading them into financial trouble.
    My husband travels extensively for work and the kids and I travel frequently as well. Us as passengers have to be informed consumers.

  • says:

    Bless your heart! **Hugs** 🙂

  • JULIE O says:

    These thing shappen.

    You want me to write an article about traveling wisely? How small changes make the difference financially when travelling? The benefits of a smart phone and email updates? Travel is not exclusively about the cost on the ticket.

    Private message me if you are interested –

    Julie O

  • says:

    Oh my, you poor thing! What an adventure, right??

    I remember something similar happening to my mom, sister, and I when I was around 13 years old. Every single plane we could’ve taken was delayed and 1 was even 5 hours delayed. We ended up having to stay the night in one state and the people working there were so rude to us my mom ended up losing it and sobbing in front of everyone. I’ve never seen her that upset in public.

    I’m very happy you got your sleep and made it home safely. I just love your positive attitude, lol.

  • says:

    Wow, sounds like an amazing time and a little crazy. But I am sure it was all well worth it and catching up with friends is always a spirit lifter. Now back to goals, life and family. I love hearing little snippets of people’s real life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Amy says:

    Due to a similar set of mishaps beyond our control, my family of five once “camped out” in the Denver airport. The flight attendants were very nice and gave us pillows and blankets. It wasn’t as bad as you might think. 🙂

  • Valerie Henry says:

    I will never again envy you your “glamorous” life! God Bless you!

  • lynn says:

    I am so sorry this happened to you. It is very frustrating! As a global business traveller, I had this happen too many times to count. When you travel like this, how do you handle travelling without a credit card? I don’t mean to be rude, but debit cards are frowned upon by hotels (they will tie up hundreds or thousands of $$$ in your attached bank account for days) and cash simply isn’t safe in the quantities required for travel contingencies. It would be helpful to hear your tricks for these situations. Thanks in advance.

  • Sara says:

    My family was delayed 24 hours in Omaha due to a mechanical problem and there were no mechanics even in the area. We had to wait over night for them to fly someone in to fix the problem. I had a 2 year old and 6 mo. old. and had thought I had packed PLENTY of supplies (I had like 15 diapers for what was supposed to be a 8 hour trip). By the time we got to our layover in Detroit and once again delayed, we were down to 1 diaper. We went to every store….and NONE of them had any diapers. 1 store had depends, so if he had a dirty diaper by the time the plane took off , the plan was to duct tape the depends on him. We looked in to renting a car, but it was $300 and they were out of car seats for the kids. There were only 2 seats available on the last flight out at 11 pm, so my husband stayed behind and the kids and I flew to our destination. Fortunately, we made it and my MIL was waiting for us with diapers.

  • Kimberly Brock says:

    They say everything happens for a reason…I’m glad you are home safe. I’m glad that you are able to have such a positive outlook on life as well 🙂

  • says:

    Oh Crystal, this is just awful!
    My husband and I are about to take our first plane trip together on Monday morning and I have been nervous all week. This does not confirm my fears! He hasn’t flown since he was 15 and I haven’t flown since I was 18 or 19. He has always flown with his father and I have always flown with either my parents or my boss. We’ve always had someone else saying “Okay now we need to go this way, to this gate…” now we’re in charge and I can’t help but feel a little clueless. Our first flight has a plane change with a 30 minute layover and I’ve been terrified this whole time we’d miss it. Now I’m EXTREMELY terrified!

    • Heather says:

      While on the first flight, look in in-flight magazine in the seat pocket in front of you. Towards the back there are floor plans for many major airports. If the one you are changing in is in there, you can familiarize yourself with it, and then when you get off the plane you’ll be a step ahead.
      If it’s not in the magazine, ask the flight attendants. They can often give you helpful info.
      But just in case, pack essentials in your carry-on, and take comfort in the fact that you are not travelling with little kids!

  • says:

    Oh do you tell a good story. I couldn’t stop reading. Glad you are home safe and sound.

  • Leighann says:

    Wow! What an adventure!

    That’s one reason saving up money and having an emergency fund is great; when emergencies like that come up, you have money to pay for a hotel room!

    I’m glad everything worked out well for you 🙂

  • lilys says:

    Yay! Glad you are home safe.

  • Diane says:

    I’m glad you’re home safely!

  • suzanne says:

    WOW! Crazy and I am tired just from reading it. Hope you can catch up on some sleep at home, but then again, I know how hard that is with homeschooling lots of little ones. Thanks for the post though as it was humorous to read!

  • says:

    Oh! Bless your heart. I am wipes out just reading that!

  • Amy says:

    It has to be The Dallas airport. We had the same thing happen to us a few years ago. I know that feeling well of sitting on the curb waiting and waiting for a bus to show up. And for such a big city, that airport is a ghost towm at night. 🙂 Glad you made it home finally!!

  • says:

    I’m sorry you had to do all of that – I was a “road warrior” for 3 years – traveling 2-4 times a month all over the country, so unfortunately been there done that. 🙂 But the only times my travel was so messed up that I had to stay overnight was twice – both overseas where I had a similar experience – once in Tokyo and once in Amsterdam, and I missed my husband’s surprise pampering birthday present having to stay overnight in Tokyo – it was an interesting birthday, that’s for sure!

    • Jess says:

      That’s what my thought was too, unfortunately! Welcome to the world of working moms who travel. That’s why we don’t last long! You really never know when you will get home. It’s just too exhausting, and I would say Crystal’s experience at the airport is sadly typical. The stories are so bad, you can only laugh later.

  • Amy N. says:

    I have had many traveling stories similar to this one. One of my worst trips ever occured when I was almost 7 months pregnant. It was no fun to without luggage for three days! Anyway, it would probably be worth a call to the customer service team for your airline. I’m sure if you explained the circumstances they might refund all or a portion of your hotel expense. Despite the reputation, there are good folks that work for the airlines that are willing to help.

  • says:

    WOW! That’s quite a story. Glad you made it home in one piece! When/where will your video clips air?

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