Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Transit

You just never know when you are going to end up in Turkey, Istanbul, like I did yesterday. It started on Friday morning at about 4 am when I received an automated message saying my flight to Tel Aviv (via NYC) had been cancelled. I called and they rerouted me via Cleveland Ohio- but that was just the beginning....

When I landed in Cleveland and made a mad dash for the connecting flight to NYC, I found it, along with all other flights in and out of NY had been cancelled at least for the day and that they had me on another flight leaving Monday night. This was on Friday evening. In Cleveland, in the snow. And just like all the other sweet naive minds stranded at the airport, I thought I could find a way to make a flight to Tel Aviv- catch a grey hound bus- hire a car, catch the train, get on an earlier flight ( just get the hell out of Cleveland). But it was not to be, and hours, on the phone standing in long long lines, tears arguments etc. later. I was still in Cleveland in the snow, now very late Friday night, with hundreds of other stranded frustrated travellers. I stayed up all night trying to get through to the airline to re-book a flight on the phone (they told us this was our only hope), thousands of other people were doing the same, and at 8am the next morning I fell asleep the phone still on my chest ( I never did get to speak to an operator!).

The airport re-opened the next day, and along with a bunch of familiar faces we all waited in the mayhem, trying to get a flight out of Cleveland, I manged to get on standby for two flights, and dance between the two gates, but eventually the attendant told me I had a 'very very slim' chance of getting on, they had three pages of standby- and no spare seats.

At this point I got in another long queue ( just for the fun of it) and by some miracle landed a consultant who really tried to help me (Eyal had a test for cancer the next day and I was desperate to be there to go to the hospital with him). She cancelled my flight to Tel Aviv, rebooked me to Chicago while I simultaneously bought a new ticket over the internet from Chicago to Tel Aviv via Istanbul (Eyal was online and helped me do it). I had to run like a lunatic to make the flight out to Chicago (also overbooked), when I arrived it turned out the pilot was (not) coming in from NYC. They did by some miracle find us another crew, and I very happily landed in the Windy City :) late that night. Where it felt so calm and peaceful.

I had re sharpened my very tired and hungry wits by then (like any good stranded traveller) to ask at every opportunity what the airline could do to help me. They put me up in a very nice luxury hotel, bought all my food and payed for a taxi. When I finally flew out of Chicago the next day to Istanbul, I felt overwhelmingly grateful- and only slightly nervous that we were an hour late and I had to make my connection to Tel Aviv.

But it all ended happily (groggily?) and I arrived in Israel yesterday after three sleepless days, hungry and just a bit high from living off adrenaline and little else :)- as my mum put it : 'thank god you are safely in Israel' ;)

Israel is overcast and peaceful. I am more severely jetlagged than I have ever been, but it is kind of pleasant because I have the luxury to eat and sleep as I please. Not more planes to catch.
:)
Sophie

1 Comments:

Blogger Claire said...

goodness, what a trip!
and I hope the test was ok (and congratulations on your engagement!)

9:35 am  

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