I’d like to start this post with one of my favorite quotes that directly applies to my current status:
“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure”
Where do I even begin? I guess I’ll start by explaining our intended route to South Africa. This morning (yesterday?) I woke up at 6 am to finish packing (the curse of procrastination), and left my lovely home in San Diego to catch a flight at 11:15am to Atlanta, Georgia. From there we had barely over an hour layover to catch our international flight from ATL–> Johannesburg, South Africa. How simple and exciting our travels seemed as we boarded our first flight. But from the very moment the pilot told us our plane was too heavy, we should have known we were in for some bad news.
They started by kicking off fellow passengers and unloading ALL of the baggage in order to take off some of the cargo to lighten up the plane. Once that was all over and done with we were 45 minutes late. So naturally my mom and I were a bit nervous about making the connection, but we reassured ourselves that 30 minutes would be enough. After a 3 hour and 45 minute plane ride we made it to Atlanta. Phew! As we pulled up to the gate, my dear mother made an announcement to the rest of the plane that we have a very tight international connection and if people don’t mind we could just run up to the front…. We made it about 10 rows.. just under half of the distance we needed to make, and surrounded by some very rude passengers. As we waited, we noticed it was taking an awfully long time and NO ONE was moving. The pilot then announced that they stopped the plane a couple feet short, so we braced ourselves as he pulled the plane forward. But still, we waited. 5 minutes later, Pilot: “well folks, when it rains, it pours. Looks like were having some technically difficulties getting the jet way to the plane.” As the minutes painfully slipped away from us our hope of making our flight was quickly diminishing. After roughly 12 minutes they told us all to sit back down! So we sadly walked back to our seats in the back of the plane so they could move the plane to another gate. They had repeatedly assured us that those of us with tight connections would make our flights because “they knew we were delayed.” Just as we were all seated ALL THE SUDDEN THEY FIXED THE JET WAY. And I kid you not, as soon as we reached the jet way my mother and I started sprinting with our duffle bag on our front and our backpacks on our backs (very heavy at that). Our flip flops fervously slapping the ground as we ran from the very end of terminal A to the tram. We were headed to E….. The very opposite side of the airport. Naturally the tram stops at every letter….. B.(7:27hurry hurry)…….. C..(7:29 ahhhhh)……. D…(7:31AHHHH)….. E!!!! Our flight departed at 7:33 and it was 7:32. We ran up the escalator around the corner and to our gate to find the gates had just closed and the aircraft was just beginning to push back from the gate…….. We waved at the pilot trying to call him back as tears were streaming down our faces. We begged to desk attendants to call back the plane…. Nothing. The plane was so close, we were so close, but there was NOTHING we could do. We had missed the flight.
We were back to the drawing boards. We had to figure out a way to Johannesburg as quickly as possible because everything else we had planned: hotels, safaris, flights, EVERYTHING, depended on us arriving on the flight we just missed.
After many phone calls, and several hours later we were finally helped by two wonderful Delta agents who looked at every possible route to get us to Johannesburg. We settled on a flight leaving ATL going to Dubai. So with less than 10 minutes to spare, we walked to our gate and boarded our plane. As we sat down we switched seats and mom and I were able to sit next to each other for our 14 hour flight.
Currently I am sitting in the Dubai International Airport awaiting our flight at 4:40 am to Johannesburg (we switched to an earlier flight which was an adventure in itself). We are on standby with high confidence we will be put on the flight. Most likely all of our arrangements will be delayed a day. But we will deal with that when we arrive in Johannesburg!