The Accidental Tourists

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

I’m pretty sure the airlines – particularly Spirit Airlines – are about to remove Bill and me from their approved fliers list, if in fact they have such a list. Because this is the second time in only a few months that Bill and I erred – FLUBBED, really – when trying to simply fly from Point A to Point B. Last time it was Denver to Phoenix; this time it was Chicago to Phoenix.  You can read about our earlier debacle here.

As you may know, we made fairly last-minute travel plans to fly to Chicago for the funeral of Bill’s mother – who was, as the minister pointed out, 99.9 years old. We left the return date open-ended because at the time we made the reservation, she was still living. She subsequently passed away before we got to Chicago.

Once we arrived, we hit the ground running – connecting up with Bill’s siblings, who all live far apart and don’t see each other often, as well as our own children and grandchildren, most of who came to the funeral as well. In addition, Bill and his siblings needed to meet with the minister and the funeral home folks, arrange a dinner after the funeral, figure out what flowers were needed and what they should look like, determine what music Wilma would have selected as she was a music-lover and had been a long-time member of the choir at Morgan Park Baptist Church. You’ve got to get all of those details right so that your deceased loved one doesn’t come back and haunt you.

In the midst of all the chaos of the week, Bill realized we needed to get a return flight home. He began making the arrangements, intermittently between ordering flowers, selecting photos for the slide show, and comforting our grandkids who were sad that their great grandmother wasn’t sitting in the chair where she always sat.

At some point the day of the funeral, Bill told me we had reservations to fly back to Phoenix on Saturday morning at 8:46. Perfect, I thought, and then never gave it a single other thought.

So the week went by, and people began leaving little by little, until Friday, when it was just Bill and me and Bill’s brother Bruce. We enjoyed our day together……

and had a wonderful dinner that night…..

After our dinner, we finished our packing, and then set our alarm for 5:30 that we would have plenty of time to drive to O’Hare Airport, turn in our rental car, check our ENORMOUS suitcase at Spirit, go through security, and maybe still have time to grab a bite to eat before we got on the plane.

And that’s how it all went down – just as we planned. Until we went to the Spirit gate to check our suitcase.  (Did I mention that it was ENORMOUS?)

Back when we were on our big European Adventure in 2008, we once got on the wrong train. The conductor looked at the tickets Bill handed him, and got truly the SADDEST look on his face. “This train no go to Padua,” he told us, much to our chagrin. It all worked out.

But I was reminded of that because the man at the Spirit gate weighed our ENORMOUS suitcase, and then looked at our boarding passes, and got the SADDEST look on his face.

“These tickets are for a flight that leaves at 8:46 this evening,” he told us. “Spirit doesn’t have any flights to Chicago during the day.”

In the words of the Jetson’s dog Astro, ruh-roh.

“Can we at least check our bag?” Bill asked hopefully, and was crestfallen when the answer was a sound no. The earliest they could accept our bag was three hours before the flight.  Eleven hours from that moment. Another example that the terrorists are winning.

After we pulled ourselves together, we learned these facts: 1) There are no storage lockers in airports any longer because, see above. The terrorists. 2) O’Hare Airport is perhaps the single international airport that has absolutely no restaurants outside of security. None. 3) After frantic googling, we learned that there is a Hilton Hotel attached to the airport that will allow you – for a steep price – to rent a room for eight or nine hours, even if you are not a prostitute. Which is what we did, because we had no other options because of our ENORMOUS suitcase.

We killed time at the Hilton Hotel, using every single item we could, and taking what we couldn’t, from our hotel room. We took showers; we took a nap; we used as many towels as we could. We took little bottles of shampoo and conditioner and tiny paper tablets and cheap pens. The only thing we didn’t do – which we would have been allowed to do – was use the fitness center. What, do you think we’re nuts?

At the end of the day, I texted my sisters this message: Hotel room = $150; Hotel breakfast=$57; Hotel lunch=$43; Blog post=Priceless.

As for Bill, throughout the day, he chastised himself for the error. I wasn’t having it, however, and reminded him that he had a few things on his mind and plate during the week.  It happened to him, but it could have happened to me just as easily.

And as I always tell him, between the two of us, we have one good brain.

This post linked to the GRAND Social

6 thoughts on “The Accidental Tourists

  1. You still have your sense of humor and you survived! All is right with the world! On a more serious note, I am very sorry to hear of the loss of Bill’s mother. God bless you both.

  2. I didn’t know you were at the airport when you found out. I thought that error may have come to light when Bill checked you in online. But due to the luggage check there was no reason to check in early. Ugh. You did well recovering from the surprise. 😘

  3. After what must have been the $57 “golden” eggs for breakfast, was lunch bread and water for ONLY $43?
    Our sympathies on Wilma’s passing.

    • The difference was that we ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant, but bought a salad and a sandwich at the restaurant market. Both were marginal at best! We survived.

  4. at least Spirit was polite about it. and you got an extra travel size shampoo for your next trip for a mere $150. we’ve had to spend hours waiting at airports thanks to connecting flight mis-timings. not our fault and evidently, not the airline’s job to be polite or even helpful about it.

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