Travel Delays – Just Go With The Flow

When traveling there is nothing better than a go with the flow attitude.  You can’t force the plane into the sky or fly it yourself.  You are at the mercy of the airlines and weather.  But with the right attitude getting there in a good mood is still possible. And really, if this is the worst thing we have to deal with, then no big deal.

With the accumulation of snow on the house (at this point easily 3 feet on the roof) the ice dams had started and water was working its way inside.  But how in the world was it leaking into the first floor of a 2 story house?  With headlamps and cell phones for photographic evidence we searched out the causes.  I spoke with great local vendors and put in a plan to deal with the water intrusion.  We have blowers going in both houses (the rental and our little apartment) to dry everything out.   Ed is checking on the water damage and Tim is clearing the roof (which only helps with the current problem, doesn’t stop when the next round of snow arrives).  We have ice damns on the roof and almost 50 inches of snow has fallen in Bend this year.

But still the snow keeps falling!

Snow building up on the roof and no end in site.  We could stay home, shovel snow and worry about the leaks at the house. But really, what good would that do?  Our insurance deductible is still the same.  The people we are using to help will be the same and they will do great work whether we stand over and watch them or not.  There might be more damage.  But that would happen with or without our presence.  Snow and water have a way of doing what they do – none of it can be controlled by me.

Perhaps this relaxed attitude is part of the our new minimalism.  I figure that anything I lose due to storm damage, isn’t something I needed anyway.

The night prior to our flight the another winter storm warning started.  Schools closed due to freezing rain and terrible driving conditions.  First 2 flights of the day canceled.  Our flight was still on target.  Breathe, just breathe.

Packed and ready to roll, checking the flights every 5 minutes as the departure nears.  Our flight still looked to be on time.  But the incoming flight had not taken off, so we expected a delay going out.  We looked at alternatives – taking a bus to Portland and flying to San Francisco from there.  Any flights going anywhere that could connect us with San Francisco.  Our international flight leaves from San Francisco and we had 24 hours to get to our flight. Thankfully we built in some time just in case there was a problem.  Clearly this weather situation was a major problem.

Our friend Paige picked us up – we decided to stick to our original schedule and hope for the best.  If we take any alternative routes to San Francisco we can start the process from the airport.  The drive over to the airport was more of a slide through the icy streets.  But once we reached the highway it opened up and the weather window was looking good.

Upon arrival to the airport the time delay continued to grow.  From our 3:20 departure we steadily moved later.  In the meantime the severe storm warnings started lighting up the phones.  Storm prediction put the arrival of bad weather at 4pm.  Flight departure time continued to slide.  Finally around 7pm our incoming flight arrived!  There was a record short turnaround on the flight and we made it out before the big storm hit.  Landing in San Francisco just after 8pm.  The first leg of our journey safely completed.  We earned a few drinks!

Our Plane Arrived!

Having identified a Plan B and Plan C made it a more relaxed exit.  Looking back at the weather  now we see that there was just one chance to get out.  The storm was huge, the snow dump massive and we would still be stuck in Bend if that flight had not left.  Our travel karma was with us.

Key steps we follow when traveling;

  • Check the flight
    • Use your airline website, app or
    • Identify the incoming flight (use your airline website to find) and track that flight.  You will quickly know if there is a problem when the incoming plane is behind schedule.  Especially if you are in a small market, like Bend where alternate equipment is not available.
  • Check your airports website to see if any flights are landing or taking off.  We find this an excellent indicator of what the weather is doing.
  • Check alternative flights if there looks to be a problem.  Don’t wait for the airline to figure it out or the gate agent.  You can be proactive and do any rebooking using the 1.800 number if needed, which is much faster than waiting in line with a gate agent.
  • Look at other ways to get to your destination from buses to alternate airports.
  • Be sure to build in extra time so you can relax and not stress out over delays and misconnects.

    Finally in the air on our way to San Francisco!

We arrived in San Francisco about 3 hours later.  But we made it!  Our friend Heather met us at the airport and we stayed with her for the night.  The ride home from the airport was a bit wetter than usual as California was experiencing extremely heavy winds and rain.   So while we made it to this stop, no telling if we would be able to keep going.

The rain and wind continued all night.  We heard reports of multiple ski resorts closing across the country, landmark trees falling down and had a huge tree come crashing down at the house we stayed at.  Our plane showed on time departure and we didn’t have many options as alternatives.

One proactive items was to check in online the moment we were able to.  Once checked in, we become the airlines issues in the event of a flight cancellation.  Without checking in, they would not be factoring in our souls if cancelling or moving people over to another flight.  We did look to see how many flights a day went to Hong Kong from SFO and knew alternatives did exist.

We left from Palo Alto in the midst of a bad rain and wind storm to get to the airport early.  The drive there was miserable.  At one point we were getting waves of water over the car (caused just by wind).  But as we neared the airport, the rain and wind lighted up.  It was looking good. 

We made it off to Hong Kong, connected to Bangkok.  We did it!  We left the snow behind and stepped out into the heat and humidity.  Yeah!

Our friends Mark and Kim waited patiently for us to get out through customs (almost 2 hours of waiting in lines).  It sure is nice to have a familiar face greet you after so much flying time!

So now we are ensconced in a beautiful 2 story penthouse apartment for 4 nights of exploring the city with Mark and Kim!

Mark, Kim and Dave in Chiang Mai

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